Thursday, January 31, 2013

New Mechanicum stuff, and a Kickstarter plug!

First up I have the latest construct in the growing ranks of my Mechanicum army. Another Tech-Adept, this time based off the wonderful Forgeworld Nurgle Daemonic Herald model. I was lucky enough to pick one up on eBay (thanks for the assist Jeff), so he immediately got the "robes and cables" treatment. The gun that is his right arm is from the Dark Eldar Talos kit (as is the rounded armor plate), and the shoulder and upper arm are from the Imperial Guard Sentinel chainsaw arm. The cabling are the fruits of my labors from this tutorial : )

I have a few servitors that are almost painted, you should see them soon.

And now, onto the plugs!

My friend (and Armies On Parade nemesis) James Wappel has a Kickstarter currently running to raise funds to create and distribute his "Painting Pyramid" DVDs. James paints professionally and has a very distinctive style that always draws a crowd.

I invite you to check out his offering here, and pledge to the effort. There are many wonderful things to be learned from Mr Wappel! You can also checkout his blog here.

The second Kickstarter project I'd like to draw to your attention is from my friends Rick Priestly and John Stallard - Beyond the Gates of Antares.

In recent times (ie. 2012) there were a number of "incredibly successful" Kickstarter projects that raised hundreds of thousands (even millions) of dollars, all on the back of very strong offers and pledge rewards that had all been very carefully conceived and developed prior to the launch of the project. In quite a few cases these Kickstarters were essentially pre-order systems for a direct sales model. A few store owners I have spoken to recently have not seen significant sales of (for example) Zombiecide, yet have dozens of gamers who bought their sets through the KS and are playing in-store.

Obviously this is a valid selling strategy, and we must realize at the same time the sort of impact it might have on our local FLGS. I've been involved in quite a few interesting discussions over the last week or so, and it seems that most folks were agreed - Dark Space Corp were tackling their KS differently, possibly even in the "spirit of the original intention of Kickstarter" (no Constitutional scholars need apply).

Instead of a slick presentation of initial ideas, a low target goal, and dozens of ready-made stretch goals, the Beyond the Gates of Antares KS was launched with a concept, a dream, and a target that reasonably matched actual development costs.

That dream is to build a core set of backers who all get to have input into the development of their game. While at first glance this kind of thing might seem "Tom Sawyer-esque" (as commented on TGN), I know that for Mr Priestly that ideas for game rules that work are never a problem. It would have been quite easy for him to write a new set of sci-fi rules, but this is a new approach, an approach made possible by the collaborative tools available online.

So, if you checked out the Beyond the Gates of Antares KS in its early days and steered clear because there seemed to be no clear and obvious piles of figures that you'll never paint, I urge you to return and see what's come of the discussion over the last five weeks. A lot of great ideas, concept sketches, and gaming rules are evolving before our very eyes.

Kind of makes you glad to be a toy soldier geek ; )


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cold snap!

And now I have completed the Malifaux crew for my friend Thomas. I don't pretend to understand the game, but he told me the other night that all the models I had painted for him were those with the Cold Heart ability/special rule/connection, sounds suitably chilly for this cold snap we're having.

When we talked through the scheme at the start of the project we agreed on a palette composed primarily of pale blue, purple, and bone. It was a lot of fun to try and restrict everything to these colors, as well as taking cues where possible from the original "studio paintjobs". As a refresher, here are the first batch of beasties.

This Ice Golem (on the left) was interesting to paint, and by interesting I mean it took me four times as long to finish as I thought it would. lots of layers over the entire model, and even the there could have been more.

Here's the whole crew assembled. I hope you like them : )

The cool bases are from Dragon Forge Design. The clumps of snow on the bases are from Secret Weapon Miniatures crushed glass kit.

