Monday, May 30, 2011

Steel Legion Tank Painting - Heroes of Armageddon

Last post I mentioned that I was heading over to my friend Brien's place on Saturday for a day of Steel Legion tank painting. Well, thanks to Brien and Joe (pictured below, left and right respectively) and their airbrushes, we managed to get the vast bulk of painting for the 13 tanks done in a little over six hours.

Stage One - The first step was to spray all the tanks with Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Redleather.

Step Two - As each tank dried, I stippled certain areas of the tanks with Citadel Foundation Solar Macharius Orange (too add depth to the rust we would reveal later).

Step Three - This was the BIG experiment for us. We sprayed all of the tanks with hairspray, then sprinkled them with salt, particularly in the lower track areas. None of us had tried this at all before, but we'd checked out a few videos online, and chatted withe Justin from Secret Weapon Miniatures. Then we talked it through and just went for it, on all 13 tanks.

Step Four - Spraying on the basecoat of VMC Dark Grey. Getting a nice, even coat was very important.

Step Five - We added a good amount of VMC Light Grey to the previous basecoat and then sprayed on the highlight.

Step Six - The final spraying stage. We sprayed stripes of Citadel Rotting Flesh to form the classic Steel Legion camouflage pattern.

More photos to come in the next few days, where I'll show you how the salt flaked off and the results of the hairspray weathering, along with the detail painting I've done on the tanks so far.


PS. How many models do you think a tanks equates to for my little "Hobby Tracker"? Just one, or maybe as many as five?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Steel Legion Tank Prep - Heroes of Armageddon

The Heroes of Armageddon Project continues to gather momentum, like some massive juggernaut-type beast, preparing itself to roll right over any who dare to get in its way.

Foolish hyperbole or prophetic rambling? I'm guessing more of the former.

Anyway, this Saturday I'm getting together with a few friends to paint the vast bulk of the tanks for the Steel Legion army. As the vehicles are the key feature of the mechanized infantry force, I felt it was important to keep things as close as possible when it came to the bulk of the rolling steel.

Below you'll be able to see 12 of the 13 vehicles we'll be painting this weekend. One of the things that helped me realize I was doing the right thing when I volunteered to lead the Steel Legion Build Team was finding a box of nine painted Chimeras in a closet, and recognizing that they hadn't been out of that box in the nine years I've lived here in the US. Eleven years ago, I painted them up as Jantine Patricians (an elite mech inf regiment from the Gaunt's Ghosts series), and they had been allied with Tanith and Vitrian Dragoons against the Shriven in a massive OZ Games Day battle.

I dusted the models off, snapped off a few offending accoutrements, and then started adding more stowage, some of it from GW, some of it from Secret Weapon Miniatures. Above are the APCs of the 1st Platoon. That's right, the platoon will be one squad larger than the original list.

Here are the APCs of 2nd Platoon. The additional Chimera will be used for the army's Stormtroopers (aka Yarrick's Commissariat Bodyguard).

These two Leman Russ MBTs were assemble for the project by a friend of mine Josh Roberts. Josh is an excellent hobbyist and great dad : ) Thanks Josh.

This Vanquisher and Executioner were assembled by another friend, Bob Weiss. Bob is a veteran hobbyist from waaaay back who just loves his tanks. In fact, he might be the guy who has assembled more of them than I have. It took a little while for Bob to crowbar my old FW Vanquisher barrel into a regular LR turret, but the end result is seamless. Thanks Bob!

I mentioned earlier adding stowage to a bunch of the vehicles. Some of the fun bits were using the "panniers" etched brass sheet from Secret Weapon Miniatures, along with the large and small backpacks from them too. Thanks for the hook-up Justin.

