Monday, 23 December 2013

PSA: Christmas Announcements

Hello, one and all. As we approach our annual day of receiving boons and gifts from the Chaos Gods (no refunds), it's time to make a special service announcement.


To let everyone know, there will be no post on Christmas eve, Boxing day, or the 28th December. I plan to enjoy time with the family, and I expect you will be as well. So that means the next post should be uploaded on the 2nd January 2014.

I also want to let people know that I have a two-week work placement at the start of January, meaning I'll only be able to make weekend posts for the first part of January, sorry about that.

However, once the holiday's and early-start placements are done with, a new format of service will take place. I plan to change the way the blog is operated, and will assure you the quality will not diminish; if anything it will improve. I'll be detailing my proposed changes in the new year, after a reflective post on the past year.

So for now, have a happy Christmas folks! May the Dark Gods bless your souls and grant you gifts to strike the hearts from men. Again, no refunds....

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Lore: Mekidius Sirak and the Avenged Warband (Part Two)


Click here for Part One

Fear and Vengeance: The Tale of the Avenged (Part two)

The fight for power

And so Mekidius and Nightmare plotted their vengeance. They knew they would have very few allies: the Night Reaver was feared by most, anyone who questioned him, from lowly cultist to the Terminator elite, went unseen for days, and then a new skinless corpse was added to the terror chamber. Mekidius could rely on most of his squad to follow him, as he had often overheard their dislike of the Night Reaver, and thought one of their own should lead the Night Lords. He also suspected that the Betrayed, a Raptor squad made up of rebel Word Bearers Ashen Circle members, also hated their current lord and master.

The rebels were to make their move during a raid of the Golthana Hive world. The Night Reaver was to lead the assault personally into the main hive, Golthana Prime. To make sure they had some decent fire-support should things go wrong, Mekidius arranged for Nightmare to be smuggled inside a modified Thunderhawk Transport transporting a pair of tanks. With that arranged, he and his supporters boarded their Storm Eagle for the assault.

Mekidius' rebels were tasked to take out the defenders surrounding the Golthana Prime hive's power station. once completed, they would redeploy up front with the Night Reaver alongside his terminator elite. Mekidius made sure that his forces were 'delayed', meaning the Night Reaver's forces were further dwindled by enemy fire. With the power station finally deactivated, the rebels made their way to change history.

Furious with the delays of Mekidius, the Night Reaver was ready to execute the failed soldier. By the time he had made it to the governor's palace and killed the governor, he was left with a very small detachment of Terminator bodyguards and a few dozen marines, waiting for pick-up in the courtyard. Finally he saw Mekidius' flyers, coming in very fast; too fast to land in the designated zone. He realised what was happening; a coup. The flyers came down fast and he ordered his bodyguard to fire on the flyers. Too late. Both craft landed in the coutyard, the first to release it's cargo was the transporter, its door opened to reveal a dark cargo hold. Expecting meagre infantry, he ordered the terminators to fill the cargo hold with flamer fire. But once the fames cleared, Nightmare burst out; armour blackened by promethium flames. In rage, the Dreadnought smashed apart the closest Terminators, vaporising one with his Plasma Cannon, and crushing another underfoot. A third was swatted aside and over the edge of the courtyard, to fall three-hundred feet into the hive's acid lakes. Mekidius then emerged from the other craft; an air of superiority came off him.

"Well then, the dog seeks to be the master now?" said the Night Reaver, lightning dancing off his Lightning Claws.

Mekidius smiled: "So sad, I know. It's about time things changed for the better; your time has come".

"Never!", yelled the lord, and then the two clashed. All the others remained circling the two combatants; neither wishing to irk the winner by involving themselves in the challenge for power. The Night Reaver slashed with adaminatine claws, raking deep groves in Mekidius' Storm Shield. Mekidius' axe swung across, cutting deep across the Night Reaver's Terminator, but not to the flesh. Mekidius was not able to get through the massive lord's armour, as he staggered back to the edge of the circle, blow after blow struck his shield. He was struck hard, his shield taking the hit, but smashing back to strike him in the face.

