Saturday, 31 December 2016

089. End of 2016, Orks state of play, Overkill and Prospero...

So that's that for another year.  2016, where'd all that time go.  Scrap that...Where's the first half of my leave gone!  For all my best intentions, I haven't maximised my available time over the last few weeks and the Orks are still in a WIP state - although to be honest, I'm still mighty chuffed at how far down the process I managed to push 50 miniatures.  With Christmas, time spent with the family, working on the Titan, building other miniatures, the incessant high heat and humidity we've been having lately (it's been so humid lately some of the washes on my Orks have reactivated making painting a nightmare and leaving the miniatures tacky), painting the main living room/dining/kitchen in the house (so I have done some painting, just a the wrong scale!), and general laxness, I just haven't had the drive to sit at my desk and paint.
Stormboys WIP
So what state do the Orks find themselves.  The skin across the board is all done.  Today, I finalised all the teeth and claws which helps to frame the face and hands on the minis - creating that triangular focal point experts in colour theory and other hobby know whats like to talk about.  The metallics and armour is also all done barring last minute touch ups at the end.  It's more a case of whats left to do!
-Leathers
-Shirts
-Pants
-Odds and sods - cables, fetishes etc.
Lootas, Burnas and Boys WIP
More Boys WIP
For something different - more Boys WIP!
All in all, I should be well able to get them finished before I go back to work in around a fortnight.  After these are off my plate, choices open up before me as to what to tackle next. Sitting on the shelves of shame are four other armies, already at a state where I don't really need or want much to add to them:

- Ultramarines - I have so many Marines its just not funny (around 200 in total!), built up over many editions of the game, and comprising the majority of the Marine range (excluding goofy things like Centurions and flyers).

- Space Wolves - A nice compact sub 2,000 force (lacking any of the drastically goofy stuff - Wulfen and Murderfang I'm looking at you!).

- Imperial Guard - Another large force (large on body count - its a foot based Infantry Company with attached Battalion heavy weapons and Specialists) built two editions ago and lacking some of the newer kits (and non-the-worse for that!).

- Chaos: Lost and Damned - Plague Marines/Nurgle Daemons/Traitor Guard.

As well as the actual forces I've deliberately collected, built and shaped to a uniform plan established in my head over the years, I have other sub-units like the Titan, my Primarch collection and other odds and ends (the new Codex: Imperial Agents notionally has a whole shelf on the Shelves of Shame comprising random stuff I'd collected for looks alone that would now be fit for purpose according to that book!).  Add in the few additional Ork models I have accumulated over the last month and there is plenty of choice for what to start on next.  With the Fall of Cadia looming, maybe the time is ripe to devote 2017 to my Lost and Damned, although I'm equally drawn to the idea of pushing on with the forces of good and really trying to make a dent in my 'Grand Army of the Imperium' collections.

One thing I am certai of, is that I go into 2017 without any plans to buy much in the way of minis unless GW really pulls a blinder and unleashes something truly epic on us all.  Off the top of my head, the only thing I think that would make me reach for my wallet to buy (as opposed to releases that make me drool but not hit the 'must buy now' part of my brain), would be a model of the Emperor, or a really well done, multi-part plastic Necromunda box set re-release.  

While 2017 is looking god for the wallet, the final months of 2016 was decidedly not!  In addition to the Ork deals I've previously posted about, I also found myself spending on some more dregs for the Lost and the Damned, as well as picking up a copy of the Burning of Prospero.
Oooh so shiny - Burning of Prospero - an eBay steal!
The Dort continues her education (under my direct supervision) getting in on the 'cutting' of the Prospero sprues (or at least the empty sprues).  She informs me this piece of sprue is in fact a Motor Bike which she wants to paint next time I let her near the 'Dad paints'! 
After finishing up the superb master of Mankind by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, the lure of a squad of the Legio Custodes was too great to ignore.  The Burning of Prospero box contains a smorgasbord of minis, and once I did the calculations on it, I convinced myself that it was cheaper in the long run to buy the whole box and part out what I didn't want, than try to find a competitively priced squad of Custodes on eBay or the buy/swap/sell pages.  I managed to find a lovely lass from my home town of Middlesbrough selling the box on eBay, which including shipping, set me back only $150.  This compares to the retail in Australia of $265. When I onsold two of the Mk3 sets to Ray, it brought my actual buy price down to $90 - a total steal, or so I told the missus!

