Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Khorne Lords of Battle #2

A small update.  After last night's blog post I added some brass etch to the first Lord of Battles, and converted an old, dead Knight Paladin's battle cannon into a co-axial rapid fire battle cannon for the death storm weapon mount.

I figured (a) it's already a heavily reinforced weapon mount, and (b) anchored firmly enough I can use it to represent a relatively rapid-firing "rangefinder" gun for the primary weapon (battle cannons have ~30cm more range on them than the death storm).  Now, every weapon on the Lord of Battles is represented, from the 6 basic and 3 macro close combat attacks to the 6 AP/AT shots from the on-board cannons (granted, on the original model the battle cannons were tiny little snub guns mounted to the war engine's head).

So the only thing left to do tonight was build the second war engine!  Since I can field these in formations of 1-2, you had better believe that I'm going to send 800pts of blood-crazed insanity charging straight up the board for my opponent to have to handle!

 Note:  when an 8 hour workday manages to expand into a 10 hour workday, you take your small victories where you can find them, like assembling yourself a second war engine before crashing for the night (and not supergluing your fingers together more than twice in the process!).

I wanted them to be similar but different.  Unfortunately I couldn't find my other Berserker heads (I was really hoping to use the skull helm and bare pauldron for this one, to contrast against the "helm" and skull shoulder pad of the first), so I changed the chainaxes and poses.  The first one is about to hack into someone's Warhound, probably, while the new one (on the left) is gunning down an infantry formation in front of it (not worth the time and effort to engage).

With luck, I'll coat their bases tomorrow night and get them mounted for basecoating Thursday (and maybe get a few layers of paint in).  Planning for black & gunmetal sub-layers, dark crimson plating trimmed in brass, and sparing amounts of silver where needed.

Next group gaming session is penciled in for 4/2, so I should be able to get these guys painted and the rest of my Iron Warriors fully based by then!  Probably won't be playing Lost & the Damned or World Eaters, but if Coach decides to bring his World Eaters I'll lend him Hans & Franz ("We are here to BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!") so they can get blooded.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Hail to the King! - Khorne Lord of Battles #1

So this is a project I've been planning for a while, and decided to take a crack at tonight.

I've been meaning to make myself a pair of 6mm scale Khorne Lords of Battle for my Epic Chaos Space Marine army (in case I ever choose to field them as generic CSMs and/or with Lost & the Damned allies).

This guy started life as a Kataphron chassis and torso, combined with a Terminator assault cannon, Chaos Terminator power axe arm, Khorne Berserker helm & chainaxe.

I like the result:  it straddles the line between Adeptus Mechanicus and Khorne demon engine, building off of the general design of the Lord of Skulls without being too direct a port.  Honestly, I liked the Lord of Skulls design much better than the old Lord of Battles it was based off of, but it also wasn't going to work as a direct port.  It's less tentacly and demonic than my Ordinatus Medrengard, but if you look at Khorne demon engines as designed by Games Workshop/Forgeworld, brass & iron is a more appropriate look than flesh/tentacles anyhow.

My goal was to assemble something that looked and felt solid enough to be a DC6 war engine (half-painted 6mm Chaos Space Marines for scale purposes).  The original plan was going to borrow a bunch of pieces from Troublemaker Games and was going to have a track & core unit very similar to my Ordinatus, but then GW went and released their Skitarii line, and I knew I had to use the Kataphron track units (plus the torsos were a lot beefier).  I need to add another two battle cannon, and I think they might get slung under the Death Storm cannon (same weapon profile, slightly longer range).

Once I figure that out, I'll build the second, and I'll have a pair of 400pt war engines to surprise folks with next time the gaming group gets together.  I think I'm going to try to use the skull mask Berserker head and a different shoulder guard on the second one; I'd like each of these to feel unique, like a bespoke war engine assembled in homage to the dark god of slaughter.  It shouldn't be too hard to do that as a kitbash.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Kingdom Death: Monster

So I want to get back to using this blog again.  I haven't touched it in a while, partially because very little has happened on the modelling front in the past few months.  Finishing school, starting a new job, moving, and launching straight into a major work project all conspired to minimize the amount of free time I spent on hobby projects.

...And then Kingdom Death:  Monster went retail.

