Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Artillery Train of Nuln (Part 9)

Grab a cup of coffee, sit down, and relax...there's quite a lot in this post : )

As faithful readers will remember, last Saturday I took my army to the GW store at White Marsh to compete in the Armies On Parade store heat. I was the winner on the day and you can check out my shots of the cool looking Nurgle force I was up against in this post here. Well, I managed to get some photos of finished pieces last Saturday and tonight I finally have a chance to put them up here.

The photo above is the entire force as it was displayed at the store, complete with flocking.

Some of you may remember the Helstorm Rocket Battery I had painted up. I was looking for a few suggestions regarding a design for the back of my merchant's cloak. You provided lots of great ideas, some of which I really wanted to try out, but time and the primary color (the turquoise) didn't really help out with the decision making. Fortunately I spotted the perfect thing to key off. I simply repeated the Empire eagle motif, found on the back of the "rocket board", in a slightly lighter version of the turquoise. This way I could create a direct visual link, and not feel like I was introducing too many other colors to the piece. Rest assured though, those ideas will surface again.

I also added a small N in the lower right corner of his cloak. Just something for a little fun.

The next piece I finished up was the second cannon. I wanted this crew to have a stronger sense of urgency, as though the enemy was almost upon them, the barrel is loaded with grapeshot, and it's almost time for the last ditch defense.

I figured that with such a short range war machine in their hands, the Helblaster crew would also be about to mount a desperate defense (or run away as the case may be). The guy with the barrel swab has obviously had little weapons training, unlike the gunner reaching for the sword in the rack, but both are showing a great deal more courage than the third gunner about to flee the scene.

The Steam Tank came out very nicely I think, considering it was a bit of a "Frankenstein" job. I had to stitch together various parts from the plastic and metal kits, as well as a few sheets of plasticard. The dark metal of the body was painted in a slightly different way to how I painted the rest of the dark metal on the other war machines. I mixed Boltgun Metal with Flames of War/Vallejo German Grey. This gave me a very dark and smooth basecoat that looked great once I added a couple of layers of thinned Badab Black.

After checking out the photos above, I realized I hadn't named the beast, so I scoured the internets to find the names of the original Steam Tanks, and immediately settled on Pride of Nuln. Very fitting.

So, I was nearing the home stretch. Just a few characters to go. Here's my Battle Standard Bearer, regally bedecked in his shiny gold armor. I knew his uniform and the banner were going to be black and I really wanted something that was going to pop. The gold works really well, and has it's own lovely depth added by applying two thin coats of Secret Weapon's Amethyst wash to the recesses.

I decided that this relatively small force (for a city the size of Nuln) must serve defending one of the numerous gates or waterways into the city. For no particular reason I settled on the North Gate, so this army is now "The Northgate Defenders". Appropriately enough, a portcullis and a cannon are the symbols on the Army Standard.

And finally (or so I thought), I had to finish up my Engineers. A friend of mine had recently lambasted me for not running Engineers with my cannons. He went so far as to say that it was the main reason I'd lost so many games with the army. I dug through my boxes of Empire bits and put together these two daring students of blackpowder from plastic bits alone. I'm quite happy with them. Of course, in my last game they helped kill a Hellpit Abomination, which promptly came back to life with six wounds and rampaged through my line. Thanks for the advice John ; )

The last thing I had to do was finish off the "planter boxes" I'd made. Almost all of the bases in this army are from Dragon Forge Design (their Temple line). Jeff was kind enough to let me know where his secret stash of textured plasticard was sourced from (the UK actually) and I had to make a couple of orders to get enough for the display base. I had a few sheets left over and knew I needed to add some height to the terrain. I painted up two of the twisted GW plastic trees and built these two "planters" out of the textured (and some untextured) plasticard. A little bit of putty, paint, and tufts of grass and they were good to go. They are separate from the table for ease of transport.

I hope you've enjoyed the tour through the latest additions to the Artillery Train. The Marienburg Landship is slowly grinding its way towards my painting table.

Stay tuned...


Monday, June 27, 2011

Heroes of Armageddon - Gale Force Nine templates

On Friday a nice big box was delivered to my front door from Gale Force Nine! When I opened it up it was full of the templates for the Heroes of Armageddon project. One set for each of the four armies.

