Thursday, 16 October 2014

Review: Evil Craft Close Combat Squad

Evil Craft is back trading after a short summer break, so now is a good time to share another review of their amazing range. Today, I’ll be opening up one of their squad sets: the close combat set.

With this kit there are several parts I have reviewed before. To save repeating myself, I will be focusing only on the parts I have not seen before, and the kit as a whole. Here are links to previous reviews of these parts:

-Torsos

-Shoulder Pads

-Backpacks



This set retails at £31.46, for five models with scenic bases. This is a lot of money for one squad, if you’re planning to make the full unit. It is about the equivalent of a ‘premium’ Forge World squad such as Heresy-era Assault Marines or Boarding Marines. Having said that, you do get superior quality to Forge World, and if you want to mix and match with other kits and ranges, it starts to look like a better value set. The packaging is very much like other Evil Craft items, only bigger. Whilst well-printed and put together, I think such a set is deserving of a box with some nice artwork on it.


With this set you get a new set of legs. They are very much like the legs I have seen in the past, but in new running poses. I quite like these, as they allow for more fluid models. Another feature I like is that each set is a unique set. Normally you only get a choice of three from Evil Craft, but this added variety is welcomed.


 Pistols are the first weapons to be viewed from this pack. Like the Carbines I reviewed a while back, they are crammed with amazing detail.


They are also a bit bigger than most other ranges, as seen above. Be careful using them on older, smaller models, or non-marine models like Guardsmen.


Alongside the pistols there are five chainswords, a mix of three different varieties. These are beautiful sculpts, and have more of a sabre-styled shape to them than other, more industrial variants. This elegance makes them possible weapons for lords as unique daemon-crafted weapons.


This variant, with its skull hand guard, is my favourite of the three.


To go with the weapons are pairs of arms suited for a close-combat set-up. Like all other parts of the armour, they are well detailed. The hands are on ball-joints, to allow for more involved posing. Is it a lot of extra work to pose a model? Sure, but it makes posing infinitely customisable, and saves you accidentally ruining hands and arms when cutting.


You get five heads with this set: the set in question is the bare head set. Each of these is a really nice head: they’re chaotic, but don’t have ridiculously over-sized horns or masses of cancerous tissue. They are refined and very dark.


My favourite is the half-masked model. It has a certain evil to it (befitting the company name), reminding me of the likes of Bane (Dark Knight Rises) with a hint of “the dark side of the force”. I foresee a use for this head in the near future.


This squad even comes with its own bases. They are slightly scenic, with added details such as discarded weapons, skulls and broken armour. There is one minor issue, they are NOT 25mm…


They are 26mm. But seriously, only the pickiest of players (aka “that ******** guy”) is going to notice, or even care. At the end of the day, having bases is always a good thing. I like them, it’s something a bit different, and compliments the style of the models







A model, made using parts solely from the kit, stands taller and wider than a typical GW model. Against this Thousand Son (barring headdress), it is noticeably bigger and more imposing: ideal for elite units, or if you have the coin, an elite army

All-in-all this is a top-grade set. Sure it is expensive for five models, but it is up to you to get the most from it. You are welcome to either make one seriously awesome looking squad, or mix the set in with others to create an army with very unique and varied soldiers of evil.
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Tuesday, 7 October 2014

WIP: Chaos Contemptor Dreadnought 2.0: Trim and Magnets

The Overlord twitched and sparked from shattered limbs. “You’re gods cannot protect you, vermin. The Dynasty will destroy your flesh bodies and you will accept your cold fate.”
“Do not speak to me of flesh bodies. You know so little, for such an ancient species”, the dreadnought intoned, traces of regret in its voice. Its clamp-like hands crushed the life-force from the Necron construct, twisting metal and shattering metallic bones. Dropping the dead machine, the Dreadnought ground a huge armoured foot into the remains, which phased out of reality with a green glow. 


The Dreadnought has been stripped down and rebuilt in its entirety, with a greater emphasis on the chaos aspect.


 I’ve added additional riveted trim around the legs and hip sections, as well as around the collar.


These spike racks helps add to the chaotic look, whilst not being too extravagant or overbearing. They've been fitted so that they mirror in size and position.

Both arms have been magnetised, to allow for a greater variety of weapons load-outs. For now I only have the two power fists, but I hope to get more options in the future.


The power fists have been modified extensively. The left has been given a crushed Necron. This was the pilot leftover from my Tomb stalker/Defiler conversion, with plenty of battle damage.


Arm number two was the result of a random idea formed from spare parts from Nagash. Using some of the spirit components, I gave the power fist, which previously had a flamer, a Soul Burner. This simple addition makes for a terrifying and cool piece of daemonic archeotech.

There is very little lift to do on this mode; mostly just finishing up the little details here and there. The paint scheme will be the same as before, just more refined, and with improved weathering.


