Friday, 3 April 2020

Age of Sigmar: Treelord Ancient Build Part 1

Hi folks,

Just before my local GW store closed its doors due to social distancing restrictions, I went in to choose a monster so that I could enter their Monster painting competition. It was a difficult choice, as the large models in the Age of Sigmar range are just phenomenal at the moment, but I ended up walking out with a Start Collecting Sylvaneth box to add to Penny's Wild Riders and Sisters of the Thorn. The box comes with a Treelord, which fits the entry conditions of the painting competition, and I have always had a soft spot for Dryads.

Last night I spent a bit of time constructing the Treelord, using a mixture of the Treelord Ancient and the normal Treelord parts. It was quite a challenging build, as many of the parts have three versions, each specific for the pose of one of the options and only compatible with certain other pieces. For someone building a hybrid, that makes it very easy to pick pieces that don't fit together. I only made one significant mistake doing this, mixing the hip joint and ankles of two different poses, which was serious in the grand scheme of things as it effects the models ability to stand. Pulling it apart was successful but hard, with only one piece (his butt) being irretrievable for the rebuild. That's not a huge loss, you can hardly see it and it is intentionally sculpted to look like nothing anyway.

This morning, with the polystyrene glue all set, I have been filling gaps with green stuff and doing some sculpting work. In particular, I am adding a large number of mushrooms to his body. I am trying for a Realm of Shyish theme, with these Sylvaneth coming from Satyr's End, in the region of Lyria. They are the wardens of the vine-shrouded sanctuary to Alarielle, in the human city of Glymmsforge, which spreads living limbs over the rooftops of the city. They tend to the living trees there, carefully excising a deadly magical fungus that seeks to infest them; a grim reminder of the realm they live in. Whilst the aelves are immune to its effects, the treelords and dryads are not. Who knows what the fungus will do when it wrestles control of these gentle servants of Alarielle, or what deadly symbiosis they will form...

Next step will be priming and undercoating; a job for the airbrush I think.

See you across the table,


Monday, 30 March 2020

Iron Snakes: 2000 Point Army TO-DONE!!!

Hi folks,

Well, after 6 long years, I have finally done* it. In the late hours of Saturday I finished my final* Iron Snakes model! This project has been an amazing roller-coaster ride, from start to finish*. It all began in Greece, when my wife was feeling bad that she had forgotten to get me a Birthday present (seriously though; I didn't mind!). I went searching for a 40K related online gift that may remind me of the trip, and ended up ordering some Greek-style space marine helmets and Iron Snakes shoulder pads, kick-starting my 40K odyssey.

I used those first parts on a squad of Sternguard, which I named Squad Lakodeme. With its ranks filled with recruits taken from the great undersea forge hives of Ithaka, Squad Lakodeme is renowned for its access to the Chapter's combi-weapon arsenal, as well as their indefatigable nature; holding the line at all costs. The squad is led by skull-helmed Veteran Sergeant Thanatos, following the disappearance of Mikos of Lakodeme, to realms unknown.

Squad Lakodeme

It soon became a test-bed for every crazy conversion and modelling idea I could think of, as well as every new painting technique. I quickly added a Contemptor to my collection as well as a Master of the Forge. Where most Techmarines are concerned with fortifications, Odyssean is a maker of shields, trusting in the strength of flesh to build his walls.

Ancient Nestor is deeply respected by the Iron Snakes, having experienced combat the likes of which few survive to re-tell. He often gives advice during combat that seems mad, but it stems from a deep wellspring of knowledge. Those who put their trust in him soon find the tides of battle turning in their favour.

Ancient Nestor and Master of the Forge Odyssean

When Centurions were released and started winning games with their Grav cannons, I bought two kits with plans of making my growing army competitive. Instead, I spent years converting them with plasma cannons, assault cannons and custom laser cut shields from ML Shields. The squad I painted was my Squaduary project for several years in a row!

Equipped with a combination of the finest heavy weapons the armories of Karybdis can supply, and massive storm shields from the forge of Odyssean himself, Squad Aegis is as intractable and destructive as a Landraider (which the Iron Snakes rarely field). Led by the humble Sergeant Kryto, the squad often forgoes the whims of hubris to shore up defenses where they are needed the most, where another squad has over-extended itself.

Squad Aegis assault cannon combat squad

After receiving an Imperial Knight Warden from Dave over at Confessions of a 40K Addict, the spoils of a wonderful terrain building competition, I decided to add some Knight allies to the army. The plan was for each knight to embody one of the great heroes of ancient Greek Mythology, Perseus, Theseus and Achilles. Each would have a free-hand symbol that represents each hero's greatest conquest.

Following their fateful and disastrous undertaking to Pylos, the remnants of House Feardrakken's expeditionary detachment was evacuated by Iron Snakes fleet assets. Having impressed the Iron Snakes with their mettle during the Battle of the Sea Gate, they were assigned honorary titles by Seydon; "Perseus" Intrepidus, "Theseus" Ferrum Fortis and "Achilles" Aeternus. They fought in defense of the Reef Stars for decades, before finally returning to their homeworld in glory.

