Wednesday 19 December 2018

BattleTech: Shiro-Oni TO-DONE!

Hi folks,

It is that time of the year again, when I go a little bit off the To-Do list to finish off some special projects for my friends. The Shiro is a 75 ton Mech armed with some fairly useless weapons usually: an LB-2X AC (think long range pea-shooter), 4 LRM 10's (lightweight long range missiles) and a sword (good for when you are in an adjacent hex, otherwise useless). So, yeah, weak long range weapons coupled with a mediocre close range weapon... not exactly inspiring.

A Bishop Steiner from the BattleTech International group on Facebook, who does concept artwork and illustrations for the franchise, designed an alternate configuration that fixes a lot of the problems of the original. He suggested it should be armed with a mace/tetsubo (a more powerful close combat weapon), 4 Streak SRM 6s (efficient, close range missiles that very easily overwhelm Mechs by causing multiple critical and head hits; death by 1000 cuts) and a snub-nosed PPC (good at all ranges direct fire energy weapon). He also suggested adding triple strength myomer, which double melee damage and increases a Mech's speed when it is overheating. Coupled with the mace, the Shire-Oni could snipe with the PPC as it closes in, pepper the enemy with short range missiles then cleave just about anything in half in melee. I added to the design a PPC capacitor, which increases the damage output of the PPC by 50% at short range and increasing amounts at longer ranges. What you have then, is a monster.

The 40K fans out there will recognise the piece I used to convert the tetsubo as a power maul from the Ravenwing Command sprue. The nobori on this side says "Revere the Universe", the first part of a famous saying by Saigo Takamori (the real "last samurai").

The other nobori says "Love Mankind". Together, they are meant to be a philosophy on how people should be governed.  I added a smear of Tamiya Clear Blue to the tetsubo to represent Mech vital fluids; some poor chump has already have the life crushed out of him and his ride.

I added a blue glow effect to the snub-nosed PPC and PPC capacitor, which you don't see very often on Battletech miniatures. Something that painting 40K has taught me is that a little bit of OSL (just a little, sometimes) can make a model quite special. I know it isn't everyone's cup of tea, but, hey, you can't please everyone.

As this Mech is designed to overheat (!), making it more powerful, I decided to try and represent this on the model in some small way. I painted some heatsinks on the back, venting heat, which have singed the bottom of the nobori banners :-)

The Shiro-Oni will be heading out to The Trooper, who quite likes some Oni every now and then (see below...). Huge thanks to Bishop Steiner for the re-design, it is such a dramatic improvement, and to Iron Wind Metals for getting the model to me in record time; in time for a pre-Christmas construction and paint-job.

See you across the table,


Saturday 1 December 2018

Kill Team: Mantle of the Champion

Hi folks,

Last night I converted this robe for my Fallen Kill Team leader. The main body of the robe is from a finecast Lukas the Trickster kit. I shaved the little Space Wolf diamond off the back, as well as the wolf shaped vents, which I replaced with a standard set. Thankfully, this wasn't too difficult; finecast is as soft as butter.

...but why would a Dark Angel be wearing a wolf pelt?

Thankfully, nothing on the pelt suggests it is a wolf (besides, there are no wolves on Fenris...). The inspiration for the robe is one of my favorite artworks in the Visions of Heresy book, which was used on the Horus Heresy TCG card "Mantle of the Champion":

I find something deeply sinister about this picture of a Dark Angel. You know he must be a skilled swordsman (he is holding a sword in the full picture), because he is wearing something called "Mantle of the Champion". At the same time, though, he is kind of hunched over.

The pelt is probably from a Calibanite Lion. Only two are killed in the books, one by Zahariel and one by The Lion himself, so the pelt would be something rare indeed. Considering who Zahariel ends up becoming, it is not such a stretch to expect such a pelt to end up on the back of a Fallen Angel.

The beast itself is lethality personified. On the 40K Lexicanum site, they are described as the most fierce and deadly of all the great beasts of Caliban. Their name comes from a mane of razor-sharp spines around their neck (whilst they are quadrupeds with paws, only their mane directly likens them to their Terran namesakes). Their claws are as sharp as knives and incredibly deadly. The lions also have two sharp, enlarged, teeth protruding from their top jaw. Their natural armored skin is able to patch itself and shift where needed. Calibanite lions also have orange eyes with reptile-like, slitted, black pupils. As with all the great beasts of Caliban, they possess an almost unworldly intelligence and seem to enjoy causing suffering. They can also shrug off pain and wounds without second thought.

