Saturday, 28 September 2013

Tutorial: Painting Chaotic Trim



Markings and iconography are very important. They distinguish ally from foe, alien from human, holy or heretical. Today, I’m going to teach you how to do chaos-styled trim markings, ideal for any of your vehicles. All you need is a good fine pointed brush and the colours you wish to use.


Start off by painting on some basic lines with your base coat colour. I find it best to follow the edges and lines of armour panels and plates.then work out where you want your “big spikes” to go. One way to do this is to start with your corners; paint on some lines coming out of the main trim lines. Then add another central to the corner spikes. After that, judge for yourself if you need any more big spikes.


Once the spikes have been placed, tip each one with an arrow head. Feel free to do a straight, barbed or curved one, depending on what look you want.


Next up is to blend in the spikes better with the main line. Use curving shapes to seamlessly join up lines. Do the same with the arrow heads.


Blocking out the arrows is the next step. Fill in the gaps, do not worry about messiness, you can clean up later.


Add some extra details, such as smaller spikes and barbs. For the truly chaotic, places these at random.
Once all the basics are done, go over everything with your main colour. 


Then tidy up.



To finish off, highlight select edges, to make your freehand pop.

Now that you know how to paint these marking, I hope to see several of you sending in photos of your work.


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

WIP: Decimator Daemon engine (building stage)


I seem to be on a roll this week. With the Legion Fellblade completed, I've now got more time to dedicate to my other projects. And today. I'm showing off my Decimator, which is now almost complete, in terms of building.


The head and shoulders have been areas of much-needed work. The shoulder pads have been completed, and have had trim and other details added. Since one side had the bony protrusions, the other side looked a little too bare. A cross of chains fixed that. I may add more to the daemon engine, such as hanging skulls and helmets, but we shall see.


Sculpting a head was always going to be a pain; I'm a far better scratch-builder than a sculptor. However it seems to have paid off. To help connect and detail it, I've added feeder pipes/connection tubes to the head, using brass snake cable from Gale Force Nine, and some small plasticard circles to act as plugs.

When it comes to the painting, I have a plan. the armour plates that are not glued on at the moment (shoulders, legs and knees) will be sprayed blue. The rest will get a black primer, to speed up the process and to have a better finish.

I'm tempted to paint all the gold trim using the Liquid Gold paint that I have. I see this as an ancient daemon engine, so the Old Gold shade I have sounds perfect for the job. I will probably enter this into WGC's October painting threat, so keep an eye out for my posts.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

WIP: MKIII Thousand Sons and Decimator

It's been a very busy few days. I've mainly been focusing on two things; my new MKIII marines, and my slightly forgotten Decimator.



The MKIII Thousand Sons use the Legion Iron Armour I reviewed last time, apart from the sorcerer that leads them. All of them now have heads from the normal Thousand Sons set/upgrade pack, and one has one of the special bolters. The rest have standard Chaos Marine plastic bolters. I've also followed a bit of my own advice, and have added ammo pouches to a number of the marines, for added realism.


Their right shoulders (apart from the aiming marine, who has a metal Thousand Sons pad) have been left off for now. This is because I'm waiting on these awesome shoulder pads to arrive from Puppetswar.


A few of these marines have had cloths added to the front. This required a bit of trimming for them to fit. Even with the extra armour plates cut off below the belt, part of the legs needed slicing away so I could have the bodies on at a sensible angle.


The Decimator has been somewhat forgotten in recent times, and I felt compelled to try and complete it, perhaps for the next WGConsortium painting threat?


The shoulders and head needed the most attention. I've finished the basic trim on both shoulders, next up it will be adding small triangles and rivets to finish them off. On the left shoulder, I've also added some spikes jutting from the armour plates. These were cut from a spare arm from the Forsaken kit.


The head has had more sculpting work done. I've make it slightly bigger, and have started on the face plate. It will have more details, which will include cable ports and rivets.

At the moment I will just paint it with the storm lasers, but I still intend to build all the different weapon options.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Review: Forge World Legion MKIII Power Armour Set


Forge World's Horus Heresy kits seem to be some of their biggest selling items recently. Their uniqueness appeals to many who were taken in by stories of the Horus Heresy, and the kits make it much easier to build the armies. Space Marines formed the basis of the legions, and today, I'm reviewing one of my favourite patterns, the MKII "Iron".



