Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Workshop Datalogs (May 2015)

May has been a good month for starting new projects. Since the start of May I have built two new characters, most of a new support unit, and modified an older vehicle for a new army.

Firstly, characters. Most of you will have seen my heavy metal sorcerer by now, and since the last post, it has reached the painting stage. The model follows the standard pattern for the most part, with the fur cloak being the key difference.

In line with the Thousand Sons hatred of the Space Wolves, the Emperor's favourite lapdogs, the cloak has been painted to look like the skinned pelt of a Thunderwolf. Perhaps it was be the favoured mount of a particularly satisfying kill, or the pet of a long-hated arch enemy.

Next up is a new Warpsmith, this time based off a Terminator (it's a 2+ save anyway, so why not?). The model is an Iron Hand Iron Father from the Horus Heresy range, with new weapons from Kromlech.

This model is more fluff-based than some of my more "custom" creations. Anyone who has read Ahriman: Sorcerer will hopefully see this as Ignis, one the the formidable Masters of Ruin. This ally of Ahriman is a different project for me, as he is described as wearing bright orange and black armour ans is heavily tattooed, which brings new painting challenges. Still, it will be fun to work on, and equally fun to build his automaton Credence, which will likely be based on a Horus Heresy Castellax as it shares similar features (wrist mounted flamers, fists and a bolt cannon).

Supporting these new characters will be a full battery of Rapier guns with a difference. These are based off Tzeentch Screamers of Tzeentch, with gun barrels from Anarchy models. Game-wise they will be run with Butcher Cannons: the Anarchy barrels are big and rugged enough to represent this beefed up Autocannon.

This mecha-daemon look turned out better than I thought, and is the first step on the road to a Daemonkin army, which is strongly rumoured to be coming soon. No harm in being prepared.

Finally we have a chaotic Onager walker for the Dark Skitarii. This is, for the most part, a simple refit of my Forgefiend. It made sense to use it, as it is also an AV12 3HP walker with an invulnerable save. The standard Ectoplasma Cannons can be used as a twin linked Phosphor Blaster, whilst the third head-gun has been modified with a Cognis Stubber and some manipulator arms, which look like creepy mandibles.

I think the arm set up works fine for multi-gunned Onagers like those with an Icarus Array or the Phosphor Blasters, but for the Neutron Laser I have something else in idea for another day my friends. As usual, like, favourite and subscribe, and keep up to date on Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Review: Kromlech Stygian Noble Heads

The Thousand Sons are an iconic Chaos Space Marine faction, but has very little in model support from GW. Apart from Ahriman, a conversion kit and the Forge World items, there is little in the way of a model range for them. That's why today's product, from the amazing Kromlech catalogue of bits, is a great alternative to the same bits.

Kromlech's Stygian range is well-suited to the Thousand Sons, or indeed any Egyptian-themed force. But for today, I'm only looking at their Stygian Nobles heads. For £5.05*, you get ten heads, each pack containing two copies of five different helmet designs, all coast in resin.

The heads are of a good quality. The resin used isn't overly rubbery or brittle. There is some flex in one of the heads ("bunny ears") but it doesn't feel like the part will break in a light breeze. They are securely cast on the sprue, so there is little chance of these breaking in transit. 

The helmets work out a little smaller than a typical Thousand Sons head (middle), due to a smaller crest. However, the actual "helmet" is roughly the same size, and Kromlech haven't skimped on the details. Each helmet has been lovingly sculpted and cast, and each of the five designs bears a very unique look.

As with many third party helmets, these bits fit Space Marines with no major work, a very easy swap with the standard bits. Because the crests are smaller, the heads are much easier to pose, and can offer a wider range of poses than the larger metal/resin GW ones.

This set is a worthwhile buy for any Thousand Sons player (or other lovers of the Egyptian style), as they offer modellers a bit of extra choice when it comes to making cool leaders or even basic troops. The low price and casting quality make this a great addition to models in your forces.

*based on current Euros to GBP info

Monday, 18 May 2015

WIP: Heavy Metal Sorcerer

I've been thinking: there just isn't enough metal on this blog.

