Saturday, 31 March 2012

Reflection: Black Veil Brides Live @ Leeds O2

First thing's first. All Spiked wristbands over 1/4" long should be banned from gigs. Having an arm's worth jammed into your back and raked across your arms is 1) Painful, and 2) annoying. Now, on to the gig...

O2 Academy in Leeds is bigger than anything I've experienced. There were easily a few thousand people there, the queues looping all around the building and then some. A lot of people were done up like members of the band. Glad I did the same, I wasn't the odd one out.

The two support bands, D.R.U.G.S and Reckless Love, were two unique performances. D.R.U.G.S took on a slightly tech-metal role, whilst Reckless Love was more Glam Metal. They were effectively Steel Panther-Lite...all the glam metal taste, without the innuendo...and thrusting. Whilst they contrasted, it was a good contrast, and both bands performed well.

Black Veil Brides however....whole new level of epicness. Although they only have the two albums (with a third on the way) they certainly weren't short of good music. It certainly got this journalist to the front row, something I'd never normally be comfortable doing at large gigs. Sure there was a lack of breathing room and general ignorance from some people, but It was worth it to get close to Andy Biersack and the band.

Sadly, last night's show in London was the last of the UK tour for 'Set The World On Fire', but hopefully we will hear more soon, especially when their new album hits the shelves.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

WIP: Deimos Predator (Part 2) And The Magnetisation of My Contemptors

The Deimos is still proving to be a wonderful kit to work with, and a nice model to use in game. I Admit it did explode to a Sword Brethren's power fist, but it has helped me deal with the armour issue I've had with this army. With a few more additions and edits I should be able to at least cope with most threats.

As you can see, painting has begun. I felt it was a good idea to leave the sponsons off during painting. I felt that it would be very difficult to get a brush anywhere near the inside workings. One thing I noted is the little circle on the side of the turret. It would make a good starting point for a chaos star.

Alongside this, I finally got around to magnetising the Contemptors. Whilst starting on the first one, extra weapons were built from various spare parts lying around. Now  I'm able to have some choice on what gear I want to run.

The twin heavy bolter is actually made from the spare guns from the Deimos, and the twin flamer is made from the flamer nozzles in the malcador kit, a spare fuel canister and some inside parts of a drop pod. You'd be amazed at what can be made with just a few bits of junk.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

WIP: Chaos Deimos Predator

The postal service here in the UK does occasionally give you what you want, when you want it. This week, I finally got my wheels for my Malcador Infernus, after a months wait. Turns out they got delivered elsewhere (grrr). I plan to have it completed during the Easter break, for you lovely fans to see.

Also, I got my Deimos Predator. Here are a couple of in progress shots, with the final product appearing in the near future.

The kit was rather straight forward. Having built up the regular rhino to a point, the resin parts were introduced  (including new outer panels, roof/turret plate and frontal armour. There wasn't a single major issue with the quality of the cast. Only a few tiny air bubbles, which were easily fixed. I still need to add the lascannons and more chaotic bits. I think the tomb kings banner suits the Thousand Sons theme well.

The tank did rather well in its first game today, although it did get immobilised by a couple of drones. It did manage a good number of battle suit kills, including insta-killing a battle suit commander with  one of its lascannon. Not bad, considering its side guns are yet to be attached.

Compared to a box standard predator, which I have previously owned, it is a much nicer kit. Much better looking, more fun to build, and a worthwhile investment.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Showcase: Chaos Land Raider-Refurbished Extra Armoured Variant

Once can never have too many big guns...

In a recent game against Tyranids, I realised my force is woefully unprepared for fights against monstrous creatures. Whilst I mopped up the grunts and middle-monsters with some ease, big big gribbly beasties steam-rolled through my lines.

Thus, I have taken myself to upgrade for this threat. Only hours previous to this post, I ordered the Deimos Predator from Forgeworld. hopefully the crisp, slightly dented box, filled with parts and oversized bubble wrap, will arrive soon.

I have also updated my second Land Raider. The 'brother in the back' of the metaphorical family photograph. Although there was nothing wrong with this example, it has been overshadowed by its more recent twin. I wanted to update it for two reasons.

First, it was a rather good opportunity to mimic the MKIIB Land Raider, with some extra armour. When I bought it second hand, it had no weapons or centre structure, so it was the perfect opportunity to build one of my favourite variants of the battle tank from scratch. Whilst working on it at the time, I also added extended track guards at the front. Very little was done to update it, since the basic structure was sound and well done.

It has always had a missing hatch: I never got around to plugging it. When looking for new parts, I found an unused Baneblade mini-turret to use for this, and created an automated combi-plasma. Simple, fitting with the armoured theme, and cool looking. Ticks all the boxes...

Second, the paint scheme was a little...basic, when compared to the twin. all that was needed was to add more yellow, tidy up the parchment, and a general sprucing up of the colours. The only thing left to do is pigments and a matt varnish coat. All in all, I feel that it is suitable for service alongside the other Land Raider, in battle with those nasty big 'uns.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Reflection: Yashin Live @ Manchester

Amidst the vast crowds and multi-coloured lighting, wearing the wristbands of the bands, it's hard not to blend in at a gig. Generally I do well at this, although the particularly violent death-wallers and circle runners, throwing themselves into the fray with such force, did make me step back. Usually this is not an issue, but this crowd was oddly energetic. But, with the playlist, you can see why they got so excited. That, with a combination of alcohol...