This is the second MKIII set to come out from Forge World. This set features different poses from the first MKIII armours, and has additional Horus Heresy themed details, such as lightning bolts in place of the aquila. Even with the added details, the kit still costs £23.

In the kit, you'll find enough part to make five basic Space Marines. The key thing you do not get though are bolters or other weapons and accessories; you have to provide them yourself. However, they are compatible with pretty much all Space Marine rifle-sized weapons, and most Space Marine (or chaos) players will have spare bolters. If not, these make a great addition to this pattern of armour. To make things easier for you, the arms have been numbered with dots, so you know which pair makes a set.


On the quality side, these guys are pretty much perfect. There were no serious faults, just a few tiny air bubbles on  the toes of some pairs of legs. The arms are on the thin side, but I think that's mainly due to the sculpt and design itself. Some of the gates on the kits are fairly thick, and on delicate areas like the torso collar, so be very careful when cutting parts off the sprues.


In terms of compatibility, this kit is pretty much like all space marine kits, and will fit together with anything Space Marine of Chaos Space Marine related. Three of the torsos have flat surfaces, ideal for details. On these models I have made, I have added Chaos Space Marine bolters, belt accessories and Thousand Sons heads. In a dry-fit, the back peg will also accept any type of conventional power pack. One thing to note is the armoured panels that come down from the torso, these can limit the movements you create with the model. This pattern of armour is known to be less mobile, so more static and heavy-set poses are best suited for it. Because it is so different to MKVIII and other modern patterns in terms of detailing, I recommend either making models mostly from MKII/II, or saving MKIII for heavier assault units and characters.

So there we are, another really neat kit from Forge World. Here are my main points-in-brief:

Pros
-Good quality
-Improved poses
-Good compatibility

Cons
-Can be considered expensive for five models (depends on comparision)
-No basic guns or accessories
-Thick gates on delicate parts, requires caution

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Fellblade Proeject: Part Twelve (Battle-ready)

The battle-group rode slowly through the confines of the imperial refinery. Towering silos and mountains of scrap littered the land-scape, making it a literal metal rainforest. The unit of Predator battle-tanks had been prowling the area for heretic forces. So far they had encountered light resistance from a unit of AT-18 battle tanks; vastly inferior to the ancient Predators. Until now they had suffered superficial damage and no losses. This was to quickly change.

An enormous lumbering shape loomed out from behind a mountain of scrap. It has tracks easily as wide as a Space Marine was tall, and was wider than two of the Predator's side by side. A hull-mounted Demolisher cannon protruded from it's blue hull, and it fired, vaporising a burning AT-18 wreck to the left of the predators. Fellblade.

"Fire, now!" came the commander's voice over the vox, and all three tanks began pelting the Fellblade with Lascannon and Autocannon fire. The autocannon shells pinged off the thick frontal armour, and even the Lascannons failed to do anything. In return, one of the large tank's side sponsons opened fire, sending a quad-beam of green Lascannon fire at the leading tank. All four beams hit the tank; two penetrated the driver's cockpit, killing him instantly. The other two managed to ignite the ammo storage bin on the turret, sending it sky-high in a blaze.

"Fall back to pint 16.z", the command was laced with adrenaline, and both surviving tanks continued firing whilst reversing, to ill effect. The Super-heavy was fully visible now; struggling to fit in the narrow alleys, and knocking over barells and piles of junk. It drove over the wreck of another AT-18, crushing the far smaller tank like a can underfoot. The Fellblade's presumed commander popped out of the turret hatch. He was decked in ornate blue and gold power armour, topped with a massively horned gold helmet. He outstretched an arm, lightning dancing off the tips; Psyker. The sorcerer pulled his arm back, and the sound of screeching metal was heard. The tracks of one of the tanks was ripped free, sending the tank veering to one side, and slamming into the other; the side-ways impact ripped one track unit off the other tank, and both were immobilised.

The Fellblade's massive domed turret pivoted and took aim of the two stuck tanks. the crews were attempting to exit the tank, but then it fired; vaporising both crews and battle tanks with the energy of it's anti-armour shells, creating a massive fireball that could be seen for miles. 


