Thursday, 30 May 2013

WIP: Chaos Heldrake

Much progress has been made this week. The Havoc squad is in progress, the autogun Cultists are getting there, and the Mutilators are pretty much done. they should be done this week. however, the most progress has been made on the Heldrake, which has been worked on at warp-speed.


Before this post, only the blue and the first layer of gold had been done. Today, I am showing you a Heldrake with two completed wings, and a part-completed hull.


The wings have been painted in the usual blue and gold scheme, with added embellishments. On some panels, white scripture has been added. This is mostly thin wavy lines, with chaotic runes. they are based on designs found in the previous edition of the Warriors of Chaos rulebook.


A slightly larger freehand of the Thousand Sons symbol and the mark of Tzeentch have been painted in yellow.


The only thing that remains on this dragon-like machine is the central hull and head, and a few details on the base. The gold needs completing, then it's final details such as the eyes. The teeth might be picked out in a bone colour.





Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Review: Micro Arts Studio Chaos Elipse base (120mm)

Chaos. The word conjures up images of utter madness, inconsistency, danger and the unusual. Micro Arts Studio has created this image in physical form, with its "chaos" range of base. Today, I'm looking at their 120mm 'Ellipse' base.


The base is stunningly detailed, there is a lot going on with this base. Jagged rocks poke out of the earth, held down by daemonic chains. Many are covered in chaotic runes etched into the surface. The texture is also quite nice, a sort of mixed-sand style. This will save work later on. Some of the details are a bit chunky, but I'm nit-picking here. It also hasn't considered people who intend to use it as a flying base, though this has been in production since before flyer's became a big thing very recently. You will need to drill out a hole for a stand or flatten an area (if using the GW clear stand) for sturdy purchase.

The only major issues were on the
underside of the base.

On the quality side, very little is wrong with the product. The details are fairly crisp, nothing has broke off, and there were no mould lines. The resin does feel a bit brittle (during cleanup). There are air bubbles, but thankfully they are mostly underneath the base, so you wont see them.

I did notice one major flaw when comparing it with a standard GW 120mm oval base: it's NOT quite 120mm. It might be due to shrinkage during the casting process, but the Maxmini base has ended up about 4mm too narrow and too short compared the the standard base. This might be a problem for those who enter strict competitions, but generally for gamers this shouldn't be an issue. If you need to, you could simply glue this base on top of the standard one, and have the benefits of legality and style.


This is a very nice base, and for a good price (£10 from Putrid Painting, the cheapest supplier I know of) its very few flaws are overshadowed by its style, and scores a solid 8.5. To conclude, here is my list of main points:

Pros
-Nicely styled
-Plenty of detail
-few flaws (bubbles, mould lines)

Cons
-Not the correct size (if tournament concious)
-Resin feels a bit brittle


Saturday, 25 May 2013

The PAM Guide To: Safe On-line Shopping


Internet safety is essential. There have been numerous reports of suspected scammers affecting our very hobby recently: from the USA to the Ukraine to China. The activities vary from taking your money and not delivering the goods, to the more recent activities of illegal recasting and supplying you with poor-quality produce, some of which maybe dangerous (I've heard industrial resin is a dangerous substance if you don't know how to handle it). Whilst sometimes it is obvious whether or not a site will scam you, there are a few who happen to be very good at convincing people to buy from them, and as a result, people who use their 'services' loose out on money, trades and more. With more coming out of the blue in recent weeks (I've counted at least four individual cases), I'll be sharing with you my advice on safe war-game purchasing.


Be safe: Ensure you can get your stuff!


Contact

An address is a good place to start. By law, all internet business based in the UK must have a real-world address to provide contact/deliver to and from, and businesses may choose to have a phone number. Other countries might have similar laws in place. If the web store only has an email, it is very easy for them not to be traced, and they can claim to have lost your hundreds of "where's my stuff" emails. Also, a give away is if they have a basic email address (@gmail.com, @hotmail.com). Of course, they might not have the money yet for an official email, but be careful. Also, if they do have an address, it cannot hurt to check it exists, and check multiple sections/documents to see if addresses match up.

Ratings

We all aspire to be the best, but nobody is perfect. This also applies to businesses. They all get good and bad feedback. If you see a business with a 100% positive rating, be careful. They may be perfect, but there is a chance that they might quell negative feedback to look better, or could even have forged the entire system. When looking on-line, look for places which have had tons of reviews, not just five perfect ones. In my opinion, an overall score of 95% from 1000 people is better than 100% from 20 people.

