Thursday, September 29, 2016

40k Deathwatch - Land Raider painting continues

Just a quick one today - Got a few more colors laid in on the Land Raider yesterday and I am starting to feel better about it. Giving the eye something else to look at besides the line highlighting seems to help 'settle' the model a bit and help it look less like a big black brick.

More work to do of course, further highlights on the gold and red, then on to the usual blue power cells/cables and the scrollwork. Once this tank is done it'll be time to switch gears for Dreadtober and get cracking on with Brother Nihilus!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

40k Deathwatch - Display boards and Land Raider progress, plus a broken vow

A bit more forward motion on the Armies on Parade force! A fellow 40k enthusiast and I decided we'd do a paired set of army boards, with his Craftworld Eldar facing off against my Deathwatch and he spent some time in his shop over the previous weekend putting together something for us.

He cut the 2x2 board and laid in some hills and craters on my side, and the floor level for some Eldar ruins on his side. As my bases are almost all dirt, and his are mostly Eldar Architecture, he left the ground color up to me. Took the paints I use for my bases to the local art supply store and found a couple bottles of craft paint that were pretty darn close (no way I'm painting the boards with Vallejo dropper bottles), and set to work. Much paint spatter later I had the dirt in, and some admittedly ham-fisted flocking - I haven't ever tried any terrain at this size so it was all rather experimental.

I handed off the Eldar side so he can tart up the Eldar portion, and went with some grey stone coloration for the craters, which will get some blast effect painted or airbrushed in at some point in the near future. So far, so good!

On the less enthusiastic side however are the vehicles. As I had remembered from the Imperial Fists and Iron Hands, fine edge highlighting just isn't my forte and the issue is exacerbated on larger pieces, such as the Land Raider. I did take the precaution of painting the whole model in Chaos Black before getting started, which has allowed me to clean up the lines where it was particularly egregious (and looking at the pic there's plenty more to clean up). Still, I'm hopeful that once the detail starts going on it'll start to pop.

I was reasonably happy with the slate/marble effect I tried out on the doors and detail plates on the front (and repeated on the dreadnought coming soon). It's not perfect, but with a little practice it might be a fun technique to add to the toolbox - practice makes perfect!

In other news I've perhaps slightly broken my vow to hold off on adding anything else to my Thousand Sons until the Forge World book and the new GW box set are released. Just a little bit. Ahem. The deal was too good to pass up, and thanks to one of the excellent folks on the Heresy30k Forum for ensuring the sons of Magnus have a sweet new ride! Much like the first one I built for the World Eaters, this kit was an absolute bastard to assemble, and even with prodigious use of clamps and rubber bands it still isn't quiiiiite seamless. Some of that can be attributed to warpage and shrinkage but honestly I've never heard anyone say "Wow, that Storm Eagle was so much fun to build!" ...I will say it's a cool looking model once it's put together though!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Inq28 - Ordo Xenos Inquisitor Silenia Phocris

Leading the Ordo Xenos contingent is Inquisitor Silenia Phocris. She's pulling double duty actually, as I've also introduced her as a potential ally/adversary in the Rogue Trader campaign I've been running as well! Quite often I take inspiration from the miniatures I have on hand to come up with interesting foils for the players, and Inquisitor Phocris is no exception. When she was originally introduced to the group it was a cliffhanger moment and they haven't had much of a chance to interact with her as yet. Originally I'd intended her to be a foil to the group, but as I've been working on the warband her demeanor has changed in my head - plans are afoot to have her actually be an ally to the group, as her Radical leaning means many of her aims are in alignment with the group's particular breed of Xenos collaboration. Granted, this currently involves the Rogue Trader dynasty helping a disgraced Ork Freebooter Kaptin build something he calls "Da 'Pockalypse Kannon", with the aim of firing on and destroying entire planets in a nearby system. Let's just say we're nearing the end of the campaign and the mayhem is getting dialed up to 11!

