Saturday, 30 June 2012

And The Winner Is...

First of all, thank you to those who took the time to vote on the new name for Rock/Geek. you've helped me gauge how the many ideas appeal to you. So, I can announce the new name is...

Power Armoured Metal.

The changes will take place within a few weeks, as I'm going to prepare a special new banner, and of course, change things about for the better.

Also, another important notice. Due to moving house, I wont have the usual access to the internet, meaning regular posting may not be possible for a week or so. I'll try my best to get access to a computer with internet access to get at least one post out, but no promises can be made. However, when things return to normal, hopefully in a week, expect an all-new image, shiny branding and a multi-post special feature on 6th edition, and how the changes affect actual game-play. Also for those interested will be a review of Wartorn UK.

Many thanks, and surprise me with more Facebook follows (search for The Rock/Geek Journalist Fanpage until I've said it's changed).

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Painting Corner: Shining Golds and Optical Lenses

Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to get a model to stand out, and carefully thought out colour schemes, pallets and techniques help you achieve what your mind set out to do. But occasionally, the right combos just don't seem to work, which is where I offer to help.

 This is the start of a future of helpful articles, regarding painting certain colours and models. More will come, but lets start small with some simple and important concepts: gold and lenses.

Gold is a colour which promotes ideas such as richness, leadership, superiority and general fanciness. Getting this colour right requires a number of important steps. Simple steps though. The following guide uses GW paints.

  • Start off with a layer of Warplock Bronze.
  • Follow up with a layer of Gehenna Gold, and a wash of Reikland Fleshshade.

  • After letting this dry, paint with Shinning Gold, leaving recesses unpainted.
  • Add a layer of 1:2 Shinning Gold:Mithil Silver to more prominent edges and surfaces. Finish up with highlights of pure Mithril.

Now onto lenses. This tutorial is very useful for armies with a lot of gun scopes, helmet lenses, tank lighting and auspexes. This tutorial is an adapted tutorial for 'blackstones'. Whilst my example is of a green circular lens, it can easily be adapted to other colours. It was done on paper for ease of photography (lenses are rather tiny):

  • Start by painting the lens black.
  • Add a small crescent of Caliban Green to the bottom of the circle.
  • On top of the previous crescent, add a smaller one, using 50/50 Caliban Green/Moot Green. Make it central within the bigger crescent.
  • Paint an even smaller layer of pure Moot Green. Follow up with a wash of Beil-Tan Green.

  • A final crescent of 50/50 Moot Green/White is added. A dot or two of pure white is then added to the opposite side to the crescents to create a reflection. finally, coat the whole lense in gloss varnish to boost the glass effect.
hopefully these tutorials were useful to you, and will benefit you as you add important details to your models of the far future, or paint the relics of times long forgotten. 

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

WIP: Chaos Contemptor Upgrading (Dreadnought envy)

More and more chaos contemptors are showing up across the internet. A number of one of Forgeworld's recent successes are falling to evil. A number of Nurgle and Khorne examples are extraordinary examples of ancient devices corrupted by dark gods. Strangely though, no Slaanesh, and my two are the only Tzeentch, non heresy era examples I've seen. Seeing all these amazing conversions makes my previous efforts feel...plain.

This is why I've decided to upgrade my first Contemptor Dreadnought (which you may recognise from the early days of this blog) to be more evil and more detailed. One of the plus points of the Contemptor is the large number of flat surfaces, ideal for freehand work or as a surface for details to be added. I have started to add a Greenstuff boarding around the shoulders. One will have a gemstone incorporated into it (left shoulder). I have also added a 'third eye' like on Forgeworld's Thousand Sons Dreadnought, which many of my ideas are being inspired by. A mark of Tzeentch was added to the knee, to represent the upgrade I often take.

Also, it isn't really a chaotic dreadnought without trophies, right? I didn't want to go overboard, I just wanted a little something to hint at the evil within the chassis of the beast. Skulls on chains: there we go. I added some to one of the legs. I felt this met the quota of 'enough evil to make a point'. The skulls are from GW kits, and the chain was taken from very very cheap jewellery. Some necklace from pound land. Although it isn't my first choice, the chain is quite suitable for modelling usage, and for £1 from a pound land (try dollar stores in the US) it's hard to argue with the price.

