Thursday, January 29, 2009

Some other armies as requested

Before I jump into the new pics of a few OLD armies I felt I had to post a pic of the finished commission work. All nine models were a treat to work on, with their incredibly fine detail and typically muted tones. I found myself mixing Chaos Black into the base color of the greens and browns to really push some depth into the small models. I hope you, and my client, like them as much as I do. Oh, and the Rohan flag was not as difficult as I first thought it would be.

On to the other work I've been doing. Here's the second squad of Blood Pact, rocking a Meltagun and Autocannon. I've decided I'm just going to paint a bunch of different special and heavy weapons so that I have the flexibility to swap the squads around and get the best build for the occasion. Next time I'll have some of the new "grotesques" painted.

A while back (over a decade in fact) I painted a Tanith First & Only army using a variety of models available at the time (lots of metal for the IG) including the Catachan plastics. When the Tanith models were released I added dozens of them to the army, but I've never really settled on a good structure for the army. At one time it was set up using Codex: Catachans but it has never really progressed since then.

Above are some of the great characters from the series. From left to right: "Doc" Dorden, Scout Sergeant Mkoll, Colonel Colm Corbec, Colonel-Commissar Gaunt, and "Try Again" Bragg.

Here's a Special Weapons Team I built based on the fireteam structure from the battles on Fortis Binary (from First and Only). Led by Major Rawne I've got his adjutant Feygor, Troopers Vench, Lonegin, Neff, and Varl (before he was promoted to Sergeant).

Therein lies the biggest problem with an army like this, full of so many great characters. The question is "What novel do you choose to set the army in?" Characters die all the time in the novels, and sometimes it's a major character that bites the dust. At the moment my army is an interesting hode-podge of a variety of times in the story arcs of the regiment, and it'll probably stay that way for a while. For the record I have over 150 Tanith painted, including Verghastites too.

It will become incredibly obvious over the coming years that I'm heavily influenced by great paragraphs or pages of background material. The group above are characters from Gav Thorpe's Last Chancers series. While the particular novel escapes me right now, I put together this Kill Team just prior to building a 13th Penal Legion army (another 100+ models).

The final pics for this update come from my Legio Custodes army, inspired by Adrian Smith's great artwork from the Horus Heresy CCG and subsequent artbooks. Above is a squad I use as Grey Knights (not the two psycannons in the front rank. Below is the Terminator Squad that I use as regular Space Marines. I have to replace one of the Heavy flamers with a storm bolter now that the Space Marine Codex has cut back the heavy weapons for these guys. Either that or build another five Terminators ; )

Have fun, and more Blood Pact to come!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

No time for the Pact...

With the arrival of our first child fast approaching I knew I couldn't put off the nursery any longer (and my wife was dropping all those great hints). This weekend I finished painting the walls, put up the wainscoting, added the chair rail, washed the floor, and assembled some furniture. It's amazing how long all that can take! 

The other thing that put a hold on the Pact project was the commission work I mentioned in my last post. I'm painting up a box of the Defenders of Rohan and the Old Friends Meet Again box. I've completed Gandalf, Aragorn, Hama, Gimli, and Eomer already, with Frodo, Legolas, Theoden, and Gamling to go. I don't think the first three will tale me too long, but Gamling will be a bit trickier as I'll be hand-painting the Rohan banner.

That'll be a lot of fun!


Thursday, January 22, 2009

It never rains, it pours...

Well, I haven't had much of a chance to get photos taken this week and posting without pictures seems a bit counter-intuitive on a hobby blog. I had the chance to get some photos taken tonight, so this post will be a bit eclectic. I hope you can stick with it ; )

Above is the first Infantry squad finished in all their glory. They are currently toting a flamer and missile launcher. I plan to paint up a variety of different special and heavy weapons for the army. Once the new IG Codex hits the shelves I'll have a better idea of how to arrange them in the army.

Below is a re-shoot of the masks I posted in the last post (I think). The difference? I've been chatting with CMDante of DakkaDakka recently and as I really liked his skin scheme for his Blood Pact I asked for the recipe so that I could steal it - best to change early on. I hope you like it as much as I do.

A few people have been asking me about the backpack I've added to the "Pacters" that don't use the Forgeworld torsos, below is a picture of four of the finished packs. Further down is a tutorial on how I make these accessories.

