Thursday, 27 December 2012

Hive fleet challenge

A while back (2 odd years) I tried getting my better half into the world of small plastic things; with many frowns and strange looks from her I think I may have succeeded in a slight amount of amusement from her.

The first hurdle any of us hardened mini makers came across was "what army to go for"... after a few hours spent pouring over codices and rule books, I received a reply of "those look cool !" and a tyranid army was born (or spawned????)

Next was the colour scheme which after much back and forth ended up being the leviathan purple and bone.
Then came the inevitable day when I agreed to paint the force for her (mistake number 1) as she was not finding time to do it and would enjoy playing more with “well painted minis”.

So after much head scratching and paint buying we are on the road.

This is record of my fight with hive fleet leviathan.

After painting a few hormagaunts in a variety of purples and bone colours that were straight from the bottle, I ended up with a home mixed custom colour for both of the main base bone colour and the  chitin.
There are many reasons not to start a project like this in a cack handed fashion..... I don’t know any of them. 
So I armed with my new colours and need to start large I went for the trygon first.   “He’s nuts”
I hear you cry, and you would be wholly right to think that but sometimes you need to go large.

So here are a few work in progress shots up to almost finished.

I’m currently pondering basing ideas and also ways to add goo, no that’s not a miss spelling I do mean goo. Any suggestions are most welcome =)

Launching a crusade

For xmas, Santa brought to me - a blood angels battleforce, a captain box, and some more death company (thanks Angel!). The last couple of days have been spent in a haze of plastic glue and I now have assembled -

1 Assault Squad, with jump packs, power fist and two inferno pistols.

1 Assault Squad, without jump packs (I'm going to paint them as a tactical squad as I wanted to suggest that the Grail Bearers use chainsword and pistol as often as bolters and this was the easiest way to do it) with power sword, melta gun and two inferno pistols (red hot death!).

1 Death Company Squad, with 2 power weapons, power fist and bolters. I went with bolters as I wanted to take advantage of the Death Company's relentless rule to storm up to the enemy, let them have it with both barrels from the bolters and then assault! In turns of power weapons I have a sword and an axe so that I can have some AP2 in there.

Finally, a captain I've converted up to be my counts as Captain Tycho. I was quite pleased to be able to do this entirely in plastic, using mostly captain and blood angel bits, with just a breast plate from my bits box.

Photos below -

Here's the sergeant from the assault squad.

And here's the tactical squad

One of the tactical marines

And two others.

And the sergeant. I've based this guy on sergeant Rafen from the James Swallow novels, in particular I was inspired by the cover of Red Fury where he has his hair unbound and hanging down, and his armour has shields and heraldry on it. This then went on to inspire much of the rest of my conversions as it fits the knightly theme I'm going for. Note below the grail crest knee pad on my captain.

Here's the captain

I sculpted the face mask from green stuff after carving away part of the face with a craft knife.

And instead of the wing dripping blood that was Tycho's crest, I've modeled a winged grail as his crest.

To represent the 'Dead Man's Hand' I've nicked a hand from my bits box left over from the Grey Knights. I figured if he could rip the head off a daemonette then he doesn't care about armour saves.

And finally, here's some of the Death Company. I really went to town on these guys, trying to make them as individual as possible.

This one was a simple issue of posing him so that he looks like he's running towards the enemy, firing his bolter.

This one I trimmed the spiky crest off a helmet and modeled it as part of the back pack.

This one is based on a classic Death Company miniature back when they were metal. I wanted him to look like he was leaning back into the swing of the axe.

This one is one of the only bald blood angels. I wanted him to look like an aged veteran who has finally given in to the rage and is fighting his way through a horde of enemies, both real and imagined. I call him the Sgt Cloten marine.

And finally, my favourite. I wondered what it would look like if one of the Sanguinary Guard fell to the Rage so decided to model one. I picked the death mask with a tear weeping from one eye and figure I'll paint the mask bone white, with a single red tear and a gold crest.

Well that's all for now, more in January when I've got some of them painted!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Concept models

 Yesterday I had the chance to make a start on a few ideas I've got from my Lovecraftian themed 40K army for our 2013 army challenge over at Dan's house. The goal, which I suspect I won't fully meet is to have an HQ and troops unit finished by the end of January. As my list is Tyranid based that means lots of troop models. My idea at the moment is to build a Tervigon Shub Niggurath who births Dark Young Termagants. The central figure in these photos is a concept for one. It's based on plastic Gor beastmen, and this one has three cloven hoofed legs and some tentacles. The bulbous mouth part is to represent the Fleshborer 'gun'. Tentacles are damn hard to make and I need more flexible wire than the stuff I used, however I like the thin, non-octopoid look of them. I need to make them separately and let the green stuff set before molding them onto the amorphous and many mouth-eyed bodies. They are going to take a long time to make, perhaps even an hour each, but they'll be worth it.