Anyway, the are even more prizes being given away this week. Click on the button in the top right corner of this blog and contribute as much as you can to the cause, that gets you in the draw for the weekly prizes! Then head on over to the Heroes Of Armageddon blog to see what's up for grabs this Sunday : )


Monday, May 23, 2011

Steel Legion Command HQ - Heroes of Armageddon

I've had a few people ask me what unit I was contributing to the Heroes of Armageddon project. Knowing full well that everything was in hand, with loads of volunteers, and a simple painting plan for the tanks, I decided I'd tackle the Command HQ squad.

I also knew that I couldn't just throw something stock into the army's most important position (after Yarrick that is), so I decided to convert the Command HQ squad from some very cool bits that have been released in the last few years. Below you can see the overall look of the squad.

I used a bunch of parts from the Cadian Command sprue, as well as some heads from a Baneblade kit, Valkyrie kit, and even an ancient Steel Legion Commissar (revamped of course). My favorite part of these models, however, are the Combat Armor Torsos from MaxMini. I was lucky enough to be able to pick up a few packs of these at Salute earlier in the year. They look great for long term campaigners who have to travel in confined spaces - a place for everything and everything in its place.

Two of the models used the commander legs from the Cadian Command sprue. The coat is a perfect length match for the Steel Legion. So that the whole squad didn't look the same from the waist down, I used two standard Cadian legs for the models above, and sculpted in some coat tails. I also added a raised Steel Legion symbol to each of the unit's atypical left shoulder pads. The shot above gives you a good look at the back of the MaxMini torso. Very cool indeed!

The Steel Legion Commander is set on the Baneblade commander legs, and equipped with weapons to tackle the nastiest of Ork Nobz. The Commissar is an old model and has they great skull gasmask sculpted on already : ) I added a powerfist and plasma pistol (plus a more ceremonial sword). These will all be primed in the next few days, and then onto the painting table. That's where I think they'll really get their "Steel Legion look".

In the list we have both a Master of Ordnance and a Yarrick. These model are being painted for us by two spectacular painters, Chris Borer and Kirill Zhilkov respectively. Click on their names to see their Golden Demon achievements. Impressive indeed. Chris will also be scratch-sculpting the Master of Ordnance. Check out more of his work at his website here.

An important note about the BASES. The Steel Legion army and the Ork Speed Freakz armies are both using Dragon Forge Design bases almost exclusively. Jeff was kind enough to donate enough bases to kit out both armies. Well over a couple of pounds of resin. Thanks Jeff!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Artillery Train of Nuln (Part 6)

Before I jump into this post about my ongoing Artillery Train project, I want to share with you a revelation that I had last night while watching a classic sci-fi movie, Dune. The David Lynch movie of 1983 was one of the first I was able to see on the big screen, and a lot of it has stuck with me over the years. Seeing it again last night was very cool, and one line in particular struck a chard with me (in regards to my blogging). Now, to paraphrase Gurney Haleck poorly, "Not in the mood? Mood? Mood is a thing for cattle and blogging"

What do I mean by this? Well last week I was pretty psyched to get a few blog posts up, show you folks what I'd been working on, and so forth. There was a post on Monday, another on Tuesday, and a third on Wednesday. I was about to bang out another post for Thursday when I noticed my Wednesday post had disappeared, along with a few comments. WTF? As many of you know, Blogger had some kind of issue last week that could only be solved by pulling 30 hours worth of posts and comments. I'm not sure what that issue was, or even if I'd understand it if I was told. All I know is that it took the wind out of my sails, left me "not in the mood". So you've had to wait until now to see what I've been up to.

Let's kick off by pointing out the very cool model above, part of the new range of models brought to the world by Laurent of Blight Wheel Miniatures. I've mentioned Blight Wheel before. They are the ones who produced the cool vehicles I showed you in this post. Take a look at their site, and make sure you let Laurent know what you think of his range.

And now, on to the Artillery Train of Nuln. Here you can see the first of my new Handgunner units completed. I have another of this style primed and ready for paint. Then it's on to the two units of Nuln Ironsides. The models are very nice, crisp, characterful sculpts, and I'm looking forward to getting some paint on them soon.

Back rank.

Front rank.

