Friday, February 26, 2010

What's in the box?

One of the fun things about being a toy soldier hobbyist that a) works from home for a toy soldier hobby magazine and b) has quite a few friends with great toy soldier businesses, is that a really cool box of goodies turns up on my doorstep two or three times a week.

Over the past few weeks there've been some great boxes indeed.

Just last week I received a lovely box from Jim and John Bailey at Grindhouse Games. It was the freshly printed copy of Incursion that I pre-ordered back in November. The reason for the delay? The guys had to establish a significant commitment from their customers before laying down the vast amounts of cash needed to get a board game of this quality printed and assembled. I know the Baileys do good work, so I was more than happy to pledge my support for this project.

I've seen lots of great pictures of their Incursion range of minis online, so I order the complete package which included two of their limited edition tins, the Allies (US Ape-suited raiders) and the Germans (exciting characters and Nazi ZOMBIES!). Very cool. Go and check out their stuff here.

My friend Ronnie Renton, the driving force behind Mantic Games, sent me a little package after I asked a couple of questions about their new ghouls. In the package were two sprues of the new Skeletons (which you can use to build 20 Skellies). While I wasn't too keen on the styling of their Elves, I am loving the look of these undead warriors. Loads more detail and clever ways of assembling the models (usually tricky with Skeletons) make these very impressive.

Ronnie has always been a big fan of big armies and big games. These Mantic miniatures seem like the way to achieve that consistently.

Here's a back and front shot of the ghoul sprue. With two leg parts, two torsos, three heads, and three alternate hands you can build ghouls 36 different ways, although I'd recommend some more extensive conversions (arm repositioning would be best). Apart from using them as ghouls in an undead army, you could easily see these models serving as Battle Psykers in an Imperial Guard or Traitor Guard army, particularly using the two bald heads (one of which is somewhat bulbous).

Every month or so I place an order with Jeff Wilhelm at Dragon Forge Designs. He makes some great resin bases and is close to adding some great new products to his line (keep an eye out just after Adepticon). This box was full of bases for me and just a couple for some commissions I'm finishing up.

About a month ago I received my order from Romeo at Battlefoam. I tried out their funky little design app, and created this custom tray for my Napoleonic British, each tray will fit roughly one division or support brigade, so I should be good for a while with the four trays I ordered.
I should fit roughly 140 models per tray, not bad.

And one of the boxes that arrived recently contained my "staff samples" of the first six packs from our Wargames Illustrated Exclusive "Moments In History" vignettes. If you click on the link you'll get to see the six sets, sculpted by Gary Morley, assembled and painted by Matt Parkes, in their full glory. Each set is available for sale, but we're also giving you your choice of two sets when you order a one year subscription!

As I said at the start though, it's pretty cool to have lovely free toy soldiers land on your doorstep!

So, let's wrap up with some models that will soon be heading back into a box and out my door. The Pre-Heresy Emperor's Children army I started showing you last post has reached it's conclusion. 50 Tactical Marines, 6 Rhinos, 9 Phoenix Guard, 1 Sorcerer/Librarian, and 1 Land Raider, all done now.

My client sent me a Forgeworld Pre-Heresy Land Raider Kit to assemble and embellish a bit. I usually love Forgeworld's kit (see the Hellblade I assembled in less than 30 minutes), but I'm yet to find a MkI Land Raider kit that hasn't had problems.

This particular kit was a real doozy. The front section (sits above the assault ramp doors) and the rear section (replaces the standard engine pieces) were a full 2mm slimmer than the standard pieces. This meant they could only be used if I was willing to trim 2mm off the width of the floor, the lower assault ramp, the upper assault ramp, the internal bracing piece, and the top (which straddles both track sections, requiring it to be trimmed from the center of the piece). I decided not to go down that path, instead choosing to adapt the standard pieces.

I created a new housing for the heavy bolters, and a new set of panels for the rear section so that I could still mount the two large exhausts that come with the FW kit. In addition I added plasticard trim around the side and top panels. When my client paints the Land Raider in the Pre-Heresy purple, this trim will be painted gold and add really rich, detailed look to the tank. This was topped off with the Legion number (III) and the Legion symbol (the winged claw) tying it back in with the Rhinos.

And finally, here's the Librarian. He's a fairly simple conversion, tied in with the rest of the army, but pushing the styling progression. When I decided to use the High Elf banner for the Phoenix Guard, I thought this guy could also use a piece from the High Elf sprues I had. Hence the phoenix familiar perched on his backpack. He'll look great painted gold.

Until next time, have fun!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bitten off more than I can chew...

Well, the more astute of you may have noticed that over the last few months I've been showing off pics of a lot of commission work I've been doing, and not too much else.

That's because most of what I've been doing has been commission work. I still manage to squeeze in the odd bit of work for my own hobby here and there, but not as much as I'd like. So, once I get my current chunk of commissions out of the way, I'll be scaling way back on what I take. To give you an idea, I currently have five jobs to finish by Adepticon (less than 6 weeks away). I'll be burning the midnight oil to get them all done to my exacting standards, but after that I'm promising myself no more than two jobs at a time.

Anyway, on to the toy soldiers.

This is an army shot of a Pre-Heresy Emperor's Children army I've been working on in the background. There are some reasonably straightforward conversions, but one's that add a lot of character, as well as some that are more elaborate. I'm just converting this army. The client will be painting it himself. All the bases are from Dragon Forge Designs' Slate Wasteland series, perfect for painting up the coral of the Laer world (from the HH novel Fulgrim) and great for Space Wolves armies too!

