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,


Monday, 15 May 2017

30K Painting Competition: Death Guard Marine Progress 2

Hi folks,

I have been struggling to find the time to paint the past couple of weeks, which doesn't help when you have a painting competition deadline looming! This weekend would usually have been prime hobby time, but instead I whisked the family away for a weekend at the beach. I can't complain, the fact that we can still go to the beach and have a swim at the end of Autumn is something to celebrate. Tonight I had a go at some of the details, managing to get the head, bolter and backpack mostly done. I still have a few highlights to do here and there, as well as the jewelling on the bolter's laser sight.

Tomorrow night I need to tackle the weathering/damage on the white and brass armour, highlighting the brass, company markings on the right shoulder pad and the Legion symbol on the left. I also need to make a start on the base, which is going to be a simple grey rubble with perhaps a pile of skulls and a pool of pus. Maybe. That's a lot to do!

I'll probably also run a careful black wash to pick out some more details in the white armour. We'll see if I get that far. Assuming all of that gets done tomorrow, I should be able to knock off the base detailing on the day it is due, just in time to post my entry. Best laid plans and all that :-)

See you across the table,


Monday, 8 May 2017

Sculpting Rivets: What NOT to do!

Hi folks,

Last month I entered a 30K painting competition with a bunch of great guys from the 30K Google+ community. I pieced together a Tactical Marine out of odds and ends I had floating around the place, which led to an interesting mismatch of MkIII armour and... something else (my bet would be MKVI). It was suggested that I could add some rivets to the legs to tie it all together. Yup, I thought, I can do that...

After hitting up some tutorials and forums I decided to sculpt them out of green stuff. To begin with I rolled a thin cylinder of green stuff out. I contemplated letting it set and cutting rivet shapes from it, but decided against that. Instead I cut small portions of it and formed them into tiny balls which I gently placed on the end of a plastic toothpick. This made the balls easier to apply, particularly in those "hard to reach" places. The plastic of the toothpick was also more attractive than my skin, which made transferring the balls off my fingers easier.

Transferring balls from the toothpick to the model was tricky: they really liked that toothpick. I overcame that problem using super glue. I dipped a pin in the glue and tilted it so that the tiniest amount of glue would pool at the tip. The trick was then to touch the tip onto the model exactly where I wanted it. 30 times. From there I could touch the balls lightly onto the glue and they would stick. Which was great, except for the 30 or so times I squashed them and had to re-do the whole process, or try to sculpt them out of their misery. When it was all done I put it away and slept on it, waking up to this:

The tiny balls I was rolling, at the limit of my ability to roll balls, were about 4 times as big as I would have liked. Thanks to all the squashing and the sculpting, they were also quite irregular. So, lesson learnt, I spent 30 minutes or so tonight scraping them all off again! After some careful knife work I got it back to exactly how it looked 24 hours ago: no more balls. Suffice to say, I will not be doing it that way again, and with the deadline looming, this guy is going to get painted as is, balls-free.

See you across the innuendo ;-)


Sunday, 30 April 2017

40K Battle Report: Dark Angels vs The Fallen

Hi folks,

It has been a long time since my last game of 40K and I have been feeling a distinct urge to get more involved in the gaming aspects of the hobby. Sgt Waz is usually happy to oblige when it comes to such things, so we organised a game that would let him try out his new Fallen collection. I have played one game against Cypher back at the start of 4th Edition, in which I came nail-bitingly close to catching the mercurial gunslinger. With very little knowledge of the Fallen special rules, I set about writing a 1055 point list that would fit Waz's request for an "infantry" battle; his collection isn't capable of taking down heavy vehicles yet.

I opted for a diverse force, including a Tactical Squad (plasma gun, lascannon), Scout Squad (sniper rifles and heavy bolter), Devastator Squad (plasma cannons), Assault Squad (power weapon) and Deathwing Squad (heavy flamer, power sword, chainfist and lightning claws). Leading the Deathwing Squad was Belial, allowing them to teleport onto the board without scattering. Bolstering the other infantry units, I had a Librarian in Terminator amrour (psychic mastery level 2) with the Mind Worm and Maelstrom of Misery psychic powers.