Also, ask your friends and gaming colleagues: they will provide a better opinion than what people on the internet may, as you can trust their opinions more. If your friends have had good experiences with a company, then it seems fair to say that you might too.


Discounts

"10-20% is the norm for 'standard' items such as common plastic kits"
Now, we all love a discount, and the conmen out there are aware of it. I am not saying "avoid anything discounted", a number of places offer great discounts. But be realistic. Some items cannot be heavily discounted without making a loss. For example, Forge World and Puppetswar items are not sold by other retailers, unless they buy stock at full-price. So, if people are having to buy at full-cost like the rest of us, how can they offer 20%, 30% or even more off these items, especially if they specialise in rare and harder to get items. Some items like plastic kits can be discounted, but just be careful; that bargain might be too good to be true. You might end up with a poor copy of a copy, or nothing at all. Be aware that second hand is completely different, and you can expect cheap prices there. I am merely referring to new-in-box gear. As a guideline, 10-20% is the norm for 'standard' items such as common plastic kits and accessories.

The Website

If the website looks like it was put together in about an hour, then I wouldn't risk it. Many scammers are out for a quick-buck, and wont invest heavily in the site as the more skilled ones. Check for errors in design and spelling. Keep an eye out for the payment methods, it can make the difference if you are conned. Also, look out for images and text you may have seen before elsewhere; chances are it may have been nicked from another site. I know that some of the offending sites were using copyrighted GW and FW images to display models and text taken from the Lexicanum. One re-caster was using other pictures of other models, which leads to another tip, check the images match the description!

Faces

We all like to put a face to the name, and this is another important aspect. Having human contact builds up trust and gives people someone to talk to about issues. If a company has no real-world presence or acknowledgement of who's who, then it is a bit suspect. I would not buy from someone who hides behind a screen.

Buy local

If all else fails, buy from a real-world store or event. It is a million times harder to fake a real store with real products, real people, real rent and real doors. Having the product in your hands is proof enough it is a real item and you have it, you will not get a message saying "it's on its way, trust us". The internet is a haven for conmen because they do not need to dedicate their ill-earned money to setting up shop, unlike legitimate tradesmen. It's also another reason to support your local store.


To finish off, here is a brief list of my trusted on-line sellers. Note that the list isn't extensive, they are just stores based on my own experiences that I can count on to not rob me of my moneys:


-Games Workshop
-Forgeworld
-Anvil Industries
-Putrid Painting
-Amazon* (certain sellers)

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Showcase: Thousand Sons Squad

The space marines walked down the vast hall in perfect unison in an even square of nine, no step was even a micro-second out of sync. Their movements were almost robotic, but had a certain life and humanity to them. The planetary governor stood defiant, aiming his plasma pistol at the squad. He knew he had no chance against these fallen angels, but he would try to take at least one of them down.

He fired, the ball of super-heated plasma hitting one of the chaos marines, its helmet being dislodged and falling to the ground with a heavy thump, partially melting on its way down. The unit stopped as one. What the governor saw sent him reeling in shock. All that was left of the occupant was a skeleton, ablaze with green warpfire. Its eyes burnt with the strength of many suns, flames licking from its mouth and eyes. The ghost-marine, bedecked in gemstones and ornate battle plate, reached down and picked up the part molten helmet, the armour reforming by unseen magic. It placed the helmet back on, before the unit continued onwards. Another marine spoke, the champion.

"Our lord's plans are coming to fruition, and you are not a part of them".

The governor screamed as his body was lifted from the ground, pulled up by invisibles forces conjured by the sorcerer. The sorcerer nodded to the marine who had been hit, its bolter rising up towards him. Then it fired, glowing bolt-shells striking the governor and burning him to ashes with sorcerous energies. 


Finally, I can now say I have a unit of Thousand Sons. This squad was part of my new revamp, and is the first unit to be completed with the new parts.


All the models apart from the Sorcerer use legs from Anvil Industries  one of my new favourite 3rd party model/bits producers. I've used a mix of robed, standing and running legs to get a nice variety.

Some models also use Anvils rifles, with the stocks removed so they would fit. Maxmini shoulder pads leftover from my other models have been mixed in as well.