Saturday, 4 October 2014

Review: Maxmini Iron Pattern Jump Packs

Everyone loves to jet around. Even if we cannot fly, jumping really really far will often do us just fine. Under examination today is a set of Maxmini Iron Pattern Jump Packs.


For the sum of £5.49, you get five identical jump packs, each of which comes in three pieces: The main body, and two exhaust vents. Working out at about £1.10 per jump pack, this isn’t too bad for value, and are parts that look a bit different to the norm.


They are suited for 28-33mm models, and are perfect for making Assault Marines, Sanguinary Guard, and Raptors. These packs are on the large side at the lower scale, as demonstrated above: they easily outsize standard GW backpacks, and even bulkier Raptor packs. Despite being so huge they don’t look out of place.


The quality is fantastic, and has improved since I last bought a set. Whilst before there were a few lines and wonky bits, this time around there are no such problems. Either through perfection of the process over time, or better resin, this set is virtually defect-less. Ever detail looks just a little bit more defined and clear-cut.


As some of you know I’m a big fan of this set. The details are fantastic for use in Horus Heresy-era armies, due to their antiquated styling and size. I have previously used them to create a set of Thousand Sons Raptors. I painted the round bolts as gemstones, to create a squad that is unique to this army.

Lately, I’ve tried adding these packs to a different range (but a similar one). This model is to become a Warp Talon Champion. It looks especially fantastic with the Maxmini packs (and that head I am so fond of). The body, from Evil Craft, is slightly larger than a GW one, so the pack looks more in-scale, and helps create an intimidating model. I plan to create a full squad of Warp Talons, combining Maxmini and Evil Craft parts, for a squad that will stand out no matter where I go.

In conclusion, it is easy to say I am a big fan of Maxmini’s jump packs. They appeal to my love of 30k-era gear, the detailing can be easily adapted through painting(painted as gems rather than bolts), are of a quality high enough that they maintain the image of a good model. I rank these amongst my top accessory picks.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

WIP: Chaos Spartan Kit-Bash, Part Eight: Guns, Guns And More Guns

Pew-pew-pew. Finally, I have some Lascannon batteries for the Chaos Spartan.


I bought four double-lasers from Puppetswar for this exact purpose. Whilst I could have made my own (and I did try), by going down this path I am able to keep all eight guns identical.


The only problem I have is that they look a little small. The guns' calibre and length are about right, but because they are tightly packed the whole weapon system looks dinky. So, to combat this, I’m adding armour…

These gun shields have been designed to look similar to the ones on the standard plastic Land Raider. They will be spaced 1mm from the guns using plasticard, and will go over the top and sides of each set, hopefully resulting in bulkier looking weaponry, once combined with the mounting points and cabling. Now that the build is closing up, I can focus on some of the options for this tank. It already has Armoured Ceramite and Frag Launchers, so now it’s pretty much just weaponry.


And the first on the list will be a Hunter-killer Missile, since Chaos Space Marine players generally don’t get to have fun with those infinite range rockets. I wanted to choose a sleek and slim line missile for the basis of this option, so I’m going for one from the current Chimera kit. It is ideal, but I want to inject a bit of ‘chaos’ to it. I’ll grind out a chunk from the nose cone, and with greenstuff, sculpt a daemonic eye and teeth, to make a cool-looking daemon-sight guidance system…very chaos.

I think after this first option I will start painting the monster. It will be an educational experiment, as I plan to do my first-ever salt weathering, and first ever OSL with an airbrush. All-in-all it should be a fun conclusion to this project.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Review: Bloodfeud Slug-Hounds And Handler

Slugs are weird. Giant slugs are weird and scary. Today. I’m looking at Gemini Miniature’s Slug-hound pack, from the Arghulas Republic.


This set retails for £9.90, and for that, you get one slug handler, and three monster-molluscs. They arrive with 25mm circular round-lipped bases.

There is very little assembly needed with this set. The beast-master is a three-part model (excluding base) as are the slugs. The metal also appears to be of a better quality than last time. Having said that, there is still a bit of prep work needed on these.


The handler’s arms have very long pegs on them, which will need to be trimmed down. As well as this, there are the standard mould-lines which will need clearing up.

The slugs don’t have the same issues as the hander, as the sucker part simple attaches to the flat zone where the face is.


The detailing on these models is simple, but well executed. As with the last Bloodfeud model, there are no real “identifying features” , giving these models a generic multi-use appeal to games and role-players.


The slugs are a little small to be used as larger monsters such as Spawn, but would have a variety of other uses in different games: pets or familiars for sorcerers, random-encounter monsters, alien “attack dogs” and so on. There really is quite a bit of potential for these models.

The handler could also double-up as some sort of marked executioner or dark magician, given some work.

