Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Bolt Action: WIPs and Future Plans

The German army marches on relentlessly as I prepare it for tougher warfare.

Today I'll be sharing my plans for world domination...I mean for my bolt Action Germans.


Before going onto what I plan to do, I'll start with the addition I've already made. I've built myself this Pak 38 anti-tank gun, from Artizan Designs. I found it by chance in Sheffield. Warlord doesn’t currently make a 38 so this model appeared to be my only option.


I've added the crew and gun to a 60mm base leftover from one of my 40k projects. The few were all one piece models, so apart from a few mould-lines they turned out good. I blended the crews bases into the 60mm one with Milliput.


The gun however was a nightmare. The wheels were horribly miscast. What I thought was a lot of flash turned out to be missing sections of wheels. I fixed the missing sections with Milliput. The frame was also a pain, as the gun shield bent the wheels out, meaning I had to glue them further apart. I'm glad I only want the one gun, and I only had to make this once.

Now, onto my future plans. Thanks to the great value and reliability at Putrid Painting, I will soon be receiving a box set of German pioneers and a French Renault R35. My plans for the pioneers are simple: I'll make one or two units of pioneers, a unit of Heer infantry/veterans, and make some teams from the remnants, mainly an anti-tank rifle team, an mmg team and a Goliath tracked mine team.




The fate of the R35 is a little more complex. I intend to turn it into the Panzerjäger R35: a German variant of the normal Panzerjäger, which mounted a Czech 47mm anti-tank gun (similar to the pak 38) onto the chassis of the French R35 in a fixed superstructure, making a small mobile tank hunter. The mobility will be very handy, and its long range means I can keep its weak armour far from the enemy's own guns. In game it will be a true hunter, hiding in the trees and sniping tanks from cover, covering my forward units as they advance. It’s a nice addition to the arm, and has a low points cost, which means more points for other fun toys. I plan to make the model swappable, so if I wanted to I could use it as a regular looted R35.



(Panzerjäger R35 image from/property of Flickr)

Saturday, 22 February 2014

WIP: thousand Sons Rubric Golems (Obliterators): Part Two



The first in-progress rubric Golem is at a stage that I am happy to share with you all. Eagle-eyed viewers might have noticed it looming in the background of posts over the last week or two. Obviously it isn’t quite at a finished state, but it’s close enough for me to show you my intentions for the kit I’m basing them on.


First thing I did was to change the pose of the base Centurion model. The original was far too static, and I wanted at least a bit of motion for each one. I cut the left legs at the hip and turned it back slightly. To compensate for the leg movement, the front toe on the left foot was repositioned to give the impression of the construct taking a step. I raised the base with a piece of Baneblade to allow the foot to touch something and give the model support.

I trimmed out a small bit from the knee joint. The Centurion models as standard are pretty static, and a bigger joint gap suggests a greater field of motion. Also I saw someone else do it and I thought it was a neat trick.

Moving up, the torso is raised by about 3-4mm, to help loose the “tubby-nator” silhouette, and the groin plates went up with it. The imperial reliefs on the chest and shoulders were scraped off. On this model I chose to go with the Hurricane Bolters. They would make suitable slug weapons (Assault Cannon) on this creation, befitting their fluff. I may use energy weapons on the others. The head is from the raptor kit.




For the Power Fist I decided to cut off the fused fingers on the left hand, and replace them with two separated ones leftover from a Contemptor Dreadnought’s power fist. I thought that these looked far more movable, mechanical, and gave an image of strength. The Power Fist was completed with a blade taken from a Warp Talon’s Lightning Claw, and an under-slung Meltagun from the Centurion kit. I’ll use greenstuff to blend it in.


The main piece of kit on this model is the Rift Projector (i.e a ‘count-as-everything’ gun). I wanted a big scary rifle, so I combined two weapons systems (the siege drill casing and a Grav Cannon) into one bigger gun, with a hefty cable joining the two. Two crude blades, again from the Warp Talons kit, were added to either side of the gun to make it look a lot more menacing.

