Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Tutorial: How To Make A Simple Viewing Port

A tank may have inches thick armour, cannons that would make even the largest bunker crumble, and the speed to evade incoming fire with ease, but all of these features are useless if the driver can't see out of the damn thing. 

Today's post will show you budding scratch-builders how to make a very simple and quick glass-lens viewing port in four easy stages.. This is a great way to add detail to a model, and can be done at any scale, using the same basic ingredients. For this, you will need:

-basic tools (knife, drill, plastic and super glue
-a small piece of plasticard.
-a short length of half-round rod (you can use full rod, but it will be more difficult).
-some thin plasticard strips.
-rivets. For this example I have used nail art beads, but you can shave rivets or bolts from tanks, or use cut up round rod.

1) Cut out your hatch plate, It should be rectangular, and big enough to fit the viewing port and trim with space around the outside.

2) Cut a short piece of half-round rod, and glue it centrally onto the rectangle you just cut.

3) Using the thin strips of flat plasticard, make trim to go all away around the half-round piece. At this stage the viewing port is pretty much done, and the next stage is just for detail (and to fit into the 40k aesthetic that is rivets, rivets and more rivets).

5)  Drill out holes for the rivets (if using beads) or glue on your pre-made rivets, plastic rod, or whatever you have chosen for this stage. After this, round of or shape any corners if you wish to do so, and then glue your port to your vehicle. Sit back and admire you work, safe in the knowledge that your army can see out of your latest armoured death machine.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

WIP: Chaos and Mechanicum Characters

With a fresh sense of motivation, and some choice parts, I have for you today a pair of WIP characters for two different armies.

Firstly we have yet another Sorcerer for my Thousand Sons. This one will either serve as a Terminator champion for some upcoming Cataphrctii Terminators, or as a Terminator Sorcerer, depending on what I need and when.

The base model is an old metal Chaos Terminator Sorcerer Lord, which was released around the time of the Medusa V campaign, and is a rarely-seen model these days with bags of potential. The arms are from the plastic Grey Knight Terminator set. The shoulders are Maxmini products, which give off a clear HH-era vibe. 

For weapons, I've gone for an under-slung Plasma Pistol (combi-weapon) and a staff, which will also represent the bolter attacks (low powered lightning or something along those lines). The staff used the tip of an old metal staff, and the shaft from a resin two-handed weapon.

The pistol is a cut down energy pistol from Evil Craft, stuck to the underside of the arm, which was once the home of the Apothecary's tools of the trade. These were cut out, leaving the cabling and displays, ad the pistol glued into place. 

With a cryptic binary message appearing in a recent issue of White Dwarf hinting at a Mechanicum release I thought it would be fun to make myself a Mechanicum model. At this stage it could be used in either a Mechanicum or Dark Mechanicum force: it really depends on if they can be allied with Chaos Space Marines or not, or if I decide to make a stand alone force for display/small skirmish games.

The base model is a Hitech Miniatures Lord Xavier, which was once my Terminator Armour wearing Sorcerer. To start off, the upper face has been gouged out, replaced with two horizontal bionic eyes for that added alien-but-familiar look. The stock kit's arms and shoulders (which were hideous) were long gone, and will be replaced with some Mechanicum-inspired limbs and wargear.

For the left arm, there will be a bionic replacement holding a power axe. Regardless of what HQ options Codex: Mechanicum ends up getting, it will likely come with a power axe: the status symbol of the machine-men from Mars. The arm was made using parts of a Necron model and some leftover rod, with an axe coming from the ever-fantastic Maxmini range.
The right arm will see the model fitted with some ranged capability. This impressive gun-arm hybrid is the old Kai Gun piece from the previously shown Sorcerer. This is perfect for representing any energy gun the HQ may have access to, be it plasma, volkite or something entirely new. 

The wings (another Maxmini item), whilst ornamental in this model's previous incarnation, might find a use this time around, possibly as a force field generator or some other hi-tech piece of equipment. It all depends on what the rumoured book contains.

That is all for now, but keep up to date with both these models via the Facebook page.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Review: Chaos Autocannon Gunner

Man-portable heavy weapons are commonplace in many armies. Easier to bring to battle than artillery or tanks, they allow infantry units to take on foes many times thier size. Today, I'm looking at Evil Craft's Chaos Autocannon Gunner. 

This kit retails at £7.08 for one model. This is version one, which comes with a drum-fed weapon. Evil Craft also sells a version with a belt-feed, for added variety to your forces. As well as full models, the guns are available on their own

The first thing to note is that there are a lot of pieces: 23 in fact. This is a lot of parts for a standard-sized infantry model: there are six parts that make the gun alone. Too much? Probably, but it does allow for endless customisation.

The kit comes in resin, with two extra "rubberised resin" hoses and chains, flexible to allow easy fitting. The main body (torso, legs, shoulders, base and backpack vents) come from existing sets, whilst the gun, head backpack centre and ammo components are unique to the kit. This example comes with a drum-fed autocannon, but there is also a belt-fed variant.