Picked this model up ages ago from Wargames Exclusive, and is based on some artwork from one of the earlier Inquisition codexes with the paired Conversion Beamers. On the tabletop it's just a single one, as carrying two while allowed by the list doesn't actually allow for two shots with them. In the rpg world however, oh yes she can!

Went with a relatively muted palette with her, just a few spots of color - had to work in the Imperial Purple on her trousers, and the greenish hue of the Conversion Beamer's power sources. The green should help tie her in with the stormtroopers, and I'm considering going back in and doing their fatigues in purple to match. Thoughts?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Inq28 - Ordo Xenos Inquisitorial Warband nearly complete!

As part of the planned Armies on Parade force, I'd opted to include an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor and her warband. The Inquisitor is only primed so not interesting to look at but I did crack on with the 5-man Stormtrooper team over the last couple days!

I wanted to keep with a dark moody theme for the Stormtoopers armor and fatigues, and gave them some pretty strong spot colors to help them pop. I tried to steer clear from the strong red and blue spot colors of the Deathwatch, so went with some fiery yellow and jade greens instead. These blokes have been sitting in a quarter-painted state for YEARS, it really feels good to finally get them finished! Was a little damp outside this afternoon so they have yet to be sealed, but I'm quite pleased with how they turned out!

In addition to the Stormtroopers, I wanted to include some more flavorful characters. You can't have a warband without an Assassin, right? The Inquisitor's personal Astropath Brother Vicente provides communication and psychic oversight, while as befitting Inquisitor Phocris' Radical-leaning nature she is often accompanied by her personal Jokaero, affectionately known as Euclid. These three models were painted months and years ago, so were just given a little touchup here and there and had their bases repainted to match the current scheme. Job done!

Next up, the Inquisitor herself!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

40k Deathwatch - Kill Team Cassius complete!

Managed a fair bit of painting time in over the weekend, and polished up the last of the infantry models from the first batch - all the 'fun' models that I left for the end as a reward for pushing through the basic models (if there is such a thing in the Deathwatch line)!

Really happy with how the kill team turned out as a whole, while I was initially down on the mono-build nature of the models, I have to say they really are quite cool sculpts. Each one really has their own character to a degree that you really can't capture with the build-yer-own Veteran kit!

Couple closeups of the two characters, Chaplain Cassius and Librarian Natorian. After trying out the effect on the wings of the assault squad sergeant, I thought I'd try it again to represent the psychic witchery on the Librarian. I think it works a little better than the more dark jade/neon green method I'd been using previously - gives the weapon a bit more of an ethereal look.

The terminator was a fun model, lots of fire and scales, reds and oranges. Rather enjoyed how the brazier turned out!

The biker is one of my favorite models of the set, Suberei really has a great sense of motion and a ton of cool little details. I was listening to the audiobook of Scars while painting these and I started to get a little twinge to do some White Scars on the Heresy side. Must... Resist...

Next up is finishing up the last few models in Watch Force Artemis, with a couple more characters - Artemis himself and, just in time for Dreadtober, Brother Nihilus! I'm also hearing rumours of further Genestealer Cult codexes and models on the horizon - there's still a whole set of cultists on sprues in the Closet of Doom, could be there's another army on the horizon while I await the upcoming Prospero book and box set!

Friday, September 16, 2016

40k Deathwatch - Armies On Parade challenge begins

I threw my hat in the ring at the local shop to work up an entry for the Armies On Parade thing going on in mid-October. Since I am already hip-deep in Deathwatch it seemed the obvious choice! I'm still kicking around ideas for the board, but first things first of course and that means figuring out an army to parade!

Fired up the cogitator and penciled together a 2500 point force that includes the two 'named' kill teams from Overkill and Death Masque, a small assault force of veterans and a Librarian in the Corvus, and an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor and her henchmen rolling in the Inquisitorial/Deathwatch Land Raider (as they share a lot of iconography). Best part is, a good chunk of it is already in various stages of being painted!