All-in-all, this set has a lot to offer to the right people. Whilst simple in execution, the potential for these models is huge.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Rise of Xaphan: Vraks Army Redo Part Nine

You feel a sense of rekindled pride when you get back to a project you haven’t worked on in a while. This week, after accepting my first ever commission, I was encouraged to get back to work on my Vraks army: which is still lacking it’s second compulsory troops choice. Seeing as I am going for a grenadier/mobile force, it was obvious that I was going to add another Armoured Fist squad: this time, in a chimera.

I got a Chimera from the recently opened Asgard Games in Middlesborough (I had to go there for some work training, and decided to kill some time afterwards). It’s a great store, and has 15% off GW stock: win-win really. If you’re interested in visiting, it’s about a minute’s walk from the bus station.
Anyway, back to models. I bought this vehicle to help me with my commission: a set of four custom hulls. I thought that it would be handy to have the actual kit to measure the hull against. Also, it can be used for the Vraksians.


Seeing as I’m going for an ‘out-dated-but-functional’ theme for my weapons (single-shot Lasguns and MG34-stubbers) I thought I’d make the Chimera an older variant, with influences from World War Two tanks. I also like the idea of having most of my army use solid-shot weaponry, so this will be armed with two Heavy Bolters and a Heavy Stubber.


The heavy stubber is a piece of brass pipe, attached to where the lenses would normally go. An additional camera feed has been added to the turret directly above the Stubber. The gun looks a little plain at the moment, so I may add some more detailing with aluminium tube later on.


The turret has been modified to look more like a Panzer IV’s. I’ve started work on a storage bin for the back of the turret. For added detail, a pair of rolls from Warlord Games’ tank accessory kits, and a smoke launcher from a Rogue Trader Land Raider finish the look.


Going with the Panzer IV theme, the front end has been heavily modified. I followed the lines of the Panzer IV, with a slab-like front end, and a mildly inclined hull plate. I still need to seal this off with another vertical set of plates, and add a viewing port and hull-mounted gun. The rest of the hull will be fairly standard.


I like the idea of theming my tanks on the Panzer IV, so my Leman Russes will be built on the same chassis. To differentiate the two, the Russ-Panzers will have additional armour on the front, and will like have Schurzen spaced armour on the sides. The hatches on the back and gun ports will be reworked into an engine bay. For the turrets, I will replace them with Forge World Leman Russ ones, with added spaced armour, like on the Panzer IV H.

Once this is done I can think about the squad to go with it. My current favourite is to combine FW Vraks torsos with these legs from Victoria Miniatures' Penal Guard range. This should make for a great looking squad.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Review: Maxmini Steampunk Weapons


Steampunk is a popular sub-genre of science fiction. Boilers, cogs, brass and gears, anything clockwork or steam-driven is venerated in this fascinating genre. Thanks to third party developers and niche model makers, our games can be styled in the age of steam. Popular bits side Maxmini offers a few sets around this theme, and today I’ve opened up a box of Steampunk weapons.


Each set of weapons costs £5.59 RRP (as of September 2014), and for that you get three axes and two swords, all of which have a heavy steam-punk vibe. The blades are fashioned into cog-shapes, and all have added gears, wiring and hinges. For no obvious functional reason, just because it looks cool.


The weapons themselves are of a high quality. The details are crisp, with no severe or instantly noticeable imperfections in the resin. The blades aren’t chunky either and some of the details are really small, which is great for today’s world of highly detailed models. The larger weapons (mainly the two-handed axe) are a bit too flexible at the shift, but that’s down to resin’s own properties rather than a product defect. Providing you are careful this shouldn't pose an issue. They are all intricately detailed, apart from the sword shown below: it feels a little plain in comparison to the others.


Design-wise, they are perfect for steam-punk settings and games in 28-30mm scales, and not just the obvious 40k used like Mechanicum armies. models such as the Miner’s union for Malifaux, and those from games such as Wild West Exodus and Wolsung might benefit from these kits. They have no real “identity” in the sense that they belong to a certain game (whereas many shoulder-pad designs and shapes are obviously themed at a certain sci-fi race of super-humans). This gives them quite a wide range of applications, from science fiction machine-men to the mad scientists of a historic-fiction age.

For use on models, you’ll either want arms with open hands, or you’ll have to cut the weapon and/or the hand to get it to fit in. whilst this means almost any model can use it (pre-moulded hands on weapons do limit what can use them), it does result in more work for the modeller.


Here is the largest weapon, a two-handed poleaxe, shown on a Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Chosen model. Part-open hands like the one on this model are perfect, as the weapon simple slips in and looks the part. I’ve turned a bog-standard Chosen into something else, perhaps a Warpsmith or an Iron Warriors sorcerer. This goes to show that even one part can change the whole model.


These weapons make a fantastic addition to any clockwork, mechanical, or tech-themed models you have. With such a wide scope for their use, I can see how they can be blended in with other ranges from several games, and 100% look the part. Yet again, Maxmini fails to disappoint, and I hope to see more from this particular theme in the future.