"Theseus" Ferrum Fortis and Squad Aegis plasma cannon combat squad

Of course, Primaris Marines eventually hit the shelves and I had to make a hard decision; should I branch out and incorporate some of the new designs in my force or keep them on this side of the Rubicon Primaris. Reading Brothers of the Snake again, I realised that their Chapter Master, Seydon, was famous for being HUGE. He also keeps himself hidden behind a hooded cloak frequently and breathes with a respirator. I also read Spear of the Emperor, which described a Chapter led by a Primaris Chapter Master whose surgery had gone...awry. These two pieces fit together for me pretty neatly; Seydon could already be Primaris. I converted him using parts from the Primaris Captain kit, as well as many odds and ends I had in my bits box.

"Chapter Master Seydon was just a shadow: robed, mysterious and towering. His cloak was made of broken, polished, wyrm-horn pieces, linked together like a jigsaw puzzle by gold wire. Slow respiration throbbed form the exchanger tanks under his cloak... He was a good meter taller taller than Priad". 

Chapter Master Seydon and Apothecary Nestor


I also converted an Apothecary using parts from a Conquest magazine Reaver and some Ravenwing Command bits. He would represent Khiron, the Apothecary Priad fights to have in his squad. I finished Squad Damocles this year as my Squaduary project, using Conquest magazine Intercessors and a whole bunch of bits to make each of them unique, including more laser cut shields from ML shields. 

Squad Damocles

With things the way they are, I have no idea when I will get to play with this army. Six years ago when I started, if you told me I would be painting the last miniature in isolation on the two year anniversary of my best friends passing, I honestly don't know what I would have done. It would have definitely been unexpected! Looking at it now, completed*, I feel a huge sense of relief and no small amount of pride. This army and I have been through a lot, both good and bad. I hope you have enjoyed the journey as well, even though is has come to an end*.

2000 points of Iron Snakes

See you across the table,


P.S. Did you spot Ephialtes?

*Pffft, I'm not done yet. Terminators are already primed (Notable Skypio) and I still have a third Imperial Knight to do, which will involve some significant conversion work. 

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Iron Snakes: Apothecary Khiron TO-DONE!!!

Hi folks,

Last night was our annual get together to remember Joel, my best mate who passed away a while ago. The other two times we have gathered together like this, we have started the night off at the local Catholic Club, where we used to meet up during our Uni years for a cheap feed. We would then head on back to Wade's place for a night of remembering and laughing/crying into our beers. Of course, last night was a little different, owing to the isolation guidelines in place in Australia (I am not a fan of the term "social distancing", we are all pretty damn close last night, socially speaking). All of my mates logged into a Discord chat and spent the night chatting about the world. We are spread out pretty far and wide (one of us dialed in from New York), so it was heartening to hear everyone's voices.

While we were chatting I got out my Iron Snakes Apothecary and painted him. Khiron is a character in Dan Abnett's Brothers of the Snake; one of my personal favourites. He also happens to be the last marine in my 2000 pt list! At some point Benny fire up Jackbox, which led to about 90 minutes of schoolyard giggling. If there are any wobbly lines in the paint-job, I blame it entirely on the exhausting amount of laughing I did. It was a special night, so there will be no touch-ups of this model. Instead, it will be symbol of the little bit of healing we did last night.

I finished Khiron at about 10.30 pm, then got myself a beverage and played a few games on Jackbox. At some point, people started trickling away into the night (or morning in New York). The few of us remaining made a few plans to set up some online BattleTech games using MegaMek and headed off with fuzzy heads to bed.

So, cheers to you Joel. The first Ghost Bear. Your legacy is secure.

See you across the table,


Sunday, 22 March 2020

Monster March: Space Hulk Broodlord TO-DONE!!!

Hi folks,

I have finished my Monster March project a week ahead of schedule because, as mentioned in my previous post, I now have much bigger (and woodier) fish to fry. This Broodlord is special for two reasons: it is one of the characters on my 2019/20 To-Do list and the paint scheme is a significant departure from my usual speed-painted metallics.

Instead, I chose a more classical genestealer scheme. The paints I used were Purple (Model Colour) and Periscope (Panzer Aces), from Vallejo. This will be really handy when it comes around to painting the normal genestealers, as I will be able to use the airbrush for most of the scheme.

I painted a mixture of Deathwing and Blood Angels Terminator helmets on the base, as I am hoping to have models to represent both factions in my set. Painting all of those skulls was a bit of a nightmare, to be honest. After the initial coat and washes they looked very messy, so I needed to touch each one up with Bleached Bone and white to make them presentable. I enjoyed weathering the buggins out of the rest of the base, though.

Pink isn't a colour I use very often, but I think I managed to get it right on the tongue. Even though they were small, the teeth were a lot of fun to paint; I don't think I have painted white teeth before!

Part of me wishes I had pushed the highlights a little brighter, but finished is better than perfect at this stage. From this angle you can also see the Deathwing helm in the Broodlords claw. I think the white contrasts nicely against the darker carapace armour.

Next in the Space Hulk project I will be painting the Blood Angels Librarian, to round-out the characters. That won't be for a while though, as I tackle the Sylvaneth Treelord for the Monsters painting competition and finally... finally... finish the Sisters of the Thorn for Penny. Until then, it is definitely time to give myself a stamp!


See you across the table,