That's it guys, this monster is finally complete. Feast your eyes on it's gigantic blue glory, and fear it's immense fire-power.


In ways, I'd say this was easier to paint then a normal Baneblade, probably due to most surfaces being flatter. Also, because they were flat, there were plenty of spaces to do free-hand work, as you can see. To finish off the tank, it was weathered using a combination of Tamiya Weathering Stick, and Forge World's Dark Sand weathering powder. The areas around the tracks (tracks, wheels and lower armour) received the most attention.


As a little Easter-egg/bit of fun, I added this impact blood splatter to the front lower glasis. The blood effect was done with Tamiya Clear Red, mixed with some Badab Black and Aggrax Earthshade. I painted on a pair of hand-prints, and streaked the paint down to represent dripping. I image some unfortunate sod survived the fire-power and then smacked by 100+ tonnes of renegade metal.





One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the cheer size of the fellblade, or any Baneblade-based super-heavy, when compared next to the rank and file, and even the battle tanks. I took this scale picture for the benefit of a follower, and I am amazed by how intimidating and massive a tank like this would appear to people if it were real-scale. I'd be scared!


So, where now? At the moment I have nothing planned for my Thousand Sons that is quite so big. But do not worry, something big will come eventually, once I've decided what I'll do, and when I've got the money. Until then, share if you enjoyed the post, and keep an eye out of the numerous other things that will be coming this way soon.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

The PAM Guide To: Inventing Units

It is hard to deny that there is a lot of variety in 40k. From all the codexes to Forgeworld units, there is plenty to choose from. However, what if that isn't enough, and you want to make something of your own to play in games? Here's a few tips on doing so.



What do you want?

Think about this really hard. Do you want to create an entirely new unit with custom guns and armour? Do you want to represent a unit of character from a book? Do you want to make an alternative model for an existing unit (For example, think of the WWII German Tiger and the Tiger P). Once you've decided, it is a good idea to put it to paper. Do a few sketches, or write some fluff; something to give you a picture of what you want to make.

Count as or custom



Count-as is the simplest way of assuring you can use your custom unit. Have a look in your codex (or other codexes) and find a unit or model that pretty much covers your unit. For example, if you want to make a new Imperial guard Battle-tank, consider using the Leman Russ rule-set. Got a new stealth unit? Try counting-as scouts. If you cannot find a suitable set of rules, then you should think about custom rule-sets.

Model first, rules later


I prefer making a unit before making rules for it. This is because if you do the opposite, you may fall into the trap of making over-powered rules or designing the rules to be of benefit, which may alter your desired unit.

Make sure to gather all your needed materials, parts and donor vehicles, then get stuck in. If you need some help with that, check out this article.

Rules Rule



Once you've built it, and decided not to count-as, now is the time to make the rules. Think about what the unit is designed to do. If, for example, it's a heavy battle-tank, think about giving it high armour, but making it slow. Picture how it would work on the battlefield and work the rules around that image. Feel free to use or invent special rules, but don't go overboard, because it may end up A) overpowered, and B) very complex to play. The latter may annoy you and your opponent. Remember, the more you give it, the more the unit should cost. If it helps, look at similar units and base your points cost on that. Also decide if its going to be a troops choice, a HQ, and so on.

Play-test

Now, you have the awesome unit, and a draft set of rules. Don't stop there. To make sure it is a fairly-costed unit, try it our a few times, the more the better. If you noticed it's a but overpowered, try bringing the points up or dropping a few special skills. If underpowered, try making it a bit better, or bring down the points to a reasonable level. Never stop developing the rules. The more testing you do, the better and fairer the unit will become.

Remember though, even if it's the most tested and balanced unit in existence, check with your opponent if you're allowed to use it. With this advice, I hope to see a ton of custom units flooding my inbox in the weeks to come.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

WIP: Thousand Sons Aspiring Sorcerer (And Bonus Warpsmith)



To have a break from constantly working on the Fellblade, I've been making a few random models from my leftover spares. One such model is this, a new sorcerer. This model will be leading a unit of Thousand Sons in MKIII power armour, which are hopefully on their way from Forge World’s fortress.