The gauntlet has been given studs made from nail art beads (£1, Poundworld, great buy!). The weapon does look a little unbalanced at the moment, so I intend to add a chain-link sling from the gun tip to the shoulder.


That’s the model as it stands now. Next, I plan to add more chaotic details (non-mutation) and start work on the other two. I’m not sure what details to add to the chest, so if you have any good suggestions, comment on Facebook or send me messages with your thoughts.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

WIP: chaos Spartan Kit Bash Part Five: Keep Rollin' Rollin Rollin' (What?)

"It's a bit barbaric, something more likely to be seen under the banner of Khorne's savages than our, more civilised, company".

Omhoden and brother Ozhmund looked upon the enormous battle tank. Akin to the more common Land Raider, the Spartan was much, much bigger. Bedecked in savagely spiked tracks, the gun-metal grey construct blotted out most of the light in the forge. Flares of fire blasted behind the tank, and screams of the dying were heard in the distance. The tank had yet to receive any livery; it has been offered to three separate war-bands, including members of the Death Guard and the tech-hungry Iron Warriors. but, due to various 'accidents', only Omhoden's Thousand Sons arrived with payment.

From behind the tank, a gaunt, tall character emerged. The human, or what was left of it, was dressed in flowing black robes. A pair of servo arms draped over its thin frame. Three small red lights beamed out from beneath a long hood. It, as 'it' was in no way human anymore, appeared to hover along the ground

"Such commentary is....irrelevant", the Dark Magos intoned.

"Not to you, no", Omhoden said sarcastically. "Do you ever consider an elegant design Xi-dha'ir?"

"Elegance is irrelevant", Xi-dha'ir said in mono-tone.

"...I thought you'd say that. Well, you've delivered your side of the bargain, here is ours."

Two Rubric marines exited from the Thunderhawk Transporter, bringing with them a prisoner in chains. The prisoner was draped in tattered red robes, identifying it as a member of the Mechanicus of Mars. A servo arm, severed at the elbow and sparking, poked out from under the robes. Xi-dha'ir seemingly glided over towards the prisoner. The captive looked up, expressing horror at the black-clad half-machine. Un-characterful for a member of the machine cult.

"Payment is accepted", intoned the Dark Magos. The Rubrics held the captive tighter as it tried to wriggle free. Xi-dha'ir pulled up his left sleeve, revealing a strange contraption surgically attached to what remained of his human arm. Blades, spikes and tubes dripped black ichor. The captive tried to break loose, but it was too late. Xi-dha'ir plunged the bladed attachment into the Magos' skull, killing him instantly. Amniotic fluids and blood sprayed over the Dark Magos' robes and pooled on the floor.Additional data spikes wriggled from Xi-dha'ir, plugging into various ports on the now-dead Magos' head and neck

"His knowledge is collected, 99.842742% salvageable, sufficient payment. You may go."

"Well, time for us to leave brother, load the tank onto the transporter", said Omhoden. He looked at the bloody mess that was the Magos, and then back towards the Spartan. Smoke bellowed from its exhausts as it started up, and the spiked treads scraped their way across the hardened ground. Green headlights flickered into life.

As some of you may have seen this week on the Facebook page, I've restarted work on my Chaos Spartan.


The main change you'll notice is a set of lovely new tracks. The; old ones weren't really cutting it. They looked OK, but only OK. The new ones are 1.0 Oppressors from Blood and Skulls Industry (a full review will come soon). I will say that I love these tracks, very chaotic and brutal, ideal for a big scary tank. I did have to cut up the track pegs on the inside of the tracks so they fitted, as they are designed to fit the Baneblade.


A new commander also mans this tank, with a custom pintle heavy bolter. The gunner is based on the amazing parts from Evil Craft, with carefully kitbashed arms to suggest an 'at ease and surveying the landscape' pose. The Skyrim-esque head and a pair of shoulders (to be reviewed soon) have also been added.


The heavy bolter is from the Centurions kit, with added spikes, and the triggers and shield from a Stormlord's heavy stubber.


In other news, I've replaced the old engine covers with a new, larger custom one. This was made with plasticard strips, with a few ransom spares from the Ball Predator kit added for detail.