The squad has been painted as normal, with a  few changes. Instead of working up the colours from black, I started with a primer of Army Painter ultramarine blue. this has resulted in a smoother, slightly brighter main colour. Some of the models also have freehand on their robes , lined in Liche Purple. All of them have either the symbol of the Thousand Sons or the mark of Tzeentch on their shoulders, if they have a blank shoulder pad. I also made a return to the original scheme of the Thousand Sons, replacing the yellow trim with the classic gold trim. This has resulted in the squad looking far more regal.


Compared to my original efforts (shown on the left) I feel that this has been  significant improvement. Next on my list is some final details to their transport, and then it's onto the autogun cultists.




Tuesday, 21 May 2013

WIP: Thousand Sons Revamp (Part Four, Troops, Move Out!)

After a not so good previous week, I'm determined to put it behind me and have a really good upcoming week. With a new previously unseen level of motivation, I've been rapidly working on my tournament list.


First off, we have the Mutilators. So far, the blues and skin tone are done, and I am working my way though the metallics  The finished Mutilator has had blood effects added, using Tamiya Clear Red and Devlan Mud mixed together. I plan to review the clear range later on in the week.

Next up, the cultists. I've wanted to include some models which look like military deserters and drop-outs, which is why I am using some modified Cadian models. They are based on the "starter" guard (the cheap clip-together models). Some have had head-swaps, and most have had armour plates removed and damaged, to represent the worse armour saves. They will be painted up as standard Cadians, with some blue panels and defacement of insignia.





I've also acquired some classic metal Cadians, which will also be mixed in with the autogun squad. These will receive a few modifications, such as face masks, spikes and chains.


Last for today is a quick re-show of my sorcerer. Whilst it was deemed finished, I have made a few adjustments after some feedback on the new WGC forum. I've fixed up a mould line on the left leg, changed the casting hand for a Grey knight Terminator one, added some more freehand, tidied up the blue and re-glossed the gems with Tamiya Clear Green. I may yet add more, so stay tuned.

I was planning to show you my Thousand Sons unit, but seeing as they are almost complete, I think I will save them for a showcase post next time we meet, for for now, adios, farewell, and tarah for now..

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Tactics: Chaos Vindicators



Vindicators are the main bunker-buster in space marine armies, as well as their chaotic counterparts. Whilst they have no special rules to aid in punching holes in walls, they are very good at punching holes in anything. Today I will be sharing my thoughts on the chaos space marine variety. The Chaos Vindicator still provides a well armoured blast tank, at a small 10 point increase. 



Vindicators are still vulnerable from the sides and rear, and vulnerable to charges (like all rhino based vehicles), as they have to be close to be in range. To increase survivability, it is best to remain in cover. You only need 25% coverage now, so this is made a bit easier. The main gun has, in a way, become more potent, now that blast templates do not suffer a half-strength penalty when partially covering tanks and vehicles.




Vindicators still have access to their usual war gear, plus some new items. I would avoid buying havoc launchers, other weapons are fine. This is because weapons fired after ordinance weapons can only fire snapshots, and other blast weapons cannot fire snapshots.


Two of my new favourite items are siege blades and warpflame gargoyles. The siege blade costs three times more than a normal dozer blade, but allows terrain tests to be automatically passed, essential when constantly moving amongst ruins and rubble. Warpflame gargoyles give soulblaze to all weapons. Not powerful on its own, but it helps increase the potency of the demolisher cannon. And at 5 points, it is a nice cheap upgrade with potential.

Another new item is the destroyer blades upgrade. Much like the Ork’s Death-Rolla, it helps cause a big mess when it comes to tank-shocks. Handy if the main gun has been destroyed, and unless the enemy has melta-weapons, you might even survive the death-or-glory attack to use it. Be warned, if you are this close to the enemy, you will get charged.

In general, the role of the vindicator as a close-range tank-hunter and unit smasher, and with clever cover and the right upgrades, it has a good chance of making it to the end of the game in one piece.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Showcase: Skdfz 250/2 Puma Armoured Cars



Having planned out the starter force of my German Panzerkompanie, I soon moved on to painting. And with a speed to embarrass a soviet tank factory, I have completed the two Skdfz 250/2 'Puma' armoured cars.


The scheme is a late war camo pattern, roughly following a guide in the Grey Wolf army-book. After a spray of Desert Yellow the cars got a main coat of Middlestone. After a wash of Agrax Earthshade, it was tidied up with more Middlestone.