"You are a week fool Mekidius, you knew that from the start", exclaimed the Night Reaver.

"Perhaps against you, yes", Mekidius said, forming words in a bloodied mouth. 2But do you know what I am? Clever".

Mekidius ducked, and the Night Haunter was too caught up in blood-rage to see where they had ended up. Nightmare struck the lord with an uppercut smash of his power claw; shattering his Terminator-armoured torso and sending him crashing into the centre of the makeshift arena. He lay there, with broken ribs piercing both of his hearts. He gargled words with blood filled lungs, until Mekidius limped towards the lord.

"Welcome to your fate". Mekidius' power axe struck the lord's skull, ending his life and the reign of the Night Terror.

"I am your new master, and you will follow me". The few remaining warriors all knelt in front of their new master, just in time for the remaining Night Reaver soldiers to arrive....

Part three coming soon, I hope you enjoyed today's instalment.


Thursday, 19 December 2013

WIP: The Avenged Warband (Part Two): Mekidius, Dreadnought and Cultists

The wheels of progress turn at a steady pace, and the Gods dictate their champion to come forth.


Mekidius Sirak, the lord of the Avenged, is now fully built. All that was needed was an axe head. This one was taken from a two-handed axe from the Grave Guard kit, with an extra bit attached to the back of the axe (a spike from another axe).

The completed axe-head was then put in place of the Accursed Crossius' weapon head. The paint cheme I have in mind is black, with dark blue trim (to hint at their origins). If I dare, I'll be attempting some major freehand on the shield, possibly the cover of Nightmare, one of Avenged Sevenfold's best albums (well, they're all great).


The Dreadnought Nightmare (see what I did there?) is almost ready for an undercoat. Since last time, I've sculpted on a few details (bat wings on the torso, and an 'A7X' on the left shoulder. I've decided to keep the original power claw; not it's had the paint removed, there's something about it.


I've also added a small spacer and cables on the waist, to make the Dreadnought taller and more imposing.


As well as that there are these guys: who will count as cultists. They are based on the Grave Guard kit, with added guns. I felt that they were too armoured, so I've left the shoulder pads off the ones I have built so far.


I couldn't get the left arms to hold the guns normally, so instead I've cut down some lasguns, and fashioned the shield-holding hand/left hand weapon into some sort of forward grip. They're more akin to las-SMGs, but people should know what they stand in for and do look pretty good.


I went with Grave Guard because I want the Avenged Sevenfold theme to come though. First off, skeletons feature in a lot of the band's album covers. Secondly, the bat symbols everywhere add to the theme, and tie them in with the Night Lords, the Avenged's original faction. The third reason is this guy, who looks an almost spitting image of the skeleton king on Hail to the King, Avenged Sevenfold's latest album. I do plan to get this model for the unit champion. Expensive for a 4 point model? maybe, but it will look fantastic leading the unit.

My next task is to work out the colour scheme fully, then I can get cracking on with painting everything up. If anyone knows of a great tutorial for painting black, let me know on the Facebook page, or comment below.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

WIP: The Avenged Warband: Dreadnought

So it seems I'm going full-hog into this new war-band idea. Do not worry, I haven't abandoned my Thousand Sons. I've been working on some characters for my units which I plan to share at a later date, when I have some decent progress on them. But for now, most of my attention has been on the Avenged; my Night Lords splinter faction, themed on the albums of Avenged Sevenfold.


Today is the debut of the mute Dreadnought from my short story, Nightmare (I know they're called Helbrutes now...but It's still a Dreadnought). I managed to get this model, in a pretty pitiful state, for £5; at a sixth the price of the cheapest plastic dreadnought, it's bargain in anyone's books. But I had a lot of work to do. What I did first first was to break it down and remove the thick paint, green-stuff plugging all the joints, and excess flash that had just been painted over in an effort to hide it. The model spent the night in a jar of Fairy Power Spray.