CMDante (and a few others) encouraged me to have a go at sculpting my own "grotesques" on the heads of my Blood Pact troopers. Finally, after much deliberation, I had a go at it. The results are below. I'm pretty happy with the result and I think that paint will hide a multitude of sins. While from the side they look quite fierce there are moments that I think I've managed to sculpt a handful of great looking clowns!

Faithful readers will also recall that I am yet to base my Commander. I've finally decided to use the base you see below. This 40mm beauty is from the Urban Wasteland II collection of resin bases from Dragon Forge Design

Jeff Wilhelm has a load of great bases as well as some nice looking plinths and modeling accessories (more of those later). While making your own elaborate bases isn't too tough, it can take a bit of time. When it comes to building an army I'd rather be sculpting masks, painting troopers, and making backpacks than making a lot of bases.

The Aforementioned Blood Pact Backpack Tutorial

Step One - Prepare your materials (I usually work on five packs at a time)

A) a rectangle of plasticard 3/16" x 5/16"
B) a plastic tube 3/16" diameter, 9/32" in length
C) a plastic rod 1/8" diameter, 11/32" in length
D) a plastic rod 1/8" diameter, 9/32" in length
E) three hex rod slices - 0.08" diameter
F) a strip of thin plasticard 1/16" in width
G) a thin plastic rod 0.03" diameter
H) a piece of "power cable" from Dragon Forge Design (found here)
I) a piece of finely rolled and cured greenstuff (easy to make)

Step Two - Assembling the core

The first thing to do is glue tube B to rectangle A. Then glue rod C into tube B so that around 1/16" stands proud of the end. Then glue rod D to both rectangle A and tube B.

Once the glue is dry and the rods and tubes firmly in place, I carved the rectangle around the edges to follow the contours of the rod and tube. These are my hands in the photo and I have to credit my lovely wife for taking the photo, she told me I had to ; ) Thanks Julie!

Step Three - Add the details

I glued the three hex rod pieces (E) to the pack, one on each end of the large tube and one on the face of the small tube. I then cut small pieces from the strip (F) and glued them to the large tube, spaced evenly around it. This was followed by cutting thin slivers from the rod (G) much like slicing a carrot. These slices were then glued carefully to the pack create rivets. After letting the glue dry completely, I drilled holes in each end of the large tube (through the hex rod slices) and inserted the "power cable" and greenstuff cables. 

The final step was to insert the other end of the greenstuff cable into a hole drilled through the hex rod

So there you have it. A lengthy post, but worth the reading, I hope. I'll be putting aside the Blood Pact for a short time while I work on an LoTR painting commission for a friend. Perhaps I'll post some pics of that, if you're interested...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A hefty update

Well, here's the next update and it has quite a few different things to show. 

The first is the five regular troopers that are fully painted. These guys have that mix of helmets, hoods and masks that I discussed in a previous thread, and I've added some brighter red to the helmets. I'm not sure how it looks right now, but I'm pretty confident once I have a few dozen helmeted Pacters running around it'll work out just fine.  As with the command squad, I've gone with a chipped and dirtied yellow for their upper tanks. The bright and saturated yellow does (I think) a good job of framing the dark iron masks and dulled hoods.

These close ups show the masks a bit clearer. The model on the left is sporting a Beastman Ungor head with the ears carved down and a few additional lines carved into the head. The model on the right shows off the detail of an Empire Flagellant head with putty added to the jowls, nose, and across the top of the head. In future squads I'll use a mix of these two ideas as well as working on some masks in the same style as CMDante (from the DakkaDakka forums) has in this thread here.

Next up we have the Rogue Psyker from Forgeword. I know the Blood Pact don't typically deal with psykers but this model (and his friend from the same pack) was just too cool to pass up. I love the pose, the feeling of intense stress and onrushing madness conveyed here, all without seeing his face. Nice one!

The other psyker from this pack will become my Primaris Psyker (if the rumors on the internets are correct).

Finally, I present to you the thing I've been tinkering around with over the last few days. This next stage of Stalk Tank is based on a sketch from Black Library's The Sabbat Worlds Crusade artbook. There's still a lot of work to do on this bad boy to get him looking a bit more like a praying mantis, but I think you get the idea.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Some more paint on the Pact!

As the "Sentinel/Stalk Tank" was the one of the first models to be built, it was also one of the first to get "the treatment". With lots of Chaotic things going on with the models in this army I'll need to use the paint job to keep as cohesive a look as possible across it all.