Zahariel only manages to kill one by stopping time, phasing his arm through the beasts body and shooting it in the heart! Considering this was the first manifestation of his physic powers, you would have to say that is both a lucky and exceptionally brutal kill.

By modelling this pelt on my Fallen leader, I am trying to draw on this mythology, tying him back to old Caliban and the Knights of the Order. Making a link between him and Zahariel as well as establishing him as a champion to fear. Whether he lives up to the hype is another story!

I have a lot of conversions planned for this Kill Team, so I will be punctuating my other painting projects with more Fallen kitbashing. The squad includes a mace wielding Zealot, heavy bolter specialist and a Sniper with a stalker pattern bolter, spanning three different marks of armour. If I get through this with all of my fingers intact I will be amazed.

See you across the table,


Sunday 25 November 2018

Kill Team: Eddie and The Troopers

Hi folks,

A nice member of the Facebook Necron group mentioned that this guy reminds him of Eddie, the Iron Maiden mascot. The thought stuck; I love Iron Maiden!

I gave him a little green glow to the edge of his cloak. perhaps to suggest some phasing shenanigans.

I'm hoping to add some Immortals, Warriors and Flayed Ones to the team, keep an eye out for them.

Up the Irons!


Saturday 24 November 2018

Kill Team: Necrons WIP

Hi folks,

With the shutting down of Google+ looming, I have been seriously reconsidering how I engage with the 40K online community and searching for alternatives. I have tried just about every platform in the past 10 years and Google+ was by far the best community for a long time. Recently, though, it feels like it is going into a death-curl (that thing that spiders do...).

I have joined an emerging 40k group on MeWe with some familiar faces. If you are interested in jumping ship, here is the link:  Warhammer 40 000.

The hope is to set up a vibrant, supportive 40K community with interesting and imaginative content. It is really in its infancy at the moment, so if you feel like you can make a contribution it would be greatly appreciated.  The chat features are really organic and everyone on there at the moment seems to get on really well.

To celebrate getting the group started Pablo D. Mura has started a Random Army Contest. Participants were all assigned a random army and we are competing to complete a model, unit or force of that army until the end of the year. I drew Necrons, which was a pleasant surprise. I have decided to put together a Kill Team, led by an old Space Crusade android masquerading as a Deathmark!

I added a resin cloak, from the Minotaurs Chapter Asterion Moloc model, as well as a textured base from Micro Art Studio. Micro art have some amazing bases; these ones are some of the more simple designs, which I like to use so that they don't distract from the miniature too much (particularly when the model itself is fairly plain).

After spending a day at the rainforest with the kids, I ducked out to the games room for about an hour to paint him last night. I still haven't finished the base, but he is very close to being completed.

Sgt Waz has some Necron sprues he is going to let me plunder, so I should have a Kill Team ready for the table in no time.

See you across the table,


Tuesday 13 November 2018

Kill Team: Lictors TO-DONE!

Hi folks,

It has been a long time since Lictors have been a thing to fear in a GW game. Back in the glory days of 2nd Edition you could give them some pretty devastating wargear, which (along with the character-centric ruleset) afforded them a high degree of lethality. They were also much harder to kill. Since then they have crashed pretty hard as a unit, though I have always fielded at least one. Deathleaper itself has had a few good innings in my army lists, particularly in the earlier editions. I never liked the pose, though, so converted him scampering on all fours without the goofy looking grasping claws.

Derpy derp

Now, with the release of Kill Team, Lictors have created their own little niche as a small, elite, hard to kill and hard hitting force. Their heavy to-hit modifiers in cover, high movement rate, combination of high AP or 2 damage close combat weapons and high strength shooting weapons provide them with a lot of tactical options on the battlefield. Once they get stuck in, they really take heads; I love one-hitting Primaris Marines (or anything else, for that matter)!