That $90 spend got me my squad of Custodes, a squad of Sisters, a squad of Tartaros for my boys in blue, and a squad of Mk3 which I plan to kitbash with the FW Deathguard upgrade set to make a unit of Plague Marines for my Lost and Damned, as well as 'Not Bjorn' who'll do nicely as a Wolf Lord for my Wolves, and Ahriman who'll sit well with my random assortment of 30K goodies.  Not a bad result at all, particularly when considering that going by other recent releases, GW is likely to charge around $100+ for the Custodes alone (Cataphractii from the previous Calth box cost $115 a squad here!).
Beautiful, beautiful minis - I've built based on the rule of cool - apparently you can't take a Halberd and Shield in game - pfft to that!
'Not Bjorn' and Ahriman - fantastic sculpts and cleverly cut on the sprue.  The cherub is a bits box build I did on the side while organising my bits collection.
The miniatures themselves are astoundingly beautiful, although terribly fiddly and fragile. The Sisters are the worst culprits of this, with one part (the splayed hand) having fingers around 0.5mm thick and 1mm long just asking to be snapped off - the Dort has been warned not to touch those!  The Custodes and Sisters are also designed to go together in very specific configurations, with arms in particular being cut to match only certain shoulder pads/forearms/hands/torsos etc.  
Another non-viable squad build - these girls are oh so delicate - they'll snap parts simply looking at them funny
You can ever have too many Terminators of varying flavours!  Again, built on rule of cool and maximising bits use - In game they'll count as wielding Storm Bolters ad Fists, but I'll be damned if I wasn't going to pimp out these guys with all the bits of cool on the frame
My other recent purchase has been a small order to see off the last of my planned build of the Lost and the Damned - the Deathguard upgrade sprue to make Plague Marines and a FW Plague Hulk, as well as some Daemon Plague Drones.  When that order arrives, I will have everything I desire for the forces in my collection (leaving each built force matching the planned forces I've designed in my head), leaving me, as I say above, with options for 2017 and beyond (the pile of built - surely the best part of the hobby in my opinion - and as yet unpainted miniatures having finally crested - much to the delight of the missus).

