Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Review: Nagash, Supreme Lord Of The Undead

The lord of undeath has returned to the fantasy world, and it is time to either bow down to this eternal master, or take up the fight against it. Nagash is a character steeped in history, from his epic back-story and novellas, to his somewhat awful original sculpt. But now, years later, we have a new model that is bigger, more detailed and scarier than before.

This large character model is £65 RRP. Now, that does seem a lot when you consider it is a Hero/HQ choice. But rather than seeing it as “GW’s most expensive HQ”, it’s better to see it as “GW’s best value super-monster”. Let me explain.

Nagash is big, and I mean really big. It has a large 100mm x 150mm base, a size reserved only for the biggest of monsters. It is very tall, and will easily rise above every other non-Forge World monster of the Old Times. It compares well to the Knight and Wraithknight, which are both more expensive or not as imposing.

As shown above, a marine is about the height of just the torso of this model.

The detailing is superb on this model. Because it is a large kit, the designer has been able to add much more detail to it, and the flat spaces are larger, meaning a better surface area for intricate freehand work. An early favourite element of mine is the intricate armour plating covering Nagash’s torso, and the many haunting spirits floating around. Regardless of your opinion on the overall look, you can be pretty sure that it is a massive improvement on the previous model, which many see as an ancient well-worn joke. Time to retire the old model to a footnote in history I think.

You can get more for your money with this kit too if you’re clever. It would be very easy to not use the floating spirits surrounding Nagash, and base them separately to make some spirit swarms. You don;t get many actual options on the kit (a few arm choices), but that has never stopped modellers before, and the kit has a lot of potential, even before you consider additional bits.

There are a number of neat little pieces that could have alternative uses. Take for instance these skull-vials. Personally, I think they’d make a very nice set of ostentatious Melta-bombs for a lord or sorcerer. This kit offers plenty for imaginative modellers.

And to finish off, GW have been nice for once, and offered free rules for this model for use in your Warhammer Fantasy armies; in English, French and German. This is a nice addition, and saves you buying an extra £50 book (though I have heard it is a fantastic tome of knowledge, so maybe it is worth buying too).

To reduce this review down to the bare conclusion, I’d say this kit is both well-detailed and well-priced, and offers a lot for people who either want a bad-ass leader for an undead horde, a source for conversion and parts, or even just a nice display piece. I wont be showing you the built model, as I have something very special planned for this kit. Keep an eye out over the coming weeks for more on this project.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

WIP: Spartan, Lord and Sorcerer

With a new job, I’ve been finding it hard to get time to work on my projects. However, in between shifts and on days off I’ve done little bits here and there. Lately, I’ve broken out the glue and recommenced work on some of my long-standing projects: notably a chaos Terminator Lord and the Chaos Spartan.

The lord is based on a Khorne Lord Zhufor from Forgeworld, that I got last year as a present. I did plan to make this model as just a terminator sorcerer, but with this model’s bolter/power fist, it made a great stand-in for Abaddon the Despoiler. It could also be used as a sorcerer, should I decide I don’t need a Talon of Horus and can make do with a twin bolter. However, seeing as it is a Khorne model, not Tzeentch, much had to change before any of this.

First off, the Khorne icons were removed from the model. Abbadon’s sword was cut from one of the old metal sorcerers in power armour. I added a baroque helmet from Evil Craft, and the shoulder-pads. From Maxmini, are reminiscent of the early days of the Thousand Sons, before treachery and tragedy trapped them into exile.

I decided to keep the skeleton, because it is a great piece and adds height to this model.

Alongside this lord is the ultimate transport, the Chaos Spartan. The one thing that had been putting me off completing this was making the eight Lascannons, and making them look good. Whilst I was satisfied with the ones made for the Fellblade, I wasn’t quite happy with them. I’ve changed a few things this time.

 Along the energy coils, I’ve added support struts, to suggest they are an older or more primitive build. To help with the overall look, I’ll be adding armoured covers much like on the plastic Land Raider.

I also added this old-looking spotlight from the Malcador. Spartans cannot have searchlights, but it is a neat piece, so I had to use it.

To finish off, here is a small conversion I did, to make use of a model I hadn’t found a use for yet. I added a Maxmini clockwork axe to this Chosen with Power Fist model from the Dark Vengeance box set. With some additional work, this could make a great sorcerer or even another Warpsmtih.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Pint-Sized 40k: Travel Wargaming (Part One)

War gaming is great, but it can be a little cumbersome. Last year I took my Thousand Sons with me to Wales for a game at GW: Cardiff. I must admit that it was a pain to bring with me on the train, alongside two suitcases. With that in mind, I wondered if there was a better way to get my gaming fix, without the bulky cases and heavy rulebooks. Whilst pondering, I have across this amazing project, and I decided there and then: I want a travel 40k set. I would use a magnetic travel game, like shown in the link, and use Warhammer 40,000: Epic models and squads.