The camo uses Reflective Green and German Camo Brown Medium. Tyres were painted with black, highlighted with a small amount of grey.



For details, I freehanded some crosses on both sides of the turrets, and scorch marks on the gun barrels. The platoon commander was picked out in German Fieldgrey and flesh colours.


The unit looks great now they are painted, all that is need to finish the squad is to buy and paint the third and final Puma.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Flames of war: Preparing The Battlegroup

The war effort is quickly building up speed, and I know have a half-decent plan for my Late War Germans.


I've come up with what I think is an OK 1700 points Panzerkompanie list. using the Grey Wolf rulebook. It is a first draft and open to change:

HQ-2x Panther G, bergepanzer III

Combat Platoon-3x Panther G

Combat Platoon-5x Stug G

Divisional Support-1x Panzerspah puma patrol

Divisional Support-2x Mauder II

This list is full of heavy hitters, and I should have weapons suitable for most types of armour. What the list is lacking though is infantry, AA, and artillery, so I may need to jig the list around a bit.


I've got 2/3 of the Puma platoon. This is the first time I've built official Flames of War models. They don't go together as nicely as Plastic Soldier Company's models, but they do look quite good. I hope to get the third and final Puma soon (store only had two).


A start on the Bergepanzer III has been made. I've decided to use my test-scheme Panzer III to save some money, and add a "box" tot he top. I have run out of plasticard strips in the size I need, so it'll have to wait before being finished.


Painting wise, I also now have the correct colours now. The colours I had previously were suitable for Afrikakorps (my first choice). Now I am doing a late-war theme.


Next stage is to try out painting the new scheme, then getting on with making more Zimmerit for my tanks.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Showcase: Thousand Sons Sorcerer In Terminator Armour

Ramshek the Necromancer, Ramshek the flesh-crafter, scourge of the Kamir sector, enemy of the Black Templars. Ramshek was formerly a mere apothecary in the Thousand sons before their fall to chaos. His healing powers were well respected, but they were unable to stop the mutations what plagued the legion. And after the Rubric, his skills in healing had little use, seeing as his former patients were now mere piles of dust.

Instead of continuing the path of the healer, Ramshek studied the forbidden arts of manipulation of the body, and resurrection of the dead. After centuries of study, testing and resulting insanity, he is now a feared, if paranoid, practitioner of chaos. He earned the eternal scorn of the witch-hunting Black Templars during the Secession wars on Demoria during the thirty-eighth millennium. After his cabal destroyed a detachment of Templars, including Marshal Gordarius and his terminator honour guard, he resurrected the dead heroes of the Imperium, twisting them into over-grown muscle bound monstrosities. The Marshal and his champions now form his Mutilator body-guard, and act as a show of his power and as viscous attack-dogs. The sons of Dorn are now on a crusade to hunt down the one responsible for defiling and robbing the chapter of heroes who deserve to be with their golden corpse-god. 


So here is Ramshek, in a suit of finely crafted Terminator Armour. He is the HQ choice I am planning to use for Wartorn, so I thought it would be best to paint him up.


The conversion is mainly made up of a Tartaros pattern Terminator, with static legs. the shoulder pads are a matching pair from the Forsaken box-set, and the sword comes from Lord Kranon, from the Dark Vengeance box-set. The front cloth is a thousand sons piece, and the rear one if from the Dark Angels sergeant, also from Dark Vengeance. The helmet is taken from a finecast Aspiring Sorcerer, with the headdress cut off and attached to the top armour.


The cracks in the shoulders were fun to paint, and have been painted to look like an ethereal glow creeping out of the armour. The glow was painted using the glow technique I shared a while back.


The flat panels were also a chance to practice some freehand. On one of the legs (shown) I had a go at painting one of the alternative symbols of the Thousand sons, which I think came out well. In keeping with my background for Ramshek, the helmet on his base was painted to look like a Black Templar. The rest of the base is made of miliput and pieces of cork, covered in sand.



Now that this guy is done, I can get on with the other parts of my army-list, namely my troops choices.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

The PAM Guide To: Fixing Up Cheap Models

You briefly glance in the second-hand section, eyes wandering over the un-loved models looking for a bargain. You spot one: something fantastic  rare, old, for an insanely cheap price. You look at the model in detail, but wo-behold, it is a mess! Thick paint streaks dried and crusty cover the models details, static-grass super-glued to the base and feet, a missing arm. What do you do? Well, I'll tell you, get it! And read on for my guide on fixing up these diamonds in the rough.