Here's an example of one of the five Tactical Squads. The regular troopers have either MkIV, MkV, or MkVI legs, they all have the Eagle breastplate, and either MkIV or MkVI helmets. I switched up the magazine/handgrip configuration on the bolters too, they're reminiscent of the first plastic bolters from the old RTB-01 kit from "back in the day".

This is a unit that evolved following a bit of chatting back and forth with the client. They'll probably be used as Honor Guard, but represent the Phoenix Guard, those assigned to defend the life of their Primarch. The spears/halberds are from the Chaos Knight sprues, and the wings on the helmets are from a press-mold. Again, they have the early Mk of bolter. As you can see in the pic below, I've added a vambrace to their left arm to match the one on the Chaos Knight right arm. They've also been given plasticard spall-guards on their left shoulders.

The client requested conversion work on six Rhinos. I figured the cool thing to do was to retro-fit the current Rhino to have the classic signifiers of the MkI Rhino of old. So, with a great deal of measuring and plasticard cutting and gluing, these Rhinos rolled off the modeling table. I switched up the front panels, the side hatches, and the top hatch to match the styling of the older model. In addition my buddy Thomas cut me a few EC Legion symbols (the winged claw) which I then added to the top hatch. Really personalizes the models I think.

I have a couple more pieces to finish up for this one, hopefully I can put them in the next post.

Just so you don't think it's been all work and no play, here's my "proof of concept" model for my Centigor units. A Gor torso, Marauder horse body, and Ungor spear and shield. What do you think?

And finally, here's a teaser of something big I'm working on (slowly).

Don't forget, only one week left to get your ideas in for my tattoo competition!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Beasts in the woods

Earlier in the week I mentioned that I'd picked up some of the new GW Minotaurs. Some of you like them, and some of you don't. That's just fine, each to his own.

After assembling and painting three of these beasts I can say I like them. Could GW have done a few things differently? Sure, but I feel there are plenty of great things about them (not the least of which are the awesome heads), and the flaws can be handled with a minimum of converting.

Anyway, here they are.

I entered them in the Minotaur Painting Competition each US Hobby Center was running (Horns and Hooves was the title, I think). Unfortunately due to the crazy snow in Baltimore, I was the only guy to brave the elements and get my ass to GW Yorkridge early enough in the week to snag a box and get them painted. Yes folks, I won, but it was by default. Some competition would've been nice, but it just wasn't the case. Oh well, a free Doombull isn't to be scoffed at.

Well, here are a few more shots of the first unit in my new Beastmen army that I'll be blogging about over the coming year. Next up for these guys, either Centigors converted from Marauder Horses and Gors, or a Jabberslythe from a wild Dragon/Mawlock combo.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Another cool blog

Well sitting in my inbox this lunchtime was an email from Mark Hoffman. In the email, Mark blamed me for his Adeptus Mechanicus army. He said that the WD article on my AdMech army (from back in the day) had forced him to do one as well. I'm not too sure that I should take all the blame, but it was certainly flattering none the less.

Here's a shot of Mark's army as it stands at the moment. You can check out more of it on his blog, Musings of a Metal Mind, as he posts more of it over the coming weeks. There's also a ton of other fun conversions. Take a look. I've also added it to my blogroll on the right.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Just a quickie...

Hobby time this week has been severely impacted by shoveling time. Snow shoveling that is!
Over the past six days we've had almost 4' of snow in my neighborhood in Baltimore. Fun, fun, fun!

Fortunately the city plowed our street on Tuesday morning so I was able to escape to the GW Yorkridge store and pick up the new Beastmen Army Book and a box of Minotaurs. They are taking hobby priority this week. Should have pictures by Sunday. In the meantime I'll leave you with a VERY cool looking Hydra truck pictures. The truck was built from the plans on this blog (and some Forge World pieces) and the pics were sent to me by Jason Gould, who is building a WW1-inspired trench fighting IG army. I've added Jason's blog to my blog roll (along with a couple of others), but you can also jump straight to it here. Enjoy!

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Rapid Assault Force approaches

I managed to get the first element of my Rapid Assault Force (almost) finished this week! This Chaos Hellblade (from ForgeWorld) took quite a bit longer to paint than it did to assemble, but it is nearing the finished line. I've gone for a "reversed" scheme for my RAF flyers, using Dheneb Stone for the base color and Scorched Brown/Dark Flesh for the Chaos star.

The Step-by-step painting guide is as follows:

• Drybrush entire Hellblade with Tin Bitz
• Drybrush with Boltgun Metal
• Wash with Devlan Mud
• Wash patches of the Hellblade with Leviathan Purple and Thraka Green
• Wash with Badab Black

• Paint Windsor & Newton Liquid Mask on the metal, where you want the chips to appear. The edges of the wings are a great place.
• Paint the Hellblade with Dheneb Stone
• Drybrush with a mix of Dheneb Stone and Skull White
• Peel off the Liquid Mask, exposing the darkened metal below
• Hit the edges of the exposed metal with Mithril Silver
• Highlight the edges of the chips with Skull White
• Shade the Dheneb Stone with Gryphonne Sepia painted carefully into the recesses.

• Basecoat the Chaos star with Scorched Brown
• Highlight with Scorched Brown/Dark Flesh mix
• Edge highlight with Dark Flesh/Bleached Bone mix

Detail everything else.

As you may have noticed, the cockpit glass is black. That's for two reasons:
a) I wasn't happy with any of the paintjobs/color schemes for the pilot
b) I lost the original canopy and built a new one from plasticard

Of course, as soon as I finished painting the new canopy I found the old one!

Back in November I donated a 28mm Single Figure paintjob to the Mechanicon '09 Charity Auction. The winner of the paintjob recently sent me his chosen model, Forgefather Vulkan He'stan. I'll be shipping him off next week.

And the base is from Dragon Forge Design.