In terms of Tactics, Scorch Bugs and Hunting Roar are no help at all; I don't have fleshborers or warriors. Caustic Blood is great when you get into a hard fight and just need to pip one more wound off your enemy. I don't use Lurk much, but it makes a Lictor ridiculously hard to hit in cover. I find that actually moving them to where they can't be shot is usually more effective, however. Feeder Tendrils are very situational, but I always keep it in mind when attacking a Leader, a few spare command points at the end of the game can be the difference between winning and losing. Metabolic Overdrive wins games, no questions asked. Coupled with a Scout specialist, this Tactic puts Lictors where they need to be, a turn before they need to be there.

So, here is the Lictor Kill Team I have assembled, for a campaign I am playing with Sgt Waz and The Trooper.

Six Eyes (Leader)

I often hide this guy in the back lines, keeping him as a counter-charge unit and farming Command Points. I then team him up with another Lictor to take advantage of the Level 1 Leader Tactic, allowing both of them to hit before the enemy. More often than not, this forces an opponent to sink command points into hitting first or getting out of the way safely. I am thinking about moving this guy towards being a Tactician at Level 3, though Paragon also fits how I use him. That's assuming he survives that long; so far he has died every game to auxiliary grenade launcher shots.

Ol' Squidface (Veteran)

Ol' Squidface started the campaign as a grunt, back before I knew I could have another specialist. In that game he out-performed every other Lictor, earning himself immediate Veteran status! Adaptive Tactics gets him that much closer to charge range, or, more usually, into cover before the bolts start flying. Grizzled keeps him in the game when the bolts start flying. I am going to move this guy towards being a Level 3 Survivor; it would suit him well.

The Formless Maw (Combat)

I really wanted a snakey Nid to fit in with my Numereji Hive Fleet, so this guy was born out of an old Ravenor body, with some Venomthrope parts for good measure. All of the tactics and abilities for combat specialists are brutal, which makes him a bullet magnet. I don't know where I will go with him, but Deadly Counter, the ability to hit back with a mortal wound on 5+ when an enemy rolls a 1 to hit in the Fight phase is jelly.

Herald of Numereji (Scout)

I modeled this little fella using an old 3rd Edition Lictor body in a more dynamic pose, using the rending claws off Deathleaper and another Venomthrope head. I can't emphasise how much I have grown to love this guy. So damn fast. Stealing objectives and breaking the enemy lines like a ghost.

I'll try and post the details of the campaign we are playing soon, in case anyone is interested in following our progress or wants to give it a go themselves.

See you across the table,


Monday 29 October 2018

DreadTober: Imperial Knight Errant Progress

Hi folks,

With the end of of DreadTober looming, it is time to take stock of what I have managed to achieve. My plan was to complete an Imperial Knight Errant, which is a member of my "Walls of Ithaka" army list. Constructing the figure itself took me two weeks, mainly due to work commitments. During the past week I have managed to prime the top half of it and complete the upper torso parts, but the legs, weapons and shoulder armour are still unprimed. I doubt that I will get much more done before the deadline, but I feel that I have made a good amount of progress.

I spent a lot of time making sure that the rear detail was completed to the same standard of my last knight. That took a surprising amount of time, though I knocked it over much faster than the last time.

The first completed member of the army was "Perseus" Intrepidus, in a modified House Feardrakken scheme (below, so you can see what I am aiming for). That project took me about 18 months to finish, on and off. The main painting effort only took a couple of weeks, but it was during the Christmas holidays, so I had plenty of time to burn. With that in mind, I was never particularly confident that I could get a whole Knight finished, from sprues to display case, in October!

Once the shoulder pads are done, which will require some free-hand work, I feel like the project will be past the 50% completed mark. For the right shoulder pad I am going to paint a stylized image of a minotaur, to fit the knight's name, in the same way that Persues has a Medusa. That will be my next post on the project, if all goes well!

See you across the table,


Wednesday 10 October 2018

Tyranids: Hive Fleet Numereji TO-DONE!

Australian Rainbow Serpent by Susanne Iles

Hi folks,

YAAAAAS!!! A few days ago I added the final touches to my 2000 pt Tyranid Army. This army has been boiling away since 3rd edition, in various different guises, but this is the first time I can honestly say that it is finished*. The list uses the Jormungadr rules, to represent a burrowing, ambush-orientated, force of snake-like creatures. I have managed to choose or convert 36 Nids with snake bodies to help reinforce the theme.