I quickly jumped in and grabbed out everything for the Steel Legion army. Here they are: a Turn Counter, a set of Deployment Zone markers, one of GF9's great Multi-Template, and one of the great GF9 T.A.C. Templates!

Very exciting stuff. There's a set for each of the armies, so the four winners will have matching equipment to go with their spectacular force.

If you are an event organizer and are interested in getting some custom etched templates (or markers or counters) as a cool piece of swag for your event, you can contact the Battlefront Global Events Manager, Joe Krone, at joe dot krone at battlefront dot co dot nz
If you're a store owner, you can talk with your Battlefront Customer Service rep. Note, you'll need a minimum of 24 items to get started.

Thanks very much to the team at Gale Force Nine for these great additions to the HOA Project.

Donate now! : )


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Armies on Parade, here I come!

Ok, the "first round" of Armies on Parade judging took place in the North American Hobby Centers yesterday. I decided to take my army to White Marsh as it has really been my default store since the closure of the Glen Burnie Battle Bunker.

When I arrived, Scott (the manager) let me know that there were only one or two others who had expressed an interest in entering. This was a little disappointing, so I headed across the street to grab a quick beer with a friend and former colleague, until the set-up time arrived. When it did, I hustled back over and set up my army across from a young guy fresh home from his first hectic year at college, Daniel.

I will admit it felt a bit like I was, as they say in the tournament scene, clubbing a baby seal.

Unlike my six months of on-and-off work on this army (of almost 150 models) and my 20 years of painting experience, I discovered Daniel had only started his army two weeks ago, upon returning home for the summer. Even with only two weeks on the force (and about three years of hobby experience) Daniel put in great showing, with some fun conversions and a really cool looking display board. Here are some shots of his board and army.

After we'd laid out our armies, Daniel and I had a great chat, exchanging information about various aspects of our armies and boards (both lamenting the drying time of Water Effects). He's a really nice guy, and it certainly made me feel old when he asked me how long I've been in the hobby. I realized it's been 20 years (give or take a month). Crazy.

In the end, I was victorious. Thank you to GW for running the event, to Daniel for his valiant effort, to Brien for the use of his airbrush, to all of you who gave me encouragement along the way, and to my secret Powder Monkey t-shirt. Looks like I'll be wearing this one to Games Day Chicago!


Friday, June 24, 2011

Heroes of Armageddon - Ordering the Battlefoam Bag!

Things are really starting to ramp up for the Heroes of Armageddon Charity Project. Finished models are starting to trickle in from the build teams, and blog posts are starting to accelerate.

I figured now was a good time for a spotlight on one of our BIG sponsors, Battlefoam!

Last year Battlefoam provided the P.A.C.K. 720 and custom foam trays for the Storm Wardens project. To get a closer look at the bag we got last year, check out this post here.

Last year we had a lot of odd pieces and required quite a few custom trays. This year it's very different. Battlefoam are supplying us with FOUR bags, and the trays to fill them : ) Very generous stuff from Romeo and his team. As I'm taking care of the Steel Legion I figured it was finally time to get my order in. Fortunately almost all of the IG models are pretty standard, so my plan is to provide Romeo with a list of the types of "slots" we'll need to pack it all away, and then let him (or his chief custom guy) work out how to best fit lots of stuff into a small space.

There are a few key things to point out in my thinking though, so I'll run through those now.

Custom infantry slots - although there are almost 100 infantry models in the army, only three of them fall outside the normal sizes: the standard bearer, Commissar Yarrick (being painted by Golden Demon winner Kirill Zhilkov), and the Master of Ordnance (being sculpted and painted by four-time Slayer Sword winner Chris Borer). In the pic above you can see the outlines I traced for the standard bearer and Commissar Yarrick (based on a WIP shot from Kirill), and the vague outline for the MoO (based on a description from Chris). I've not only put on the dimensions for the MoO slot, but when I scanned the sheet (to be able to email it to Battlefoam) I also added in the side of my cutting mat, showing the millimeter scale just so that the Battlefoam guys know exactly how big these slots are.