Once the bits were rinsed and dried, assembly began, as did custom work. I wanted the Dreadnought to look more like a MkIV; the main ways I've done that is to change the hull and the feet. The hull plates were ground down, and got a layer of Milliput over the top, smoothed and sanded flat. I still plan to do a lot more, namely adding some trim, and sculpting some detailing similar to Forge World's Night Lord's Dreadnought. A few extra cables and a shoulder pad from the Grave Guard kit helps add some much needed detail.

As well as the hull armour, I've modernised the weaponry. The old-style plasma cannon has been replaced with a new one, leftover from a Storm Raven. I'm not sure what to do with the model's claw: I want to make a modern version, but this old-style weapon is growing on me a bit. Suggestions are very much welcome.


The original Dreadnought's feet looked terrible, and modernising them would do wonders for it. These monster-stompers are sculpted from scratch, and based on the MkIV's feet. I still need to sand them down and add details like pistons, and maybe a few claws growing out.

Next on the list is to work out how to update the power-plant, and add a back-banner from the Grave Guard kit.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Lore: Mekidius Sirak and the Avenged Warband (Part One)

Fear and Vengeance: The Tale of the Avenged (Part One)

The Avenged is thought to be a very small splinter faction of the Night Lords Legion. Their true size is unknown-it is entirely possible for them to have a wide net of cults and followers across and around the Eye of Terror. What is known is that there are very few Space Marines amongst the warband when last observed. It is thought that the group is composed of perhaps fifteen Space Marines (several of which serve as crew-members for tanks), and a few ageing astartes vehicles, namely a Thunderhawk transporter, a Rhino and one Predator. Although this is a pitiful army when measured in size, the warband specialises at covert attacks. Armies in their thousands have kneeled to their new master after  campaigns of terror, psychological warfare and assassination. 

The leader of this force is Mekidius Sirak, a former unit champion under the rule of the Night Reaver. The Night Reaver was a fearsome chaos warlord and veteran of the fifth claw. His fearsome intellect lead the Night Lords under his rule to many victories. But he had a strong contempt for Mekidius. Mekidius was not a true Nostraman. 

Whilst he had the tell-tale pale skin and amazing night sight that his brothers had, he was recruited from another night-world, Draconia, a fallen Imperial world which was sucked into the Eye of Terror and plunged into eternal darkness at the amusement of the Gods. all light was cut out by a curtain of daemonic energy. The only light came from terrifying daemonic faces; often in the form of dark purple, blue and white winged skulls flying above. This was to be an omen for a young Mekidius; the world would be taken as a recruitment world of the Night Lords.

Mekidius made very few 'friends' so to speak amongst the true Nostoman astartes. Although he was feared by the enemy and lead a small unit (also from Draconia), his blood-line meant he was never taken seriously by most. His only true companion has been an ageing Dreadnought, Nightmare. Whilst Nightmare was a mighty warrior capable of massive damage, the Night Lords didn't see him as an effective terror-weapon. His inability to speak meant he could not use voice amplifiers fitted on other Dreadnoughts in the legion to frighten the enemy with daemonic screams and roars. And so he was brought into battle less and less, eventually being left to rust in the confines of the battleship Terrorblade. Mekidius came across the towering Dreadnought by accident, chained up in the bowels of the Terrorblade. He found that he could communicate with Nightmare though a rudimentary language; the noise of Nightmare's Power Claw tapping on the ship floor and the roar of the Drednought's power plant in a series of patterns acted as a reply to the Night Lord. If one were to observe the practice without knowing, they would hear Mekidius speaking, but receiving no reply.

Mekidius and Nightmare developed a bond of trust; both were outcasts in their legion. Both wanted power, respect and vengeance. This is where the Avenged begins...

Thursday, 12 December 2013

WIP: Mekidius Sirak, Lord-Champion of the Avenged

Mekidius Sirak, lord-champion of the Avenged, the shepherd of fire, slayer of kings, chosen of the pantheon.