The other models are two degenerate cultists. I used Hobbit goblins for this as they look very hunched, deformed and not a little fishy. Adding hoods to them is difficult because of their hunched shoulders, so I may have to rethink that a little. The model on the left has the face of tentacled Genestealer.

In the picture below are a number of brain-like Tyranid bits that I'm planning to use as heads for my Mi-Go fungi Gargoyles. Amazing what you find rummaging around in a Tyranid bitz box courtesy of Dan.   

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Attacking the Carcharodons

So, in a group of great painters and modellers, why am I here?

Well, I have a never-really-started army sitting in a crate, and this seems like the perfect driver to get them assembled, painted and on the battlefield! I've spent the last couple of years using Grey Knights and Necrons, and also I've changed how I paint up my armies from using a Dipping technique to waving an airbrush at stuff.

I've done photo-logs of my previous armies;
Blood Angels
Grey Knights

...and I'd like to think I've improved, so the new army is planned to be a good, flexible force that looks good on the battlefield, and can be used in a number of that suggests that a Space Marine force is the way to go.

For my background, I'm diving into the Forgeworld Badab books, and will build up an attack force of Carcharodons Astra/Space Sharks. This means a Space Marines codex list with a reliance on close-quarters fighting. The chapter are known for their older levels of equipment, having been sent out on deep-space patrol not long after the Horus Heresy. To that end I'm going to be making plentiful use of Forgeworld items, with my base-level power armour variant being Mark V Heresy Armour. Carcharodons have a few signature items...lightning claw equipped terminators, more scouts than normal, and usage of drop-pods. I've got several items that were bought but not used for my Blood Angels and Grey Knights, so these items will be inducted into the new force.

What I have already in the crate-o-stuff, or partly assembled is;
  • 2 x 10-man Tactical Squads (Mark V Armour, with Sergeants in Mark III)
  • 1 x 10-man Assault Squad (Mark V Armour, with Sergeant in Mark III)
  • 1 x 10-man Cataphractii Terminators (with weapon options for Lightning Claws, Thunder Hammers and Storm Bolters)
  • 1 x 5-man Assault Terminators
  • 1 x 5-man Scout Squad (Sniper Rifles)
  • 1 x 8-man Scout Bikers
  • 2 x Deimos Pattern Rhinos
  • 3 x Drop Pods
  • 1 x Storm Raven
  • 2 x Medics
  • 1 x Tyberos the Red Wake (HQ)
I've yet to finalise a colour scheme (I should probably hurry up on that). I'd like to use the Mako Shark as an inspiration, and using an airbrush build up a light-dark blue fade from the feet of the model up. As part of that I also plan to use some sawtooth masks, to give a slightly more aggressive look to it. My first goal will be doing some test models.

I'm also well-known for magnetising my models...I find this is really useful, not just for allowing you to re-equip and swap units around, but also for painting, as you can get arms/backpacks out of the way. I'll do a post and demo on how I go about magnetising Space Marine models, as with the right tools it can be done easily, and is invisible.

First up in January for me will be a Tactical Squad, and a Medic. I want to hold off on doing Tyberos until I have the Cataphractii done, and I also have a couple of other bits of painting to do (namely a campaign map of ~200 Planetary Empire tiles, and a couple of Necron items for an event in April...)


Monday, 17 December 2012

The stars are right!

Before the sane and sentient beings of the universe formed the chaos gods out of their raw emotions and fears there were things that slid in and out of reality, things that ruled the stars before even the Necrons. And like the Necrons they slept, in the dark spaces between the stars and the gaps in reality. Now, with the final accent of the end the very stars are aligning to awaken the Elder and Outer gods for the last confrontation when all will battle against great Cthulhu and his allies.

So for a long time I've wanted to make a Cthulhu themed army, and have deliberated between army books, and have considered Chaos Daemons with Chaos Space Marine allies or Tyranids. With this challenge on I think I've finally settled on Tyranids, because they're an army I haven't tried before. With the codex having so many monstrous creatures it gives me the opportunity to model all sorts of tentacled nightmares and strange things,

My troops choices will be made up of Mi-Go Gargolyes, Cultist Termagent, Ghoul Hormagents, with Colour Out Of Space ripper swarms and Night Gaunt or Byakee Winged Warriors. Perhaps Hounds Of Tindalos might be Genestealers. Lot's of deep striking Cthonians and winged creatures lesser gods, with lasher tendrils and few shooting attacks will be the order of the day. Shoggoths, Black Goats of Shub Niggurath  can make the Carnifexs and the like. 

I intend to make a lot myself but will try and use some GW bits to vaguely keep it GW legal as well as making sure my models are at least as high as their Tyranid counterparts.

