Thursday, February 24, 2011

Inquisitorial Storm Raven, Part 2

While I was working on the Dark Eldar, I also had the Storm Raven out on the desk and as such it got a little paint slapped on it to start blocking out the colors. I knew I wanted it to be predominantly black, so I started by giving it a quick drybrush of shadow grey along the edges and picked out a few panels in Dark Flesh, which acts as a base color for the intended red.

I also went over the model and picked out most of the decorative bits in Shining Gold followed by an Ogryn Flesh wash. The cockpit glass got a Midnight Blue coat while I was at it.

Some of the gold ended up running a bit (such as the =I= symbol on the back of the Hurricane Bolters) but those sections will be cleaned up with a black touch-up pass later on in the process.

I took a crack at painting the interior of the Storm Raven before I assembled it, mostly a quick Boltgun metal drybrush, some leather seats and green monitor screens. However I've found that once it's assembled, there's not a lot of light that makes it into the interior even with both hatches open and the top turret removed. Ah well, at least I didn't accidentally glue it shut for a change!

There's still quite a long way to go on this model, but thus far I'm pleased with the black and red scheme. It definitely comes off looking pretty menacing!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Kabal of the Crimson Woe, Part 9 - Assembly line painting the troops

I had a long weekend this past week and was feeling the urge to paint. My initial intention was to paint up the Wyches for the Dark Eldar, but as I was pulling them out, I figured I may as well assembly line paint the Warriors and the Trueborn while I was at it. I snapped a couple pictures at more or less the mid-way point and figured I'd share the results:

Now, assembly line painting can get tedious quickly, so I usually try and mix up the order of the models to keep things 'fresh' as I'm going down the lines. In this instance, I made up a 5x5 pattern, alternating between the various unit types. The entire group would be painted up in essentially the same colors, as I'd settled on a red and gold scheme with a blue spot color.

The Warrior unit uses blue on the tabards to give them a little splash of color. I'm still getting a feel for line highlighting the edges of the armor plates, but have a cunning plan: Any of the plates that I felt were especially ham-handed will be painted over in gold. This allows for the models to have a somewhat personalized appearance with each individual having a slightly different pattern of red and gold on their armor. I also touched up the previously-painted Sybarite to match the new color scheme. Unfortunately I just realized in looking at the pictures that I completely missed painting the Warrior eyes along the way. Curses!

The Wyches were going to have several other colors, but to begin with I kept with the red and gold for the armor plates, while their hair picks up the blue spot color theme. The unit has an additional two colors as compared to the rest - The exposed skin was done in Dheneb Stone followed by a Leviathan Purple wash. Once that dried I went back in with Dheneb Stone again to pick out the highlights. For the leather combat suits I didn't want to go with black, so on a lark I took a shot at a dirty white leather look. The pictures are a little blown out, but the skin tone of the wyches is different enough from the leathers that they stand apart from each other.

Last up in the mix is the 5-man squad of Trueborn. Essentially they are simply Warriors with Blasters and a head swap from the Reaver sprues. I'm thinking that they'll end up with much more gold accent plates than the vanilla Warriors to help them stand out a bit. I'd just started the gold pass, but I was losing the light and wanted to snap some in-process pictures, hence the decided lack of gold on most of the models in the pictures thus far.

A phenomenon that I've noticed is at a certain point in the painting process, the models just look like garbage. When doing a large batch of models at once, I find that it is somewhat disheartening at a certain point to look at them and think "wow, they ALL look terrible!". I have to force myself to press on at that point, relying that in a couple more steps they'll turn the corner and start looking decent again.

...At least that's the theory!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Inquisitorial Storm Raven, Part 1

Being a huge fan of flyers in 40k, it was only a matter of time before I was seduced by the call of the Storm Raven. While I have no intent of doing a Blood Angel or Grey Knight army, I do plan on picking up the new GK codex to see how the Inquisition is handled. In larger games, I tend to take an Inquisitor and retinue, carried into battle aboard an Aquila Lander. Well, the requisition request for a better landing vessel has been approved!

Like many, I felt that the pictures of the Storm Raven provided by GW didn't really show it in the best possible light, and the top turret assembly, while neat, just seemed a bit unwieldy. After taking a look over the bits on the sprue, I decided that I'd be repurposing the Techmarine pilot and Servitor-crewed turret for some Ad-Mech project, and as such went with a cut-down version of the turret using a Razorback mounting ring as well as just painting over the main cockpit glass.