I started this blog out as a way to share two of my hobbies; wargaming and music. I realised early on that the music and entertainment reviews, whilst popular, clashed a bit too much with the wargaming, which was my main hobby. However, with my girlfriend's metal-themed Chaos Space Marines, they held the two together. But now the Necrons have taken over as her primary force, the musical side has been left in the dark. But not today, because I bring forth a leader of men and of rifts. I have the components to make a new, bigger and better sorcerer lord, with a metal twist.

The base model is from Avatars of War, and is a Lord of Apocalypse with sword and shield. It is a big model, as shown in the above picture. Such a stature is perfect for a lord. The boots and shin armour will probably be altered, as it looks to skinny for power armour. The upper body is perfect, and will be mostly unchanged, mainly removing a skull and some fur at the back to allow a backpack to g on.

I wont be using either of the weapons (the sword is too stumpy, and the shield is our of place in a 40k setting) or either of the heads (which are good, but for another model I think), and instead have the following bits in line.

For the essential force weapon, I have this nice tech-rich staff, from Trazyn the Infinite. The body is being used for another project, so the arms were up for grabs. The head is from a classic metal power armoured Chaos Lord. The right hand is from the Tzeentch Herald on disc, and is giving an awesome pair of devil horns. I've been wanting to use this part on something for ages now, and this sorcerer seems to be the best idea yet. It combines Tzeentch's ways of mutation, and is an iconic gesture of heavy metal music. The backpack is from a Dark Apostle, though it maybe swapped out as it has a few too many imperfections.

The general pose will go something like this. The base model leaves very little room in the way of posing, but I think the pose I've pulled off is suitable. Now that I have the parts and the pose sorted, I'll start the final build. Keep up to date on Facebook and Twitter for pictures of this and other projects.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

WIP: RT Chaos Land Raider Achilles (Part Two)

Restoring a classic car is no easy feat, and neither is a classic model: especially when you're adding modern touches to it. This week has seen much progress of the iconic Land Raider; the turret situation is pretty much resolved, and some awesome little details are making themselves known.

These sponsons came from the Storm Raven kit, originally armed with Hurricane Bolters. The guns were replaced with two Multi Meltas. The big problem I had was finding some sensors/camera for the turrets. I had no suitable vehicle bits in my spares box, and nothing useful elsewhere: that is, until I bought some Sicarian Ruststalkers for my Dark Skitarii at the weekend.

When I first same the box, I thought that the heads for the Infiltrators looked a bit dumb (one of the many reasons I made them as Ruststalkers): they looked more like camera-frisbees...then I had a Eureka moment. The aerials, sensors and lenses were perfect for my needs, and with a bit of trimming they went onto the sponsons. They might look a little goofy right now (R2-D2 comes to mind), but they add to the quirkiness of this tank.

Now that the major issues have been addressed, I can attend to the fun little details. This storage bin, once home to tarps, fuel cans and chains, is now a fitting trophy unit, displaying the helms and skulls of notable foes (and former allies).

The side armour has been reinforced with triangular struts along the tops of the side extensions. The old-school smoke launchers are original parts. A few extra armoured plates have been added to the exhausts. The engine has also been "turbo'd", using leftover bits of junk found in the depths of the parts tower. It is a bit ugly at the moment, so I'll show you it at a later date.

A possible addition to this tank is a Dozer Blade, or some sort of bladed apparatus, to the front. Once I've found a nice design I will begin work on it, then finish off the tracks and riveting.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

WIP: Dark Skitarii Maniple (Part Two)

The Dark Skitarii continue to grow, and this week has seen me not only buy the codex, but also one of the support units available to the army: an Ironstrider.

First up, the book. Codex: Skitarii a cheaper codex at £20; sure it's about a third smaller than a codex weighing in at 80 pages, but the cheaper entry cost to playing Skitarii over other armies is appealing. They haven't skimped in quality either, as the book feels and looks well made, with some beautiful artwork. Also there is a return to seeing 'Eavy Metal style painted models in the pages, something that is new to me (I haven't seen any other 7th ed books). What would have been amazing is something far older; Golden Daemon entries (like in Codex: Chaos Space Marines 3.5), but that is what Warhammer: Visions is for I suppose.