And of course there will be a flying Hive Tyrant from R'lyeh.

Bring me a shrubbery!!!

Following on from Toby's lead here are my thoughts on my army for next year's challenge!

Since they came out I've wanted to do a Blood Angels army. I love the multi-part plastic kits that GW have brought out in recent years and in particular the way they can be inter-mixed with one another. I don't want to do a regular Blood Angels army though so I've decided to do a successor chapter - The Grail Bearers.

May vague thoughts on background is that when this chapter was founded, the Captain who was granted the right to serve as Chapter Master to the fledgling chapter received a vision which he believed came straight from Sanguinius.

A golden grail filled with light shining like a beacon through the darkness of space. A great desire to find this grail filled him, a longing to possess it and bring it back to Baal. As he mustered his chapter, he tasked each group of supplicants to travel out into the darkness of the galaxy - to move to those parts of the Imperium which had not seen the Emperor's light for eons. For decades, some times centuries, they traveled away from  the chapter homeworld, Avalon, battling the foes of humanity and restoring order or punishing the guilty. After a particularly great battle, or the defeat of a truly heinous enemy they would find it; a shining, golden chalice. Sometimes they would be hidden in a tyrant's treasure horde. Other times they might appear seemingly out of the ether, laying in the ruins of a conquered fortress where moments before they had not been. Always they were a sign that it was time for the crusading force to return home to their fortress monastery bearing their treasure, hoping that finally they will have found the true Grail.

Each grail is assessed by the Sanguinary Priests to see if it is the chalice the chapter seeks - the Graal Sanguine. Thus far, none of these grails have been the one true grail that the chapter have sought, yet each one has been a unique gift, seemingly from the chapter's genetic father, and imbued with special powers that fill the warriors in its presence with fire and vigour! The warriors who have found these grails have been varied and manifold - some mighty captains, others simple brother-scouts. Each one has been left changed though, marked for greatness and destined for induction into the First Company - the Grail Knights.

The Grails are considered holy relics to the chapter, assuaging the worst of the Red Thirst and aiding even those brothers afflicted by the chapter's gene curse the Black Rage. Once they have been suitably assessed and prayers for their blessings have been said, they are issued once more to the Sanguinary priests of the crusading battle companies and sent out into the void once more, to lend their strength to the brothers of the chapter in their ongoing quest to find the true Graal Sanguine.

As to what the Graal itself is for, this is a secret known only to the Lords of the Chapter - the Chapter Master, the Chaplains, the Librarians and the Sanguinary Priests. Only the Grail Knights amongst the line brothers of the chapter know the truth. The vision gifted to the Chapter Masters of the Grail Bearers is of a gilded chalice, filled with the blood not of Sanguinius, but of his father - gifted to his angelic son as an expression of a father's love and understanding. A draft that if infused into their fallen father's veins, might just be enough to return their gene-father to them, and lift the twin-curses from their veins once and for all!

Ok, so that's my background ideas!

I'm going to knock myself my first models up over christmas using these -

In an issue of White Dwarf last year there were two studio guys who were tasked to build the start of a Blood Angels army from just a Battleforce and a Space Marine Commander box. They did pretty good jobs, so I decided I wanted to give it a go too! Check back here for photos of how it's going over christmas!

In the meantime here's a photo of my tester model with it's practise colour scheme.

I like to think of the last one as "he's behind you!"

Space Marines- FUCK YEAH!!!

Space Marines- FUCK YEAH!

So as with all good ideas the genesis of this idea started a long time ago and has mutated its way into what I'm planning now. The HATE Krew were returning from a jolly successful romp at SVA 11 (my first ever event none the less!) and the conversation turned to the utter pasting that the 'good' team had taken from the villains (which included us). We all agreed to start 'Good' armies and get them ready for the following years SVA, to try to help redress the balance somewhat. Also because some of us had NEVER fought for the Emperor and it was decided that perhaps it was high time we did!

I got to thinking and realised a large part of my desire for what I wanted in a new army was a smaller, more elite force. I'd been playing with hordes of guard (and in the past hordes of Orks) exclusively for ages and wanted an elite army of more individual warriors. I felt an urge for a force of heros, all named, with stories and legends of their own. Basically as small a number of models as possible, so that I could lavish more attention on the modelling and painting and also have an entirely different tabletop experience.

I'd always liked the background and colour scheme of the Imperial Fists and considering they have the strongest backstory for their first company (led by Lysander) I decided to do a Fists First Company army. Mainly terminators, some venerable dreadnoughts and a few veterans. Perhaps working up to some Forgeworld landraiders for transportation. I knew making an army of this nature was possible with the dark angels and space wolves codexes and so started making some models. I made some terminators an some veterans. Got them a nice desert yellow undercoat and played some small games (including 'Blood for the blood god OG, the first ever OG 40k event). Things seemed to be going well but at this point I hit a couple of big problems...