What's left to do then? Well, I want to get the boarders done on each side, then sanded and riveted. I might also try to get some finer chain to hang chaotic runes from the neck area. Then it's on to painting, where the scheme will remain the same, but of course with the new details. I suspect I'll make the boarders yellow, but gold is a possibility, especially since I think I've nailed a perfect recipe, which I'll happily share with you all on Thursday.

As a final note, voting for the new name (which will include a different web address and spanking new banner) closes June 30th. Get on the Facebook page now and start voting:

Saturday, 23 June 2012

40k Philosophy: Sculpting

More often than you think, sometimes kits which are availiable to you don;t seem for you. Yes, they maybe readily available, but they somehow don't quite bring your vision to life. Even a wide range of parts has its limitations, without serious customisation.

Sculpting can be the answer, as you are not limited on poses for parts, and have limited customisation. But for those starting out, a little practice is needed, and some lessons learned. Here are some tips which should help you improve sculpting skills:

 One: Armatures.

In the early stages of my sculpting, I found out that it's very hard to sculpt with no support of a frame of some description. More often than not, any pressure applied by sculpting tools would move the parts undesirably, meaning constant alteration was needed. Also, once dry, the putty parts were too flimsy to last. Armatures are the solution (well, for bigger parts). An armature is essentially a skeleton, adding strength, structure and shape to anything you make.

A good source of armatures is paper clips. Cheap (around £1 for 200 clips) and easily available, they can form a strong supporting frame, with careful bending and super glue. As a tip for making humanoid models, make notes of real body proportions, so as to avoid misshapen bodies (unless that's the aim).

 Two: Sausage Man

This may sound unusual, but it is good to start off with a basic sausage man. This helps block out the basic musculature, armour or limbs for later stages. It also speeds up sculpting: it would take ages to try and sculpt everything from the start. As you can see from this sculpt, the sausage shape was used to help form the basic layer of the Warboss' legs and upper body.

Three: Different materials

It helps to have different materials to help create the different layers of the model. Generally, you want a tough, rigid material to form the inner core, and something softer on the outside, which is easier to produce details. I've found that Milliput standard (Yellow-Grey) works well as the inner centre sculpt. Greenstuff is added over this. When  practising, I noted that sculpting Greenstuff-on-Greenstuff was problematic, as often it would slide off. Miliput has a rougher surface, and thus is better for Greenstuff to adhere to.

 Plasticard can also be used in the sculpting process. For example, I have seen a number of people use plastic tubes to form the basis of Obliterators, and I have used it to form this Reaver's head. Generally, leave plasticard for larger sculpts, and make sure you reinforce the structure. A lot of pressure will be put on it when you're pressing down on and forming the layers.

Four: Tools and lubricant

Don't be confused by the latter, this will come soon. Tools first. A good set of tools will allow you to sculpt a wide variety of textures: large flat tools will help with large smooth surfaces, and thinner, pointy utensils will allow precise sculpting, such as doing hair and chain-mail suits. You would find it difficult to find a master of all tool, so shop around for a number of different items to sculpt with. Things such as cocktail sticks and small spatulas can act as primitive tools, whilst many companies will sell you sets of multi-pointed sculpting tools, which are more than worth the cost.

Now, lubricant? Don't worry, its not as perverse as it sounds. What you need is something to keep the outer layer smooth and hole free. There is nothing more irritating than having a sculpt solidify with lumpy surfaces and pits. What I use to ensure a smooth surface is a tub of Vaseline. Apply a small dab on tools, and surfaces will appear smoother and flatter as you sculpt. It's also useful for cracked lips, apparently....

For trimming and reshaping sculpts, I recommend Sandpapers of varying types, to help shape the material for subsequent layers, or to get angled,even shapes.

Als a final important notice, the voting for the new name closes on the 30th June, so get voting:

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Album Review: Kerrang! Presents Metallica: The Black Album Covered

Usually, CD's which come free with magazines are often compilations of not-so-new tracks, and this generally means it's nothing we haven't herd before. But now and again, you get something that is new, and adds a twist to the normal routine of reprocessed track selections.

This weeks Kerrang Magazine comes with a cover of Metallica's Black Album, with contributions from bands: including Yashin, Lostalone, Motionless In White and Evile. Each band took one song, and has put their own spin on the legendary metal band's 12 track album.

The original sounds still come through but with a clever, darker feel, which brings them in time with 21st century metal music. In general, this album pays a great homage to Metallica, and will appeal to those fans who are interested in hearing new takes on the band's popular songs.