I've also made up an Ironstrider war walker. I chose to make it as a Sydonian Dragoon since I like the idea of mounted robot cavalry, something that neither my Thousand Sons or Vraksians can claim to have. Also, after my first battle with my Skitarii, I've fallen in love with taser weapons.

The model is also armed with a Phosphor Serpenta, thought a modified version. I didn't like the idea of the rider not holding on with at least one hand (one is needed for the lance) so instead the Phosphor weapon is slaved to the servitor, mounted in place of one of the T-Rex robot arms. In-keeping with the army's fluff (recently traitorous) the model only bears minor mutations; a horn coming from the servitor, and a larger bony protrusion from the Serpenta.

Having pondered the codex, I have this small army list made up for what I currently possess:

TROOPS-10 Skitarii Rangers, Transuranic Arquebus, Omnispex, The Omnicient Mask

TROOPS-8 Skitarii Vanguard, two Plasma Calivers, Arc Pistol, Phase Taser

FAST ATTACK-1 Sydonian Dragoon, Phosphor Serpenta

This army, whilst small, is focused in its role, and each unit is kitted out accordingly. The Dragoon's role is to charge big scary monsters and vehicles, using it's first turn strength eight and doubled initiative to cause some serious damage to an enemy unit. If it goes towards infantry, the Phosphor Serpenta will help mark the unit, making it easier for the other squads to kill in the Shooting phase.

The Rangers' Alpha has the Omnicient Mask , which grants the unit the Zealot rule, meaning it can stay on the table and pick off important models such as sergeants and special weapons carriers.

My Vanguard will fight from the front, using their deadly rad and plasma weapons to take on most foes, be they hordes of Orks or large Tyranid bio-constructs. The Alpha's Phase Taser has the added bonus of toughness-based Instant Death, meaning tougher creatures are less than safe against him.

Though this force is small, it will hopefully be effective. Next in line will be another Dragoon to bulk out the squad, as well as either more Vanguard/Rangers, or another support unit like the Ruststalkers or the mighty Onager (speaking of Onagers, I do have a Forge Fiend not doing anything these days...). As usual, keep up to date with this project, and others, via the Facebook page.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

WIP: RT Chaos Land Raider Achilles (Part One)

Some might call it sacrilege, but modifying a classic model, especially a rare one, can be deeply satisfying, and specially worthy of note of the example in question has seen better days. At 1000 Facebook likes I promised to reveal something special, and here it is, a WIP Chaos Land Raider Achilles based on the original Rogue Trader era Land Raider of legend. 

The original tank, the jewel in a neat RT era haul, was in a dire condition. Huge chunks of the tank had been melted (probably with a lighter), the tracks were damaged, and there was this weird gunk covering parts of it...Nurgle's Rot probably. Only about 60% of the tank was usable, and less than half the visible bodywork was in a good way.

There is little chance of finding spares, so I decided to bite the bullet and commit RT Heresy: I converted this vintage model and made a modern version of it. The first task was to strip the tank down and chop away the horribly melted sections and replace them with plasticard fabrications. The basic hull was easy to do with multiple flat sections, and the usable parts of the floor, front plate and engine bay.

The Tracks were harder to replicate, but I think I've done a convincing job. Strips of plasticard and plastic rod were used to replace melted and missing links and pins respectively. 

A recent idea was to have a Heavy Bolter turret on top, a weapon option available to the Achilles. I didn't have one on a pintle mount, but I did have a spare turret from my Blood and Skulls Chimera review, and the hull plate to go with it. With a lot of trimming it fit flush on top. It also helps bulk out the hull, which is small compared to the modern iteration of the Land Raider.

The engine combines elements from several eras, neat slim pipes of the modern age, but with an archaic vibe about them. They were actually Lascannons from my home made Lascannon guide, but cut down and given additional bracing. 

