Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Dark Angels Devastator Squad: TO-DONE!

Hi folks,

With the end of the 2016/17 hobby season looming, I can't help but look upon my To-Do list with despair. In terms of progress, I feel like I have missed a lot of opportunities to finish my projects. My concentration has just done a lot of drifting, particularly during the past 6 months. Sometimes it is good to go with your heart and work on the projects that are inspiring you, but there is also a time for just knuckling down and getting the job done.

With the release of 8th Edition, I have taken the opportunity to reconsider some of my plans and prioritize certain units that I want to use in games. This Devastator squad was the first to get bumped up the list. I am working on a new set of characters to fill my HQ choices, so my old Dark Angels Master has been demoted to Veteran Sergeant status. I also did a couple of hours worth of extra detailing and touch-ups, including re-painting the skin tones and adding a round of highlights to just about everything.

The plasma cannons don't work quite the same in 8th Edition, with the loss of blast markers, but they are also safer to use (...unless you overcharge them...).  I have spoken to a few people who are thrilled with the elimination of blast markers from the game, as they had experienced some annoying shenanigans at tournaments. I am going to miss them though, in my gaming group we never had any such troubles.

The heavy bolters have always punched above their weight in my experience, taking more scalps than the plasma cannons!

Surprisingly, it was the bolter marines that required the most work, particularly the chest eagles, which I completely repainted. Taking a look at the shots now, I am glad I went to all the trouble, though I have noticed that I forgot to paint one of the details on one of these marines. I'll give you a biscuit if you can spot what I am talking about :o)

I have a game of 8th Edition lined up for next Tuesday, so it will be interesting to see how much more I can get done before then. Until then, here's another big purple stamp:

See you across the table,


Friday, 14 July 2017

The Weekly Review: Birthday Edition!

Hi folks,

This week I celebrated my Birthday in style: hanging out with the kids and painting in my free time (if you have kids, you will know roughly how much I got!). My hand has almost completely healed now, so I have been testing it out on a Primaris Captain that Sgt Waz gave me that was 99.9% completed on arrival. It had a bit of touching up that could be done on the base and one purity seal that he missed (If you are reading this Waz: I LOLsed when I saw it, but didn't tell you). As I have often done in the past, I used this opportunity to go nuts with detail work. I am really enjoying letting someone else do the drudgery of undercoats, layers and highlights! Now it is 200% complete :o)

The first step was to remove the head ornament thingy and the sword, which were both very Ultramarine/Ancient Roman looking. Nerve-wracking does not even begin to describe the feeling of snapping off a sword from a miniature someone just painted for you as a Birthday present. I cut and filed down the head armour, then drilled pilot holes in the hand and backpack. Note: I don't usually pin plastic, these bits were just going to be sensitive to knocks and need the support.

The sword and Dark Angels symbol were both pinned into place. I also added a Dark Angels censer under the billowing robe; I had some sneaky plans for some OSL. Already he was looking a lot less Smurftastic and a little bit more... loyal but unconscionable.

I undercoated the bare parts in grey and then went about restoring any of the green armour that got chipped. I introduced some bronze to the scheme on the bolt weapon, leg armour, backpack, robes and censer, followed by some blue OSL on the legs, backpack and robes.

I painted the sword in a dark red with sharp white highlights, like the old school Deathwing powerswords of 2nd Ed. I then added a small amount of weathering to the armour and mud on the robe (even in those hard to reach places!).

I drilled out the bolt weapon barrel, because that kind of thing is important to some folks ;-)

Lastly, I painted the Dark Angels icon in the same scheme as the captain. And I painted the missed purity seal!

The base got a few lumps of Astrogranite debris, which I painted with Rhinox Hide brown and highlighted. I also added some rust effects using a mixture of Lich Purple (!),  Rhinox Hide and Solar Macharius Orange, which was stippled on using a big old drybrush. The brass and verdigris fan blades added a bit of contrast to the base. Brass is a great material for reducing friction in moving parts... unless it's all oxidised to hell, of course.