Once I got a list together I pulled out the relevant models to see how much room they'll take up on the board and start thinking about layouts. Pleased to see it's just about half-painted already as well!

Rather than start any models from the beginning I figured I'd better keep the momentum going on the infantry already in progress, and over the last couple evenings have been laying in more colors on the remaining character models. So far so good, rather happy with how Chaplain Cassius's face is coming along. All in all still enjoying the project, and having a deadline to work towards really helps me focus on getting a little more done each day!

Monday, September 12, 2016

40k Deathwatch - Squad Crull and Squad Donatus complete!

While I had the painting servitor subroutines running, I finished up the two Veteran squads that came in Overkill and Death Masque. They were a fair way towards the finish line already, but even so it was a good three or four hour session to pick out all the little details and go back to catch the little stuff I'd missed on them in the abortive batch painting process.

First up is Squad Crull, using the new Deathwatch kill team sprues. I think these are some of the best sprues GW has come out with, definitely the kitbasher's dream with all the bits! I was forced to arm them as shown in order to use them as part of the 'official' kill team, and while they certainly look neat it strikes me as a bit of an awkward array of armaments for tabletop play. Definitely looking forward to building a few more kill teams armed a bit more sensibly.

I was pretty pleased with how Sergeant Crull's Xenophase Blade turned out, it's a fun bit of kit and shows some good ol' Imperial hypocrisy. I'm planning on carrying that idea through and do a Radical Ordo Xenos Inquisitor with some further Xenotech and perhaps a Jokaero to accompany the Deathwatch force. Should be fun!

Next up is Squad Donatus, the Veteran squad that is part of Kill Team Cassius. These models also suffer somewhat from the scattershot armaments coupled with the mono-pose nature of the Overkill models. That said, for what they are they definitely were a blast to build and paint - they exude a bespoke sense of character that is a little hard to capture with the multi-pose models.

Next up are the characters and specialist models from the two Kill Teams, then on to the vehicles!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

40k World Eaters - When Life Gives You Lemons...

...BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD! Little departure from the norm today - stopped by the local GW shop to pick up a game for the escalation league which fell through, but while I was there my eye fell upon the new Kharn model. No real intention other than 'Hey, that'll be fun to paint' so I initialized the painting servitor subroutines and knocked him out this afternoon.

Much like the Forge World Kharn model, it's surprisingly difficult to photograph. Many of the pics I'd seen make it look like a fairly unbalanced/awkward stance, but in-hand it really has a great sense of motion to it. I rather like the nod to the pose on the Heresy version, might have to pick up one of those to paint to accompany this one!

Fairly straightforward paint scheme, gave the whole model a vallejo Dark Flesh basecoat, which forms a natural underpinning for both the red and the brass. The red is essentially my Heresy Thousand Sons recipe with a little stronger Blood Red stage than usual, and the brass started with Brassy Brass, Burnished Gold, Reikland Fleshshade wash and a final Shining Gold highlight. Dug out a resin 'field of skulls' base from a stalled project and he's more or less good to go! I was going to add some blood spatter, but both of the bottles of blood effects had gelatinized into unsuitability. Will have to pick up a new bottle next time I'm in the shop. Overall quite a fun little project!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

40k Deathwatch - Vanguard Veterans painted!

A little under the weather the last few days, a bit of the Con Crud from Nova I'm afraid. That said, I did get a little painting time in while I recuperated! As mentioned earlier I'd decided to break up the next stages of the Deathwatch painting process into more manageable chunks, and went with the Vanguard Veterans first - seven of 'em in total, two from Kill Team Cassius, and a unit of five from Watch Force Artemis.

I really enjoyed painting these models, as I'd never messed with the new(ish) veteran assault squad set before, and the addition of the bits from the new Kill Team sprue really made for some cool models. While I did feel somewhat constrained by the weapon loadouts on the Formations for the basic vet squads (pics to come), the loadout on the assault squad is more or less what I'd choose (barring the power maul). Really dig the Storm Shields in particular!

