Saturday 25 July 2020

Kill Team: Giger Genestealers

Hi folks,

Early this week I had a game planned with the guys that we ended up cancelling. The cancellation itself was not unexpected; everything is on a knife edge these days. We are all feeling pretty exposed and there is a special type of exhaustion that comes with that. I decided to spend the night speed-painting four genestealers for a new Tyranid Kill-Team, using some H. R. Giger vibe. Here is the process from start to finish, taking about 4 hours on and off (I played some Mario Cart with the boi, ate dinner and helped put the kids to bed as well!). As you will see, it is another case of just how bad miniatures can look before they actually start to look good.

Steps 1 and 2: Priming and Undercoat

I primed these bad boys black to get the most out of my metallics, using a Citadel rattle can. As soon as it was dry I added a layer of Leadbelchers with another rattle can. Leadbelchers can go on like a hot mess sometimes, but I have had a lot of luck with it, using it for my Tyranids, Imperial Knights and Iron Snakes.

Steps 3 and 4: Black Armour and Sepia Glave

Once the Leadbelchers was dry I went back and picked the armour out with black again using some quick brushwork. I then added a heavy sepia glaze that I left to dry completely before adding a second, lighter glaze to the centre of each section. I quick dry-brush around the joints was followed by a third, very light, sepia wash into the joints. This is how I highlight the "skin" of my Splinter Fleet Numereji 'Nids. The black armour wash dry-brushed with The Fang, then edge highlighted (kind-of) with 1:1 Ushbati Bone/ The Fang.

Steps 6, 7 and 8: Eyes, Tongue and Gore

Up to this stage, I have literally been flying with the brush. Shooooom. To say that it has not required brush control is a bit of a furphy: I have used brush control to go faster with just enough accuracy that I don't have to clean up mistakes. I have found that you can get away a lot if you back this up with some careful detail. So for the next step I really slowed myself down, fixed my posture, got my breathing right, gave my eyes a few extra seconds to focus and painted the eyes in Warpstone Glow, followed by a dot of bright yellow. The tongue was a mix of a Vallejo purple I have and Mephiston Red, with I then mixed with a little Ushbati Bone to create a highlight. In the final step I used my secret weapon, Tamiya Clear Red, to add some gore.

Step 9 and 10: Basing and Weathering

I quickly added a layer of PVA to the base and added some shell grit. Over night it set in place, allowing me to add some static grass with superglue. The last step was to add some orange, brown and purple to the metal grate under the Leader specialist using a stipling technique, to make it looked weathered and rusted.

Overall, I am very pleased with the final product and look forward to playing some Kill Team games with them. My Lictor team has already proven to be a potent force (perhaps too potent). These genestealers have the advantage of being able to find cover a little more easily than the Lictors can. The three Ravenors I have added can really rip around the board throwing out a lot of shots and attacks. Both are pretty squishy, though; a little less forgiving than the Lictors, so should be a bit more fun to play against. They also give all players complete license to quote Aliens all night long. Outstanding. Now all we need is a deck of cards. 

See you across the table,


Saturday 18 July 2020

The Jewel of July 2020: Lexicanium Calistarius

Hi folks,

I have taken a final photograph of my Blood Angels Librarian before clearing a space for him on the shelf. I didn't make a big deal of it before, as I joined the party fairly late, but Calistarius also happens to be my contribution to The Jewel of July, a community painting challenge run by Azazel, at Azazel's Bitz Box. I thundered through the challenge, so that I could get it finished before the end of the school holidays, knowing that once work (teaching) starts again I would have very little time. As a result, I have finished "early"! 

To cut a short story long, I now have two spare weeks in which I could paint another Jewel in July for my collection. I received two, stunning, miniatures for my Birthday on the 13th that would fit the bill. I have a habit of not painting my presents for years, which I hate, so painting one now would set my heart at ease a little. 

Sgt Waz gave me Master Lazarus the last time I saw him, which is an awesome Dark Angels model with heaps of conversion options. 


I am a big fan of the 3rd Company, and Lazarus is Master of the 5th, so converting him a little is definitely on the cards. I happened to come across this picture on Instagram, which I think is particularly evocative. A great mix of Primaris and Mark III style, old school gold trim on the armour and a dynamic pose. Full credit goes to StoryKillinger for the artwork... I am going to try and make him!