The sorcerer is based on the Dark Vengeance Lord Kranon. Because I used the sword in another conversion, I had to find an alternative sword and arm. I used a spare sword and arm from the forsaken kit, with the arm cut above the elbow. I cut Kranon’s arm stub flat so that the arm could be glued on easily with no sculpting.


I wanted to make it look like the model was casting a power, preferably a fiery one. I ended up cutting off the plasma pistol and hand, replacing it with a flaming chain piece from a Forge World K,daii. This part will be painted like conventional fire and silver chains. I’m also considering adding plenty of OSL.



Another model I’ve started is this Warpsmith, for another chaos marine army. The base model is an old techmarine with an auspex. The harness is a metal Servo arm from the current Techmarine, with a custom gun make from a Psylencer and a gargoyle head, attached to Huron Black heart’s power pack. 


The axe is made from an axe-head from the Forsaken kit, and a piece of brass rod. The chain-link cloth at the front is also from the Forsaken kit. This guy will be a supportive HQ for an army completely different from the Thousand Sons, but still chaotic. Some of you may know which army it is for, but for the rest of you, it’s a secret.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Analysis: Chaos Contemptor Dreadnoughts

The Contemptor dreadnought was once a key asset of the space marine legions before the Horus Heresy, but after millennia of constant war they are now a very rare sight. Whilst rare, they still exist in the ranks of the dark gods, and are very powerful relics only bolstered by thousands of years of corruption.

Chaos Contemptors have experienced a few changes with the arrival of Imperial Armour: Apocalypse. Their stats have changed slightly in their latest ruleset. They remain 195 points basic, and have gained an extra attack and the Adamantium Will special rule. However, they have lost a point of rear armour. It is now more important than ever to keep the back arc covered.



The major changes have been in the war-gear selection. Chaos Contemptors can no longer use twin-linked heavy flamers, and some options, like the Plasma Blaster, are more expensive. However, there are a few new options open to us. We can now take meltaguns on our power-fists on Contemptors for added anti-armour, and Plasma Blasters and Soul Burners are no longer limited to one per dreadnought.


Another major change is they can now take two gun choices (by swapping the power fist that comes as standard). This means that Chaos Space Marines have access to a mortis/rifleman type setup, and gives the Contemptor another possible and useful role as a dedicated gun platform. One configuration that sounds very fun is dual Butcher Cannons. Eight strength eight shots will frighten most armour, and even unsettle flyers. Even with a shorter range and no twin-linking when compared to the rifleman, the higher rate of fire and strength more than covers the pitfalls.



The other key area of change is the marks of the four gods. All four are cheaper than before, though some are cheaper than others. All have changed in how they benefit your unit:
-Khorne- this mark is still combat focused, granting rage and rampage
-Nurgle-granting it will not die, this mark helps make the contemptor more durable
-Slaanesh-this grants assault and defensive grenades as before, but you no longer get +1 initiative. It is the cheapest mark now.
-Tzeentch-as well as getting soulblaze on flamers, you also get to re-roll 1's on your invulnerable saves. like the Nurgle mark the walker becomes more survivable.

To finish off, here are a few ideas for combinations that might be fun to try out.

Balanced chaos-Butcher Cannon, Power fist, Soul Burner
Chaos Rifeman-2x twin linked autocannons
-Butcherman- 2x butcher cannons,
-Bloodspiller. 2x powerfist, 2x meltagun, mark of khorne
long range killer- heavy conversion beamer, twin linked autocannon
blast-frenzy- 2x plasma cannon, havoc launcher

Tank-buster- 2x multi-melta/twin linked lascannons

Saturday, 7 September 2013

The Fellblade Project: Part Eleven (Lick of Paint)

Battle sergeant Casias looked through the magnoculars, his recon squad hunkered down amongst the cliff's rocks. The Raven Guard Sergeant  saw something massive moving across the open plains, and zoomed in on the enormous dust cloud. He couldn't quite see what it was, but whatever it was, it stopped. The dust-cloud kept on going, over the top of the boxy shape, and kept going, slowly revealing a deadly threat. Casias' eye's widened as he realised what it was.