Talking with Ray about the beauty of the Prospero box made him drop a line about having a copy of Death Watch: Overkill; something he had completely failed to mention in any of our other hobby chats. That led to an impromptu catch up where we (that is to say I) ogled the beauty that is the Genestealer Cult models Ray has been accruing (including some from his impenetrable closet/shed of shame hearkening all the way back to the early 90's) and the equally fantastic Death Watch character models, before sitting down to run through the first mission of Overkill.
Rays shed of doom throws out a copy of Death Watch: Overkill for us to have crack at - its a really fun little game.
The mission calls for any four Death Watch Marines to be pitted against an unrelenting wave of Cultists (spawning at random using a shuffled deck of cards), victory coming to the Death Watch should they kill 25 Cultists, or the Cult if they could down two of the four Marines.  Ray hadn't built the Marines so I went to my (now renamed Imperial Agents shelf) to blag four older metal/plastic hybrid Death Watch I'd built years ago corresponding to the Blood Angel, Dark Angel, Space Wolf and Chaplain cards from the game.  the tiles were laid out according to the guide, and the dice rolls began.
Chaplain Cassius - I love Chaplains so he was always going to be one of my four
I had painted Dark Angel and Space Wolf Death Watch Marines in my collection already so these guys were no brainers
And the plucky Blood Angel - again, I had a Blood Angel in my collection so this made sense.  This was him off the board after being wounded, and subsequently succumbing to his wounds
Like Space Hulk (which we both own - Ray multiple copies!), this game does not follow the normal rules for 40K, instead each character having a set of stats corresponding to their weapon load outs which give them certain range bands within which they can do things, as well as special abilities unique to each character.  All actions are resolved with a D6 dice roll trying to beat a set number.  For example, say my Chaplain Cassius was within the 'Assault' range (using a flexi range finder that comes with the game - not a tape measure) of some Cult troops, I could choose to either wade in with my Bolt Pistol and Crozius, rolling three dice and wounding the targeted cultists on a 3+, or fire one round ( a single dice roll) from my bolt pistol, wounding on a 5+.  If I caused a wound, the opposing model could attempt to save (6+ for a Cultist) unless the attack had the Cleave special rule which ignores armour.
Cassius and the Angel starting to get surrounded - the Angel would fall to that cannon wielding cultist to left of shot.
Tactical choices were necessary based on where you placed your figure within the rectangular deck sections, and how many targets were in front of you.  For example, rolling three dice seems preferable to one, but a) you needed to be within the right range band to get that attack (the three dice one) off, and canny placement of figures by your opponent could see your target outside that range, and b) the weapon special rules may grant a better advantage.  For example the Blast rule on the one shot Bolt Pistol allows you to roll to wound any figure in the same target section you are shooting into - so when Ray packed seven guys into one section, it made more sense to shoot the Bolt Pistol than to try for a close combat attack (seven chances to wound v three)!
Cassius fighting on alone after the Angels fall, as more Cultists rush onto the board
In the end I hit the magic number (25) in the third round.  I'd read previously the early missions favour the Death Watch, and that proved true here.  The game turns favour the fluff driven mechanics of the Marine player - that is in the course of a turn, the Marine player moves first, then the Cult player moves, then the Marine player uses actions (ie attacking), then the Cult player uses their actions, and then the Marine player gets another action sequence!  Plus Marines still had a 3+ armour save (2+ for Cassius), and notionally had two wounds to the cultists one, and could use either if their action phases to heal themselves.
The Wolf and the Dark Angel hunting for targets down empty corridors - although they won't stay empty for long.  i'd split my four Marines into two sub units, with each sub unit having a close combat focused chap (Cassius in one and the Wolf the other) and a support person (the Angel for Cassius and the Dark Angel for the Wolf).
Cassius and Drenn (the Wolf) were monsters in all phases, with Drenns Berserker ability (allowing me to run and attack in a single action phase) coupled with his three attacks with Rend ability really catching Ray out.  Cassius claimed seven kills and Drenn nine helping me win the game; although Ray did manage to take down the Blood Angel with a Mining Laser shot (ignores armour saves).  We played on after the third turn to see how far the Marines could go.  Drenn lasted another two turns, taking six more Cultists with him before falling to a Seismic Cannon, while the Dark Angel accounted for another three cultists (on top of his earlier three) before being mobbed and falling to five shotguns at close range. Cassius survived until we had to stop so I could go pick up the Dort from Childcare; the Chaplain taking another five Cultists down. Ray also killed two of his own Cultists with a Blasting Charge trap which had accounted for one of Drenns wounds.  So in total, over five rounds I got 39 kills to Rays three - not too shabby.

So 2016 ends with a bit of a bang, and not a whimper.  I may not have gamed anywhere near as much as I'd have liked, but there's always next year for that!  I've painted a huge amount of Orks (even if they aren't all finished), and amassed a wealth of additional minis to languish into future years on the shelves of shame.  I've had a laugh with the lads, and enjoyed immensely following along to the broad range of blogs I frequent.  Thanks to all who have dropped a line here, the community wouldn't be what it is without that kind of discourse between hobbyists the world over.