As per the norm with Evil Craft, the model is breath-takingly detailed. Each part is well designed and stylised, and fits well in their current range. I love the way the autocannon goes together, with detailed shells and plenty of trim. IT will be an absolute joy to paint. 

The model has presence: the big gun is intimidating, it looks like it could be used in an extended engagement (extra ammo drum on the back) and the armour is perfect for representing an aged veteran of chaos. 

Sadly, I think the kit is overly complex: perhaps unnecessarily so. Whilst more parts means more customisation, going from one-piece sections to four or more (i.e. the backpack and autocnannon) is a massive jump in assembly time and complexity. There's no need for some of these sections to be in so many pieces, and it can lead to problems. I had problems getting the gun arms to fit on the body, and was left with some ugly gaps at the shoulders. If your glue is old, I expect you to get very mad very fast with this model.

To conclude, this model is fantastically detailed, but not suitable for the faint-hearted. Its excessive difficulty may put off some, but for the determined the reward is an amazing looking model to bring to the table.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Workshop Datalogs: March 2015

Welcome again to another installment of Workshop Datalogs. On the table this month: tanks, tanks, and tank bits...

Firstly,  nice little break from 40k modelling. Here are a couple of Bolt Action tanks, both for my early war Germans. The tanks are both captured and modified armoured vehicles from other armies, namely the French army and Soviet forces.

This is, unmistakable, a KV-2 heavy tank, one of the most iconic tanks used by the Red Army. The tank needed very little work to make it a captured German vehicle, as most of the work would be in the paint scheme. The only German components added were a commander to the turret, and some generic stowage, both from Warlord Games accessory packs.

The next tank was a little more difficult to produce. It is an LEFH8B2, a very rare conversion of the Char B1 Bis. It involved replacing the turret with a fixed superstructure housing a 105mm howitzer, making a heavily armoured artillery piece.

 Making this involved a lot of cutting, measuring  and meticulous studying of reference material. A full conversion guide will be appearing on the Warlord Games blog (hopefully) in the near future. But first, I want to get it fully panted.

Right, back to 40k for my regulars.

 There's been a small amount of progress on the Relic Predator refurb. The tank has been getting covered in liquid putty to help smooth other any gaps that existed with the kit. Whilst not necessary, I like the idea of the panels being completely flush and blended.

Here is an interesting bit to end the day on. This is the start of a dual-exit exhaust unit for an upcoming tank project. Regular readers may recognise these as a failed attempt to build lascannons for the Spartan tank.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Showcase: Renegade Command Squad

The command structure of a Renegade army is pretty flimsy: whoever has the most charisma, blessings from the gods, or is the most ruthless, leads the way into battle. And those around the chosen one are often honoured with better gear and more respect: they have been chosen to protect the champion of the Gods.

Today, I’m sharing my finished Renegade command Squad, who will accompany my army leader (which will vary depending on chosen doctrines) in my battles. This unit was made for only £6, and was an experiment to see how much potential such a basic clip-together box set had. The results speak for themselves.

I wanted to keep the general theme of the army lots of dirty browns, greens and greys, an uneven mix of civilian clothing and military. So whilst each model has a different appearance, they all share a common colour pallet.

For the plasma weapon, I went for a green glow, rather than the yellow or blue glows I have done in the past. For me, this colour better compliments the army, and matches their eye lenses, allowing for a coherent looking model.

The banner bearer carries a defaced Imperial banner. This was done by painting the banner as if it were an Imperial one. I added a winged skull in the centre, with honour markings below. Then the blood came out. The chaos star was intentionally painted to look crude, as though the new owner of the banner coated it in the blood of the previous owner. The blood was made up of Tamiya Clear Red, and Vallejo Black, to a ratio of about 3:1.

Now that is squad is done, I will be moving on to the next unit: either some of my basic goons, or one of the two armoured vehicles that need some love and attention. Plus I still have my top-secret project to work on. More details on that soon. P.S. Can you spot it in today's post?

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Review: Blood And Skulls Capricorn Kit

The Chimera is the armoured workhorse of the Imperial Guard. This tracked transport has been with us in plastic form for over a decade now, and recently had a revised kit produced, with a nicer turret and better fitting parts. But one feature puts many people off; the Lasgun arrays. Not only can they be fiddly and annoying to align, but they are very easy to break. Some choose to not use them, but then you are left with six round holes in your hull. Well, it appears that Blood and Skulls Industries is here once more to save the day, with the Capricorn kit.

For £12.30 you get a new upper hull and turret, which comes with a cannon, pivot point and operable hatch. For those who do not want a turret, the hull is available by itself, for £8.41.