However, with epic becoming out of print, and being very expensive on EBay, it seemed like a project that would be cancelled before even starting. But when I went on vacation this year, I struck literal gold. I visited ACME Games in Llandudno, Wales, to buy the Warlord Carrier I reviewed this week. Before leaving Wales, I decided to go back one more time. And what did I see on the counter? Bags of Epic Space Marines for sale, at ridiculously cheap prices.

I managed to bag 23 stands of Marines, 12 Rhinos, and ten Dreadnoughts, for the insanely low price of £2. Yes that’s right, £2. Result!

Sure, I don’t have much of a range, but that’s not important: this will be a simple pick-up set ideal for train journeys and airplane rides. Still, it does have potential, and I’ve already begin converting up some units.
Here, we have a Khorne Rhino for one of the teams (I may do a four gods ‘eye of terror’ style set). All I did was add a small Khorne icon from the Forsaken kit, cut in half with each half added to one of the roof hatches.

This next model is more intricate. I wanted to have some sort of battle tank, and a Vindicator seemed like a very easy conversion. I filed the front end flat, and added a short stubby gun barrel, made from plastic pipe. The calibre is a bit large, but then again it does make it easy to identify. A bit of trim was added to the front plate for detail.  I also shaved the roof hatches, so I can add a vent (make from a normal-scale Space Marine’s backpack vent.

This is only the beginning, but I expect to have a lot of fun with this. I've never worked with stuff this small, so it should be an interesting endeavour. Next on my to-buy list is a magnetic travel game to use as the board. If anyone can direct me to somewhere in the UK that sells cheap options, please feel free to comment below or on Facebook.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Review: Bolt Action Universal Carrier

The Universal Carrier was one of Great Britain’s most common WWII vehicles. These small, light carriers lived up to their name, and there universally used in the British, Australian and Soviet armies in a variety of roles, from troop carrier to light gun platforms. Even the Germans nabbed themselves a number of these ubiquitous units. 

Today, I’m looking at Warlord’s newly released plastic Universal Carrier.

Warlord’s plastic model retails at £12 for one model. There is also a three-pack set, which also comes with infantry, for £45. This set is great value, but for today I’m only looking at the carrier on its own. It is a very small model, but it is one of the cheapest transports out there.

The kit comes on two sprues, and is very easy to assemble, with only two stages before options. the parts are very well detailed, with clear-cast rivets and details galore. One thing I like about it is that it doesn't have a slab of resin underneath; that was the one thing that bothered me about the old resin ones, I don't like having a mix of based and un-based tanks. 

In terms of options, the vehicle comes with four crew members (only the driver is needed really), and parts to make either a mark one or mark two. There are no weapons options apart from two MMGs, so you’ll need to do a bit of converting to make a gun carrier such as the boy’s rifle UC or the 2 pdr.

The kit is easily customised with just a few outside parts. I plan to make this model a part of my early-war German army, and it will be run as a count-as 250 scout unit. 

All I’ve needed to do is change the heads for German helmets and add a few bits of stowage from the Heer box set. The British MMG has been changed out for a German MG34, also from the Heer set. The Pak 36 still needs adding, but so far it is turning out to be a great investment. 

To finish off, here's a scale shot next to another Warlord Games plastic kit, the Hanomag.

Overall, this is a great addition to a Bolt Action force, and not just for the British armies. Germans, Soviet, and I think Canadians too, all these armies (and probably more) could all do with more Universal carriers amongst their ranks. 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Review: Warlord Games Blitzkrieg German HQ

Any self-respecting army with an urge to maintain order needs a strong command structure or a charismatic and intelligent leader who knows his Heer from his Panzer. Today, I’m cracking open Warlord Games’ early war German Blitzkrieg command team (1939-42). Whilst it is entirely possible to make a HQ from the standard plastic sets, sometimes it’s nice to get something special to lead your army.

This blister pack retails for £5, and comes with 4 models: a commanding officer, a medic, a forward observer, and a goon with SMG. The heads are separate to allow customisation. One thing I’ve noticed about WWII miniature gaming is that your command units tend to be far cheaper. A single 40k, Warmachine or other fantasy/sci-fi character can cost in the region of £9-£20 for a single model, so at first glance four models for a fiver is a bargain. In fact, when you factor in the units this makes, you are essentially getting three HQ choices.

The problem that you find upon opening the blister is that there are no bases. You’ll either have to buy some separately, scrounge around, or use 2p coins (Dimes in the US?). Whilst an easy fix, it is a bit silly for them not to come with any. Warlord, if you are reading this….can we have a few bases in blisters, please?

Anyway, back to the models. The four models are cast up in metal, and are well detailed. The only significant mould-lines were on the officer, but in easy to clean areas like the sleeves on his coat.

For the sake of completeness, here’s a couple of the models on some 25mm bases (please Warlord, just a few). There is an obvious lip on the model where it attached to the base, but this can be blended into the base with putty and coated in sand or grass. make sure the bottom is flat, as there can be a few large lumps that need filing down.

These models will stand taller than the plastics, but only marginally. Anyway, it helps pick out your important models.