Cheers all and happy hobby going into 2017,

Liam

Thursday, 15 December 2016

088. WIP Orks - just kidding - more Titan WIP...

So those Orks I'm working on....Yep....They aren't moving forward at all!  I've gotten to the stage where they have all had the green base coat applied, as well as a wash and first layer.  And then I got distracted by my Titan again.
Really struggling to push on with the mass of Orks.  I think I'll be reverting to smaller sub-groups once I get this skin stage out of the way.
So instead of the Orks, I've worked on the two shin plates for the Warhound.  The first has the checkerboard patterning already put on it so only needed its trim doing.  Gold over blue doesnt work, so I started out by putting down a layer of the old Snakebite Leather. This served as a great base for the first gold layer of the old Shining Gold.  I then layered on the old Burnished Gold.  The result was a quite bright colour, with a nice varied tone to it as a result of the Snakebite Leather layer not being opaque over the blue, and the golds also not being opaque colours.  this unintentionally provided tonal variation which is a nice surprise.  I finished it off by washing aroudnthe rivets and such with Vallejo Game Colour Wash Sepia Shade (73.200).  Finally, I went in for a spot/edge highlight of Burnished Gold and the old Mithril Silver.
Quite chuffed with how this is looking
The bright gold goes off really well (to my eyes) against the blue
The other shin plate had embossed detailing to work up.  An earlier iteration of this plate had the eagle also in gold, but with the gold trim, it was way too much.  This time out I settled on a stone look so started from the old foundation paint Adeptus Battle Grey, and worked up through the old Codex Grey and Fortress Grey, with final line edging and 'marbling' of Fortress Grey and Skull White.  It looks decent enough until the plate is put next to the other one where the checks appear a brighter grey/white.  it makes me wonder if I should take the whole Eagle up another layer to make it brighter to match the checks from the other side.
I'm debating taking the eagle up to a brighter level to match the checks from the other plate
The scroll I did with a mix of old foundation paints Charadon Granite, Khemri brown and Dheneb Stone, as well as a wash of my mix-bag brown (various shades from GW and Vallejo mixed into the dregs of a pot of the old Devlan Mud).  I've also picked a faux-latin name care of various latin-English dictionaries - Varico Mors (Striding Death).  The name is done in black but doesn't stand out very well so I'm thinking of going back in and lightening it up with a bone or white colour.
Quite happy with how the scrollwork came out
The lettering is really struggling to stand out on the stone background - may need a think
After the gold banding was applied the whole plate looks the goods.  The only part of it not done is the rear.  Most of that part is hidden from view but you do see bits around the edges.  I'm not sure if I should leave it black, do it a dark grey or dark steel (for bare Ceramite/Adamantium), or do it gold (ie carry the trim over the rear edge).

The worry I currently have is my paint collection is all the old colour systems.  I'm hoping I'm going to have enough in these pots to spread over the whole of the the trim and not run out before the end!  I don't fancy shelling out $6 a pot on the new range, only to find I can't get the tone to match.

I have nearly five weeks leave starting Thursday and have the whole of Friday to myself with the Dort at my mums and the missus at work.  The aim is to really push ahrd with the Orks to get some traction going agin and push them home for the end of year deadline I set myself.

Cheers all,

Liam

Saturday, 10 December 2016

087. WIP Warhound Titan - weathering white...

This is meant to be about Orks but I got eager and settled on weathering the white I laid down last time out; so, for those of you following along at home - this is what the plates looked like after I went over them with a bit of water to re-activate the chipping medium and a toothpick and old hard bristle tooth brush.  
I'm really loving the look of this shin plate - it makes me wish I'd used the other blank one for the other leg so I could have done another set of designs on that one
A small Ad Mech cog completes the shin guard on the inner side - it is level with the base of the plate, which is on a lean here giving the sense its off-kilter
I also added a few Ad Mech and Imperial Guard decals (from the Ad Mech Start Collecting Bundle and the old Baneblade sheet).  The Ad mech ones went on like a charm, although looking at one on the left side of the top carapace, I've put it on upside down if the tiny skulls are anything to go by (they are small enough not to be obvious!).  The Baneblade ones were terrible, being old and brittle.  I tore the first eagle I put on the left side, so replaced it with a miscellaneous symbol which had an Ad Mech vibe.  I then tore the second of that symbol when I went to put it on the right side, so ended up using the spare eagle, which also almost tore.  There was much cursing to be had at that time.  
Bloody decals were a nightmare - this symbol was meant to be an eagle - ho hum
And this one was meant to be a mirror symbol to the one above until I tore it - blasted things
After another light gloss coat to seal everything in place, everything looks good and the Titan is now ready to go onto the next stage - starting the armour trim!  But definitely after some Orks...
I'm also loving the shoulder stripes - well chuffed with this- minimal effort but lots of oomph to the overall visuals.
Cheers all,