Missing/broken parts

Something's not quite right here...

Maybe the model of your dreams has a missing arm, head, backpack or half of its sword. This is probably the easiest fix of them all. If it's a model for an army you collect, I guarantee that in your spares box, you will have something suitable for this model. If not, there are plenty of places which can sell you parts, or even your friends might have something. The more daring of you might try to build your own parts (particularly if the model in question is a walker or tank), in which case, there are plenty of tutorials out there to help.


If the damage is on a tank and quite severe, you could consider covering it up with extra armour plates or replacement panels. Again, there are tutorials out there for making your own additional armour or details.

Glue-damage

This problem can be a problem depending on the state of damage and the glue used. If it is super-glue, you can in theory snap the parts off, chip away the crusty build-up of glue and start afresh  However  if the super-glue is really....super...than a trick I've herd of is to briefly freeze the model, which will make the glue more brittle and easier to remove.

For plastic glue it is a bit harder, as poly-cements literally melt the two parts together. You may need to carefully amputate parts with your knife skills. If a part, for example a chest-plate, is blobbed in glue-stains, it might be best to replace the part, if the glue has attacked the details or blurred them badly.

Painting gone wrong

Easily one of the most off-putting parts of a second hand model is a terrible paint-job. You might think that the thick layers have forever ruined the details of the model, but you are quite wrong. Paint-stripping is the way forward, to bring back those models long-deemed to have been rendered worthless by layers upon layers of globed on paint.


Dettol (brown) and Fairy Power Spray are two of the best ways of removing paint off both plastic and metal models. Simply throw your un-loved models into a glass jar, spray or pour (depending on your chosen substance) into the jar, so that the models are all immersed or covered. Give it a light shake, and leave it over-night, or at the very least a few hours. You should notice flecks of paint on the jar or discolouration  that shows it's working. Take the models out. For Dettol submersions, you want to scrub the models in the Dettol fluids; scrubbing in water will create sticky gloopy blobs of paint, which are a pain to remove. You can rinse them after they have dried though. Washing Fairy-sprayed models in water is fine. It also smells nicer.

 Once dry, the models should be in a far better condition.  Note I have note mentioned resin models. I know from seeing a friend use it, that it can turn resin models into a rubber-like model, so I would research other methods. Fairy-spray might work, but again, check with others first.

So with that guide to renovation hidden beauty, I hope you consider buying the cheap-but-awful, in the hope to bring it back to life.


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Tutorial: Making Rivets For Tanks (Rods and pins)

Many vehicles we use in our wargames are designed to be either welded, or more often, riveted. I'll be showing you how to make simple rivets for your custom-make tanks (note, this is mainly for 20mm or bigger, this technique isn't ideal for anything small like 15mm). Both techniques make convincing rivets, although the second tutorial is fast becoming my favourite.

What you need:

For tutorial one

  • Plastic rod 
  • Hobby knife 
For tutorial two
  • Round-headed pins
  • Clippers
  • Tweezers
Tutorial One-plastic rods


Get your plastic rod. It must me solid (i.e not hollow in the centre) and smaller is usually better. You can also use hexagonal rod, which would make great bolts. Cut it into thin circles. The key is trying to make them even sized.


Make a small pool of glue. For each rivet, lightly stab it with the point of your hobby knife (make sure it's a sharp tip, otherwise it wont pick up).


Dip the rivet lightly in the glue, so only the flat end is covered. Place on the model.


Here is my Idolator Siege tank, which used the plastic rod method on it's hull. Next it, it's the pin method. 


Tutorial two-pins


Prepare the surface for the rivets. Drill in a hole where you want the rivet to go. Here, I've used a 1mm drill-bit.


Cut your pins using the clippers. Try to leave around 2-3mm of pin attached to the pin-head, and try not to squash the tip too much, as it'll be much harder to fit in the drilled hole. You don't have to cut it, but it is strongly advised. If you open up the tank/surface at any point, you don't want to end up in A&E with your hand impaled on a Leman Russ pincushion. 


With tweezers, grab the rivet, dip it in super-glue and push carefully into the hole. Repeat. Here is a Vindicator siege blade I did earlier. Now you can add an essential detail to all of your scratch-built tanks.