The list of paints I used for the project are as follows (in manufacturer groupings):

GW Seraphim Sepia
GW Thunderhawk Blue
GW Averland Sun
GW Boltgun Metal
GW Mithril Silver
GW Rhinox Hide
GW Nuln Oil

P3 Morrow White

SWM Amethyst
SWM Storm Cloud

VGC Black
VGC Hammered Copper
VGC Glorious Gold
VGC Hexed Lichen
VGC Turquoise
VGC Tan 
VGC Dwarf Skin
VMC Pale Sand
VMC Deep Sky Blue
VMC Beige Brown
VMC German Grey

Perhaps you'll seethem on the Malifaux tables at Adepticon : )


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tutorial - Making Cables

After my last post, quite a few people asked me about the cabling I've used on my recent Mechanicum models, and I figured doing a full post on it would be best. So here goes...

On my recent models I've really only used two types of cables: thin greenstuff (above left) and cast "guitar string" (above right). This is because I had misplaced my "tentacle maker", which I have now found and created a ridged greenstuff cable  (above center).

For the two greenstuff cables, I typically start with leftover green stuff that I've been using for other projects. The two methods below work best when the greenstuff has lost its "stickiness" but before it has become too stiff to manipulate.

For the thin cables I push the greenstuff into a long, thin, if irregular, tube. Then, while laying on a smooth surface (in this case a sheets of plasticard), I take a small metal ruler and start to thin out the tube.

By vigorously moving the ruler back and forth along the length of the tube at a slight angle, you can slowly thin it out.

Keep rolling until you reach the thickness desired.

I then attach one end of the tube to the edge of the lamp on my painting desk, leaving them to dry.

Over the course of several sculpting sessions, your excess greenstuff can now become a great collection of flexible hoses, perfect for conversion work.

For the ridged cables, I've used the Tentacle Maker from Greenstuff Industries. Again, just start with a sausage of expiring greenstuff and place it on the base plate.

Put the top plate in place and roll it back and forth... 

...until you reach the desired diameter of cable.

I then typically hang the "tentacles" from my hobby lamp, just as I do for the thin tubes.

And finally, I love using these cast, white metal "guitar string" cables. They are very flexible, hold their position once shaped, and really look the part. There are a variety of diameters available for a great price at Dragon Forge Design. Just tell Jeff I sent you ; )


Sunday, January 20, 2013

And the madness continues...

Following on from my last two WIP posts, I present the latest strangeness to be added to the army.

Obviously this image was the genesis of the model. When I took a closer look at this John Blanche painting I was excited and intrigued to see servitors or adepts that seemed to be bonded to the back of this crazy floating thing. As I pondered the reason why, it came to me that perhaps this machine was used for some kind of repair duty. There are lots of clamps and cutters and welding bits and wrenches.

I knew I had to tackle something similar. I hope you enjoy the result of my interpretation.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Building something bigger

Continuing to use the "madness" of John Blanche (some might say "vision") as inspiration, here are anther couple of models I've been building for my Mechanicum army. 

This guy started out as a Tech-Adept or Magos of some kind. At the moment he seems fairly un-augmented, but that will change once the paint starts to go onto the model. Of course, the giant mechanical insect/arachnid that he's using as a palanquin keeps things fairly interesting. I've seen quite a few excellent Mechanicus/Spider centaur/Drider-type models, and was tempted to go down that path, but hopefully I've created something a little more unique to my army.

This one started off planning to be THE arch Magos in my army, but he has kind of grown (and at the same time diminished) into some kind of massive Praetorian monstrosity.

The basis for his tracked unit is a FW Grot tank, clad in a layer of plasticard to tidy things up a little. The autocannons are from the Aegis Defence Line quad gun. I'll mount this guy on a large, oval base and perhaps he could be used as a Forgefiend.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

From the margins of the mighty tomes...

From the moment you open the 40K 6th Edition rulebook, you'll spot all sorts of cool (and small) servitors flitting around in the margins, and the same can be said for many other 40K books too. When I started looking through my collection for inspiration, I knew I'd have to add a host of these tiny aberrations. So, I present to you my recent servitor constructs, built from Night Goblin bodies with some greenstuff and a variety of Empire, Necron, Imperial Guard, and Dark Eldar bitz.


