Saturday, 29 September 2012

WIP: Gaming Table 2.0 (Part Five)

Some more progress on the battle board in today's post, as I begin to paint the field. Well, desert.





As you can probably surmise  I'm going with a desert themed board. With enough hills made for now, I decided to turn my attention to the boards themselves, which have had no love since I bought them a month or so ago.

Notice the blast crater, painted in black,
to represent a shell detonation
Paint wise they will use the same colours as the hills. I'll base coat them in Earth Stone, then dapple/stroke Safari sand on top, leaving a little bit of the previous colour showing. I have also thought about painting patches of unearthed rock, using various greys, to create the illusion of slabs of stone .

As well as this, a new building has found its way to the game; a bastion. I think this was a fantastic  and lucky, purchase. You see, I bought it for £18.50, which is £7 less than the current retail price. The reason: Hobby craft have neglected to update their prices. 20%+ saving because of pricing errors? Tzeentch certainly favours me this week.

The bastion is mostly stock. However, I did want to make a more extravagant entrance, and so I used eagle-motif panels from the Bassilica on the wall with the door on it. It will be painted in mute colours, with the exception of the eagle relief, which will be a worn gold.

That's all for now, but next week, I might surprise you with a custom scenario I'll be playing for laughs. the picture above provides a hint. Lets just say I'll be setting the world on fire...

Thursday, 27 September 2012

40k Philosophy: Codex: Chaos Marines, And Future Changes To My Sons


With the fist codex of  Warhammer 40,000: Sixth Edition being Chaos Space Marines, you can imagine that I will be a happy cultist. But how will I be adapting and expanding my Thousand Sons for this new book?


The first change, one that has already been work-in-progress, is the inclusion of cultists. Cultist hordes seem to be a new concept that many chaos players are thinking of using. I wont be going too mad...just one unit of 20 for now. I'm hoping I can mix and match weapons, otherwise I have a lot of arm swapping to do. In order to use allied tanks from the Imperial Guard codex, I'll be rebuilding a Forgeworld Renegade squad, to count as veterans.

Next, it's a lovely Hellsmith. I've always wanted the ability to have a tekkie in my vehicle heavy army, so you can imagine my joy at seeing the official pics. However, I thought that for now I'll make my own, rather than spending £18 on the new one, using many design features of the new kit such as the mechanical tentacles. I've based the model on an old metal Techmarine, a sorcerer's backpack, various parts, and a lot of GF9 cable (which is featured here).

 I'm still at war with what arm to use. I really want to use a Tartaros pattern power fist, as it looks great mocked up, but it depend on if I can even use power fists on him.










And this brings me onto the next change; Terminators. Whilst I have had Terminators (of many patterns) before, I wanted an entirely new unit, one which fits in with my 'recently post-heresy' theme, and one which has my highest standard of work done on them.

Whilst this is just a start, here is my unit champion, to demonstrate the style I am going for. Thin strips of plasticard will be used to add banding to the shoulder pads and collars, as well as to made headdresses at a later stage.

This of course is just the beginning. I also intend to purchase some of the new units, such as the Helldrake or Forgefiend. when Codex: Chaos Space Marines lands on the 6th October, I will follow up this article with a more tactical one, detailing how my army lists, war-gear choices, and tactics will be changing, hopefully for the better.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Product Review: Gale Force Nine Chains (Regular and Snake)


Often modellers will look elsewhere for materials, since the parts that are available anywhere just won’t cut it. Sometimes you will need to make something entirely from scratch, be it a weapon, an arm, or a whole model. Today, I’ll be reviewing two items which will be invaluable to the custom modeller, from Gale Force Nine’s ‘chain’ selection.

 One thing you will need, for both products, is a decent pair of clippers. Gale Force Nine’s chains are made from metal, so you’ll need some suitable cutting tools.

First off is the modeller’s favourite, regular chain-link chain. Gale Force Nine's Iron chain (1.5mm) is sold for £3.50 (GBP), and for that you get a plentiful two metres on a convenient bobbin type thing. In the scale we work at, this should be more than enough for a number of different projects.
Each link in this chain is individual, and this is both good and bad; it gives you infinite customisability, but is a pain to set in place. I’ve found that a dab of superglue, followed by a quick sharp breath, is enough to force the glue into crevices and set the chain in place. The power of gravity is also useful in positioning it. This chain is suitable for infantry sized models and above, generally in the 28mm scale. Probably not ideal for Warhammer: Epic then…

Next up, it’s the aptly named ‘snake chain’. This chain, also in two metre bobbin form, is a great representation for segmented cabling, hoses and pipework. Personally, this 1.5mm thick variant is easier to work with than the chain, as the segments only have a limited amount of flex before they begin to break and deform.  Again, super glue is enough to lock the chain in place.