This set is a great addition to any German 28mm armies. For the price of a few drinks you can buy yourself three leading and supportive units. For that price, It’s a hard offer to match.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

WIP: Sharpshooter Sorcerer of Tzeentch

Boredom and a bountiful bits box can produce a wide myriad of models. With a need to make something, anything, I delved to the deepest depths and found the parts to make myself another sorcerer. However, I wanted to make something different, a more ‘shooty’ sorcerer, with a big gun instead of the usual staff or sword. And this is the result.

The model is armed with a Combi-Plasma gun and a ‘force bayonet’ which counts as the model’s power sword. It is based on one of the old metal Master's of the Chapter from the original Apocalypse release.

This conversion was substantial, as I decided to cut away the front of the torso from the Master of the Chapter model and add a different part (a Thousand Sons chest piece). As this model was metal, I spend a while cutting through it. I love metal conversions, but I hate the labour intensity sometimes. The cuts and joins were filled and covered with Greenstuff.

You will notice that this model shares a lot of features with my Thousand Sons’ chief sorcerer, Imoda. Both models share the same helmet, and both have flowing robes and icons of Tzeentch. I’ve come up with a short piece of background to explain that there are more than just visual similarities…

After defeating the Imperial Fists and Krieg 354th Siege regiments on the planet Krysis, Imoda raised the banners of the Thousand Sons high atop a mountain of fallen foes. But the celebrations were short-lived, as Khotep was taken from the battlefield in a cloud of multi-coloured fog. His subordinates and fellow sorcerers were left confused and angered that their leader had been taken from them. 

But he was taken to be rewarded. Tzeentch, god of magic and plotting, had transported Imoda to the space hulk the Carrion’s Husk, and appeared to him as the same multi-coloured formation.  Lord Tzeentch had thought fit to grant him a daemonic gift. Knowing that the original Thousand Sons were for the most part immune to his ‘gifts’, Lord Tzeentch granted a daemonic gift like no other. The cloud sprouted arms, which grasped the lord-sorcerer and tried to tear him in two, Imoda’s body erupted in light. The ball of light split and each was thrown to one side of the room. But rather than be shredded in half by the daemon god, Imoda stood up to find himself staring at another Space Marine: himself for that matter. A near-perfect copy stared back at him. Both moved with perfectly mirrored gestures.

“I have seen fit to grant you this gift. This doppelganger is you, but is also your opposite. Find him to be your friend, or your enemy, in time”. Tzeentch then took both versions of Imoda in his elongated fingers, and flashed them back to Krysis, cackling in the background at his latest exploit. 

The bemused Thousand Sons could not identify their lord at first when they returned to realspace, but his trademark weapons were one of the few items not to be copied onto the doppelganger. After explaining Tzeentch’s will, the war host knelt down to their leader and his warp-grown twin. To avoid confusion, the duplicate was given the name Amenhotep, though many call him the Dark Twin of Tzeentch. 

The model makes use of a pair of Puppets War shoulder pads, to tie the model into the Thousand Sons.

The Combi-Plasma is the main focus of the model. It was make using the muzzle of a Raptor’s Plasma Gun, a Bolter from Evil Craft, and an Ogryn’s Bayonet.

 I see this model more as a sharpshooter, and will for the most part make use of Psychic powers that improve accuracy of himself and his squad, who I have already formulated plans for.

That is all for today, but stay tuned into the Facebook page for further updates.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Review: Terrakami Games 'cubEST M' Crate

Having being whetted by Terrakami’s great value containers, I wanted to check out more of their range. Today, I’m having a look at some more large containers; this time, their ‘cubEST-M’ variety.

Retailing at 5.50 Euros for one (about £.4.35 in Queen’s money) they are more expensive per crate than the value variety. They are more suited to a science fiction environment than the value ones too, with emphasised space-age designs.

This container kit is significantly more complex than the budget variety I reviewed previously. It comes with a lot more parts, and requires more skill (and a set of clamps) when it comes to putting it together. I think I would have gone full-berserker-mode without them, as the sides tended to pop out whilst drying before I decided to break out the G-clamps. fortunately, the instructions are very clear and helpful.

But with increased complexity comes increased detail. These containers are much more intricate than the budget version, and have a more interesting 3-D shape. Their reinforced look makes them ideal for representing military hardware, an armoured shipment, or something more hazardous that needs to be kept locked up tight.

Like Terrakami’s other MDF products, the designs have been cut/burned into the wood, making most of the hard work already done for you. Even the simplest of paint jobs will pop on these terrain pieces.

The designs are very intricate and precise too. This electronic keypad on the door’s lock is a nice touch that is well executed.

The container is the same size as other Terrakami large containers. Despite the extra layers and frames, it shares the same dimensions, and stacks well with other styles of container.

Overall, this kit is a nice ‘next step’ from the value series. It is more intricate and more expensive, but certainly more detailed and a joy to build. Suitable for almost any sci-fi battlefield, they are a fantastic addition to the wide variety of tabletop games and RPGs out there.