The heavy flamers have also been adjusted (straightened and given targeters) and I've cut two holes in the hull. See if you can guess why.

That's all for today, but keep an eye out on Facebook for further updates

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Review: Evil Craft Miniatures 2/3: Heads and Backpacks


Last week, I reviewed my first ever Evil Craft products, and I was greatly impressed by the quality and design. Today, I’m looking at two more products, a head set and some backpacks.


The heads come in packs of ten. Like all other sets from Evil Craft (currently) they cost around £10. You get five designs in the set, two of each. All heads are connected to the sprue by one rod, meaning easy removal which won’t damage the bits of the helmet you see.

The designs don’t match any existing Chaos Space Marine designs, and each is unique. They have an alien-evil concept to them. I have two favourites currently:



First off is this one. This screams ‘Thousand Sons hero’ and will probably make its way onto a sorcerer.



This other one is very neat. Its silhouette is very Skyrim-esque.  The sweeping cables have a hint of the Dragonborn helmet, which is a pretty neat nod to a fun game.

Like with the other parts from last week, there are very few imperfections. I only found one mould-line running down the middle of one of the helmets (the one I said would make a great sorcerer helmet). A bit of knife-work fixed that fast. Other than that, there wasn’t much in the way of clean-up. The helmets scale well with other 28mm heroic heads, and should be suitable for most super-soldier models.



Next up is these backpacks. Again, a pack of six (three designs) will set you back around £10. Like the torsos from last week, these are customisable. It’s not clear which vent goes on which side, but the designs are mirrored, so it shouldn’t matter. There aren’t any locator pegs, but you can line up the cables running down the vents with the cable-plugs on the backpack.


Each pair of vents is separate from the main power pack. The designs are very flamboyant; ideal for heroes, chosen and lords in your chaos hordes. With a bit of cutting, these vents would fit quite nicely on commonly available plastic/resin backpacks, to change the designs about and add extra details. I'm tempted to try splicing them with a Forge World MKIII pack.


When built, the backpacks are a similar size to common plastic backpacks (as shown). The vents are angled lower. When mounted on a model though the backpack suits the design of Chaos Space Marines; spikes, skulls and weird and wonderful designs.


So another great set of items from the new boys. the final part of this series will come soon, and will cover the last two sets; shoulder pads and 'Chaos Carbines'. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Battle Report: Thousand Sons vs Necrons (1000 pts)

The sons of Magnus prepared their assault on the Necron dynasty. Soulless machines against the soulless marines.
Today, I’m sharing a battle report, 1000 points, involving my chaos marines and the girlfriend’s Necrons (now with added reinforcements). The mission involves one objective in each player’s deployment.



THOUSAND SONS



Trait-infiltrate (10 cultists)
HQ-Sorcerer-Force Axe, Mastery two, mark of Tzeentch, Disc of Tzeentch, Spell familiar
HQ-Warpsmith-Burning Brand of Skalathrax
ELITES-Chaos Contemptor-Dreadnought combat weapon, Havoc Launcher, Butcher Cannon,
TROOPS-6 Thousand Sons
TROOPS-20 cultists, 2 heavy stubbers, 17 autoguns
TROOPS-10 cultists, Flamer
HEAVY-Vindicator

NECRONS



Trait-move through cover
HQ-Overlord-Phaeron, Warscythe, Sempiternal weave, Phase Shifter, Resurrection Orb
Cryptek-Harbinger of Eternity, Chronometron
ELITES-5 Flayed Ones
TROOPS-8 Warriors
TROOPS-5 Immortals (Gauss)
TROOPS-5 Immortals (Tesla)
FAST ATTACK-7 Scarab swarms
HEAVY-Tomb Stalker (proxied by the forgefiend)
HEAVY-Annihilation barge, gauss cannon


TURN ONE


The Thousand Sons take the first turn, and proceed to move up the board. The vindicator and lord eye up the scarabs. The vindicator’s cannon wipes out four bases of scarabs. The sorcerer fails to remove any more bases. The Contemptor lines up the annihilation barge, but the Butcher Cannon fails to get past the machine’s quantum shielding. The cultists spray the warriors with heavy stubber fire, downing two. One machine rises back up.  The Thousand Sons squad takes down a tesla immortal.