The current favourite of the lot has to be the cover of 'Enter Sandman', one of Metallica's timeless classics. Rise To Remain took on the challenge of covering this iconic track, and have made it even darker and heavier in the process. Listen 53 seconds into the track and you will soon understand.

You can get Kerrang! Presents Metallica: The Black Album Covered with this weeks Kerrang magazine. It'll cost you £2.80, but it's a no-brained bargain for anyone who loves their metal, and Metallica. This week's issue also has the low-down from the Kerrang! Awards. Remember, Kerrang is weekly, so hurry up if you want it.

(Images from and

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Showcase: Trazyn The Infinite (99%)

The fallen rise again...slowly. Well, one at a time to be honest.

I've been wanting to have a slight change from Chaos Marines Lately. You may have noticed this with the post relating to Bushido. It's always good for people to have a fresh change now and again, and today, it'll be Necrons.

Wanting to make a start on the army, I thought I'd start small: a HQ choice. I was tempted by Nemesor Zahndrekh. I liked the colour scheme and the pose. But I was also swayed by Trazyn the Infinite: A crazy olf overlord with a tendency to collect alien trinkets. A tough choice, but in the end I went for everyone's favourite collector. But with a twist.

I ended up, as you can see, using a different scheme. I essentially used the scheme for Zahndrekh and applied it to Trazyn. I feel that it looks great, especially considering that white isn't the easiest colour to get right. His Empathetic Obliterator (the pointy staff) and the cloak were fun sections, and gave me a good chance to practice green highlighting. The chipping on the white armour was achieved by dabbing a sponge in Vallejo Charred Brown, wiping off the majority of the paint, then carefully dabbing segments of Trazyn's armour.

He still needs his base doing, and I was thinking of doing something new. I'll be going with a Mars-sand look, with Necron artefacts buried within the red sand. Alongside this, I'll also be working on de-converting some deathmarks (you may recognise them as chaos androids from a previous post).

Saturday, 16 June 2012

40k For Thought: Is Wargaming Too Expensive?

A lot of items in the modern world are turning into rather pricey objects, and more items are being considered less 'worth it' . Fuel never gets cheaper, chocolate is getting smaller, for the same price, and general commodities and necessities are getting harder to justify. Yet, for a lot of us, we can still set aside some money for a hobby, and in the spirit of this blog, today's focus is on wargaming. A number of people (I.e. new players and some forum users) thinking that starting wargaming (with focus on Games Workshop in particular) isn't viable: "it's too expensive" seems to be a key reason. So, here are my balanced views on this. I know I am too a gamer, But I can be objective....

Firstly, let us begin with the 'yes' side to the debate. New gamers will find out quick that they need a fair bit of money to get a start in the hobby and fun. Since Games Workshop's games are the most common where I've been, they shall be the primary case study. I have thought about starting a Necron army. For just the 'basics' (in this case, a starter, a codex and a leader) It will cost me around £100. Also, I'll need the new rulebook which comes out in a few weeks: add £45. Now, you could share this with gaming buddies, but if you have to buy it on your own, its a lot. For people who haven't started yet, add in dice, templates and a tape measure, and you can expect to pay a total of around £170.

Bear in mind, this is just the basics to get you started. Some of their other products also suffer from 'over-inflation'. For example, after a recent  annual price increase, a storm raven (a medium armoured flying transport) costs £50, a £9 rise on last month. Now some may claim this is 'natural inflation' but it's not how the public and potential customers see it. They see it as a blatant profiteering scam. Therefore, they will be deterred, and wargaming as a whole may have lost out on many new players because of this mentality.

However, there are ways around this. The second hand market for wargames is substantial: not as big as the primary sellers, but still noticeable. Places like E bay and stores with 'used model' cabinets are a haven for people who want to game, but don't have enough money to buy fresh from the box Often enough, you find a little gem, but quite often the models are not in the best condition. However, these issues can be an easy fix with the right knowledge. Badly painted models can be stripped, badly assembled ones can be broken down and started again, and missing components can be bought, found or traded. As proof, the Land raider at the top of this post was bought for £15 (1/3 of retail price) and was in a poor state. Thankfully, with a few choice parts and hours of sanding, filing and chipping off glue stains, it became a well executed and well painted battle tank.

Alongside this, there are a number of alternative companies, who sell similar products for less. Now, they may not always have the same quality aspect, but they are a viable option. For example, a box of 30 Mantic Zombies will cost you £19.99. To buy the same amount of GW zombies, you would need to spend £41 (you would get 40, but you would have to spend £30.75 to get to the 30 zombies marker). However, you need to know that you cannot take non-GW figures into their stores, they are apparently very strict about this. But, if you have an independent gaming store or club nearby, then you'll be fine bringing them along.