The tank remained still, it's glistening blue and gold hull and heretical icons signalled it as a renegade battle-tank, but far larger than anything encountered by Casias. Even at the distance it was, he could tell it was truly immense. A Fellblade. He had only once seen such a tank, but it was a long-dead machine, hidden in the confines of the battle-barge Emperor's Grace, awaiting serious repairs. But seeing on the the field was something else, and seeing on in the hands of the great betrayers made him sick. 

Suddenly he saw movement. The large domed turret began traversing, in their direction. "Get back, now!", He yelled to his squad over the vox. The five marines began running back down the rocky cliff-face, hearing a large twin boom in the distance, and the whistling on incoming shells. 


With the build finally complete, I've been spending this week working on the paint scheme. The tank was primed in Army Painter's Ultramarine Blue and Matt Black to start with.



The engine area has been treated with extra attention. The gold was done with Vallejo's Liquid Gold range, using Old Gold, followed by a wash of Reikland Fleshshade. I decided to go for a red colour theme for the Hellfire Reactor. It's in the early stages at the moment, but it will look similar to the Plasma Cannons on the Forgefiend I painted a while ago.


The guns all follow a unified paint scheme. They all all painted an a worn-metal look, with brass coloured tips. I've also added plenty of Black pigment to the very tips to show discolouration from excessive heat.






With such a big tank, there is plenty of space for freehand work. I've started several, but the closest one to completion is this icon of Tzeentch. Over the top of the moon is a grey icon of chaos, with a green cat-like eye in the centre. Once these larger yellow icons are complete, I'll do what I have been doing on all my vehicles lately, and add small white scripture along, inside and around the symbols. This tank will be practically covered when I'm done.


The tank commander is pretty much complete. Painted in the same colours as the rest of my army, with a large gold helmet to signal his rank. The cable connecting him to the tank has been painted Codex Grey.

My main focus for the following week will be getting the freehand complete. Then, once that is done, I will be thinking about permanently attaching the lascannons, once the las-coils have been completed.


Thursday, 5 September 2013

Fun With Forge World (500 pts)

I love forge World models. Not only do they look great, they spice up normal games, and help more stagnant feeling codexes and armies get a new lease of life. In this mini-series, I'll be sharing my thoughts on how I plan to integrate Forge World units into my normal armies (mainly Chaos Space Marines), at different points levels, and how units can be handy in each scale of warfare.


Five hundred points doesn't sound like much, but there are units which can be used at this level, and that leave enough points for the essential units. At this level, it's hard to find usable units, due to the points demands of the essentials. However, I'll highlight one I've been thinking of using, the Chaos Relic Predator.


At a base cost of 75 points, this ancient Predator variation is great for smaller games thanks to its cheapness. It costs the same as a normal predator, and can even take the same gear for the same points. But that's not why you choose it: it's appeal lies in its greater choice of weapons, including executioner plasma cannons, conversion beamers and Magna-melta cannons. It also makes a great addition to "renegade loyalists". You could run a Blood Angels war band that has fallen to Khone, using these as daemonic Baals, or use the Executioner armed variant to add some flavour to your Dark Angles Fallen army.

A combination I plan to use is a Flamestorm Cannon and either Heavy Flamers of Heavy Bolters. This set-up only costs 110 points, which leaves plenty of points for other units. Even the most expensive main gun wont take the tank over 120 points (unless you take side guns). My list based around this tank would be similar to this: 

HQ-sorcerer (Mark of Tzeentch, Mastery level 2, aura of dark glory)

Troops-20 Cultists (17 Autoguns, 2 heavy stubbers). 5 Thousand Sons (melta bombs)

Heavy Support-Chaos Relic Predator (Flamestorm Cannon, Heavy Bolters, combi-melta/plasma).

The good things about this small scale is that you shouldn't face a massive amount of big-hitters, so it should survive long enough to utilise the marine-slaying Flamestorm. Also, because it is so cheap, it means you have more points to buy your own heavy-hitting units to support the tank, particularly against opposing armour. To help with armour, my sorcerers will have force staves for +2 strength, and meltabombs in case even that wont do. The combi weapon on the tank is insurance. The list would still struggle against armour and 2+ saves, but the point of this exercise was to show how Forge World units can be integrated at such small levels. The stength of this list is it's anti-infantry power, up to and including power armour. The high level of AP3 (and an AP3 ignores cover weapons) will certainly scare all those new marine armies that will pop up soon with the next codex. 