This is one of those Kickstarters I really wish I'd backed.  Now, I'm partially glad I didn't back it, since I'd moved at least once between the KS funding and when I would have received the product (always a nightmare), and to be honest, I didn't have the funds at the time to back it to the level I would have wanted to (read:  EVERYTHING).  That said, I'm at a place in my life where I could budget for the boxed game, and even more importantly now, paint it.

Of course, getting around to it is another story.  Last weekend, I participated in my local game store's miniature tabletop gaming convention, and hosted a bunch of Star Wars Armada demo games.  One of the members of my gaming group drove up from NJ and was planning on hosting the intro story from Kingdom Death:  Monster as well, and to save him a little bulk cargo space and as an incentive to myself to get painting, I volunteered my copy.

Let me get this out of the way right now:  the miniatures are gorgeous, even in plastic (relative to the first-run resins), but the plastics have a LOT of individual components, and consequently a lot of seams.  This was probably done to minimize mold lines (which were tiny and easily cleaned up) and avoid the problem plastic molds have with undercuts, but I spent a significant amount of modelling time filling in the gaps and blending in the putty work.

As of last Wednesday, I had the four starter Survivors to this stage:

And as of Friday night when I put down the paintbrush lest my minis' faces start looking like a five year old who just discovered her mother's makeup drawer, I had worked the White Lion and the Starter Survivors to this state:

Nobody's done here, yet (going to try to budget in some time this weekend for some more skin shading, and maybe whiten the lion up a bit more again), but I'm pretty happy with how the robes turned out, and with how skin shading and highlighting is going.

After I finish this set, I'll be working on the Screaming Antelope, the Butcher, and a King's Man or two.

More to follow, as this has captured my attention for a bit.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Status Update

Behind the scenes I've been actually getting a lot painted, and I need to get a big group shot up soon.  I just realized that the terminators & obliterators group shot never went up.  Oops!

I was going to show my Ordinatus Medrengard 1.0, but I really didn't like how "The Bullfrog" turned out.  By comparison, my 2.0 rebuild worked out much better (much more chaotic too).  Photos to follow sometime this week.

I need to finally settle on a color to paint my bases, but I'm getting close to finding the right shade for that.  I want something that would make for a natural desert/badlands look, and I'm not interested in the GW technicals, so it's taking a little work.

The Titan's somewhat delayed.  My initial attempts to create greenstuffed growths and details on the hull didn't really work out; my skills with modelling putty aren't really good enough for detail that tiny.  As a consequence, this monstrosity might be getting dedicated to Khorne soon, courtesy of some brass etch I have on hand.  Freehanding an Eye of Horus at the center of a chaos star just wasn't working out ;)

The past few weeks since my last post saw me working through finals in what was essentially my last semester of school, coordinating with work to get my paperwork processed so I can start tomorrow, packing for, and then moving.  Now that things are going to start settling down again, I can get back to working on miniatures once more.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Product Review: Basius Pads

Disclaimer:  First off, this is an unusual thing for me, and may well be a one-off.  If I choose to review a product it will not be as a result of any incentive offered by the creator, but because I genuinely like the product and wanted to share my appreciation for it.

Right, with that out of the way, let me introduce you to the subject of this blog post:

Product:  Basius Basing Pad
Manufacturer:  Wargames Bakery
Type:  Basing aid

So I picked this up about a year back from a third-party distributor who I suspect had bought in heavily to Wargames Bakery's original Kickstarter, or had taken their overstock once the Kickstarter was over to sell off.  (Edit:  I'm an idiot.  It's right there on the base.  Zinge and Wargames Bakery partnered to launched Basius 1.  Amazing what you can discover if you use your eyes, no?)  I grabbed it at a time when I was trying to figure out how I would base my 6mm scale Titans for Epic:  Armageddon.  I felt like bigger war engines on 40-60mm bases needed a little more than just painted sand or flock on their bases, and I'd stumbled across these in the aforementioned web store, having read briefly about them on a gaming blog several months prior and passing over them then.

I liked this one because it didn't have any clear size references in the design, and as such I could hopefully use it across scales and ranges (when you're buying and importing your stuff from the UK to the US, multi-purposing is one of the few ways to keep costs down).  I also grabbed a pair of starship corridor pads that I'll be using for my AvP Miniatures Game whenever it gets of 20th Century Fox's Approval Hell, but that's something for a future blog post.