The step-by-step approach is as follows:
• Prime model black
• Heavy drybrush of entire model with Tin Bitz
• Lighter drybush of entire model with Boltgun Metal
• Successive washes on metal parts with Badab Black, patches of Thraka Green, and Devlan Mud
• Sharp edge highlight of the metal parts with Mithril Silver
• Paint fatigues/panels with Dark Flesh, highlight up two or three times by adding more Kommando Khaki, final glaze with Dark Flesh/Devlan Mud mix
• Paint other elements as required

Once I finished the Sentinel I moved on to the Command Squad and applied "the treatment". The chief additional color here is on the hoods. These were basecoated in Khemri Brown and highlighted up by adding in more Kommando Khaki in successive layers. The final highlight is a Kommando Khaki/Skull White Mix. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out, I hope you like them.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Pacters

There are quite a few descriptions of the Blood Pact troopers throughout the Gaunt's Ghosts novels and almost all of them talk about the iron masks (or grotesques) that they wear to hide their Warp-tainted visages. The toughest thing about contemplating a Blood Pact army is how to represent these masks.

There are a number of ways that this can be achieved:

1. Sculpt all of the heads for the army with elaborate iron grotesques.
2. Use the Chaos Space Marine Raptor Champion head for all of your models.
3. Look for another, somewhat compromised, solution.

I don't have the time to really hone the skills to tackle option 1, I'm sure that if I took my time and really practiced day after day I could do it, but I'd rather spend the time on painting more guys. Unless, of course, someone wants to pay me buckets of money to practice sculpting ; )

I have a handful of the Raptor Champion heads, but not enough for a whole army.

That leaves option three. I'm going to use a mix of the ultra-cool Forgeworld Renegades, converted Cadian helmets, and converted Beasts of Chaos Ungor heads. For the latter two I'll carve a line around or ac
ross the face so that I can paint part of the head as an iron mask. I'm confident that this (although a compromise) will allow me to get the idea of the Blood Pact across well, as well as allowing me to get the army done in a reasonable amount of time.

So here are a few of the troopers. The one on the left is on a spare base as he'll be added to the heavy weapon base as the loader. Below that is the rest of the Command Squad. 


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Well-disciplined, well-equipped...

Every time Dan Abnett describes the Blood Pact they are a well-trained, well-disciplined, well-equipped, and utterly ruthless. You always get the impression that in a simple, stand-up fight that the Imperial forces would break and run well before the Blood Pact. It is the Tanith's pesky leaders and heroic actions that keep them in the fight and win them the day.

Hopefully my new Blood Pact army can change some of that.

Here's their leader, who'll get Heroic Senior Officer stats:
I used the Forgeworld Renegade Militia Commander with a couple of simple conversions. I added a small nose and lines on either side of his mouth so that I could paint his face like an iron grotesque (mask) that is common to the Blood Pact. The chainsword usually embedded in his arm was swapped out for a power sword, so much better for slicing through power armor.

I don't have him on a base yet as I'm still working out exactly what style base I'm going to use. It'll probably be an urban wreckage style, but I'll have to do something suitably "heroic" for this guy.

Stalk Tank Goodness...

An iconic part of the Archenemy forces that the Tanith First and Only regularly face in Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novels are the so-called "stalk tanks". Throughout the many novels these tanks appear in various shapes and sizes and always cause the foot-sloggers a problem, at least until someone takes them out with a conveniently placed missile.

Obviously these vehicles will need to be a part of my army. As such I've started with a sentinel-sized stalk tank which will count as a Sentinel (surprisingly enough) in my Traitor Guard army.

I'll be adding a sensor of sorts where the multi-laser is fitted in the standard Imperial-pattern to help "balance" the model. Next up in the stalk tank genre...something the size of a main battle tank, should be fun.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Welcome to my online workshop...

When your circumstances change dramatically, you have to step back and take a look at what it is that you really love, what you are passionate about, what must form an integral part of your life.

My family and friends are number one on that list for me, and toy soldiers come in at number two, and then there are a few more things after that...

So, without further ado, I welcome you to Dave Taylor Miniatures, a blog about my adventures in the hobby of tabletop wargaming and the toy soldiers involved. I've recently been inspired by a friend to purchase a photography light set-up and get cracking on photographing a few models. Once I work out all the settings on my camera (or have those aforementioned friends help me with the settings) I'll be posting many, many more.

Here's number one, a Forgeworld Renegade Ogryn Berserker - Show Only model that I've had sitting around for some time. I'm about to embark on my next big project, the Blood Pact, so I figured this guy might be a great place to start.