Even though I won't use the following units, here's a few point-in-briefs about other cheap units you could have a go with:

Blood Slaughterer-similar to a dreadnought, but more entertaining. The cheapest daemon engine by around 70 points, with an Impaler, this can be a very fun unit to throw into all close combat situations. Harpoon your enemies and reel them in for a bloody close combat phase.

Blight Drone- A flying battle-cannon firing prawn/ceiling fan hybrid, this creature is very handy for blasting units from the skies. it requires a unit of Plague marines to be used, which in turn requires a Nurgle lord. A lot of boxes to tick, but a ton of sickening fun to be had. 

Giant Spawn-a large, tough monstrous creature for less than 100 points can't be a bad thing. It's what it says on the tin, a giant version of the spawn; same point, direct and release strategy, and the same style of random abilities, only bigger. Can't complain with a 1/3 chance of getting a 2+ feel-no-pain. 

Sentry Pylon-This Necron artillery piece gives the robotic armies a tough firing platform armed with some incredibly potent weapons. Whilst less mobile, it has a good range on most of it's available guns, and costs less than 1/3 of your 500 point limit. 

Eldar Hornet-This fast skimmer is able to shoot no matter how fast it goes: great for racing around the enemy and flanking them with a variety of optional weapons. All for 75 points per Hornet. 


Next time, I'll be thinking about a potential 1000 points list, and accessing some of the bigger and scarier units.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Review: Imperial Armour Apocalypse (2013 edition)

Many of us enjoy using unique units, and when Forge World comes out of a new rulebook, we are keen to see A: what's in it from before? and B) what's new? Despite the name, Forge World's latest read, Imperial Armour Apocalypse, has units for both apocalypse games and standard ones, and today I'll be dissecting and analysing the content for your amusement.


This is the third book in the series (despite sharing the same name as the first), and the other two Imperial Armour Apocalypse's (1st and 2nd editions) have been discontinued, so this book is effectively their full replacement. It costs £30 which, whilst more expensive than the other editions, it is on par with current hardback codexes and is bigger. The surface of the book has also changed, from a high-gloss to a smooth satin finish.


Imperial Armour Apocalypse contains 161 pages of pure 40k rules and units. For reference, the previous book, Imperial Armour Apocalypse: Second Edition, only had 128 pages. There are no sections of massive fluff, only a paragraph of so above each unit detailing its history. This fluff cutback means there is space for plenty of new and old units contained.


Most units available from Forge World are in this book. As chaos player, I am happy to see that I no longer need to carry around two massive tomes every time I want to play both a Contemptor Dreadnought and a Storm Eagle, both are in this book. The only things that I see omitted from the Chaos section are the "hell" planes. I also cannot find the Rapier guns, but I suspect they are a Horus Heresy special.

We are also treated to a number of new units, such as the "relic predators" for both good and evil space marines, Necron Tesseract Arks, small-scale Pylons and even the city of the dead, a table-wide fortification. 


In terms of editing quality, Forge World has managed to solve most of the issues from previous books. I remember in IA:A 2nd ed that my army was referred to as the Thousend Sons. That has been fixed. Also, every unit now bears a mark, saying if it is an apocalypse only unit, or  if you can have fun with it in your standard games. In the latter's case, it also says what slot it occupies, something that was missing from a few in the last book.




Whilst they have fixed a few issues from previous books, some still remain, and new ones have popped up. One example is the Minotaur siege tank, where it says it is equipped with a pair of heavy bolter sponsons. Anyone who hows the model know there are none. It seems that Forge World's well-known proofing errors haven't been fully resolved.


What is new about this Apocalypse book, it is it the first one I've seen in this series that has added named characters to the book. All the named characters from the three Vraks campaign books (Mamon, Zhufor, Rex etc.) have been updated and included in the book, for use in your campaigns or even normal games (and in which armies). Alongisde these characters, you also get an updated campaign set to reenact the Vraks siege.

So, to conclude, you are getting a much bigger and tightly packed book, full of new units and old ones with fresh new looks. Ignoring the odd grammatical error, this book is a fantastic purchase. And in a day and age where GW charges an arm and both legs for it's models, just think: Forge World is looking a lot more affordable isn't it?