Anyhow, that should give you the background; onto the characteristics...

Although it's not easily visible in the picture above, the manufacturer used a hard, glossy resin to cast the basing template.  Having survived two moves and at least one fall from a three-foot height since I initially bought them with no scratching or chipping, I can say that these are remarkably durable relative to my expectations.

Using the Product:
The press molds are meant for use with two-part epoxy putty ("green stuff") or even oven-baked modelling clay.  As additional tools for use in the crafting process, I picked up the following:

The toothbrush is there to help with scrubbing soap into the mold to clean it up without damaging the surfaces, I used the scalpel in lieu of a toothpick to remove left-behind modelling putty (NOT advisable; although I did not damage the mold, it's likely a disaster in the making), and the roller I picked up to make sure I get a smooth, even press with a consistent amount of material.  Yes, I know it's a Martha Stewart product; it was what I could find (don't judge me).  Not pictured is my choice of mold release compounds.  rather than dusting the mold, I used a water-based personal lubricant. This did an excellent job, once liberally brushed onto the stamping area, and washed off easily without leaving behind a residue.  I also tend to use it on my sculpting tools when manipulating putty, as it dries slower, cleans off easily, and makes for a smoother more consistent surface when required in figure sculpting (picked up that one when I made a few one-off truescale marines a few years back).

Ultimately, making the impression was easy.  I started out by manually pressing a ball of putty onto the mold, flattening it by hand and then using the roller to help spread it out further and even things out.  After that, it was simply a matter of grasping one edge and gently pulling the putty free.

The putty came out with only a minimal amount of material left behind on the mold, typically in the tallest "debris piles" - the sand-textured lumpy areas, but that was easy to remove afterwards with the tip of my knife.  As for cleanup, a quick scrub-over with soap and water with the toothbrush removed any residue from my mold release agent, and a pat-down with a paper towel and some drying time was all that was required.  Total time spent on cleanup was maybe five minutes.

I'll let the results speak for themselves and give you a look at what I got off the mold:

For a first attempt, this was far better than I had honestly expected.  There's a little bit of a gap on the far right where I didn't fully anticipate the surface area required to cover a 60mm base, and a tiny hole on the left side where the putty tore and left behind a remnant on the mold, but that's it.  I reshaped that one raised rock in the top right corner (roughly 1 o'clock on the dial) to have a flatter top and profile, but that was it.

To finish the base, I also made an impression in one corner of a Titan's foot before the putty dried, figuring that I wanted to give an impression of motion to the finished model, and figured that something of this size would leave a bit of an impact in the ground it moved over.

Here's a picture of the cleaned-up base, and another one with the Titan's foot, and a 6mm infantryman for reference purposes:

I'm extremely happy with the results; the ruined landscape works well for a shattered war-world or a stretch of badlands, and the details aren't out of proportion with the 6mm model.  I won't be basing an entire army of infantry this way, but that's more a function of how 6mm infantry are based than it is a judgment on the quality of the stamping pads.

I do have one last step left in that I need to get around to painting the trimmed edges with some Liquid Green Stuff to help smooth out the finished product, but I'll worry about that when I get closer to finishing the sculpting on the Chaos Ravager Titan I plan on mounting on the base (future blog post in the works).

Overall Impressions:
The pad was totally worth it.  Setup, stamping, and cleanup were all quick and easy, and the few minor imperfections I had with the resulting impression were easily cleaned up.  Once painted, they won't even be noticeable.

I know there are alternatives out there, press-stamps, and I think I might have seen a roller somewhere, but for the money I spent, the size of the stamping surface (6 inches in diameter) means I will be able to get a lot of mileage out of this within an army without duplicating surface details, can easily adapt my impressions for varying base sizes, and use the results (with this template at least) in a number of scales.

I was expecting a hassle:  tearing when de-molding the impression, lots of detail lost stuck to the mold, and messy cleanup, but the whole process was remarkably easy.