The first issue was a crunch one. I'd never really played against the deathwing list before starting the Fists and when I did so (and read the codex better) I realised that it was a very dull, spammy army, with limited scope. This was annoying. Also, it quickly became clear the 'Loganwing' was inappropriate for a codex chapter like the Imperial Fists.

The second issue came as I dawdled over actually applying paint to toy. I procrastinated with other projects an eventually got fully taken up with getting back into Orks. After some reflection it dawned on me that I had very little experience painting power armour and didn't want to do a sloppy job on my carefully modelled (mainly FW) terminators. I didn't really know where to start. The project was fully shelved (quite literally) and gathered dust in the storeroom at HATE hq as I threw myself into my grimy Orks...

After almost a year of WAAAGHing around the country in a haze of blackened smoke my thoughts turned back to the abandoned Space Marines. With the new Dark Vengeance boxed set, as well as some second hand bits from friends, I had the beginnings of a more generic Space Marine army. And so I decided to start a regular Codex Marine army, in order to give myself some practice modelling and painting Power armoured warriors, in preparation for the coming First Company force.

But how to theme it? I can't just be doing 'a Fists army'. That wouldn't do at all! I got to thinking about what I liked about regular space marine battle companies, second to seventh that is. I liked the idea of the titles of each companies Captain, Master of the Watch, Master of the Arsenal, Master of the Marches etc and the potential special responsibilities and role this would impart upon the company. Far more than just a battle company, there could be specialisation here that allowed for a tactical doctrine unique to each company. I liked the part of the Fists background that related to siege warfare, particularly in their ongoing enmity with the Iron Warriors. And so I've focused on that. Once I'd thought of the title of 'Master of the Breach' there was no going back!

So I've decided that in recent times, although maintaining the broader tactical doctrines of the Codex Astartes, the Fifth Company of the noble Imperial Fists have had their role re-defined as a 'siege breaking' company. Designated to engage where grinding siege stalemates have developed. Not to enter the meat grinder of ongoing siege warfare of course, that is the duty of the legions of the Imperial Guard. But rather to be deployed as a lightning strike. Breaching the enemies defences in a hammer blow, so that the might of the Emperor's armies might flood through that breach and cleanse the enemy!

This has mainly been he personal endeavour of the company's new leader, Captain Darvos Nostromo, Master of the Breach. Who has personally campaigned for a more aggressive tactical approach. A return to the crusading campaigns of old. A great churning explosion of earth heralds the arrival of Termites, taking the fight to the heart of the enemy. As thunderous artillery blasts defences asunder, specially trained combat engineers infiltrate those positions and sabotage vital resources from within...

So I'm quite exited about this army now and the Rising Panic Army Challenge has provided me the perfect platform to get it moving. So what to expect:

A Captain- I've got a great conversion idea for Nostromo

Librarian- got the Dark Vengeance one

Master of the Forge- the siege breakers have much support from the tech marines and armoury.

Termites! Drop pods in fact. Have some nice models from ramshackle to get me started but expect conversions.

Tactical squads- the backbone of any strike force

Combat engineers- need a better name but you get the idea. Going to use scout bits to make some really grizzled, demo charge waving fuckers!

Storms to fly the engineers in.

Ironclad 'siege' dreadnoughts.

Thunderfire cannons


Later some vets seconded from the first company, as my painting starts to get good ;)

Expect lots of demolitions stuff. Melta bombs and grenades, las cutters and siege mantlets. An emphasis on mud, blood and knocking on the door. Hard.

Going to start with a tactical squad (obviously) and probably the librarian for now as I've got him and need to get some practice in before I get to the big boys.

Any ideas or thoughts about em out. Input is always good!

Thanks for reading. More soon...

Friday, 30 November 2012

The He-Man Painting Challenge

The 2013 Painting Challenge is a friendly way to encourage gamers to paint a completely new army by the end of 2013. Of course you don't have to paint an entire army to take part if you don't want to; you can paint an entry for the Golden Demon, or you could paint an entry for Armies on Parade, or you could paint whatever. But if you want to take part in the Army Painting Challenge then here are the rules :-

1. Each participant must post at least once per month.

2. Each participant must paint the models himself!

3. In the first month you must paint either an HQ choice and a Troop choice if painting a 40K army, or if painting a Fantasy army then a Character and a Core Unit.

4. In each further month you must paint a Force Organisation slot if painting a 40K army/Unit or Character if painting a Fantasy army.

5. As you paint your army, post photos and write about why you're painting what you picked for your army, how you're painting it, any tips or tricks you want to share, or indeed anything else on your mind about the Challenge.

6. The entire army must be finished by the end of the year, either to 2000 points for 40K, or 2500 if painting a Fantasy army.