This chain feels particularly strong when set in place, and it’s unlikely to snap anywhere along its length, except where it connects to the model. Drilling a hole in the model and feeding some chain through it should help this stuff stay fixed.



I for one have gone mad with the stuff, and have used it to begin creating my own custom Hellsmith, in preparation for Codex: Chaos Space marines, which lands on the 6th October. Tipped with various daemonic appendages and tools, they make great mechandrites and mecha-daemon limbs.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Review: The New White Dwarf

Well, it is most certainly a time of change. As those with good sight may have noticed, the blog now has a fantastic new banner, created by an old friend of mine who dabbles in the art of...art. Also, the White Dwarf of the past, the one riddled with nothing but advertising nonsense, is dead. A new style has overtook the old, but how does it compare?





The first thing you'll notice with White Dwarf 2.0 is the price; the magazine now costs an eye-watering £5.50 for Uk readers. Now, this of course is a bad start, but thankfully, this appears to the the only significant bad thing about it. You'll soon tell that, despite being a tad smaller, it feels a lot heavier. The cover has also received special treatment, with the subject model, a Slaughter-fiend, rendered in a glossy texture upon a retro-inspired cover. the pages also feel of a better quality

The thing that will shock the pessimists is the existence of content...yes, actual content. And as a journalist, I should know. This new magazine is riddled with articles, including painting articles, battle reports, discussions of the concepts behind the up-coming Chaos space Marine releases, and much much more; far surpassing any previous White Dwarves I've read in recent times.

One article surprised me; a conversion article for Dakka Jets which (shock horror!) contained non-GW parts. Well, plasticard and aluminium tubes, but it's a step forward I suppose.
That aluminium piping certainly isn't GW...

So, you maybe asking: "What about advertising?". Ys, the elephant in the room has always been GW's over-reliance on advertising. White dwarfs of the past were always seen as expensive pointless catalogues, but not any more. Having gone through the entire issue, I counted the number of advertisements (i.e. the old image with prices, product details, where to buy etc. format), and the total number of pages?

Seven. Yes, just seven pages. Sure, you may say there's more, but I'm only counting pages which come across as 'sale-sy', pages with the intention of trying to sell me a product or service, without including things like descriptions or the directory at the back. This is a first for White Dwarf in recent times; a magazine that is a magazine, not a catalogue. GW has finally realised that people want content in a magazine.

So, to conclude, here's a small summary and score for people who like numbers:

+ Pros


  • Massive increase in content
  • Engaging articles
  • Minimal advertising
  • Useful guides and ideas
  • More pages 
  • Free Poster (Horus Heresy/Angron double-sided)
-Cons
  • More expensive
Overall; a solid 9.5 out of ten. A vast improvement over the previous incarnation, and a magazine that, as a journalist, I can say is worth buying now.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

10,000 Views: A Big Thanks And The Future

10,000 views!



This message serves as a tank you to everyone...to those who have liked, shared, viewed and discussed the content of this blog, and to those so constantly do so. It was a personal aim to reach this target in a year, and we've hit it a month early.

So, what's the next step? Well, it would be insanely difficult to get the viewing figures of fashion bloggers, news sites or YouTube in a heartbeat, but I certainly want to go up from the current rate. Hopefully, you shall also see some improvements to the blog here and there. I'll try to include more articles for any musicly inclined followers, and of course make a continued commitment to clear, professional and well written content, with shiny images too.

again, thanks, and glad you chose Power Armoured Metal as your tri-weekly wargaming (and music) blog

Tips and Tricks: Photography For Models; Basic Improvements

Taking photographs is part of today's culture. Digital snapshots fill our lives, and allow us model makers to show off our work to the world. but more often than not, people's pictures don't come out 'picture perfect'. So what is in a good photograph, and how can you improve on them? Well, here are but a few tips to help, which don't involve messing around with the camera itself ( you should consult your manual for that stuff).

Lighting

Good lighting is essential for photography of models. First off, we need to see what it is you are taking a shot of. Secondly, the colours need to be correctly represented by using a neutral light. This is why your average light bulb is useless. The 'energy savers' we have to use in the UK emit a dull yellow tone, which is not bright enough, and often distorts the picture by adding an orange glow or tone (as above); thus ruining the colours and the quality of the image.