So, to conclude, wargaming is an expensive hobby, but there are ways around the price aspect. 2nd hand dealers, mates selling old stuff, and alternative companies can help make the game more affordable, and make you more able to enjoy. Also, consider how much you would get from the hobby. I personally have got more use and entertainment out of a £22 disc lord, than I have £22 of used Xbox games. If you get a lot of enjoyment from the hobby, then cost should not be an issue for you.

Also, in all honesty, it's still cheaper then having a shoe hobby, or something weird like that...

(current prices are direct from Mantic and GW, other on-line retailers may vary, image owned by Mantic)

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Showcase: Bushido Wrath and a Big Announcement (Get Involved!)

Its good to have a change now and again. As a servant of Tzeentch I should know that painting blue all the time is boring and bad for you. Sometimes it's the only colour I see, which is a good indication that I should change hues, tones and shades....

 Therefore, here is some Bushido. It's a game I've thought about getting more involved in (i.e. actually playing) but the emergence of Malifaux at my local gaming scene has changed this, and now I may start this instead. In my confused state, I did buy a blister for Bushido: Orphan of Yurei and Wrath. So with the models sat on my shelf, it seemed fitting to try and paint the wrath, just in case I start Bushido officially.

It was a perfect chance to try out GW's bigger 'purple' selection of paints. After a spray of black, the wrath was base coated in Daemonette Hide. After a wash of Druchii Violet (and a lot of waiting) I Dry-brushed Slaanesh Grey, and dry-brushed then again with 50/50 Slaanesh Grey/White. The claws were started with Vallejo 'earth', and was blended all the way up to Kommando Khaki. The eyes sockets were painted with Liche Purple, and a little white was added on each progressive layer to create the glowing effect.

Also, BIG NEWS. The Rock-Geek Journalist is to be renamed. Something more eye-catching, something sexy...

Come to the Facebook page, and vote on your favourite idea:

 (Votes will be counted on Friday 22nd, unless we need more people. So get sharing, and help decide the future name).

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Showcase: Avenged Sevenfold Dreadnought 2.0 (someone got an upgrade)

Its often that gamers will look back at their early projects, thinking: "I could do so much better now". With optimism, fresh ideas, better skills and new techniques, people will hack up a once proud piece, intending to further increase its awesomeness, and improve on a great idea utilising more experienced hands. I've done this many times before. My Ahriman model has been painted, reposed and repainted, repainted again, stripped and is now undergoing final details of its third paint-job. Also, I thought I'd show you this.

You may remember him from the early days of this blog. This Dreadnought,  part of my girlfriends rock inspired chaos marine army, was almost complete, then began its use in gaming, its completion assumed. Whilst working on the Proteus, I saw it on the windowsill, looking rather tired, and if I'm honest, a little...basic. There and then, I decided to do a little 'upgrading'.

The shoulders have recieved extra armour panels, tipped with horns from a chaos marine champion's helmet. The Front plating also received rivets.

At the back, the exhausts were extended, and the roof was topped with a trio of gristly trophies, again, from the chaos marines box set. The model also has a lot more 'shiney bits', namely the power fist and pistons, which were painted with Warplock brone, followd by Sycorax Bronce, Reikland Fleshtone, then a 50/50 Sycorax/Mithril mix to highlight. Black panels were highlighted with Eshin Grey, then Codex Grey.

Alongside this, you may notice that the dread has found itself in the Arctic Circle, and sports a fresh new snow base. Its a pleasant change from all the sand.

 Overall, this new improved recipe for desruction appears (and acts also) more menacing in games, and you should expect more upgrades around here in the future...

Saturday, 9 June 2012

40k for thought: Music Inspires?

Music is thought to be highly inspirational, motivating, and emotional. All good songs (i.e. anything other than modern mass-produced cookie-cutter hormonal-teenage-girl drivel) have meanings behind them, and tell you a story, as well as provide pleasant listening.