The other two jump troops are part of Kill Team Cassius and while they're a little more blinged out than their cousin squad above, I wasn't super thrilled with either of the poses - I see where the sculptors were trying to go, but they both feel a little off with both legs bent as they are. Also not happy with the Blood Angel's face now that I'm looking at the closeup - some further work is required to fix that up.

All told however, I'm really digging how they're coming along! Next up are the two five-man Veteran squads...

Monday, September 5, 2016

NOVA Open 2016 - Pictures From An Exhibition

Got back from the NOVA Open yesterday afternoon and went through all the pics I took at the event - the overriding thing I learned from going through all the photos is that I am apparently just a truly terrible picture taker, and the phone camera I was using didn't do me too many favors. Nonetheless, brace yourself for a big ol' picture dump and a ramble about the event!

First up, a few non-heresy pics! I ended up attending primarily due to the fact that I was invited to participate in the charity Ork army painting project, and was super thrilled to see it all laid out in person.

They also had all of the 40k armies as well as a couple other systems' models on display - there were a bunch of single models as well but I just couldn't get a good shot through the glass in the smaller cabinets. At the time of this writing I don't know what the event raised, but as of Saturday night it was sounding like it could be a record year!

In addition to the metric boatload of 40k and Heresy events, there were several other huge rooms for other game systems, but the standout had to be the absolutely immense Star Destroyer table in the X-Wing area.

Thursday evening I met up with a couple of the fine folks from the Heresy 30k Forums and played a pick-up game against a Solar Auxilia army - I thought 2150 points was a fair few marines, but I was about to be buried under a tidal wave of Auxilia!

I won't go into full-on battle reports, but thought these two pics rather exemplified my experiences at the convention. The games were all an absolute blast against awesome opponents with beautiful armies. What else can you ask for? Josh was an absolute surgeon with his army, and though the Thousand Sons put up a valiant fight, by the end of the game they were crushed under the treads of the glorious Solar Auxila. Josh went on to win the Best Loyalist award for the weekend, and it couldn't have gone to a nicer and more deserving guy!

The next morning, game one of the Asymmetrical Campaign had the traitors deploying a 1000 point force against the Loyalist's 500 points and I faced off against a very cool Cybernetica force. You think 500 points doesn't go far in heresy Marines, that's nothing on the Mechanicum. I was unprepared for the ferocity of the unit of Vorax (seen skulking in the above pic), and they went through my army like a buzz-saw through butter. Loss #2 for the Thousand Sons, but the game and the guy were both awesome - really fun game!

Game two saw 1000 points of Thousand Sons face off against a 750 point Raven Guard army, and with both of our armies outflanking it was quite a dance around the table. The Volkite/Heavy Bolter speeders chewed up the power armoured marines, and a judicious Fury of the Legion from a massive tac squad secured their victory. Loss #3 - can you see where this is going? That said, we laughed our asses off during the game, good times!

Game three tipped the balance the other way, with the Loyalists fielding 1000 points, while the Traitors were on the back foot for a change with 750 points. My opponent this game was Chris Borer, whose sculpting and painting work I've always admired. While his paint competition models were inspiring, he was apologetically fielding a partially painted Terminator-and-Contemptor (loyalist to make up the numbers) World Eaters army for the Heresy campaign. In true World Eater fashion he immediately threw logic, tactics and mission parameters to the wind and essentially carved my army into little quivering chunks. The mission itself allowed destroyed Traitor units to recycle into Ongoing Reserves, while the Loyalists won if they had any remaining models on the tabletop at the end of the game. The World Eaters killed almost my entire army twice over by the end, and though I had whittled the rampaging terminator squads down to single models, I just didn't have the tools to take out his Contemptors in the turns allotted. Another defeat on the heads of the Thousand Sons, but oh my goodness was the game a blast - total carnage!