To solve this, I went on a quest, taking me many long hours, to find a suitable lamp; the end result was this. It is an LED lamp, purchased for the low low price of £7.50 (GBP). It clips to any flat surface, ideal for any ordinary desk, and it has a flexible neck-stand-thing. The key feature of interest if the light it produces. It gives off a soft white tone.

This is perfect; it gives enough light to show the model, not so much that it drowns it, and the white light stops the colours distorting, as demonstrated by my WIP chaos Sorcerer. A massive improvement. For those interested, the lamp was purchased from superstore Sainsburys, under the TU brand (Note: it is in a sale, so the price might eventually go back up to £15, which is still cheap for an LED lamp).

Background

As you can see, the camera is more interested in
 my green templates rather than the much cooler dark magos
It may sound unusual, but your background should be considered as important as the subject being photographed. A background which is too cluttered will detract from the main model, and more often then not, the camera may loose interest and focus on stuff you don't want it to. To fix this, make sure all your pictures, where possible, have empty, junk free backgrounds, so the camera has nothing to focus on but your models.




Stillness

An unsteady hand can ruin a potentially good shot.
Keeping the camera still is key for a clear and crisp photo. too much movement (like in the example below) will cause the image to blue, thus ruining any chance to pick out the important details.

Getting a tripod is a good solution. Some camera have holes in which a tripod can be screwed on, whilst some can simply sit on a stand. If you can't get a tripod, even a makeshift stand made from piles on books can help. Blu-tac and other objects can help create an angle if you need one. Also think about using the timer feature on your camera.

So there you go, hopefully your pictures will be clearer, sharper, and give us on the other side of the internet the chance to work out what it is.


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

40K Tactics: Artillery

"Artillerymen believe the world consist of two types of people; other Artillerymen and targets."-Unknown.


Artillery: A by-word for big guns and big explosions. a word which conjures an image of dozens of high calibre cannons firing in unison to utterly obliterate their foe. But in Warhammer 40,000, what is the best way of utilising these units? How should you be using your Basilisks, Whirlwinds or Lobbas? Well, here's a few ideas which may help you.

Back-Line fire

Keep back. Much like artillery units in real life, 40k artillery units have long range. For example, an Imperial Guard Basilisk has a range of 12" inches with its Earthshaker Cannon (10 feet). Considering the average table size is 6ft x 4ft (72" x 48") it can hit anything on the table. Therefore, there is no need to get artillery up close and personal. Keep it at the back and bring on the metal exploding rain.

Hull Down

Artillery units have great guns, but what they lack is armour. The Whirlwind has armour much like a Rhino, which means it won't survive a direct fire-fight with your average battle tank or anti-armour unit. Hiding it in cover can help with this, by providing a good cover save to help absorb the shots. Make sure you have the tank aiming the right way also, as their guns are more often than not fixed in the hull, meaning they don't have the 360* shooting arc which turreted vehicles have.

Hiding it behind something works too: if they can't see it, they can't shoot at it. however this only works for artillery units with the Barrage rule;if you don;t have it, you still need line of sight to shoot your gun. It's also possible to use other units to provide cover, and to help deny any charges to your weak rear armour.

Target Priority

Picking your target is essential for all units, including artillery. Look at the profile of your gun to figure out its best target. High strength guns will be great for tanks, whilst lower strength guns are best suited for infantry. Take note of any special rules. For example, the Whirlwind's 'hell-fire missiles' have the ability to ignore cover, so it's a great idea to use it to flush out enemy models and deny the weaker units their cover saves. Guns with a high chance of scattering (Barrage, low BS shooters etc) should probably aim for big groups, to maximise the chance of hitting.

More often then not, artillery units have good strength, AP, and a large blast, so your target should be whatever is the most threatening unit at the time. In most cases, flyers are out of the question, since you cannot target them with blast weapons under normal circumstances.

So remember, Stay back, get cover, and focus your shots.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Showcase: Sorcerer on Disc (Updated)

Hello everyone. In preparation for an upcoming competition over on the Joeyberry page, and through sheer urge for change, I've  repainted and redesigned my disc sorcerer, which you may remember from a few months ago.

Looking upon my champion sorcerer, I felt that his disc was too similar to his armour, and that his armour wasn't chaosy enough......his grey knight roots were still apparent. I decided to paint it in similar colours to my Flamers, as they came out great using the scheme.