And here are two shots of one of my favorite spreads (at the moment) from the 6th Ed. book. True Blanchian/Mechanicus madness. Don't worry, it's been highly inspirational ; )

Crazy Adepts up next.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Hammer of the Emperor

While I work away at the projects I recently laid out for 2013, I thought I'd show you the finished photos of a tank I finished up last weekend. This is a Baneblade I painted up as a favor for a good guy in Las Vegas. A good wargaming friend of his passed away well before his time, and this guy took on the task of helping his friend's widow keep her head above water by selling off his wargaming collection. His Vostroyan army was sold off with the promise that I would paint up the Baneblade.

For some unknown reason, we never decided on a deadline, and as such this tank never really registered on my priority listing, despite the obvious need to get it sorted. After too long a time, I finally got it all squared away and shipped off to the new owner. The tank arrived yesterday and I'm really hoping it was a) a good tribute to the departed friend, and b) worth the wait.

The tank is magnetized where it is needed, and can be switched out to sport heavy bolter OR heavy flamer sponsons (in any of the three spots), and can also be switched up to be run as a Hellhammer, as you can see below.

It was great to be able to see the finished model head out the door after almost two years of lurking around the edges of my painting table. Tim, may your Baneblade smite many foes of the Emperor!


Monday, January 7, 2013

Adeptus Mechanicus... reborn

Back in November I showed you a couple of conversions I'd done using the monstrous bearers of the new Chaos Warshrine. Once I'd finished painting the servitor above, and after reading Graham McNeill's excellent Priests Of Mars (and re-reading his Mechanicum), I've decided to go back and revamp my old Adeptus Mechanicus army. It's been hanging around for seven or so years, and it is certainly time for an update. 

As well as bringing the existing models up to date, I'm also going to create a whole host of new Adepts, Magos, and servitors. At the moment, if I had to pick a codex to use with it, I think I'd have to go for Chaos Space Marines, but we'll see how things develop.

I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I'm sure I will ; )


Saturday, January 5, 2013

And on into 2013...

Anyone ready to suggest a name for my Lamenters Furioso? 
And yes, I still have to add the pools and splashes of blood and gore.

Well, I took a look back at my goals for my hobbying in 2012. Some of them were achieved, some of them were not (more the latter than the former), but strangely enough I'm nowhere near as troubled about that kind of thing as I was 12 months ago. Regardless of all that, I thought I'd jot down a few more goals to achieve this year.

Lamenters - I've made a pretty good start on this army, and it has helped pushed my painting a little bit outside my standard comfort zone (see the Dreadnought above as an example of that). My goal is to reach 1,500 points with this army and win a couple more games with it (currently I'm at about 50% of the painting and "winning games" thing).

Iron Brigade - I have these down for completion before Adepticon, where they'll be used as part of our Guns Of April annual game. With 100+ models already completed and roughly 70 to go, I think these one won't be too tough.

Adeptus Mechanicus/Mechanicum Army - I worked on this army eight years ago (I think), and after recently reading Priests of Mars and re-reading Mechanicum (both by Graham McNeill) I'm really psyched about re-working these guys and adding quite a few more odd, esoteric models to the mix. These will be models that have no apparent purpose in a 40K game, so you've been warned.

INQ28 - I've been keeping an eye on a cadre of great storytellers (and painters and modelers) who live, for the most part, in Europe. They've been doing some inspiring stuff that taps directly into the essence of the 40K universe and I'm hoping to use the power of the interwebs to work with a few of them over the coming year.

Everything else - No doubt there'll be a lot of other things that I'll turn my hand (and this blog) to, many of which are currently obscured from my sight. It'll be an interesting journey that will hopefully include some more Warhammer fun, maybe a little more Napoleonics and Flames Of War, and almost certainly some Horus Heresy goodness (Loyalist Death Guard are the way to go!).