And... he's finished! As this guy is a Dark Angels character, I even get to break out the big purple stamp:

Thanks a million for doing all the ground-work Howie, if I could commission you to paint everything I had to that level, so I could just mess around with the interesting stuff, I surely would. Let me know when I can return the favour :-)

See you across the table,


Friday, 7 July 2017

Undertaking to Pylos: Part 2

Telemachus sprinted out of the surf and, as the foam of the last wave receded, he enjoyed the illusion that he was moving preternaturally swiftly. Nearby, his Imperial Knight Warden stood idle. He had left it on stand-by protocols, with its fusion reactor cold and back-up generator providing for the bare minimum of functionality. One did not “leave the keys in the ignition” of a war machine. Now, as he powered up the dune of skittering black rock, he wished that he had never left the command module of his Knight. Passing beneath the shadow of its hulking form, Telemachus grasped a line that would hoist him up to the embarkation hatch on the carapace, and fastened it to the reinforced ring on his belt. As he ascended he turned to watch the crashing waves, expecting the enemy to appear at any moment. He scrambled over the lip of the carapace, using the hand holds and rails to position himself over the open hatch and dropped into the cockpit.

Telemachus took his seat on the padded command throne and barked commands at the machine’s voice recognition cogitators. Somewhere in its armoured heart, fuel rods locked into place and control rods were withdrawn, unleashing megajoules of energy into the Knights power-hungry ignition system. Indicators on the command console flickered to life as pre-ionisation and heating processes began. As the spinal jack engaged, his mind was flooded with data and his musculature pulsed with phantom sensations.

He toggled the current initiator switch and was rewarded by the atonal hum of the plasma drive igniting. The digital meters in his heads-up display showed a small influx of absorbed gases, well within the combat tolerances of the reactor. He manually shimmed the field dimensions to compensate, before diverting the accumulating power to the primary weapons and mobility grids.  He reached up with his right hand and re-set the fuses that governed energy distribution to the carapace mounted weapons, whilst his left hand grasped the arm controller and revved the Reaper chainsword mounted there to full power. With a flick of his thumb he reversed the chain rotation, testing the responsiveness of the controls. Fighting with a Titan-killing Reaper chainsword was similar to dueling with its infantry-sized equivalent. Little finesse was required, but chain control and tooth integrity was key.

With the briefest of thought impulses, Telemachus shifted his Knights weight into an en guard stance, hunkering down with its sword positioned to bifurcate any immediate attacker. With his right hand he grasped the other arm control and released the safety on the Avenger gatling cannon. He half-depressed the trigger with his index finger, allowing it to cycle to its maximum rate of revolutions as the autoloaders clattered. His thumb triggered the heavy flamer control, test firing a gout of incandescent promethium into the black gravel at his Knight’s feet. Finally, he emitted an extended burst of sound from the Knight’s war-horn. “Intrepidus walks.”

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

A Knight's Tale: Legs Complete

Hi folks,

Following a cooking accident on Friday, I have had my right hand bandaged quite heavily. Thankfully, after the specialist removed the dressings for a peek yesterday, it was clear I had done some X-Men/Wolverine level regeneration. Now it is just a game of regaining flexibility and putting up with the nerves firing randomly. At some point over the past week my wife said "Well... you had better learn how to paint left-handed." We both laughed. I'll let you guess which half of the Knight's legs I did with my left hand yesterday.

Striking a balance between using enough colours to represent both the Iron Snakes and House Feardrakken and not creating a confusing mess has been a challenge. For example, both factions use white in their scheme, but in slightly different ways. Feardrakken use it quite extensively on the armour segments, whereas the Iron Snakes use it as a one-off spot colour. To resolve this I have replaced the white on the armour with Leadbelchers and white decals.

I haven't decided whether I will weather the decals or not yet. At the moment I am just happy that they are on in roughly the correct place.

The Adeptus Mechanicus symbol I was planning to put on the right leg turned out to be a shoulder decal, so I swapped it for a few of the steam-punk cogs. The symbol on the left armour panel is unique to Perseus Intrepidus and came off the Shadowsword sheet. The Aquila on the knee armour cross-references the main theme of the left leg decals.

The Aquila decals that fit into the armour were really tricky to get into position; I still need to use some softening medium and a razor blade to clean up some parts. Again, the symbol on the knee references the other leg.

The next job will be to undercoat the torso and head, then add some glazes. Thankfully, rattle-cans and washes don't require that much fine-motor control! I was planning on doing a free-hand Medusa on the shield, but I think that is well and truly beyond my capability at the moment.