For my entry into the Path to Damnation campaign I knew I wanted to do something different. At first the idea hadn’t come to me. But after a surprise trip to see Avenged Sevenfold, an early birthday present from the girlfriend, I had an epiphany. I then came up with the Avenged, a small war-band, a splinter faction of the Night Lords legion, and entirely themed around Avenged Sevenfold’s albums (mainly Nightmare and Hail to the King).


The model is based on the Chaos Space Marines Dark Apostle. The backpack has been replaced with one from Forge World's mkIII iron armour kit. The chest plate has been filed flat, and a big pair of bat wings adorn the plate. Both were sculpted around a screaming skull, which is a piece leftover from a Vampire Counts Cairn Wraith.


I've also attached this storm shield, from the Tartaros Terminator weapon set. Not only can this count as the model’s 4+/3+ invulnerable save (sigil of corruption and mk of tzeentch), it is also a great place to work on some freehand. If I’m feeling daring, I may attempt to paint the album cover of Nightmare onto it.


Another idea I've had is using this, a servo skull with in-built bolt pistol from a Forge World Titan Techpreist. This, made by adding wings from the Grave Guard kit, will hopefully make a great deathbat familiar, a count-as combat familiar and bolt pistol.


The final piece of the puzzle is the weapon. I’m thinking of using the Grave Guard champion’s two-handed axe or two-handed halberd. What worries me is that both weapons are on the small side. However, if I use the Dark apostle’s weapon handle, and a few bits, scale shouldn’t be too much of an issue.


If you’re interested in joining the Path to Damnation Campaign, go over and join this group and this one, where you'll find the campaign rules and get some ideas for your own lord and warband. All you need for now is a chaos lord model to your liking, built and painted by the end of January 2014. 

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

WIP: Tzeentch Changeling

Tzeentch is the master of magic and deception. It only hakes sense to utilise his daemonic pawns as allies for my Thousand Sons. fortunately I have most of what I need, Pink Horrors: lesser daemons leftover from my 5th edition army list, as well as some Flamers I made up as part of a double kit review.

 So what I now need is a HQ choice. Seeing as Daemons can take up to four heralds as one choice, I'm going to be having a lot of fun with different set-ups. But one of the first heralds will be the named character, the Changeling.

A mysterious individual, its form has changed so many times; so many that only Tzeentch knows its original appearance. So, in a way, this gives a player near-free reign on how it looks, and here is my effort.

This model is based on a Vampire Counts Cairn Wraith. The scythe and arms have been replaced. the model's left hand is the tip of a flamer's arm, and the other hand is from the Forsaken kit. I've purposefully left a head off. The model was then finished off with flames and mouths from the Flamer kit, and given a custom base.




The model will be painted with pink skin. I plan to paint all of my Horror-type daemons, which currently have a human skin tone. The robes will be dark blue, possibly fading to black. If I get the chance, I plan to add plenty of freehand patterns.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

WIP: Possessed Relic Predator



Another old project of sorts today. I'm back to working on my Relic Predator with Flamestorm Cannon.


My attention has been mainly on the armour. Since the last time I worked on the tank I've added the other side plate, and have started working on the surrounding roof edge plating. I've also built the other gun sponson, though it still needs its magnets. I plan to make it appear more flush than my old Rhino conversion, so I will be sanding parts and fulling gaps with greenstuff. The Exhausts are from the Baneblade kit, with the tips rotated 90 degrees facing backwards. These help create the 'Deimos look'.





I've also added a few more daemonic pieces to the tank. Out of the hatch sprouts these eye stalks, taken from the Forsaken kit. The hatch has been attacked with a hobby knife to simulate damage.



Next up on the list is to finish the armour, ready for some trim. Then I will be adding a ton of chaotic bits, and possibly more daemon parts.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

WIP: Tzeentch Possessed


Today I’m resurrecting an old project from earlier on in the year: a squad of possessed. I only plan to focus on the first five guys for now, but I will start the rest of them at some point.


The models are based off some Warriors of Chaos Forsaken, with some Space Marine, Chaos Space, and Tzeentch Daemons parts thrown into the mix. The original kit is full of great parts, and is actually good value for making a big squad like I plan to.