Yashin, alongside Tantrum To Blind, Jody Has a Hitlist and With One Last Breath, graced the Manchester Academy, filling the underground room with a great deal of noise and amazing music. Of course, you will get the odd person, shouting loudly "so-n-so are ****" and much worse, but the best one can do is ignore them and focus on the stage.

The headliner's music certainly gathered an active crowd, and the band's actions  caught my attention. Monkey-hanging upside-down off the lig.hting rigs is something not every band claims to do. They somehow managed to get me to take a high number of photographs, although it could be the higher-quality batteries, allowing me to do so.

 A number of new songs made their way to the fans, including my favourite of the night, 'Runaway Train'. A little hard to make out over the crowds, but it has managed to stick afterwards. Definitely a great late-start to the year, but will Black Veil Brides top them? Find out in a few weeks. Until then, more nerd-stuff!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Album Review: Avenged Sevenfold 'Nightmare'

It is always a difficult phase when a great band looses a great member. James 'Rev' Sullivan died at the end of 2009, just before Nightmare was released. The album has been the only one released since his passing, but the band has not forgotten their late great drummer, and the album is a fitting tribute.
                                               (Image property of Roadrunner Records)

the 11 track album keeps to the usual dark, Gothic style Avenged is known for, and drummer Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater was able to work well alongside the band to produce the album. The steady opening soon gives way to a heavier song list, with fast paced drums and solos throughout.

It is a shame, really, that 4AM, an additional song with some vocals from 'The Rev', didn't make it onto the album. Although released later on as an EP, it would have been a great addition to the album when it went on sale.

Whilst The Rev's loss will always be remembered, we also hope that the band can hold together, to produce more epic music for it's many supporters and fans.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

showcase: Sorceror on a Disc (aka daemonic surfboard)

You may remember, from my most recent 40k philosophy article but a few days ago, that I promised photographs of my sorcerer on a disc. Well, true to my word, here they are.

The conversion was rather simple. I simply added my chaos sorcerer (made from the new (ish) plastic grey knights and a greenstuff cast of a thousand son's headpiece) to a disc of tzeentch, taken from the Tzeentch herald on disc kit. People have had a number of issues with finecast, GW's most recent attempt to replace their metal range. The disc was relatively acceptable, apart from a miscast eye on the rim. Thankfully, a little paint covered this, and it is not generally an issue.

This guy has slightly suffered from 'new model syndrome'. In its first game, he got one shotted by an anti-tank krak missile. The next game, he was swarmed by 30 hormagaunts (took down 7 of them though). hopefully, he will do better, but for now, it is still a simple yet effective conversion.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

40k Philosophy: Conversions and You

Customisation, in my experience, is present in daily life. We choose our own meals, modify our cars, and tailor holidays specifically for our needs. It is even a key factor of war gaming.

A lot of people (especially me) are not content with 'out of the box' and often consider 'converting' our kits, using other kits, after market parts (in a similar sense to car parts) or even go as far as manufacturing parts. There are a number of reasons we do this (aside from being fun!).

To represent non-existent kits

This is becoming less of an issue, with more and more in game units being represented, but it is still common practice. With a little adjustment, a unit can be made to represent something entirely different. For example, My Chaos Contemptors were make from imperial Contemptors, as no chaos variant exists as of yet. With a little work and some spare parts, they make fitting examples.

To make a cooler looking unit

The 'rule of cool' is often a good reason to convert a model or unit. Whilst some will be happy with a standard kit, some feel that this isn't good enough, or that it doesn't quite fit with the style you've gone for. I could have easily used a box of regular chaos marines to represent my chosen, but it didn't look rihgt. Instead, a box of Grey knights was used, for their stylised armour and cool halberds, fitting weapons for a sorcerer's bodyguard. As well as this, I've recently finished a chaos Sorcerer on a disc, using the new finecast kit. Pictures will most certainly follow, so stay tuned.

To make a nice centrepiece

Every army deserves a centrepiece: something which makes the army stand out, and best represents the appearance, design and function of the army. It can often be a bold hero or a battletank. For me, the central feature is my Land Raider. A simple conversion of the tracks and some ForgeWorld doors makes it stand out greatly from the 'standard' examples

Monday, 5 March 2012

Life: My Chemical Romance and a Heartfelt Piece of Loss And Life

Go back to 2006, and you'll find that 'The Black Parade'  was one of the most influential albums of the year. And to a great number of people, it still is today. This was their third album, and it has changed me greatly. Ignore what the 'tabloid media' had controversially said, it was all nonsense. I was a better person thanks to this band.

The Album also stirs up some very personal losses I've experienced in my life. Listen to the track 'Cancer' and you'll see why. In 2001 I lost my father. To an eight year old boy, this was an incomprehensible tragedy, and one that still haunts my mind. As a relative, you find yourself asking 'what if', every day afterwards. It never stops hurting. You never stop thinking, and blame yourself, even though it was nature's cruel intent. No child should ever have to experience this, but death's cold embrace affects every family.  

But these emotions have a silver lining, they shows you are still human, and it is not shameful. Whilst the tears of the past do burn, they remind me of the good times I had with him, and the brief bond we held. I am always told that my dad was proud of me, and would be now, if he were here. Since that day, I aimed to do such a thing, and make him proud. Although the life beyond this is a complete mystery, if all goes well, I hope to see him in the great here-after, and ask him those ever lasting questions I've asked myself for the last 11 years.