The Necrons start by moving on relentlessly. The scarabs prepare for a charge on the sorcerer. The warriors fire on the Contemptor, but poor rolling and the contemptor’s invulnerable save means no damage is done. The barge has more luck, stripping a hull point from the walker. The arc shots do no damage to the nearby warpsmith. The gauss immortals bring down a thousand Son. In the combat phase, the scarabs, with fifteen attacks, fail to damage the sorcerer, who causes two wounds in return.



TURN TWO



The second turn sees the small cultist squad arrive, flanking next to the gauss immortals. Their shooting fails to cause any damage. They charge, with the cultist champion foolishly challenging the attached Cryptek. Despite the odds, the champion wins, and is rewarded by the gods.


Unfortunately (or fortunately) the gods are fickle, and transform the cultist into a lumbering grotesque spawn. The cultists take out another three warriors. Despite the casualties, the immortals hold, and all but one rise up again.

Elsewhere, the Warpsmith fries three warriors with his burning brand (a fourth at the end of the turn thanks to soul blaze).  One returns. The Contemptor again fails to damage the barge, and rolls just short of a charge. The Vindicator also fails to damage it. The sorcerer deals a few more wounds to the scarabs.


The mighty Tomb Stalker (proxied by a forgefield) arrives in the middle of the board, and promptly attacks the Contemptor. Mass rapid-fire gauss fire from the construct sees the last two hull-points removed, destroying the venerable machine in a flurry of green energy. The barge attacks the vindicator to no avail. The lightning feedback clips the scarabs, causing two wounds. The scarabs cause a wound to the sorcerer, before being finished off. The spawn in combat crushes an immortal, but they finish off the cultists and are locked in with the spawn.

TURN THREE


The sons are panicked by the arrival of the stalker. The vindicator pulls back out of charge range, and the sorcerer loops around behind it. The warpsmith joins the Thousand Sons. Combined fire from the vindicator, Warpsmith, Thousand Sons and sorcerer sees the construct loose three wounds. The autogun cultists fire on the tesla immortals, taking two down, with one returning.  The spawn loses a wound in combat to the gauss immortals.

In the necrons third turn, the flayed ones are not to be seen. The barge turns around, and with all its weapons, finishes off the sorcerer, earning the undead legions another point. The tesla immortals fail to cause any damage. The Tomb Stalker charges the thousand sons, taking a wound from the mass fire, bringing it down to one. Combat sees two thousand sons sliced up, and no further damage to the stalker.

TURN FOUR


The Thousand Sons are on the back foot right now. The vindicator fires on the barge, but cover saves the shot. The cultists kill the last tesla immortal. The stalker kills another Thousand Son, and again takes no damage.


The necrons advance. With their route blocked by the stalker, the warriors and lord move around the burnt out Manticore to assault on the other side. The flayed ones arrive and advance on the cultists under the cover of hills. The barge blasts a hull-point from the vindicator with its tesla cannon. The gauss immortals finish off the spawn, and advance. The stalker’s luck changes drastically. Not only does it fluff all of its attacks, the Warpsmith gets a lucky attack through, decapitating the beast with his power axe.

TURN FIVE


With the big scary creature done with, things improve. The vindicator finally blasts apart the barge, nobody is caught in the blast. After whittling down the warriors, the few remaining sons charge the warriors and overlord. The sorcerer takes the challenge, doing no damage, but surviving the heavy warscythe blows. The warpsmith takes down a warrior. The cultists manage to shoot down two flayed ones.

Turn five is short for the necrons. Gauss fire sees a few cultists downed. The flayed ones try to charge, but the return fire is too great, and the cultists finish them off. In combat, the overlord scythes down the sorcerer, and after a warrior is killed by the Warpsmith, combat is drawn.