Later that evening there was the "Big Bash" event (which I didn't participate in, and sadly all my pics of it were garbage), but as the day went on folks started placing their Titans on one of the nearby tables. Some spectactular models, the Warlord with all the filigree was lit up and wired for sound, and would blare out a warhorn blast from time to time when activated. It was also awesome to see Dave Taylor's excellent Warlord in person, though both it and the other one were semi-disassembled for safety prior to the event.

I took part in the unscheduled "go drinking with some of my blogger and painting heroes and pick their brains for tips and tricks", and it's a wonder none of us died from from the liver abuse. I was talked into airbrushing and trying out the use of oil and spirits by the thoroughly awesome John Stiening, who I've been keen to meet for years just to squeeze some of the awesome techniques out of him. His entries into the painting competitions were absolutely spectacular! Also got a chance to lift a pint with Greggles, have a fantastic couple conversations with the immensely talented Todd Sherman, and had some great times hanging out with Dave Taylor who was helping run the CMoN booth at the show and was liaison for all of the charity auction stuff as well - one of the hardest working guys at the show, for sure! Met a number of other blogger buddies and forumites for the first time, and had a blast finally getting a chance to put names to faces!

While the whole "coming down from altitude" thing helps, nevertheless I was a little delicate first thing in the morning for the day two Escalation Campaign, and I didn't get a single non-shakycam shot of the first game against a beautiful army, and my memories are a little fuzzy on the details but what should come as no surprise the Thousand Sons snatched defeat from the jaws of victory once again. Game two was against a relative newcomer to the heresy so his army was still in a WIP state, but it was a hoot. The Salamanders were savagely bloodied by the Thousand Sons advance, but by the time the dust settled they managed to pull off a minor victory on objectives. Loss #6, but laughing all the way!

Game three of the Escalation event was 2150 per side, and I went up against a thoroughly brutal breacher-and-vets Imperial Fists army led by Pollix and backed up by a Knight Lancer. While the favor of the Primordial Creator was on the side of the Thousand Sons early in the game, allowing them some fantastic dice rolls to put paid to the Lancer at the top of turn two, once the tidal wave of breachers and heavy bolter toting veterans started appearing on my flanks the noble sons of Prospero were rapidly washed off the table by the punishing bolter drill of the Imperial Fists. At the end of the weekend I ended up going 0-7, and ended up winning several "Lemon Raffle" prizes - every time you lost a game your name was put into a raffle, and prizes were pulled and handed out between each event. Let's just say I had a LOT of entries!

While there were a couple dozen beautiful armies, I didn't want to try and post them all in line here so I thought I'd post up a few of my personal favorites from the events - here's a trio of Loyalist armies that I really liked!

And of course a tantalizing trio of Traitors! I particularly liked the Word Bearers army, though sadly a lot of the truly awesome details are lost via my sub-par photo techniques.

A couple of the guys decided to set up their armies facing off - this Emperor's Children army was absolutely spectacular, and took home the Best Painted award from the Escalation event - super nice guy as well, though I didn't get a chance to play him I had a really good conversation with him about his techniques and fluff for the army. There's a ton of pics of the other armies in my NOVA event gallery here!

At the end of the Heresy events I was awarded the Player's Choice award for both the Asymmetrical and Escalation campaigns - I am both humbled and honored by that, especially seeing as how everyone I played against was just super friendly and fun to face off against! Great times were had by all!

In the evening on Saturday the organizers of NOVA were kind enough to have an artists appreciation dinner for all the folks who participated in painting the charity armies, and I had a great time chatting to a number of spectacular artists but sadly due to poor trip planning on my part I had to curtail the evening early to get a little shuteye before the 7am flight Sunday morning. Doh!

Overall I have to say that NOVA was hands down the best heresy event that I have attended - the organizers of the Heresy Campaigns were class acts and ensured that everyone was having a blast playing on beautiful tables with well-thought-out and surprisingly funny missions. Even though I lost every game I played, I am absolutely looking forward to attending again next year!