Friday, 30 September 2016

Iron Snakes: Master of the Forge Progress Part 3

Hi folks,

Decisions, decisions. Odyssean's shield has a lot of fiddly detail on it, which made it hard to maintain a limited pallet. The other shields that I have done were all quite plain, so it was simple to just spray them white and free-hand the animal designs in blue. With this shield, the space that I needed to paint white was actually the Imperial Eagle, with the addition of a Lambda symbol! I needed that Eagle to have depth but also be quite clean white to contrast with the blue; two conflicting effects. As such I undercoated it white, added a heavy Nuln Oil wash, then highlighted with white glazes, which took an age to complete.

The lambda symbol was an obvious candidate for the Warplock Bronze/verdigris scheme, which left the Imperial Laurel hanging, paint scheme wise. Usually I would like to paint it bronze with weathering, but I figured that would be too much. To contrast with the dark of the bronze I used Gehenna's Gold instead. To match the other shields in my Iron Snakes collection I painted the skull Enchanted Blue, then tied it all together with a Leadbelchers rim. Ironically, this side of the shield is the one you cannot see from the front, so I would have to spend considerable time on the underside of the shield. I free-handed a Leadbelchers rim in, then painted the handle gold with Runefang Steel wiring. I then added some blue OSL to represent the energised state of the shield; it be stormin'.

With the shield arm done I only have the servo-harness to do. I'll be taking that job one arm at a time, as each has its own important details that are deserving of time.

See you across the table,


Sunday, 25 September 2016

Iron Snakes: Master of the Forge Progress Part 2

Hi folks,

I worked on my Master of the Forge for a couple of hours this morning. Most of that time was spent on weathering with verdigris. I was going to try to get this guy finished today, but I am a bit out of practice! Everything seems to be taking longer than usual, but I have decided to just go with the flow instead of stressing about it. I also added a few highlights using hard-lining, which I haven't had a steady enough hand to do for the past couple of months. A bit more practice and I'll be back to my old self, I think.

I added a blue glow/lens effect to the dendrites and eyes, which will also be used on the spear and plasma cutter when the servo harness is complete. The final touch was the glass lens on the targeter.

The right shoulder pad and boltgun turned out pretty well, I think. They both have some nice detail which lends itself well to the verdigris effect. The other shoulder pad will contrast with this considerably, being predominantly white with a sky blue Iron Snakes symbol. But that's tomorrow Marc's problem!

See you across the table,


Dreadtober: Planning

Hi folks,

Dreadtober is nearly upon us and it is time to start planning. My first idea this year was to get myself one of the new Deathwatch Venerable Dreadnoughts. The wifey saw me checking all of the different dreadnoughts out online and justifiably questioned “Don’t you already have three of those?”… I have six! On second thought, there are better things for me to spend a disposable $80 on, so I spent a bit of time in my garage exploring other options.

My second idea was to finish Old Six Eyes, a Carnifex that I have been putting together for a while now. I may actually complete him during October but, as he is already half finished, it didn’t seem much of a challenge.

At the bottom of one of my bitz boxes, I happened upon a horrible looking Iron Clad Dreadnought that I acquired some time ago. I think it came from Craig R. who may have got it from someone else. For the past couple of years it has been sitting in my “too hard” basket. Not anymore! Here is a look at some of the problems I will have to overcome:

Take a close look: do you see anything weird?

I'm not a big fan of the additions to the sarcophagus. The segmented armour of the Iron Clad is iconic and I would love to get it back.

What the? That thing has to go. I wonder what was used to attach it?

Terminator shoulder pads for knee pads and a broken seismic hammer. I'm going to have to do something about that...

I still liked the idea of a Deathwatch Dreadnought. Remembering that I actually have a Deathwatch member in my Dark Angels army, I looked there for inspiration. Hephaeston was my character in the Deathwatch roleplaying game; a Dark Angels Techmarine that specialises in exotic weaponry and the hunting of xenos (two pursuits which are not mutually exclusive). Constructing the model, so that it paid homage to all of the factions this guy was aligned to, was a real challenge. After the campaign finished, we played a 40K game to decide his fate, a rollicking six way battle in which he was eventually slain by a Scythed Heirodule (of all things). The idea that he may have survived that battle in some form is the heart of my Dreadtober project this year.