GAME ENDS

Necrons: no objective, fist blood (1), kill the warlord (1)-2 points

Thousand Sons: objective secured (3)-3 points

That was a very close game. If the warriors had stayed back, I most certainly would have lost. Also, tomb stalkers are scary. I expect to see it reappear in more future games.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Review: Evil Craft Miniatures 1/3: Legs and Torsos

The third party bits and model market is a busy and densely-packed environment. You can find parts and alternative models for just about anything and everything. In such a plentiful environment, newcomers need to have truly outstanding products in order to be noticed. Evil Craft, founded only in December last year, has managed this, and today, I'll be spreading the word of their products in the first of a three part series.



To kick off this trio of reviews, I will be looking at Evil Craft's Leg and Torso sets. These sets, like all on offer from Evil Craft, are perfect for Chaos space Marines and other evil-doing armies of the future. These parts are ideal for important models such as chosen or lords, though if you have deep pockets you could make a fantastic army from them.

First and foremost, the Legs. Each set from Evil Craft contains six pairs of legs, two sets of three designs, cast in resin. Leg sets currently retail at £10.01 (based on current prices and exchange rates). When I look at the legs I've been sent, I noticed that there were no imperfections at all. Nothing. Not even mould lines. I'm not sure what witchcraft was used, but the end result means that there was virtually no clean-up apart from removing the models from the sprue and giving them a wash in warm soapy water. 


The details are absolutely sublime. From crafted spiked trim to tiny claw and scratch marks, the details have been carefully designed. You only get three designs (for now) but they are generic enough to fit in with any Chaos Space Marine force. They share many design cues with 'new chaos' (curved organic designs seen in the Dark Vengeance and Raptors box sets). Whilst they share similarities with standard power armour, the details added are what make them unique. an early favourite of mine is the skull-knee pair, which come across as Zhufor-esque. They will more than likely make their way onto a new HQ choice. 

When it comes to posing, these legs stand taller than the commonly available plastic models for Chaos Space Marines. Mainly because there is no 'squatting syndrome' well-associated with GW Space Marine models. No, these legs stand taller, have motion, and give off arrogance known to radiate from the super-soldiers of the Dark Gods.


Importantly, the legs are compatible with GW kits, as shown with a standard Thousand Sons torso. A little trimming would be needed to get a perfect fit though, due to the detailed trim around the pelvis/groin armour.


Moving onto the torsos. Now, this is something I've not seen before. The sets, like the legs, come in sets of six (containing two copies of three designs), and cost the same. What sets these torsos apart from ones made by other companies, is that the belts are separate. This creates an extra level of customisation, as all belts are compatible with all torsos in the set. Yes, they are a little fiddly, but I really like the concept behind it, and it adds just a little more personality to models.  



The torsos are noticeably chunkier, having a taller collar, and wider, thicker and taller dimensions. This piece certainly gives off an aura of strength, and would be ideal for making your chaotic champions just a little bit more intimidating.



Having tested them on some plastic GW legs, I'd say that you'll need some greenstuff, and perhaps bulkier legs, to get the torso to fit nicely.



With the torso attached, it is clear that this model stands taller than other models of this type. Above, it is shown next to a GW marine. The collar is about level with the helmet on the GW model.

Whilst these sets are by no means cheap, what you pay for is the height of quality and design. It's very rare that I get excited about a kit, but assembling these bits into a warrior of the dark gods is just amazing, and I highly recommend these to anyone considering upgrading or starting a Chaos space Marine force.

Part two of this mini series will see me look at two more products, Evil Craft's head set and backpack set. I hope you enjoy, and if you haven't done so get, check out Evil Craft's website and Facebook page. 

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Airbrushing Adventures: Part Two

Having tested my brush works on some nearby junk, I've spent this last week practicing on some actual models.


The first piece that “volunteered” to be a test item was this plasticard building. I made it about two years ago and it was due for some paint (plastic-coloured buildings get boring after a while. The large flat surfaces made for a great test-bed. I started off using Vallejo model air ‘Base Grey’, which I understand to be an airbrush primer.