The hull is a one-piece section that replaces the standard upper hull and roof. It is a much shorter hull, being about an inch shorter than the stock part. It is just long enough to reach the edge of the upper front hull piece, and leaves the round hole at the front, which can be plugged with a hatch. Do note that newer Chimera kits do not come with a spare hatch. Fortunately I had an old metal one from the previous Hellhound kit. The shorted hull set the turret further back, leaving it fairly central on the model. Be aware of this is you plan to give your tank a Heavy Flamer, as you will loose about an inch of range.

The square hole in the roof is the exact same size as with the plastic chimera, so the plastic hatches are compatible with the resin parts. The resin is of a good quality and easy to work with. The rear side sections of the hull, if warped, are very easy to bend into shape.

Fitting the roof to the rear hatch is no problem, though there is a slight difference in angles.

The turret sports a look similar to the Artemia Hellhound from Forge World: with a low and wide silhouette and off-centre main gun. Building the turret is fairly straight forward: you have the turret body, hatch, gun and gun mantlet. This makes for a simple and easy assembly. The turret is held on by a pin, similar in style to the original chimera. this does mean that the standard Chimera turret, with its twist and lock design, is not compatible without some work to the turret underside. This is important knowledge for anyone who decides to buy the hull on its own.

There was one part that confused me, as I didn't know what it was for.

However, after some investigation, and trial and error, I found that it is an adaptor for the Chimera weapons, allowing any of the plastic turret weapons to easily fit the new turret.

This upgrade set has a lot of potential, not just as a chimera. With just a bit of work, this turret has been given a unique Inferno Gun, making this model a perfect start to a new Hellhound for the Vraksians. The main gun is reminiscent of the KV-8, which boasted a disguised main gun, to fool the enemy into thinking it was a normal KV-2.

as an upgrade to a new kit, or as new parts for a repair or salvage job, Blood and Skull's latest kit provides a fantastic alternative to the Lasgun arrays so many of us seem to hate using. Its contemporary and functional non-flamboyant design is perfect for guard armies of all styles, in an army which is well known for function over form.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Workshop Datalogs (February 2015)

Hello, and welcome to the first post of a new series, Workshop Datalogs. This is a new segment in which I share with you what is on my workbench at the time, and give hints towards future articles and projects (with some super-secret items you’ll just have to look for). This is great for when I have a lot of things on the go, but not enough to write a whole post for each item. For example, when I’ve started painting a unit I wrote about a week ago). This week, I have a selection of painted projects, an update on a current rebuild, and a mini-preview of an upcoming review.

Let us start off with the Renegade Command Squad from last week. It now has a little colour on it, with most of the base colours completed. I have decided to add a little bit of added colour (greens and greys) to differentiate them from other squads.

I decided that I would paint the banner as if it were a captured Krieg artefact. A basecoat of Vallejo Reflective Green forms the main colour of this piece. I have yet to find a good design for the banner, so please feel free to share links of good designs.

I also have this Necron Overlord on my workbench. This is for my girlfriend’s Necron army, and started life as a bunch of spare bits and so leftover from other models. The body is from an old metal lord, whilst the arms are from the plastic barge lord. The left hand is from a junked Flayed One I was given, which came with two left hands. A 40mm base completes the model, and has made something which is pretty unique amongst an army of carbon-copy automatons.

You may recognise this tank from one of my more recent reviews: the Deimos Predator that acted as a test mule for Blood and Skulls’ awesome track set. Whilst planning that article, I thought that the tank itself could do with a few repairs and a new paint job: in fact, all of my tanks previous to the Spartan have been looking a little tired. So having decided to make a change, I stripped the tank down and removed most of the paint. Having used the tank with a jury-rigged Executioner Plasma Cannon (simply two plasma cannons glued together) to great effect, I decided to make it a more permanent feature.

The new main gun still uses a Plasma Cannon as the basis, but widened to about double its standard width, making it one big gun rather than two glued together. It has been widened with plasticard, and some additional plasma cannon cores. It is early days, and I plan to wire it in to the main turret, which will receive more “plasma” like details such as cables and vents.

The tank's new brutal look has been helped by this big plow, from the Chimera set. The old dozer blades are now…

…on the front of this; the Land Raider Armoured Proteus. This final piece means that, apart from a tiny bit of detailing, the tank is ready for some paint. I plan to paint all my future Thousand Sons tanks and infantry in a quartered yellow/blue scheme, as seen on the Ferrus Infernum Dreadnought I recently finished. If anyone has a suitable suggestion for transferring this scheme from walker to tank, comment below or on Facebook.

On the review side of things, I have this lined up next: an upgrade for the 40k Chimera kit. This hull and turret set comes from Blood and Skulls Industries, and replaces the standard roof/hull and turret to give the standard set a different look. Initial thoughts suggest that it is perfect for people who don’t like having six Lasguns waving about, and want a bigger turret (which also comes with an Autocannon).A full review of this set will go up this weekend.

That is all for this week, so keep an eye out for further updates on Facebook or twitter. By the way, have you spotted the bonus model? Comment below if you have.