Liam

Thursday, 8 December 2016

086. WIP Warhound Titan - masking results...

With the Titan prepped for the next armour steps, I managed to get some free time from the missus while she and the kidlett made the house more festive for xmas, to get out in the shed and use the airbrush to lay down some grey/whites.

I started by putting down a layer of AK Interactive chipping medium with a view to weathering the white top layer if the mood took me after seeing the end result.  I then went straight onto my first grey colour, again using the old base colour, Adeptus Battle Grey.  Like last time I didn't put down a solid colour, instead aiming for tonal variation using the blue patterning already present.
First base grey layer on the engine plates
And the shine plate
The circle is repeated on the other side
And the head cowl - I also sprayed the interior where there is some detailing
Next I moved onto a layer of the old Fortress Grey and again went for a mottled layer rather than solid colour.
Fortress grey is a great base colour I found to help the Skull White pop
The final colour was a mix of 75/25 Skull White and Fortress Grey, again aiming for a non-uniform application, although by this stage the layering built up was more opaque than I had intended.
The Fortress Grey/Skull White mix on the shoulders
The head cowl
The inner detail on the head cowl - I'll work these up as lights/monitors to match the other cockpit detail
I managed to get quite a lot of overspray across the top carapace
The shine guard
I left the other side of this plate solid blue
After that had all had sufficient time to dry it was time to pull back the tape and see how much bleed through I had.  there was surprisingly little, although I couldn't say the same for light misting/overspray.  I scratched my head for a while thinking how to clean that up without resorting to painting over it with blue, and then came onto the idea of using theVallejo Airbrush cleaner on a brush and a toothpick - it worked well, with the gloss layer I had finished with last time protecting the underlying blue.
The question is, do I chip this or not!?
The shoulder plates look great I think
There's not a huge amount of white on the cowl, but the Eagle and Skull, as well as the armour trim will add plenty of other visual interest
I'm quite chuffed with this, but am a little bit torn with the idea of chipping the white, mainly on the shin plate and engine cowling.  Also whether to leave the circles as moons with celestial glow (ie non-uniform circles) where I have space to apply a decal or design, or stick with the idea of an inner black circle representing an eclipse event and run additional white lines in compass points to represent solar flare.  Any thoughts appreciated.
Mocked up - right hand profile - the shin plate makes me think of our local police force logo
And the left hand view - like the head cowl, the top plate will get more visual interest once the armour trim is completed, the top eagle, and I decide what to do with the circles
Its straight back into the Orks next - I need to crack on with those to hit my hobby deadline of end of year completion.