The intent is to keep it predominantly black with red panels here and there to give it a little splash of color. For all I know the Inquisitor won't be allowed to take a Storm Raven as a transport vessel, but the rules have never stopped me before! If I was to take another crack at building the Storm Raven, I'd leave off the top turret and air scoop entirely, opting instead to go with Predator side sponsons over the side doors, and going with a smooth top. Even with the cut down turret as I've done, it still seems to look a bit top heavy to me. Still, it's an interesting new model, and I'm always glad to see GW stretch the boundaries of what their kits are capable of.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Heresy-Era Thousand Sons - Vanguard Veterans, Part 1

Real Life(tm) has been crazy of late, but earlier in the week a package arrived on my doorstep containing some bits I'd ordered from MaxMini (50 of one style of their 'Steam Knight' heads, and a bunch of Terminator Shoulder Pads and Khopesh-style power weapons), so I spent a little time putting together a combat squad of Vanguard Veterans to see how all the parts I've been gathering worked together. I've had 10 of the old Rogue Trader-era turbofan jump packs lurking in my bits boxes for the better part of 10 years, but never really knew what I wanted to do with them... Until now!

These five will be the 'vanilla' Vanguard Veterans armed with chainswords and bolt pistols. They will be joined by Assault Captain Besenmut, a character upgrade Sorceror who carries a Relic Blade, and four other veterans likely armed with power weapon upgrades. The veteran models and sergeants will all utilize the more ornate upgrade torsos/shoulder pads/tabards I picked up from a seller on ebay, while the regular troops will wear more standardized power armor. For the most part the entire army will use the 'steam knight' heads as they match up with a lot of the artwork from the Visions of Heresy books. I'm thinking the sergeants and characters will all utilize the more baroque Thousand Sons style heads with the bigger helmet vanes, to help them stand out from the regular marines.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hobby Retrospective - Necromunda, The Guilders

As is the case in nearly every game I play, I just can't be satisfied with the 'vanilla' choices. It's no different in Necromunda, and while the Delaques are my go-to gang, I also spent a bit of time coming up with an alternate gang, the Guilders. As described in Necromunda Magazine:

"Hive Primus alone is richer and more productive than most planets in the Imperium. The hive is a manufacturing powerhouse. Goods move constantly throughout the hive - Imports and some raw materials go downwards, other raw materials come upwards from Underhive, and manufactured goods travel up into the Spire and off planet. The Merchant Guild controls all traffic between the Houses, and consequently is as populous, wealthy and as important as any of the Noble Houses themselves. The families that comprise the Merchant Guild are called Guilders. Guilders are closely bound people, intensely loyal to their own kind and insular in tradition. They are secretive about many aspects of their dealings and way of life. To other Hivers their style of dress and habits are strange and incomprehensible. Amongst themselves they speak a secret language quite unlike the common tongue of the Hive."

The Guilder gang is made up of a number of unusual units, and as a result, the gang ends up looking very unique and required a fair bit of modification or repurposing to come up with appropriate models. The picture above shows Count DeMonet and his bodyguards, factotums, scribes and general hangers-on.

Count DeMonet himself (name obviously stolen from History of the World, part 1) carries a flamer as he has a BS of 2. A perfect reason to carry a template weapon in my opinion! He generally rides around on his own personal high-tech 'flying carpet' using the expanded vehicle rules. The Count and the treasure chest are from the old "Midas the Mean" set from the fantasy Dogs of War models.

Count DeMonet surrounds himself with a number of bodyguards, the largest and strongest (and smelliest) of which is the Ogryn Hork da Basha. Based on an old Bloodbowl Morg'n'Thorg model, I added a makeshift shield from an old Rhino panel, and a bionic eye made from greenstuff and a small bead.

The 'gangers' for the group are mercenaries represented by a number of 40k models. From left to right are Hieronymous and Balthazar (the two lexmechanics in charge of keeping tally of the Count's riches) and Galten, a fallen priest who totes a plasma gun to enforce his master's will.

The next three are the remaining mercenaries. Syren (a repurposed Death Cultist model) is a close combat specialist armed with a power sword, Heinrich is a guard defector with a Missile Launcher, and Ignatius is a fire-loving lunatic who had his arms replaced by flamers.