Above you can see the progression on my first cannon base. I've been inspired by a number of historical wargaming artillery bases I've seen recently, so I hope to tell a story with the artillery bases for this army. Below you can see the cannon. I've chosen to paint the gun carriage with Tau Sept Ochre, one of the accent colors I'm using in my force. I like the muted tone that almost looks like it could be unpainted wood (with a great yellow tinge to it to offset the dark metal of the fittings).

And here is the first artillery base I started on, the Helstorm Rocket battery. You can see the "story" arrangement here. Not long and I'll have this finished up completely.

In my first few games, the Helstorm did not treat me well. However, on Tuesday night, while fighting against Jake's Skaven, it did manage to take out over half a unit of Plague Monks in the first turn, so it can't be all bad.

Finally, here's a look at the Battle Standard Bearer I've assembled for the army. I know he technically can't have that pistol, but I think it looks good and fits with the blackpowder theme of the army (as does the crazy clockwork cherub).


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Delayed no longer!

You may remember this picture I posted four weeks ago, a pic of the Steel Legion and Stormtrooper models soaking in Simple Green. At the time I was quite excited about progressing with the Heroes of Armageddon Charity Project.

Well, after two days of soaking in the tub, I pulled out some figures and started scrubbing with my trusty old toothbrush. Nothing. Not a scratch. The paint just wouldn't budge.

I consulted with a few friends and determined the next step was to try a bath in Mineral Spirits (aka Methylated Spirits). After a few days I tried again. Slight progress. I let them soak a bit longer. Slight progress again. In the end my friend, Brien Dulaney, offered to help with some of the scrubbing. I gladly accepted his offer and gave him half the figures.

Above you can see a shot of the success I had (or complete lack of success) after three weeks in the MS. I ended up putting it down to the strength of the ancient GW primer I used 11 years ago. I figured this was the best I'd get...

...until I picked up the other half of the figures from Brien this afternoon. My Stormtrooper sergeant is on the left, his Stormtrooper is on the right. I was astonished and thanked Brien for all the scrubbing he must have done. He reveled he'd actually got fed up with scrubbing the figs after the MS bath, so he'd dunked them all in an acetone (nail polish remover) bath and, after one night in the stuff, it had taken about 30 minutes to scrub all the paint off all 30 models.

My next stop after I left Brien's? The grocery store to buy a bottle of acetone.

My half of the models should be scrubbed tomorrow morning and on their way to the painters tomorrow afternoon, looking like they've never seen a spot of paint before!

Thanks Brien, and thank you acetone : )

NOTE: Acetone will eat plastic very quickly. If you're stripping paint from plastics, then Simple Green and patience are best.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Savlar Chem Dogs

Well, we're just of five weeks into the Heroes of Armageddon project and conversions and test models are just starting to appear on the blogs of those hard working folks across the US and Canada. Not to be left behind, I figured I'd show you all the first figures completed for the Steel Legion army - the first squad of Savlar Chem Dogs.

Why the Chem Dogs first? Well, to be honest, they were already done. I converted and painted this squad 11 years ago when I was inspired by the John Wigley artwork that appeared in White Dwarf. This squad went on to appear on the Third War for Armageddon website and then in the Chapter Approved - Savlar Chem Dogs article. All it took to bring these models up to snuff was a quick dusting, a switch of their ochre fabric from Bubonic Brown to Tau Sept Ochre, and a repaint of their bases to the new scheme.

It was a lot of fun checking out the old models again, particularly trying to remember the origins of the backpacks these scroungers are all laden with.

Well, more Heroes of Armageddon stuff to come, some of it quite soon I hope.

In the meantime, if you're in the Richmond, VA, area this Sunday, make sure you get along to FTW Games for their Charity Tournament that'll be raising money for disaster relief in Japan. Check out the details on Rob's site here.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Genswick 33rd Rifles Regiment, 1st Company - The HQ

Back in February I started to post some of the models from my Genswick Imperial Guard army. I've taken a few more photos since then, and thought I'd given you guys some more toy soldiers to look at. Here they are, the HQ choices for my Genswick 33rd Rifles, 1st Company.