So, I hope you all enjoy the journey with me, or at least chuckle heartily as I somehow get massively distracted!

Some Mechanicum fun in the next post (I think).


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy Birthday Blog, and a recap of 2012

Yes, the Dreadnought is almost finished, more shots in the next post.

Well, as f today, this blog has reached the grand old age of FOUR! I can scarcely believe it. It has certainly been a fun ride, and I'm sure she has many more years left in her. I figured I'd do another two-part post about what I did in 2012 (part 1), and what I have planned for 2013 (part 2), so just bear with me a bit.

First things first, thank you to all the folks who read this blog on a regular basis, especially those who have clicked on the Follow button, this year the blog cracked 1,600 followers (currently 1,623 at the time of posting). The blog currently averages around 30,000 page views a month, which helped to push it over the 1,000,000 page views mark since I started the analytics thing back in May 2009.

2012 was a little bit quieter on the hobby front, but not by too much. My two wonderful daughters continue to grow and develop and explore and I'm happy to give them more of my time : ) Still, I managed to paint up 441 models in 2012. Pretty good really, not 10 a week, but more than one a day. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to keep that pace rolling on through 2013, with all the many projects I'm currently lining up.

I also managed to cut back pretty dramatically on the number of models I purchased, which meant that when I felt a strong pull to convert something up (like the Adeptus Mechanicus plasma cannon servitors) I didn't feel guilty in picking them up. The vast bulk of the 325 models I did buy where purchased in three transactions: 180 Early Napoleonic French to help out my friend Alex, 44 Napoleonic Polish sculpted by Paul Hicks (because I wanted them), and 56 models in Dark Vengeance  (well, that's what I ended up with after I traded the DAs for CSMs). Amusingly enough I haven't painted a single model from those 280. The rest of the models (45 of them) purchased fit into some other project or other along the way and were certainly assembled and primed (if not painted).

So here's what I worked on each month:

January - Work continued on my Napoleonic British army for the Guns of April Adepticon event, as well as getting a decent number of models under my belt for my Army of Morr.

February - More Army of Morr, as well as quite a bit of Napoleonic stuff (including some Russians that really have gone no further).

March - Much more Napoleonic stuff, as by this stage I was helping paint units for the other side (inspiring in me a desire to build my own French army). There was also a sneak peek at the heads I sculpted for my Army of Morr.

April - Knights of Morr and some talk about competition painting was the order of the day on this blog, and I'm sure I was posting quite a bit on the Guns of April blog too, as we successfully ran our Salamanca game at Adepticon 2012!

May - This month was ALL about the Army of Morr (with plenty of repetitive puns). You got to see a little of the madness that goes into making a unique army like that (custom heads, arms, shields, and spears)!

June - Talk about paints, my new FLGS (Dropzone Games in Glen Burnie, MD), and an extensive look at the display board for my Army of Morr.

July - The in-store results for Armies on Parade, the scramble to finish off a few additions, and my entry in the diorama category for Golden Demon.

August - A review of what I took to Games Day, a plug for Infamy Miniatures, and a glimpse of my latest 40K project - the Lamenters.

September - More Lamenters, a few tales of my early games of 6th Edition 40K, and a look at the coolness in plastic from Dream Forge and Wyrd Miniatures (some of their Malifaux fun).

October - Puppet Wars in plastic, a few thoughts on building a horde of daemon engines, and more Lamenters yellowy goodness.

November - This month was all about two things - more yellow Lamenters (including my tutorial for yellow), and Movember. I was very pleased that our team was able to raise over $3,000 to go towards men's health initiatives around the globe. Oh, and a little converting for my AM army.

December - A real mixed bag here: you got to see more Lamenters, a good chunk of Flames Of War Germans, my ACW units so far, and even some ice blue Malifaux models.

So, quite a lot of stuff. Nowhere near the same number of posts as 2011 (75 posts vs 110 posts), but still pretty healthy, averaging just over six posts a month.

Anyway, next posts we'll see where things are going in the new year...