The guilders often are accompanied by pit slaves, and Count DeMonet is no exception. Simeon 14/X and Gilgamesh Zz/Alpha are armed with various rock drills, sawblades and armor plates. The models themselves are from Mordheim with some various tech bits attached to make them a bit more 40k-ish.

Finally the Dregs are the Juve equivalent for the guilder gang. These two models are also taken from the Undead Warband from the Mordheim range, and in game their primary function is to die horribly and swiftly. Just like most juves!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Trying out the Killzone rules

This past weekend a friend of mine and I tried out the rather interesting Killzone rules that the folks over at Galaxy in Flames had put together. I'd been wanting to give them a try as they seemed to be a nice crossover between the full 40k rules, the 3rd and 4th edition Kill Team rules and the significantly thin Kill Team rules presented in the recent Battle Missions book. While we didn't try to do a full-on battle report while trying out the rules for the first time, I did snap some pictures of the table and a couple turns in progress (warning, big ol' pictures, click to embiggen).

As I really enjoy Necromunda where the more terrain the better, I was looking forward to really packing the table. I broke out a couple pieces I don't use too often, including two high-rise, non-rubbled buildings.


The first game was an ambush scenario, where my "David and Goliath" team (3 Ogryns and 4 Ratling Snipers) attempted to escape the pincer assault of two teams of Traitor guard, mutants, and other Lost and the Damned troops. While the Ogryns made a valiant effort to protect their smaller abhuman kin, the entire team of snipers were killed. A sole Ogryn made it off the table edge at the end of the battle, the rest of the models were cut down by the combined fire of the traitorous scum.

The second battle was (on paper) a little more evenly-matched. I built a 'Faux-Colonel Schaeffer's Last Chancers' team using choices from a veteran squad and a platoon command squad, while my opponent was running an Alpha Legion themed team with a couple marines and a huge pack of chaos hounds. While the guardsmen put up a valiant fight, they too were pulled down and slain by the relentless advance of the traitors.
All in all, a dark day for the Imperium!

Overall we had a good time, and the Killzone rules seemed to be smooth and well thought out. In fact we're considering incorporating some of the rules into our games of regular 40k, notably the difficult terrain movement rules - we both agreed that the 4" movement in difficult terrain sped up the game considerably as my tables generally include a fair bit of difficult/area terrain. We're looking forward to playing more Killzone soon! My thanks to Big Jim and the rest who came up with this rule set - I heartily recommend giving it a try if you haven't already!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hobby Retrospective - Necromunda, Delaque Gangers

Not a lot of hobby time over the past week, but I did manage to go through my miniature collection and snap some pics of some older models that lurk on the shelves - so today it's time for another Hobby Retrospective. Sadly many of the Specialist Games that GW used to support have been deprecated and it's but once in a blue moon that we see any new models or rules for any of the great games they used to support. One of my personal favorites is Necromunda, the skirmish-level, campaign-centric game of gang wars in the underhives! My local gaming group has played countless games of Necromunda and we still dust off the old minis and terrain occasionally.

My main team is The Azure Serpents, a group of Delaque gangers who these days more often serve as 'generic bad guys' for my Rogue Trader campaign.

The leader of the gang carries a Bolter (to take advantage of his BS:4) and a Stubgun (as the Bolter invariably ammo-checks and runs out of ammo).

A trio of specialists gives the gang some serious punch. The Heavy Stubber and Flamer take the field fairly often, while funding the Lascannon-toting heavy usually requires surviving a number of games to come up with the credits first. Suffice it to say, he doesn't get used that often.

The humble shotgun is truly one of the most versatile weapons in Necromunda, with the ability to fire a number of different shells.

On the other hand, there is no more reliable weapon than the lasgun. Four gangers with lasguns ensure that the group is always ready to lay down fire on their enemies.

The Autogun is also a nice weapon, essentially interchangeable with the Lasguns. These two models usually end up toting around the grenades, as they both have nice big pouches modeled on their backs.

No gang is complete without a group of Juves, the (frankly pathetic) gang initiates who will one day grow up to be fully fledged members - assuming they're not horribly killed in a game before they get the chance!