Cheers all,

Liam



Sunday, 4 December 2016

085. WIP Warhound Titan - mixing oil and taping...

Following immediately on from my last post, I was eager to crack on with the blue armour panels so I busted out my oils and got on with it.  Having read the FW Masterclass books a couple of times, as well as scale modeling books, in particular, Mike Rinaldis Tank Art series, I was familiar with the concept of oil washes, and oil modulation.  The idea being to use oil paints to enrichen the underlying acrylic, as well as kick off the weathering process.  I knew after last time I was happy enough with the blue I'd achieved, but wanted to add some depth around the panels where they met the trim (which I intend to do a bright yellow gold), as well as around rivets and the like.
Blue-black oil white spirit wash mix
Selecting the dark blue and the black oil paints, and my bottle of cheap white spirits (all the books I have read recommend artist grade spirit as the stuff I used is coarser - I didn't have the artist grade and was intent on cracking on with what I had to hand), I mixed myself up an oil wash which I then applied liberally around all the panel lines and details.  The mix itself was a darker hue than what i had painted the mini with to date.  This should allow the contrast I was looking for.  The underlying gloss coat I applied yesterday protects the acrylics from the nastiness of the white spirits.
The wash is liberally applied around the panel edges and other raised detail
The cowl
At this point it looked a right mess, but having faith in what I'd read, I got out the missus old hair dryer, which by dint of living in my hobby space is now mine, and took off most of the moisture left by the spirits.  I then took a cheap microfibre cloth and worked the oils off the flat plates, leaving it collected against raised detail and in the recesses.
And the main componentry
My plan worked as intended, even if the execution was a touch novice.  I gave it another zap with the hairdryer and then put it outside in our lovely spring sunshine and left it to dry off some more.  Oils are useful as they can continue to be worked long after an acrylic would have dried, but this itself means the oils take much longer to dry themselves.  I kept going back to check on it and blend in the heavy spots, or introduce some streaking off of rivets and the like.  Using an oil gives you more control than an acrylic wash as it takes ages to dry, can be moved around, wiped completely off with white spirit, streaked etc - so it's more variable than simply slap a wash on and leave. If I'd used a standard GW acrylic wash, a) I'd need loads of it, whereas this took about 5 ml of spirit out of a 2 L bottle, and two tiny dabs of artist oils; and b) I'd have no control over its application aside from targeting it to settle into the recesses (attempting to avoid pooling and tide marks). With this, I not only got the shading effect of the acrylic washes, but I also created some streaking and other tonal variation on the flat plates, creating more variation/modulation of the blue.
Post buffing waiting for the oils to dry sufficiently so it can be re-glossed
Stuff like this lengthens the process time to paint a miniature for sometimes only a slightly noticeable end effect; but after I work through more stages, it should all snowball together to make the mini have more depth than if I hadn't done it - or at least that's what all the theory I've read suggests. I'll be weathering/chipping/dirtying the model as I go along. For example, the white I plan on introducing wont go on as clean, crisp, perfect squares - I'll be two-toning it with grey primer and scratching/chipping through that to show the blue below, suggesting the white top coat has abraded off etc.  I'll also dust up the lower feet/legs as well as use my AK Interactive products to add engine oil streaks/grime, dirty up pistons, general streaks/grime build up - to make it look used.
Shin plate - half this plate will be chequered, the other half remaining blue
After allowing for the extended drying time, I then hit the model with another gloss goat, and then set about applying my Tamiya 10mm tape to the plates where I intend introducing white.  This included the plain shin plate getting halved, with one-half planned to remain blue (inside facing curve) while the other side (outside facing curve) being chequered.  I also masked the cowl - it will predominantly stay blue, but the armour underneath the eyes will be made white - I figure the eagle and skull on the top of the cowl will add enough other colour to that part not to warrant any further white.  I ended up placing diagonal stries across the rear shoulder/engine armour with the intention of having thicker (around twice as thick) white stripes over thinner blue.  I took that route (making the shoulders white dominant) as the main centre carapace is staying predominantly blue, excluding where i have marked off some circles which will receive an inner circle of black (leaving an eclipse rink of white which I may glaze yellow).
The rear shoulder/engine housing will receive diagonal stripes
Circles on each side of the centre plate will have a smaller circle added inside to create an eclipse
Overall it has been a productive few days and if the weather stays nice I should be able to get some more spraying done with the airbrush before starting on the standard brush work.  I've broken the painting tasks down to get to the finish line into what I think are digestible chunks:
- Blue armour
- White detail
- Bare steel - drybrush what's there so nothing too onerous - just lots of model
- Gold - that will be a shit of a job - there's so much trim
- Oil wash the gold
- Weapons
- Revisit interior
- Other details


Cheers all,

Liam