After doing some research, the original Basius Kickstarter funded in September 2013, with Basius 2 (double-sided square pads) funding in October 2014, but I wouldn't be surprised to see another round of these in the near future, and apparently Basius 2 will be available from Wargames Bakery's site sometime from May 2015 onward.  I'd say it's worth the investment, if my results are anything to go by.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Iron Warriors Contemptor Dreadnoughts

So I got my hands on some 6mm scale dreadnought proxies that I decided to incorporate into my Epic-scale Iron Warriors army.  They're beautiful little sculpts, and almost as pose-able as the 28mm scale miniatures they were made to echo.

As you can see from the photos, I posed the basic model as if it were charging forward, hosing a line of lesser infantry with the combi-bolter in its left arm.  As for the one with the missile pod, I went for a more sedate walking pose, imagining this guy resolutely plodding forward, pouring suppressing fire into the ranks of the enemy while leading an "IRON WITHIN, IRON WITHOUT" war chant.

I was hoping to get my hands on a pair without missile pods and with twin-linked autocannon equivalents, but beggars can't be choosers, so my opponents will just have to ignore the missile rack on the one.

Here's the set of parts I was working with.  You can see two things in this picture:  (1) pretty much ALL of the weapon arms I was provided with were left-handed, and (2) I decided that I wanted to put raised shoulder guards on the dreadnoughts, similar to Forgeworld's Death Guard Contemptor, which is tricked out to resemble a suit of Mk 3 power armor.  Swapping the assault cannons around proved to be pretty easy, at least.  As for the shoulder trim, I used 1mm square rod for this, which TBH might still have been too big.  That said, if I ever decide to field a dreadnought formation, he'll stand out as the formation's commander/army warlord.

Ultimately, I dropped the extra trim from the missile pod version on the final build, because when I test-fitted it, the arms couldn't really rotate and clear the carapace weapon with it in place (oops).  I still need to paint the bases and touch up some of the paint (especially the freehand hazard stripes, god I hate painting those), but they're table-ready to support an Iron Warriors company in my next gaming session.

The next post will be my terminator formation, with obliterator support and a finished version of that terminator lord who was lurking in the background for size comparison purposes.  After that I'll try to put up a shot of the completed army to date maybe, and possibly progress shots of the BIG project I have going on in parallel...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Signs of Life

The past year has been extremely busy, and I had very little time to game, let alone paint or model.  I did manage to get pretty deep into my Iron Warriors army for Epic:  Armageddon over the Summer, but I never did quite get around to posting up in-progress pictures or finished model shots.

I will be updating the blog again soon with some progress shots, but I figured I'd put up a post now giving an idea of what I'm working on.  My goal is to work on one detachment a week for an Epic army, or one terrain piece/set (I have a lot of gun emplacements to build for my artillery, for example), until I have to start packing up to move in May/June.  I think that's a reasonable goal, if only because most of the units I have left to paint are at max, 6 bases in size. ;)

I made it most of the way through my Iron Warriors and I have a solid core painted up for the army (I need to decide upon and finish off basing them though).  I still have a lot of ancillary units that need completing and painting though, among them Terminators, Havoks in Land Raiders, a Basilisk company, an Ordinatus, and a Ravager Titan among others (and not necessarily in that order).  Most blog updates will involve this army for the foreseeable future, as I'd like to finish off one project relatively fully before I jump to the next.

I'm totally rebooting my Knights.  I wasn't super-thrilled with my paint scheme, and it was a royal pain to paint up besides.  Since I wanted to use Metallica as my Titan Legion, I'm a little miffed that GW decided to make House Raven so unimaginatively red.  The question is whether I want to use House Raven for my Knights, or come up with another (less purple and yellow) Knight Household to serve alongside my Titans.  I did like using purple, although the specific Knight models I'm using don't lend themselves easily to the classic heraldry patterns, so I may not try for a checked or quartered scheme this time.

There's something to be said for Raven's Mechanicus Standard Red as it will show up nicely on the table and will go well with a slashed or chevroned black and white pattern, but that's exactly what I'm using on Legio Metallica, so the Knights will be largely unremarkable next to them.  I'm just not painting that much yellow or white again; it was a real hassle when I first started working on Knights.

Epic:  Armageddon Project List:
1)  Finish Iron Warriors (~70% complete)
2)  Knight World or Adeptus Mechanicus Titan Legion
2)  Adeptus Mechanicus Titan Legion or Knight World
4)  Minervan Tank Regiment
5)  Black Templar?