Lastly, a converted biker model that uses some of the alternate rules that were available in Necromunda/Gang Fight Magazine (briefly). Luckily our group collectively owns nearly all of the expansion magazines and books, so it's not uncommon to see a lot of non-standard models (and entire gangs) take the field...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Heresy-Era Thousand Sons - Faux Mk. I Rhino, Part 1

With the hoopla surrounding Chaperhouse Studio's imminent lawsuit, I picked up a couple of their upgrade kits before they get shut down. Specifically, I was interested in their "Mk. I Rhino" upgrade (downgrade?) kits - the pictures on the site were intriguing, but I wasn't able to find any pictures of how the kit looked actually assembled on a current Rhino. For $12, however, I figured I'd go ahead and give it a shot.

The kit contains two side doors, a choice of two front armor plates, a replacement cupola, and a set of decorative side panels to represent the grilles that the old Rhino sported. All the parts fit the model beautifully! I picked up two kits - one for each of the two Tactical squads that I intend to build for the army, but I'm considering ordering a couple more.

I dug around in my bits box to find one of the older-style dozer blades and trimmed the exhaust pipes off the model. I plan on replacing them with some curved exhaust pipes similar to the old style Rhino, but as yet I haven't found the appropriate bits to do so. I've considered making them out of bent tubing, but my initial attempts to bend the tubing I had on hand resulted in kinks and uneven curves. Back to the drawing board on that front!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Heresy-Era Thousand Sons - Seraphis, Librarian Dreadnought Part 1

On today's episode of "what the hell man, ANOTHER project?" we take a look at one of the models I've been working on for the planned Heresy-Era Thousand Sons army. I had been going back and forth on what codex I wanted to use and finally decided that the Tempus Fugitives Horus Heresy codex would be what I'd use. Since I only play games with friends I'm not super concerned about making something 100% tournament legal - fluff at all costs, that's me!

One of the units in the TF list is Seraphis, a Librarian Dreadnought armed with a Force Halberd and a Plasma Cannon (as well as a couple psychic powers). With the release of the new Furioso dreadnought kit, I knew that I wanted to utilize the new force halberd, but I wasn't completely sold on the pneumatic-ram arm they provide. Instead I decided on mixing-and-matching bits from the Venerable Dreadnought kit and the new Furioso kit, plus some odds and ends in my bits boxes. I decided that the model would be holding the halberd with the fist provided in the Venerable kit, and was pleased to note that it fit in the hand without any need for cutting or drilling!

I knew I wanted to add a large tabard/loincloth to the model to tie it in with the rest of the Thousand Sons and make it a bit more ornate, and rooting around in the bits boxes provided a pair of metal coat-tails from an old Inquisitor-scale model that seemed to be made for the job. Never throw any unused bit away - you never know when it may come in handy!

I decided to use the 'Anubis/Jackal' head from a set of alternate Thousand Sons models I picked up on eBay, and went with the exposed torso on the sarcophagus. I initially planned on using the Librarian sarcophagus from the Furioso kit, but decided that it just had too much Blood Angel iconography that would require scraping, and the alternate head wouldn't have fit. I still have a bit more decoration to add, as well as the storm bolter that attaches under the power fist, but it's more or less ready to go. Too bad it's been 10-20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit for the last week - not a lot of primering going on recently!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sanguinius - Primarch of the Blood Angels

A while back I had the opportunity to pick up a couple Primarch models - Magnus the Red would eventually lead the Heresy-Era Thousand Sons I'm slowly collecting bits for, the Leman Russ was handed off to the Space Wolf player in our group (who also painted the Deathwatch marine in the picture), and I'd picked up a Sanguinius for a friend who played Blood Angels. However, between when I'd placed the order and when I actually received it he decided to abandon the Blood Angels which meant ol' Sanguinius was suddenly superfluous. That being the case I figured I'd just paint it myself!

Unfortunately, there are a couple things about it that I absolutely don't like, now that I've had a chance to ponder the model. Most importantly is the fact that he ended up looking a little cross-eyed. I'll be rectifying that soon! Secondly, I was aiming for a marble-esque look on the base, but I more or less failed completely and it will be getting redone using an interesting tutorial I found here. I think the greenish marble effect shown on that tutorial will probably make the rest of the model 'pop' better than the quasi sandstone that I'd originally done. Finally, I think his hair needs to be a little more blond than it turned out here. Luckily it's been so cold and snowy of late that the model has yet to be sealed, so touching up the paint job should be relatively painless!