I’ve decided to change my original plan for their paint scheme. I had first wanted to paint these guys in different colours, the colours of different loyalist chapters. But now, I want them to fit in with the rest of my army. O felt the original idea deviated too much and wouldn’t look right in my Thousand Sons army. Instead, I’m painting their armour predominantly blue, but with one section of armour being in the original colours (as shown with the Soul Drinker above). This way, the squad fits in with the army, yet each model still hints at its original loyalties.


The squad is part of a Tzeentch army, so I’m keeping to a Tzeentchy paint scheme. As well as the blue armour, the skin tones are part ‘human’ and part Pink Horror. I feel that this gives a bright daemonic tone without being overly silly. The Possessed champion (who might end up a former Sanguinary Guard) has an additional bright blue skin-tone on his arm, to perhaps suggest additional mutations or another daemon (a cheeky Blue Horror) sneaking its way into the host. This section was done with a bit of wet blending.

I’ll be working on the skin-tones, then moving on to the armour afterwards.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Showcase: Chaos Vindicator

'Guns of blue, yellow and fire, Come forth from Hell, warriors of a liar-
Sons a thousand, souls of hate. Governor of Primus, this is your fate...

-Prophecy of the seer Diadus Ormedes, Excecuted M39.888.12


My siege tank, the Deimos/Lucius pattern Vindicator is now complete.


I've gone for a heavily weathered and distressed look. Firstly, it gives off the image of a front-line bruiser (which is often it's role). Also, I imagine that the daemon possessing it refuses to let anyone near it to repair.


The weathering has mainly been done with AK products. The Sandy build-up is Africa Dust Effects, the rust is Rust Streaks, and the black dirt is Dark Streaking Grime. Considering it's my first time using these (barring the rust streaks), I think I've pulled off the right look.

Along with the heavy weathering, I've added a ton of symbols and scripture. For the legion symbols, I combined their pre-heresy icons with their present day ones. I've also painted an uncoiled serpent on one of the roof panels.


The lenses were treated like glass, and thus coated on a gloss varnish after painting.


As well as the lenses, this little detail was added: a leering daemonic eye.

So with another tank complete, I'll be moving to to...yet another tank. Either the Spartan or the Relic Predator.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Special Post: Doctor Who Anniversary Special and the Bradford Media Museum


In 1963, on November 23rd, at exactly 5:23PM GMT, the BBC aired a cutting-edge new science fiction drama, you may have heard of it. Doctor Who has been on our screens for fifty years, and fans across the world have come together to take part in the Celebrations. Today, it's all about 50 years of wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey-stuff.


If you have recently been bitten by a memory worm and haven't a clue what I'm talking about, Doctor Who is a British Science fiction drama starting a time-travelling alien from Gallifrey, the Doctor. Adventures in time and space are made possible by the Doctor's TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions In Space), a time-machine in the guise of a blue police box. For years the Doctor has battled fearsome aliens, met wonderful companions and visited not only alien worlds, but Earth's past and future.


Yesterday I went to the opening of the Doctor Who and Me exhibition at the Bradford Media Museum. Here, fans of all levels shared,donated and lent items to the museum to form a collection of home-made items, toys, collectables, knitwear and original props from the series of old and new.


My girlfriend's knitted TARDIS (left) and a tiny Dalek from
Pittsburgh (front right, on the blue sheet)

What amazed me was how many items were there. Over 600 items were displayed in their glory, from 1963 to today's contributions. It was a massive global effort. Some items cane over from a lady in Germany, there were foreign-language copies of Doctor Who novels. There was even a teeny-tiny Dalek sent over from Pittsburgh.

Daleks: originals, replicas, inflatables...

As well as the massive collection, people shared their stories of how the Doctor changed them, how they grew up as children with the many faces of the Doctors. Some of the stories are fascinating. As a guy who got into Doctor Who when Christopher Eccleston's time as the time-lord traveller came to a close, it's fascinating to hear from people who were there at the beginning of it all, back when the BBC had no idea if it would even work. Fortunately for us all it did, and today we can celebrate what has become an icon of British television and an unmistakable sci-fi symbol.