Compared to my "Variety Pack" army, Sgt Waz only had access to the nascent heart of a Fallen force, which included three squads of marines (two plasma guns per squad), Cypher and a mysterious Chaplain figure who would play the role of Warlord. The capabilities of the squads were limited, but adequate for the task of deleting MEQ's. With two attacks and two close combat weapons, they would also be pouring on the attacks in assault.


The first nasty surprise! After the roll for deployment, in which Sgt Waz decided to deploy first and go first, he chose to infiltrate two of his squads and outflank with the last. That left me facing an empty board, going second! With six objective markers to cover and the high chance that I could set up in the middle of a trap, I set up in the center of the board in a tight formation. This would make it hard for infiltrating Fallen to find range in the first turn, whilst giving me the best chance to capture and hold objectives in the middle of the board. My assault squad was deployed near an objective, but still in range to counter assault units threatening the main body of my army. They were also poised to capture other objectives on the far side of the board. My scouts infiltrated last, setting up in cover with several objectives and other terrain features in range. By the time I set them up, the terrain feature I was hoping to put them in originally was crawling with Fallen.

Turn 1: The Fallen

The Fallen infantry converged on the center of the board, closing the range to my Dark Angels. The Fallen hidden in the rock spire took some pot-shots at my tactical squad, causing the first casualties.

Turn 1: Dark Angels

I moved the surviving Tactical Squad members forward to clear the Fallen from the center objective, pouring boltgun fire into them. The plasma cannons of the Devastator squad killed another four of them and the scout snipers killed one more. At the end of the turn I had pushed them back far enough through casualties to cash in a Strategic Objective card for 1 VP. My Assault Squad redeployed towards the center of the battlefield to either counter charge Fallen going for my Tactical Squad or take the objective next turn.

Turn 2: The Fallen

Sgt Waz failed his reserves roll and continued moving on the center objective and bringing my infantry blob into rapid fire range. My Tactical Squad was reduced to two marines, including the plasma gunner, who fell back towards my board edge.

Turn 2: Dark Angels

I passed my reserves roll and figured I would be a pretty poor Dark Angels player if I didn't have a solid craic at capturing Cypher. I dropped my Deathwing Squad and Belial behind him and let rip. After the shooting round, both Cypher and the Chaplain were down to 1 wound! So close...

In the preceding psychic phase my Librarian cast Maelstrom of Misery which, combined with the plasma cannons of the Devastator Squad and sniper Scouts, wiped out the first Fallen Squad. the Librarian also lost a wound to Perils of the Warp.

Turn 3: The Fallen

Sgt Waz passed his reserves roll and brought his last Fallen squad onto the flank behind the Deathwing Squad and Belial. Cypher broke away from his squad and bolted away to engage my Devastator squad. The shooting phase and following assault was brutal. Caught between two squads and a Chaplain, I lost the Deathwing Squad and Belial, my Warlord. But not before the traitorous Warlord Chaplain himself was cut to pieces. All I can say is that a large squad of Fallen backed up by a Chaplain deals out an awful many hits in close combat...

Meanwhile, Cypher hit my Librarian with 2 plasma pistol shots and a bolt pistol shot. The Librarian passed two saves on 5+ to survive the plasma shots, but the bolt round got through.

Turn 3: Dark Angels

My Assault squad jumped across the river and captured an objective, giving my an extra VP. I had no doubts that at the current range, Cypher was going to cause all kinds of problems for my backfield, with very little there with any hope of capturing him. That in mind,  I decided to gun him down with the Tactical Squad's plasma gun. Rolling for his capture, none of my models were within the required two inches, so he mysteriously disappeared. This eliminated any chance of me scoring the 3 VP for his capture, but also removed a great threat to my gunline. Does that make the plasma gunner a hero or a villain?

Turn 4: The Fallen

The Fallen immediately sought revenge, taking out the plasma gunner with return fire. Having defended objective marker 1 for two turns, Sgt Waz scored a handy 2 VP. His second squad started moving across the board towards my Assault Squad.

Turn 4: Dark Angels

I moved my Assault squad back to take control of an objective (scoring 1 VP) and increase the distance to the nearest Fallen Squad, with the hopes of securing a VP for Line Breaker. My last Tactical Marine ran to Objective 4 with the hope of sneaking some VP in the last turn. Meanwhile, my Devastator marines and Scouts killed the last Fallen on my half of the board, denying them any chance of Line Breaker.