See  you across the table,


Friday, 30 June 2017

The Weekly Review: IT BURNS!!!

Hi folks,

Just a quick update today to apologise for not posting for a while. It's that time of the year when teachers are busy marking examinations and writing reports and, as the head of my department, I have been snowed under completely. One of the things that made it easier was looking forward to all of the painting I could do during the holidays.

Yeah, well...

Last night I burned my right hand pretty badly, requiring a trip to the hospital. Unfortunately, it includes the tips of my fingers, so I have no idea when I will be able to paint or model again. The current dressings come off on Monday when I visit the specialist burns unit. Until then, and probably a good while after, I'll be swinging this Powerfist around:

It's not all doom and gloom though (yet?). I have been reading through the 8th Edition Index books that I bought and have been working on some related articles. I have some more short stories to post that expand the back-story of my Imperial Knight as well. Here's the first in the series, in case you missed it: Undertaking to Pylos. I also have a few painting progress shots that I haven't posted yet and may even get a few left-handed games in ;-)

See you across the table,


Monday, 12 June 2017

A Knight's Tale: Base Complete

Hi folks,

The last "A Knight's Tale" article I posted was all about planning the base for my Imperial Knight Warden, which I have been working hard to complete this weekend. On Friday night, with no small amount of shame, I realised that the last post was from over 12 months ago! About time I go the job done, huh?

The first stage involved painting the stream, which was inspired by the very clear, sandy bottomed, rainforest streams we have up North here in Australia. The base really soaked up the paint, making me think that maybe I should have base-coated it or sealed it first.

The main colours used were Ushbati Bone, Skull White and some turquoise I mixed from Kabalite Green. After a few coats and some wet blending it looked like this:

A added some Astrogranite Debris around the shore and over the root bole of the fern. I was never intending to keep it grey, but I really like the texture of this product and it is easy to move around. The added height of the shore would act to seal in any wet effects I used on the stream. I also painted some black roots extending into the water, to reflect the reference material I was inspired by.

Next came the wet effects. I coated the stream in three 1 mm layers (wet), letting each layer dry for ~ 48 hours in a closed box to prevent dust contamination. The Noch water effects I use take about this long to cure.

Now... don't blink. Over the last two nights I:

1) Painted the Astrogranite in Rhinox Hide/Black blend
2) Added some summer and summer/spring mix themed flock (brown and browny green).
3) Repainted the fern in a Lothern Blue and yellow mix to better match the laser cut ferns, which are a very pale green. I finished it off with a Sepia wash.
4) Added four laser cut ferns.
5) Sculpted and added a little tree snake.
6) Celebrated!

Once the Knight's legs are attached, I may add some static grass as well, to add a bit more texture to the grass. I have also considered painting the snake like a Coral Snake (below), because that is how just about every snake seems to be painted when it comes to GW! Let me know what you think, perhaps I am just brainwashed by all the pretty Lizardmen bases :-)

See you across the table,


Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Weekly Review: MOAR plasma!

Hi folks,

This week I have been tinkering around with my Imperial Knight Warden and Iron Snakes Centurion projects. Both miniatures feature some serious conversion work involving plasma weapons; just the pick me up I needed after a busy week at work.

On the Table

My first goal was to add some washes to my Knight's leg internal structure.

I started with a few glazes of Seraphim Sepia, followed by a Reikland Fleshshade wash to deepen the shade without resorting to black. After that was dry I gave it a gloss varnish to give it an oily sheen.

The toes were painted in Lothern Blue, then highlighted with a lighter shade. I could then weather the armour using a hobby knife, by scratching through the blue to the Leadbelcher undercoat. Heavier weathering was achieved in places by digging deeper, all the way down to the original black layer. I think it worked pretty well, and it makes it easy to scratch bullet holes and other battle damage. I'll be using some stipling and sponging techniques later on, with some of the larger armoured plates, to represent different forms of damage.

Under the Knife

I also converted the Hellfire Plasma Cannonade carapace weapon, using the Deredeo Dread upgrade kit. I am really excited to see how it looks mounted on the completed Knight.