My task will be to clean up the myriad problems of the Iron Clad Dreadnought I have and strip the primer off it. To be representative of a Techmarine, the Dreadnought is going to need some big servo arms, perhaps including a plasma cutter, as well as a potential coil. To really champion the theme, I am going to arm it with a Conversion Beamer and Seismic Hammer (with Meltagun). Any iconography I can fit on, whether it be Dark Angels, Adeptus Mechanicus or Ordo Xenos, will be a bonus. Here are some other bits that I found that will be used in the project (...somehow...):

Some may say I am wasting a perfectly good Ork dreadnought, but I am getting a reputation for reclaiming and re-purposing Ork bits for more... respectable... projects.

So that’s the easy part. Now the real work begins.

See you across the table,


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Iron Snakes: Master of the Forge Progress

Hi folks,

I have been a bit quiet on the blogging front the past week or so, as 3rd Term wraps up at school. This is when we bid farewell to our senior students in the lead up to their final University entrance examinations, so it is a busy and emotional time. My Chemistry kids gave me two bottles of Sake as a parting gift; they know me too well x)

Dreadtober is about to start and, true to form, I am ditching everything in my To-Do list to work on some hair-brained, balls-hard, Dreadnought project. As excited as I am about my 7th Dreadnought project, I also felt like I should make a start on my Iron Snakes Master of the Forge. My aim is to get him done before next week's Dreadtober progress report is due. With that in mind, I laid down the base metallics (Leadbelchers and Warplock Bronze), as well as some simple details, such as the helmet plume, purity seals and loin cloth. I may have to touch these up later if necessary.

The project has reached the stage now that it looks like rubbish; I know the kind of detail it requires to make it work and it takes a lot of patience. Next I will be highlighting the Leadbelchers with Runefang Steel, then adding verdigris to the Bronze and gold highlights. After that will be a round of sky blue lense effects and OSL to the eyes and various cable ends, as well as a Shadow Grey/White blend for the targetter lens. Once that is done I will start work on the shield arm and the servo harness, following the same generally scheme.

Assuming all goes well, I will have this guy finished by Monday night, so that I can start planning my Dreadtober Dreadnought. Wish me luck!

See you across the Dreadtable,


Sunday, 11 September 2016

Infinity: USAriadna Army Pack Unboxing

...because I don't have enough things to paint LOL

Hi folks,

Last Tuesday, when I met up with the guys for a game of Aliens vs Predator, Sgt Waz surprised me with this pack of awesome sauce. He has recently been getting into Infinity and is doing a good job of easing the rest of us into it as well. The challenge with picking up a new game like this is making sure you have people to play against; Sgt Waz has that covered pretty well.

The pack contains 8 miniatures, which is enough to play a small game, a bunch of tokens, 3d20, quick start rules and a bunch of card buildings with a playing mat. That's a substantial kick-start!

If you aren't familiar with the game, Infinity miniatures are wonderfully detailed but a little smaller than what I am used to. So I'm feeling excitement mixed with a healthy dose of nervousness as I get ready to paint them. It doesn't help that the guys who paint for Corvus Belli are outrageously good.

The Ariadna faction encompasses a few different futuristic takes on some contemporary nationalities, including Scottish, French, Russian and American troops. The US contingent includes Rangers, Special Forces, Werewolf type things, some vaguely Chuck Norris guys and a bit of Clint Eastwood. Did I mention pretty girls on bikes?

I spent a bit of time yesterday putting the card buildings together, they were very easy and required no glue or cutting. Simple but effective.

So, I am adding these guys to the To-Do list under the "Paint My Present" category. I want to knock them over fairly quick so that I can start playing!