The Genswick Rifles were inspired by the troopers of the same name (Genswick at least) from Dan Abnett's Straight Silver, the fifth (I think) novel in the Gaunt's Ghosts series. The Genswick are the first troops the Tanith encounter on the front lines of a tragic trench-war that has lasted for more than four decades. I really got the impression of an army that had been beaten down by not only the relentless grind of 40 years of toil in the mud, but also by an incredibly archaic command structure. When I built my army, I wanted the commanders to be awful stereotypes of incredibly obnoxious aristocratic fops in the best tradition of General Melchett from Black Adder Goes Forth.

Thus, Major Barnabus Collins was born. You can see him in his incredibly clean dress uniform above. He is attended by his personal physician, the regimental Standard Bearer, and 1st Company's only two functioning plasma guns. When such things existed, I had him rated as a "Junior Officer", so that I could not benefit from strong leadership, I also did not give him the Iron Discipline "skill" that I reserved for the NCOs that lead the platoons (but more on them in another post).

Above you can see my second Command HQ squad. I built this squad when we were working on an "Alien Hunter" article for US WD. I can't remember the issue number though, perhaps someone can remind me.

This squad was obviously inspired by the opening scenes from Zulu, as Michael Caine returns to his command after a successful hunt. Amusingly enough, the commander (who I never named) looks a lot like General Melchett.

And finally, I know these guys are part of the Troops section of the army, but I felt they needed to be here. This Conscript Platoon, dressed in their parade uniforms, is the bodyguard of Major Barnabus Collins. Following a bit of a snide remark I made about the static posing of the Baneblade commander model on its release, I was sent quite a few of them by amused co-workers. I was then required to assemble them and paint them up in their dress whites.

Anyway, that's it for today's post. Next time we'll take a look at the Troops that fight under the "Fighting Badgers" banner of the Genswick 33rd Rifles.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Stylish? Moi?

I'm guessing that most of you have seen the "Stylish Blogger Award" doing the rounds currently. I'm not 100% sure where it started, but this "chain-letter" style thingy has popped up on dozens, hundreds, and possibly thousands of pages across the blogosphere. I am honored that the likes of Clarence (from Quindia Studios), Rob (aka Col. Gravis), Mel (aka Col. Corbane), Colonel Shofer, Klaus (from Dei Greci), and Jim (from Sons of Taurus).

It seems that pretty much the idea of this "award" is get folks looking around and appreciating the blogs they both frequent and stumble across. Not a bad idea at all. I'm just not a fan of the "chain letter" style. I'm not sure what it is about "chain letters" that raise my hackles, but I have a pretty strong negative reaction to them. For that reason, I'll thank those who put me on the list of blogs they appreciate (see the links above) and then ask you to take a look at the other blogs I regularly check out. I like some of them for their obvious painting talent, others for their modeling skills, and others for their creative ideas. I think there are close to 100 blogs listed there, all worth a look.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Der Blutpakt!

So, my copy of Tabletop Insider issue #5 arrived today, direct from the editor of the magazine, Martin Ellermeister, in Germany. Last year Martin had spotted my Blood Pact army in this blog and felt that it might make good fodder for the best German-language gaming magazine out there, Tabletop Insider.

So, around September, I took a bunch of photos of my army on a table at the former GW Battle Bunker in Maryland, answered a pretty extensive list of questions, and sent it all off to Martin. There were a few complications over the holidays, but Martin assured me that all was going well and that TTI05 would hit the shelves (in Germany) in April. True to his word, the article on my Blutpakt armee is in there. Now if only I could read German to know what I said about it ; )

Images from the Tabletop Insider website, used without permission

If you are a German speaker (or reader), make sure you check out what Martin and the guys are doing with Tabletop Insider. They've developed a great relationship with many companies in the business and even have a beta list for Humans in Kings of War.