Finally, I have been stewing over my choice to give the Iron Snakes Centurion sergeant a sword and grav cannon combination. I never really liked the idea of grav for this squad, so when I noticed the plasma cannon on the Deathwing Terminator sprue, I decided to revisit the original conversion. I still like the sword idea, but I will save that for another Centurion squad. After a bit of sawing and filing, I was able to fit the plasma cannon and cables pretty neatly. The Deathwing plasma cannon is a really neat, self contained piece; much easier to convert than the Devastator version.

I also rebuilt the emergency heat-sink on the Centurion with the overheating plasma cannon. I have decided that this guy is going to be the Apothecary in the squad (every Iron Snakes squad has one), so I will probably attach some more medical gear to the leg armour.

Ooooh, I spotted a gap! I'll fix that tomorrow.

The third member of the squad is going get a standard for his back, which ticks all of the special character components I wanted the squad to have.

On my Mind

8th Edition 40K is so close now I can taste it. I am not a huge fan of the new Primaris Marines, except for (dare I say it) those huge plasma guns. So the starter set isn't a priority for me. If I do spend any money of miniatures this year, they will probably be of the 30K variety. Getting my hands on the new Dark Angels, Space Marine, Imperial Knight and Tyranids rules, on the other hand, is an absolute must.

See you across the table,


Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Horus Heresy: Dark Angels

Hi folks,

A few weeks ago, Rob from 30kplus40K ran a competition to celebrate the Birthday of his blog. The prize was a squad of Tartaros Terminators, a 30K era unit that had caught my eye previously (I am a complete sucker for Terminators). To win, we had to post which Legion we would collect and why, to which I replied:

Slippery slope indeed! I was lucky enough to win a squad and my already bursting To-Do list has now erupted volcanically. Having skated on the edge of 30K for a few years, secretly yearning to explore the Dark Angels pre-Heresy shenanigans; this random act of kindness has finally pushed me over the edge. After a fairly rough day, I came home to this little package of awesome. It literally made my day.

So, expect to see some 30K Dark Angels Terminators some time in the near future. I have promised myself not to work on them until my first Imperial Knight is painted, which doesn't actually look that far off at the moment. I have been researching schemes and something like this looks like fun to me:

These Terminators were painted and posted by someone going by the username of Forward Assist on The Bolter and Chainsword forums. There is something about the shiny black beetle look of the armour that I really love. I am going to try for a scheme like this, though perhaps with some more weathering. I am also on the hunt for some detailed resin bases or inserts. I haven’t settled on a theme yet, so if you have any suggestions let me know in the comments.

A BIG thanks goes out to Rob; the Terminators are seriously cool and being rewarded for reading an excellent Blog seems like it should be illegal [insert joke about Australia's convict heritage here].

I am planning my own competition for a little later in the year, after the new edition hits. It will be based on scenario/mission writing, which is something I really enjoy doing myself. If you would be interested in competing in something like this, let me know.

See you across the table,


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

30K Painting Competition: Death Guard Marine TO-DONE!

Hi folks,

I just finished my entry to a 30K painting competition organised by the Google+ 30K community, a loyal Death Guard marine of the 7th Company. The 7th Company included quite a few notable characters that survived the virus bombing of Istvaan III, including Nathaniel Garro himself.

In this model I wanted to try and portray the marine's resistance against the encroaching pestilence. I don't think any Death Guard marine looks genuine without weathering and corrosion, but I wanted you to think he was clean compared to the base :-)

The closer you look to the base, the worse he gets, as the crapulance spreads.

The base is primarily Citadel textured paints (Astrogranite Debris), with an olive green river of slime that I coated with Noch water effects. I tell you, waiting for those water effects to dry on the day of the deadline was excruciating. Usually I would shade and highlight the skulls carefully, but I wanted these to look dirtier. I have seen a few exhumed skulls recently (purely academic, I assure you), and they weren't neatly highlighted either. Around the edges of the slime I painted a light brown and orange crust. Ewww.

If I had a bit more time I would matt varnish the decals to knock off that shine, but I'm not touching them again tonight. I would also lay down another 1 mm of wet effects. If I had more skill... well, that's another thing. I haven't done all that much weathering before, particularly over white. I would love to perfect the kind of subtle weathering of white I have seen around the place. I would also like to learn how to free-hand skulls, which seems to me like a handy skill for a 30K/40K painter ;-)

See you across the table,