Creating the main gun was an interesting challenge. I had intended to make a completely custom tank armed with an Earthshaker, to count-as a Legion Basilisk. But something this venerated deserves more than that, so it became the Quad Mortar-armed Achilles. The main barrel is from the Baneblade/Shadowsword kit, with four smaller tubes glues together. They are removable, should I decide that I want to run a custom tank.

Both sides were badly scarred, so the only real option was to re-skin the side panels. Whilst they look plain now, once trimmed and given rivets, they will fit the aesthetics of the tank. 
Once this relic is brought fully from the land of the dead and dying, I will look forward to pulping everything in the name of Tzeentch.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Battle Report: Dark Skitari Vs Necrons (300 pts)

This week saw me not only start a new army, but also get my first game with it; albeit a small one. I pitted my starting units against an equally pointed Necron force. The battle went something like this....

TROOPS-10 Rangers, Transuranic Arquebus, Omnispex
TROOPS-6 Vanguard, two Plasma Caliver, Arc Pistol, Taser Goad

HQ-Overlord, Staff of Light, Sempiternal Weave
TROOPS-8 Warriors
TROOPS, 5 Immortals, Gauss

Table and scenario:

We decided to go for a small table with simplified rules for a nice quick game. We didn't bother with warlord traits, and just went for a standard killpoint game. Necrons went first, Skitarii failed to steal the turn

Turn One

The Necrons advanced slowly forward, with the Warriors going around to the left to attack the Vanguard, whilst the Immortals and Overlord went for the Rangers. A wave of Gauss fire disintegrates two Vanguard, but the squad maintains composure. The Immortals, out of range of the Rangers, make a run move.

Skitarii scrap-code flies through the air, and the half-humans make their opening moves. The remaining Vanguard pour rad and plasma fire into the Warriors, downing two. Despite the punishing fire, the Necron constructs reform and the squad remains at full strength. The Rangers fair a bit better, and manage to take down two Immortals, one of which stays down.

Turn Two

The Necron Warriors continue to obliterate the Vanguard, who are all taken down barring the Vanguard Alpha, whose cold logical mind keeps him in the fight. The Immortals take out a Ranger with their heavier Gauss weapons. 

Realising the end is nigh, the Vanguard Alpha makes a desperate charge. His Arc Pistol fries one Necron, only for it to reanimate. The charge is more successful, and whilst he does loose a wound to reactionary fire, three Warriors are shorted out by the Alpha's Taser Goad. The five survivors hold their ground.

The Rangers pour accurate fire into the Immortals, downing two of these elite machines. A few shots strike the Overlord, but fail to damage it.

Turn Three

The Overlord leads from the front, moving forward and killing a ranger with its Staff of Light. The Immortals fail to cause any damage. In the close combat, the Vanguard Alpha finally succumbs to the tide of silver metal.

The lone Ranger squad focuses on the tougher Immortals, taking down another two. Galvanic shots bounce harmlessly off the Overlord. 

Turn Four

The slow methodical advance continues, with both Necron units firing at the Rangers in cover. Two more Rangers fall to the torrent of Gauss fire.
They retaliate, killing two Warriors, causing the remaining mdels to flee the battlefield. They later regain composure.

Turn Five (Final Turn)

This final turn sees the Necrons steadily enter the Skitarii battlezone, burning several more Ranger with their Gauss weapons. a Failed charge by the Immortals and Overlord sees the last Immortal taken down.

The few survivors fall back, hoping to avoid a chage from the Overlord. Galvanic Rifles aimed at the Warriors cause some damage, killing the remaining survivors.
Game Ends.

Victory points:

Necrons: Units killed (1), First Blod (1), In enemy territory (1), Total=3
Skitarii: Units Killed (2), Total=2
Necron Victory!

This was a close defeat, but a fun and educational one. I learned a number of things from this Firstly, Plasma Calivers, whilst Dangerous, are good, and can put out a high amount of high-strength-low AP shots, triple that of a conventional Plasma Gun at medium Range. Taser Goads are also great, acting like a high-strength Tesla weapon in combat (6's grant bonus attacks). It is worth noting though that bigger squads are better, as my Vanguard were taken out fairly easily. The army could also do with some heavier support, either some Dragoons, Balistarii or an Onager.