Turn 5: The Fallen

Ahhh, the best laid plans... Sgt Waz's Fallen shot my last Tactical marine, killing him and earning an easy VP! Damn those objective cards can be tricksy! Thankfully, that was all he had left in him.

Turn 5: Dark Angels

My last plasma cannon took a shot at the Fallen and overheated, killing my marine (it was bound to happen eventually). The Scout squad, which had been so dependable all game, whittled the remaining Fallen squad down to four traitors, which was a great effort. At the end of the turn we rolled to see if the game would continue, but this turn proved to be the last. In a final act of defiance, my Assault Squad gave me a VP for Linebreaker, as I had been planning for. Unfortunately, the damage had been done through Strategic Objectives; my inability to force The Fallen off their objectives early in the game, loss of Cypher and simple bad luck with my own cards had cost me the game!

Final VP

Dark Angels: 6
The Fallen: 7

Playing against The Fallen with Dark angels is great fun, adding a whole new dimension to the game. Every shot fired that involves Cypher and every close combat encounter with him adds to the mythology, pushing you to choose more aggressive tactics. Cypher is not great at close combat, but getting into close combat with him is hard. He just shoots and shoots and shoots and shoots. The Fallen themselves seem to be a Jack-of-all-Trades unit. They can get in your face fairly easily but are not really what you could call a Deathstar unit. I would like to see how they go with more special weapons in the mix, or some powerful close combat weapons. Their ability to infiltrate and outflank adds a significant "fog of war" aspect to the game; you don't really know where they are all going to turn up, which allows them to dictate the terms of the engagement. Exactly as it should be, I guess...

See you across the table,


Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Van Diemen's World Devils: Battlewagon TO-DONE!

Hi folks,

Today is ANZAC day; a day of remembrance in Australia where we honour the men and woman who have served in the armed forces. In case you aren't familiar with Australia's military history (I wouldn't expect you to be), our soldiers have served in many conflicts in support of the Commonwealth and other allies, and the defense of many nations. When an Australian travels through Europe, they are rarely far from hallowed ground; we are buried everywhere. To honour them, I have been working on some Van Diemen's World Devils for the past 12 months, an Imperial Guard regiment that strongly borrows from the iconic image of an Australian "digger" in a slouch hat.

Like the previous ANZAC day, I spent a bit of time working on my Van Diemen's World Devils and managed to get their transport finished. I started work on the "re-looted" battlewagon last year, in a frenzy of conversion work. Today I added the finishing touches to the driver, Colonel Clancy, the twin heavy bolters, exhaust and rear assault hatch.

Here you can see the layer of 'ardcoat I have applied to the "roo-shootin'" lamps. No kangaroos were shot during the creation of this battlewagon.

I added carbon scoring to the exhaust to maintain the dirty, weathered appearance.

The rear of the Battlewagon includes the assault hatch of a Black Templar Landraider. With Australia's convict history, it was fun to imagine they had "acquired" the hatch and put it to good use. I am sure they will give it back some day.

The troop compartment got a few more highlights, 'ardcoat on the computer screens and some splashes of Tamiya Clear Red: I thought if I was honouring sacrifice I should provide some evidence of sacrifice. Probably just a flesh wound...

Colonel Clancy is named after a character from "The Man from Snowy River", Clancy of the Overflow. Described as one of the greatest horse riders, he is the only one to encourage The Man from Snowy River as they prepare to chase the colt from old Regret:

"But still so slight and weedy, one would doubt his power to stay,
And the old man said, "That horse will never do
For a long a tiring gallop - lad, you'd better stop away,
Those hills are far too rough for such as you."
So he waited sad and wistful - only Clancy stood his friend -
"I think we ought to let him come," he said;
"I warrant he'll be with us when he's wanted at the end,
For both his horse and he are mountain bred."

"He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko's side,
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,
Where a horse's hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride,
The man that holds his own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam,
But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen."

I love this part of the ballad, because it foretells what is to come. Clancy seems like a good bloke, so I made him the inspiring Colonel. The miniatures face also looks eerily like Jack Thompson, the actor who played Clancy in the film.

"Coo-ee- won't YOU come?"

The transport joins a small force comprised of a female infantry squad and Commissar. Next time I see my mate The Trooper I'll be passing them all on to him, to add to his Australian themed Imperial Guard (Astra Miliwhatsits) army.

Lest we forget,