He is going to be my Primaris Master of the 3rd Company, at least until Games Workshop publishes something to the contrary (which could be next month...). I am not quite sure what to name him yet. Perhaps Azazel? If you have any ideas feel free to leave them in the comments!

See you across the table,


Tuesday 14 July 2020

Space Hulk: Commanders TO-DONE!!!

Hi folks,

Just a quick progress report on my Space Hulk progress today, before I start working on some of the boarding parties more seriously. Over the past couple of days I had some free time to work on Lexicanium Calistarius, the Blood Angels Librarian. Of course Calistarius would later fall to the Black Rage before the walls at Hades Hive and be inducted into the Death Company. Trapped beneath a collapsed building for seven days during the fighting, Calistarius overcame the Black Rage and was reborn as Mephiston, Lord of Death (who just happens to be one of my favourite characters of all time).

I painted him using a very different colour palette to what I would usually gravitate towards. I was aiming for a retro 90's vibe! I'm really happy with how neat I managed to get the paint job, which has built a little more confidence in my ability to tackle the next stage. Each of the miniatures in the set is essentially a special character's worth of detail, so I am going to be very busy. We are also facing some pretty heavy rain in Sydney over the next week, so I am not sure if I am going to be able to use my airbrush.

The other Space Marine commander I have painted is Belial. Belial's ability with a sword is legendary. During his testing as an aspirant, he managed to duel with a Chaplain for 7 minutes. He was the Master of the 3rd Company (my favourite!) during the successful defence of Piscina and elevated to a position in the Deathwing terminator company. I have equipped him as a Captain in Space Hulk, which is a real witches brew of ranged and close combat wargear: stormbolter, auxiliary grenade launcher, powersword and powerfist. The addition of the Watcher in the Dark helps with the problem of "too many weapons, not enough hands"!

Again, lots of bright colours and white armour instead of the usual bone, to match the original paint scheme.

The final figure in the trilogy is the Genestealer Broodlord. Born time and time again to execute the will of the Hive Mind, the Broodlord is the perfect killing machine. I love the purple on this guy, the pigment I used is really fruity, and will tie in well with the retro colours I am using for the marines (in theory).

Originally I was going to do a Fallen Angel Librarian as well, but I don't have a suitable figure for that, as the boarding team itself is in Tartaros pattern armour. I'll sort that one out at a later date. Until then, I deserve a badge for my efforts!

See you across the table,


Friday 10 July 2020

9th Edition Musings: Paint your Minis!

Hi folks,

With 9th Edition just around the corner, it is pretty hard to block out the collective excitement and gnashing of teeth in the 40K community. Even for a crotchety old neck-beard like me, it does feel a bit like Christmas. In this post I'm hoping to dump my feelings on the whole thing, some of the online debate regarding the painting of armies, as well as my cunning plans for the future.

If the title of my Blog hasn't already given it away, my heart is still firmly anchored in 2nd Edition. Miniatures from the earliest days of my hobby journey will be featuring heavily on my blog over the next 6 months, as I embark on Dr The Viking's army painting challenge. In total, I have been through 6 edition changes, each having their own high and low points. 3rd Edition was brutal in its streamlining, but brought with it a totally new way to play the game and the world-wide Armageddon campaign (which was my first real taste of connecting with the international 40K community). 4th Edition brought back some of the old mojo. The introduction of flyers was another brutal shift for me, as it really was a case of evolve or die (I mostly died), until Sgt Waz and Wade got me some wings:

As a Dark Angel player, the introduction of Primaris was/is a particular concern, from both a background and miniature collection perspective. Background-wise, Games Workshop has been pushing hard to create a genuine place for Primaris in the Dark Angels. They were always going to struggle with explaining how a fresh intake of superior (but untested) warriors were going to be accepted into a Chapter that looks at everything with suspicion. I think they have done fairly well with this; conceptually I don't hate them anymore!

Model-wise, Dark Angels players have a lot to lose as the classic marines get phased out. Both the Deathwing and Ravenwing are of critical value stylistically to a Dark Angels collector, but neither cross the Rubicon Primaris particularly easily. Deathwing Terminators are not just a unit, they are in institution; what happens when they get rid of terminators? I don't think Gravis armour cuts it. The new Bladeguard look pretty damn righteous, and I don't mind them being Deathwing from a conceptual perspective, but they aren't terminators

Ravenwing can probably be more easily phased out with the new Primaris bikes, but you would surely need to add some plasma weapons to replace the Black Knights. And what would you replace Landspeeders with? They have been an important part of many Dark Angels collections for years, so would be missed if they were phased out without a solid replacement.