To help fix the armour, a backpack and head transplant were in order. The head is one of Maxmini's steam knight heads, and I chose the one with a gemstone, as it is reminiscent of Pre-heresy Thousand Sons. OSL (object Source Lighting) was added to the eyes for added effect and because it looks great on Thousand Sons.

The Backpack is a custom job. It started out as a Grey Knight Strike Squad's back pack, and also a regular Chaos Space Marine pack. The two were spliced together, to create a cool, unique piece. Liquid greenstuff was used to fill in gaps. Keys and trinkets were added, taken from the Empire Flaggelants kit.

 Next, it was onto the painting. This involved using Temple Guard Blue as a main colour, with white added to highlight. It contrasts from the armour, whilst remaining blue, which is what I wanted the disc to be. The tail blends from Temple Guard Blue, through to White, then again to Liche Purple. The eyes were repainted afterwards with the same Yellow. Look below for a before-after of the model, and check out Facebook for the big secret reveal.
...and after.
Before...

Thursday, 13 September 2012

WIP: Gaming Table 2.0 (Part Four)

Another update for you, my many followers. The gaming table is coming along nicely, and more terrain has been consecrated in the blood of the enemy (i.e. I have has a few games).



A few more hills have been made from the foam I bought. You really do get quite a few hills out of one A2 and one A4 sheet. A great alternative to GW's plastic hills. Lightweight, easy to cut, effective: pretty much everything you would want from a hill.




More detail has been added to the hills which are closer to being finished. Some land mines (bought from Wartorn UK back in June) have been placed on the hill and partially sanded over. These can either be used as minefields in 6th edition, or can simply be nice looking terrain details, which help remind people that this is a war zone of some form.

These two hills are pretty much completed. In terms of painting, I used household paint from UK store Wilkinsons, and chose colours similar to a desert. Keep in mind that the paints don't have to be a perfect match, but should at least be suitable for the environment you are choosing to recreate. I chose two colours: Earth Stone and Safari Sand, which are quite close to Steel Legion Drab and Iraqi Sand; not identical, but suitable for my purposes.

The hills got a good coat of Earth Stone, then a dry-brush of Safari Sand, topped off with some codex grey rocks and grass tufts.

 The pots I got were colour tester pots, costing £1 each. A few of each colour will be enough to cover a table. Using household paint brushes helps too, speeds things up a great deal.

That's all for now, but come check out the Facebook page, where we will have a few extra images and discussion, and a project revealing when we hit 50 likes (only three to go)....


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Showcase: Chaos Hell Blade

As you duck for cover, clutching your lasgun, five percent power, the air above your head rushes, followed by a high pitched scream. A mag-train? No, they've all been shut down since the war begin. This is something else. Something... tormenting. The smell of ash and copper follows the craft's path. A long, sneak shape appears in the night sky. Its surface bedecked in a regal blue and yellow, and sunlight gleaming off its. panels. A yellow dragon coiled on its side. But its shape confuses you. It is not the brutally effective imperial design of the Imperial Navy. It is sharp, agile, painful even to look at. It is a herald of death. Banking sharply, and levelling off, the last thing you hear is the heavy roar of several autocannon shells slamming into the ground, and then the fuel reserves...


As you can probably guess by the original prose, the Hell Blade is finally finished and battle ready. In terms of the build, all that was needed was some additional rivets on the underside and some panel fixes.

A small peg as glued onto the flying stand (above) to allow the model to balance on it, and for ease of attaching the flyer.

The base is done in a desert theme, much like the rest of the army. Miliput was used (leftovers from sculpting) to build a small hill and break up the lines, and cork was used for rocky outcrops. GW's grass tufts were added to finish it off, as well as a Space Marine's shoulder pad and some binoculars.

Because I didn't have any clear parts to make the canopy, it was made with the intention of painting it. It started off black, followed by a coat of Eshin Grey, then a highlight of Codex Grey, then a fine highlight of white, and a finishing coat of glass varnish.



Burn marks were added to the surface using weathering pigments, mainly dark browns and rust colours.These were done in lines, following the Hell Blades flight direction (i.e. sweeping back from the front), and were mainly done on the rivets and the tips of the fuselage. A matte spray coating sealed the pigments.

In it's first game as a finished model, it brought down a dreadnought in one burst of fire, before doing sweet FA the rest of the game whilst close combats took place (the narrated pictures are on Facebook). I'll inform you on Facebook of any notable kills it has reaped.