When spending long periods of time on a project, a little background noise helps me get though. I, like a number of you out there, despise silent work, and tend to work better when I have a good song selection in the background. But what I also find is that it helps me come up with more imaginative concepts and ideas. When working on my Castellan Crowe-to-chaos lord conversion, I hadn't really thought about adding patterns to his cape, then the heavy metal kicked in, putting me into overdrive and coming out with something far more interesting than a plain cloak. (Note, the cloak has been updated further since)

Also, It does seem to provoke some unusual ideas. After happening to have Steel Panther on in the background, I thought it'd be funny to make a noise marine version of the band, starting with the 'oh so fabulous' Lexxi Foxxx (apparently, the extra x's mean sexy, no seriously, it says that, check out their bios). It seems an odd project, but a little humour can't hurt, can it?

Although I've hit a stump with that particular project, it did encourage me to improve my rather basic sculpting/green stuff skills, and helped me come up with sculpting my own model, an ork warboss (the image above). Whilst ambitious, it does give me good practice, and since warbosses are rather big, its also easier than say, a marine.

Overall, music is something that can help those with a mental block, or for those wanting a little more imagination. Here is but a small selection bands which keep me coming out with new ideas for your eyes and mine:

  • Black Veil brides
  • Manowar
  • Avenged Sevenfold
  • My Chemical Romance
  • Dragonforce
  • Ozzy Osbourne/Black Sabbath
  • Five Finger Death Punch

Also, for all you that are reading this far down, I want to make an announcement. Over the summer, you wont be getting just two, but three (yes, three) updates per week, so come back more often to take in the additional content. Likely dates will be Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, but no promises. Also, more 'secrets' are being shown on the Facebook page, so get joining.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

WIP: Chaos Chosen, and another Teaser

Every worthwhile villain has his cadre of elite soldiers and bodyguards. Davros had his Daleks, Megatron had Starscream, and Vader had his stormtroopers. In terms of chaos space marines, any self respecting lord of chaos will be protected and supported by either a unit of brutish Terminators, or perhaps a unit of ornate and dignified chosen.

For lord Ahriman, this is my choice. I like the idea of having a unit of regal protectors, and sorcerous support (although they aren't sorcerers in-game). My aim was to make them look like sorcerer apprentices, not quite full blown warp controllers, but certainly people who know a trick or two, and look the part.

The squad's load out is currently 8 men, with three power weapons (the champion has a powerspear) and a combi-plasma, with a mark of tzeentch icon bearer.I might add a heavy weapon of some description, but I am unsure what. I also plan to have all members to have the same helmet design, to tie them in. Cork was used on some to raise their height, and make the bases more interesting. They might take time to finish, I need more parts. Hopefully, I'll find just what I need at a local gaming trade fair at the end of the month.

The favourite thus far has to be the unit champion. The idea came about after buying a hacksaw. An emperor's champion's legs were sacrificed towards the cause, and was joined with a chaos torso and grey knight arms.

Alongside this, I thought I'd show you all a teaser, can you guess what this might be? Leave your ideas in the comments section, or join the Facebook page below to air your thoughts. 

Sunday, 3 June 2012

40k Philosophy: The Indecisive Modeller

Us modelling types always love to adventure with new kits, old kits, and spare junk. It's in our blood to meddle and tinker, we are never content with the 'out of the box' look, and trive to be unique.

But like me, I imagine a number of you have a pile of unfinished and abandoned projects, gathering dust whilst your manic mind is attracted to new ideas. You may also have three or four items on the go at once. Im my opinion, this isn't a bad thing.

I, as a test subject for my own thoughts, will tell you of but a few of my current exploits:

  • The Land Raider Proteus (final details and its new mine plough)
  • A Chaos Hell Talon
  • A Chaos Storm Eagle
  • Restarting my chaos militia
  • An Ahriman repaint, and accompanying chosen
  • Various Chaos Marines for my girlfriends Noise Marine army
Alongside these, I've also considered sculpting a rendition of Warboss Grimskull (shown below), from the Space Marine computer game. 

Whilst this may look like a lot to be doing at one, I find it healthy. Firstly, it keeps your mind fresh, and its hard to get bored of something when you have half a dozen 'somethings' you can do. Also, we are constantly reminded that things like Brain Training for the Nintendo DS are good for your mind. Multi-projects, I think, work just as well for modellers. Having different projects keeps you thinking, and can be mentally stimulating.

Also, it can help kick-start your brain into coming up with even more ideas. I find that I come up with more extravagant and interesting ideas when I have many things going on at once, the constant stimulation boosts my imagination, and will probably do the same for you. It's how I managed to convince myself to build an entire Proteus, imagine what you could come up with...

(Image of Grimskull from the Space Marine wikia page)