Got anything blacker?

Now, I realise I am getting way ahead of myself, but these are the things that keep me awake at night (well, not really, but I do think about them). With the Deathwing and Ravenwing models I have ready to go, I would be able to put together a pretty nice 9th Edition force if they don't drop either in the new codex. It would be a lot of painting, but I have fallen into a groove now that feels pretty good. I would need to get a couple of Primaris squads, but I already have a huge chunk of the force I have "penciled" into Battlescribe. The thought of bringing my beloved 3rd Company into 9th Edition, whilst paying it homage at the same time in 2nd Edition, is enough to sting my eyes. Then again, with the challenges that this year have brought, it doesn't take much to make me emotional!

It is worth noting that I never use unpainted models in games. This has caused me to lose many games, and prevented me from participating in the hobby for a number of years with models better suited to modern game mechanics. But it has been a point of pride that, when I stand across the table, it is always with a painted army that reflects the love I have for the hobby. The recent 9th Ed. rules-leak was jumped upon by quite a few people on social media, particularly in regards to the +10 VP bonus for battle ready armies. To be honest, despite my own self-imposed rule, it makes me scratch my head. I literally cannot imagine enforcing it on one of my friends. Or with a new player at a store (can you imagine?).

My little one painting his first Ork.

Many players who throw their support behind the rule all seem to talk about the annoyance of losing to the "grey netlist" of the month. Those against the rule often state the obvious argument, "people love this game for different reasons and painting doesn't have to be one of them". In having such a rule, I imagine Games Workshop is making a statement about how they feel the game should be played. Seeing two fully painted armies and a beautiful terrain setup is awesome to behold, and GW want to promote that experience. But I don't think that placing a VP reward on painting your army is the way to go about it. There are so many reasons for people to have an unpainted unit, that have everything to do with having a positive attitude towards the hobby, that I simply wouldn't use the rule at all.

If I was losing every week to a grey netlist, (and I was worried about it) I would play against someone different. Having a painted army is reward enough. Having said that, I have come to realise in the past couple of days, a 4-5 colour paint scheme is not that hard to achieve, physically/mechanically speaking. I gave my son a bit of instruction and some tools that I myself would be comfortable using, and he whipped some orks together that I think most people would be happy with. I helped him with the mouth and the checkered pattern, but he did everything else himself (including the eyes!).

Assuming that most people completely ignore the rule, I think we can all go a long way towards promoting the aesthetics of the game by being the change we want to see. Paint your minis!

I would love to hear other perspectives on this, feel free to leave a comment below.

See you across the table,


Saturday 4 July 2020

Space Hulk: Boarding Team Big Build

Hi folks,

We are coming to the end of another Hobby Season and, as usual, I have done very little this year to address my To-Do list. I have done heaps of stuff, just very little that I originally intended to do. I have grown quite philosophical about this over the previous years, though looking back on the list itself, I did have some really fun stuff in there. My original idea was to have a really hard craic at my Space Hulk miniatures so that I could play a couple of more spectacular games with my mates. Now that I am on school holidays for a couple of weeks, I have decided to start working to tick off some of these projects. The picture above is the Blood Angels team, which is used in a lot of the earlier missions, consisting of a Sergeant with powersword and storm bolter, marine with heavy flamer and powerfist and three marines with storm bolters and powerfists. Just the basics really.

I have replaced the models of the second team with Deathwing variants, including one that could represent an Apothecary, using some of the more advanced rules I have. I like the Blood Angels variants of these models as well, but they will need to wait for another Hobby Season, I think. I really love how the thunder hammer sergeant turned out and can't wait to paint him!

To finish off the I also constructed a Fallen Angel boarding team in Tartaros armour, that can act as a replacement for the Blood Angels, act as a stand alone team or engage in some PvP action. I am hoping to put together some homebrew rules so that they can be used as some alternative enemy models in the normal game as well. I can imagine the Deathwing player trying to hunt them down, while the Blood Angels player is desperately crying out for support defeating the genestealers...

Time to start painting again, methinks.

See you across the table,