The colour went on quite well, though one thing I’ve noticed is airbrush paints take an eternity to dry: it was only just dry enough after an overnight wait. After that I went with Vallejo German Camo Brown Medium. To finish off with the airbrush, the bottom of the building was dusted in model air Sand Yellow. The same colours were applied to a set of oil barrels, pictured above


Next on the firing line was this old Basilisk. I plan to get a couple of these in a few months, so this made a great test model. After a spray of model air Blue, it got a coat of thinned Ultramarine. I followed a guide in IA: master class vol. 1 and left the panel lines dark. Again, this model was dusted with Sand Yellow to simulate the desert look. Considering this is my first layered model painted with this tool, I’m very happy with it. Perfect it is not, but it is progress. It probably needs a second layer of ultramarine; it is still a bit dark.



Finally I decided to be a bit daring and go small. Here are a few Plastic Soldier Company German tanks, in 15mm. I hope to be able to replicate a German Camo pattern on these, similar to my previous efforts, but with more feathered splotches of green and brown, for a more authentic effect. A layer of Middlestone was painted over a grey prime coat. Again, it will need a second coat to produce a nice flat colour.

So there are my current efforts. I think I’m getting the hang of this tool, but I’ll admit that I’m still a long way off a great standard. Enjoy.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

WIP: Thousand Sons Rubric Golems (Obliterators): Part One

The Rubric Golems are a rare blend of Dark Mechanicum engineering, sorcery and scavenging. These towering constructs are unique to cults of the Thousand Sons, whose fear and general distain of mutation cause them to shun the offerings of Obliterator cults.

Rubric Golems are essentially Thousand Sons marines piloting salvaged Centurion Warsuits; new-age machines of warfare used by loyalist astartes chapters. The suits are stripped of their weaponry and nonessential equipment, and receive reinforced adamantium plating. A leering daemonic helm replaces the standard battle helmet common to the Rubrics, and the armour is covered in icons of worship to the god Tzeentch (after all Imperial icons are removed or desecrated).

In place of the suits standard load out is a weapon often referred to as a Rift Projector. These weapons are rare, unpredictable and unstable warp-fueled creations of the Dark Mechanicus. With a selection of focusing crystals, hellfire lenses and matter accelerators they are very versatile weapons, capable of burning entrenched infantry with warp fire one moment, and lancing tanks with dense beams of rift-energy the next. Such a powerful weapon comes with risks. Sometimes the daemonic wards and containment plates fail, causing severe feedback damage to the suits, or even transporting a whole Golem to the depths of the warp. The gods are fickle when it comes to abusing the powers of the warp. 

On top of the Rift Projector, Rubric Golems are equipped with standard issue solid projectile and energy weapons, and power fists for close quarters engagements.

A Rubric marine cannot pilot the suit on its own: without a guiding sorcerer these automatons would remain inactive. To combat this, the souls of Tzeentch daemons occupy the suit in place of a machine spirit. Not only do they imbue the suits with psy-shields and enhanced strength, they also coax the Rubric's spirit and guide them in battle to kill and destroy. Sometimes the daemons are a little too encouraging, often torturing the poor soul occupying the Rubric's armour with their encouragement. Many Rubric Golems are, as a result, quite mad when active, often screaming in undead tones or laughing madly. It is not uncommon for sorcerers to stick close and guide them, should the daemons get a little trigger happy and violent towards the wrong soldiers. 

Seeing as I have now introduced you to the Rubric Golems, it is time to move into the planning of these count-as obliterators.


I really want to change the posing. The standard poses aren't terribly dynamic, and I have seen some amazing reposing done by people. At the same time I may make them taller to give more balanced proportions.


Next up is to make them more chaotic. Naturally a head-swap will table place, but there precious little else on the Centurion I can swap with chaotic components. So that means I’ll have to modify existing bits. Ill attempt to redo the chest designs as well as the leg armour.

For the Rift projectors I have two options. I can either save some money and kit bash some guns, using the graviton cannons as a basis. Or I can go all-out and get these suitably massive Volkite weapons from Forge World. Either way, I want to create some scary looking unknown-energy weapons for these guys.


As a little bonus I’ll have a ton of spare weapons, which are likely to find their way onto a tank or into a havoc unit.