See you across the table,


Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Aliens vs Predator: The Hunt Begins

Hi folks,
I'll be honest with you, I love Aliens. It is my favourite movie and I would suggest it to anyone (seriously, if you have it, watch it tonight), with the following suggestion: it is best watched in conjunction with the original Alien film. Make it a movie marathon, or split it over two sessions, it doesn't matter. The two movies compliment and contrast in ways that make both better than the sum of their parts.

Predator is a fantastic creature film as well; a lot of fun to be had there.

The original comic book crossover was a big hit when I was in highschool, introducing a very cool mythology. This carried on into the PC game, which my friendship group at school played with almost religious fervor. The AvP movies that tried to cash in on this... well... follow my original advice: go watch Aliens.

Sooo, when Sgt Waz suggested that we try out the boardgame Aliens vs Predator: The Hunt Begins I was pretty keen. "Stop your grinnen and drop your linen" keen. I had a pretty big wishlist of things I wanted to see in the game: a claustrophobic board, sneeky alien movement, environmental effects ("What do you mean they cut the power?"),  iconic weapon effects, characterful representations of the species and their traits and the opportunity for some heroic, cinematic, "You always were an a$$hole, Gorman" moments.

KuriboGoomba (who made his own Aliens game, based on the Space Crusade rules back in highschool for a Design and Technology project) teamed up with me as the Alien player. Our objective was to get a certain number of kills. We got our first look at our horde of troops and SKREEEE! Fanboy heaven:

The Trooper gladly took control of the Marines, which included a Medic and a Smartgun Operator. He had to get into a room and activate something (an elevator?), then make it to another room to escape. Sounds safe...

"MmmmHmmm: absolute bada$$es."

Sgt Waz was left with the Predator hunting cadre, which is the smallest force in number but capable of incredible damage output. They included a Predator armed with a spear, a disc and a plasma caster. To win, they had to scan a few rooms then escape to their ship.

We set up the board and it looked plenty claustrophobic: very Space Hulk. Additionally, until line of sight is made, everyone moves as "blips" around the board. The Predators get extra blips to mask their true movement to an extent, which can be downright creepy. Air-ducts join some of the corridors and rooms, for some excellent Alien movement/human desperation action.

"Well, you're not reading it right."

Two Predators revealed themselves early and got stuck into my Aliens. The Predator with the disc was able to throw it around corners and kill multiple Aliens at once. Thankfully, Goomba and I had heaps of them to spare! With the help of some cards we were able to put some wounds on the Predators before running out of bodies.

Before long, the Marines were opening up lanes of fire and trying to take out the Queen. She soaked up an awful lot of fire, forcing the Marine player to waste card after card to take her down. One round of close combat and the Aliens would have had enough kills to push for an easy win, but they took her down at the very last possible moment.


Ominously, one of the blips flanking the Marines turned out to be a Predator, which sniped the Smartgun Operator.

[Turn Around...]                               [Over Here...]

Everyone was getting stuck into everyone now. A marine sacrificed himself with a grenade, taking out himself, a bunch of Aliens and the Predator with the disc. The other Predator was savaged by my remaining Aliens, while a lone marine managed to kill his way to the first human objective.

The last marine made it to the escape room by crawling through an air-duct and killing a skulking Alien. He was just about to win when the Predator with the plasma caster took him out from across the other side of the board. Meanwhile, I snuck my last Alien into the Predator ship...

The last combat was epic, playing out over a few game turns. Every turn a new environmental effect was drawn, which completely changed the prospects of victory. Finally, the Predator got the upper hand and killed my last Alien to win the game, but not before being brought down to one wound.

This game ticked all of the boxes. The gaming board and environmental cards depicted the setting well, the different races and species of Alien were well characterised by their stats and special rules. Additionally, the cards that you can use to provide special rules added great variation and uncertainty to combat and there is abundant space for expansion. The only thing it doesn't provide is character progression, though, let's face it, nobody survives for long in this Universe and the force choices themselves differentiate for experience, i.e. Predator Youngbloods are an option. Sod it. 5 out of 5. I would play it again tonight, no questions asked, if I wasn't already watching Aliens...

See you across the table,