The army is inspired by Australian aboriginal legends of the Rainbow Serpent:

"Dreamtime stories tell of the great spirits and totems during creation, in animal and human form they molded the barren and featureless earth. The Rainbow Serpent came from beneath the ground and created huge ridges, mountains and gorges as it pushed upward. The Rainbow Serpent is known as Ngalyod by the Gunwinggu and Borlung by the Miali. He is a serpent of immense proportions which inhabits deep permanent waterholes. Descended from that larger being visible as a dark streak in the Milky Way, it reveals itself to people in this world as a rainbow as it moves through water and rain, shaping landscapes, naming and singing of places, swallowing and sometimes drowning people; strengthening the knowledgeable with rainmaking and healing powers; blighting others with sores, weakness, illness, and death."

Aboriginal Dreamtime: The Rainbow Serpent by Jack Eidt (2012)

I have also tried to inject some of my love of the movie Aliens in there as well, if you look closely enough...

The paint scheme takes some ideas from a snake we have here in Australia called a Fierce Snake, otherwise called an Inland Taipan. We don't get Fierce Snakes around where I live (we get everything else!), but I have seen them at Taronga Zoo and love how they have a black head to absorb more energy during the winter months. The scheme also takes some cues from the Dog Alien in Aliens 3.

Warlord's Retinue

My Warlord, a slither-slogging Hive Tyrant armed with a heavy venom cannon and Reaper of Obliterax, is attended by a Malanthrope and 3 Tyrant Guard armed with rending claws. The Tyrant Guard were converted from the old metal 3rd Ed. Ravenor figures.


The Formless Maw

I know Lictors are not the most competitive of choices, but I love them and they are a cheap way of filling the Elites slot of this Brigade detachment. This snakey-squidface also happens to be the Combat Specialist in my Lictor Kill Team. Named "The Formless Maw", he is an absolute bullet magnet. He was pieced together using an old Ravenor body and scything talons, as well as arms and head from a Venomthrope

The Brains Trust

I have always loved Zoanthropes and they are as killy as hell. This unit and supporting Neurothrope have caused a lot of casualties in the games I have played. At the very least, they can be relied on to hold up a flank OR attract a lot of fire (thus protecting something else). The models include a 3rd Ed. metal Zoanthrope as the Neurothrope and three other generations of figures; though it may look like there are only two types, one is metal, two are finecast and three are brand spanking new plastic.

 The Swarm

My troops choices include a brood of 20 Termagants with devourers, which I have used to delete quite a few enemy infantry units in their time (usually after emerging from a Mawloc hole). It also includes 12 Ripper bases for grabbing objectives and 8 Genestealers for, well... whatever. I don't think I have ever written a list with so few Genestealers, but there you have it.

Two are behind you...


The main focus of my Fast Attack slot is the nine Aliens-themed Ravenors that I finished last hobby season. Using the Jormungandr deployment strategy, I can use these guys to tunnel some nasty infantry into forward positions. Zoanthropes are a fun choice, adding some target saturation woes to the frontline, if I can find room for all of those bodies. I also have two Spore Mine clusters. Originally for area denial, these guys are also a nice cheap unit to fill out the Brigade.

The Big Bugs

As I mentioned before, I have a Mawloc for tunneling units or distraction. They have always been something of a hot mess, but I love the idea of them and they fit the theme really well. On the rare occasion this guy has been ignored, he has done quite a bit of damage in close combat. I also use a Trygon for tunneling and adding a bit of extra might up-front. I have experimented with using a Trygon Prime and reducing the number of Genestealers in the list to 6, but, like the Mawloc, he doesn't tend to last long either way. My final Heavy Support unit is an Exocrine; I use a Scythed Heirodule as a "counts-as" model. The Heirodule is both too expensive to use points-wise and too expensive money-wise ($260 AUD) to have sitting on a shelf gathering dust.

That's it! I feel a really deep sense of accomplishment having finally finished* this army and look forward to playing some friendly games with it. From the few experiences I have had with it, I know that playing the objective is key and that I'm going to have a lot of casualties early in the game. Once they get into range though, and the deep striking tunnelers deliver their brood buddies, it brings the pain. Strike it off the to-do list and pass me the stamp, this 2018/19 project is TO-DONE!

See you across the table,


*LOL... as if!?