Best socks in the universe.

The Exhibition is on until February 9th 2014, so you have plenty of time to get there. Entry is free, though there is a collection Dalek demanding donations on the way out. Make sure you also tune in to the 50th anniversary episode tonight, at 7:50PM GMT (on BBC iPlayer later on). Should you miss it, a DVD release is expected.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Product Test: Tamiya Weathering Stick Vs. AK Dust Effects

Weathering is one of many ways to make 40k models look more realistic. I’m always looking for new techniques and products, and today I’m doing just that with a product head-to-head challenge. 


In the red corner is my most used method: The Tamiya Weathering Stick. In the blue corner is the newcomer to my painting table: a bottle of AK Interactive Africa Dust Effects. Today I’ll be comparing both products under several sets of criteria.


Price:


Here the weathering stick gets the first punch in. The stick cost me around £2, whereas the AK wash was a hefty £4.60  for 35ml (not counting the cost of the paint thinner you will need). If you’re only doing a small amount of weathering the stick is the better choice. However, I imagine that the AK stuff will last a long time, so perhaps you get a lot for your money.

Ease of use:

Size comparison with 28mm figure

The Tamiya product is probably the easiest for beginners. All you really need to do with it is “draw” on the effect, wait a very short time for it to dry (this really won’t take long) then blend and soften it with a bit of water. It does take a while to get a half-decent effect going though. The main issue is it is a very chunky tool: it’s not the best thing for small objects or very textured ones, like tracks. The tool is too wide to fit into the crevasses of tracks and small parts, so you’ll have to do a ton of water work to get it to flow in.


AK’s product won’t work with water, you’ll need to buy some paint thinner to be able to work with it and clean your brushes. One thing it has over the stick is that it flows a lot better (being a liquid helps). It will get into the places that the stick cannot. Bear in mind that it also takes a lifetime to dry. Drying times can be compared to washes, perhaps even longer. Like the Tamiya stick, you can play around with it and smooth it out once dry, but again you’ll need the paint thinner. It is quite forgiving actually. You won’t be accidentally wiping it all off with too much thinner any time soon.  This allows for some very soft dust layering.

Effect quality:

AK                                                 Tamiya 

This category is where I think the AK product really shines. With the stick it’s taken me a while to figure out an effective way to make real looking dust build up, and to a well trained eye it still looks slightly blotchy. With the AK stuff I’ve practically got it in one go. Above is a comparison of the two products. Personally I think the AK Interactive dust looks a lot more like ‘dust’ in a realistic sense. That’s not saying the Tamiya product is bad by any means, it’s just from a realism point of view, AK’s wash does  far better job.

Conclusion:


It’s hard to say really, it all depends on what you want. If you’re new to the whole weathering process, then I’d suggest the Tamiya stick. It’s easy to use and very cheap. However, if you’re after the best effect, then the AK product wins hands down. To me, it gives a far better representation of sandy build-up than the Tamiya product. It is certainly a product for non-beginners though, so if you’re up for a challenge, the AK wash is the way to go.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Showcase: Bolt Action Waffen SS



The next section of my new (ish) bolt action army is now complete: the elite Waffen SS. Here I have divided the SS into a nine man squad and a two man command team (I wanted to make use of all 11 models I received).


This squad was very different to paint than the regular grunts. Historically the SS had a different uniform pattern, one which was far more intricate. I went for a pea dot camo paint scheme, similar to a guide found on the old Bolt Action website.


 I had to adjust the colours slightly and mix up some custom ones, as I did not have all the colours needed. In either case I think I did alright. The main uniform green is a mix of Vallejo German camo dark green with a dab of GW goblin green. I used German camo dark brown and black for the patterning.



They did dry quite shiny, so they were finished off with a coat if matte varnish. Their basing is the same as the other squads, to tie them in with the rest if the force. Next up for the force is likely some more teams, and maybe transportation for the squads in the form of a couple of Hanomogs.