Other infantry on 25mm bases - Taking a good look through the army list I started to add up what I'd need, here's a rough list:
Company Command: 5 slots (including a commissar, but not the standard bearer or MoO)
Stormtroopers: 12 slots (10 for the initial squad, plus 2 for the extra meltagunners being painted)
2 x Platoon Commands: 3 slots each (as each has a heavy weapons team)
5 x Infantry Squads: 8 slots each (as each squad has a heavy weapons team)
2 x Savlar Chem Dogs: 10 slots each
1 x Armageddo Ork Hunters: 10 slots
This is a total of 93 models. Just in case the winner wants to add a squad of their own, I'm asking for 110 slots for standard, 25mm based infantry.

Heavy Weapons teams - there are 7 heavy weapons teams in the list, and assuming the winner might add another, I'm asking for 8 slots. As almost all of the Steel Legion heavy weapons are short (the teams are either kneeling or prone) I'll let Battlefoam know these heavy weapons teams can be "double-stacked".

Sentinels - easy enough, we have 3. When combined with the double-stacked heavy weapons team, this will mean there should end up being 7 60mm round slots.

Chimera-based Vehicles - there are 9 Chimeras and 2 Hellhound/Devil Dogs, I'm going to add one slot "to grown on" and request 12 slots for Chimeras.

Leman Russes - easy again, we have 4. The important thing to note here is that we have 4 slots for Leman Russes without sponsons, one of these is a Vanquisher (for the barrel).

Valkyrie/Vendetta - 1 slot for this one.

Superheavies - we have TWO superheavies for the Steel Legion army, but I'll tell you more about these later : )

I can't wait until the bag arrives. Rest assured I'll do a great post on it, just like the Storm Wardens bag from last year.

Until then, there are two things I need you to do:

a) donate to the Heroes of Armageddon project by clicking on the drop down Paypal button in my top right navigation.

b) head along to the GW at White Marsh, MD, USA, tomorrow afternoon around 4-5pm to vote for the best army entered in the Armies On Parade competition. : )


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Artillery Train of Nuln (Part 8)

With the store heat only days away I managed to snap a quick shot of the Artillery Train of Nuln as it stands today. Not long now, just three character models, a bunch of flocking, and some touching up of the bases before it hits the table at GW White Marsh. Be there on Saturday around 5pm to cast your vote in the final judging.

May the best army walk away with the prize!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Difficult Decisions

I'm not sure if your hobby time gets filled up as quickly as mine, but I know that sometimes I take on a bit too much. I make commitments to projects, to others, and to myself. I sometimes feel overwhelmed. Typically I just cut back on sleep, but right now I'm thinking I really shouldn't do that. I can be a bit cranky with less than 6 hours of sleep.

Currently on the "painting table" are the following projects:

• Armies on Parade

I've been working hard recently on getting my Artillery Train of Nuln ready for the Armies on Parade event GW is running at Games Day. The "First Cut" round for the US is being held in GW Hobby Centers on June 25th. I'll be taking my army along to the White Marsh store, so make sure you're there in the afternoon/evening (I think judging is between 4pm and 6pm) to cast your vote for the best army present.

Anyway, the replacement parts for my Landship arrived on Tuesday, leaving me around 10 days to get it washed, assembled, and painted up, all while finishing off my display board and about a dozen other figures. Difficult Decision #1 has been to not worry about trying to rush the elaborate (and expensive) model. I'll paint up the Steam Tank I have as a centerpiece instead. If I'm successful at the store level, I'll get to work on the Landship and have it ready for Games Day (July 30th)

I still have eight Chimeras and the Command HQ to finish off for my part in the project (as well as ensure all the other models make it on time so that we can send them all out to Chicago for Games Day. Time line on this is a bit tighter, as I need to have as much as possible finished by the 4th of July weekend so we can plug it as much as possible before the July 16th drawing. I also need to prepare the order for Battlefoam to get the sweet foam trays and bag sorted ASAP.

As this is a commitment to others (and an awesome project to boot) there is NO WAY that I will budge an inch. Everything will be done!

• Secret Golden Demon entry

I've been planning a particular diorama entry for GD for the last 12 months, I even had the chance to chat over the story of it with Dan Abnett at Adepticon this year. I have all the pieces sitting on my desk, ready to go. It was going to be a July job, but there are a number of factors (some of them mentioned above) that are going to make that impossible. Difficult Decision #2, I've decided that instead of working on it in secret for GD 2011 (and no doubt rushing it), that I'll turn it into a more public job (WIPs on this 'ere blog) and get it done for the Crystal Brush 2012. This way I can put more effort into it, learn a few new techniques, apply them appropriately, and end up with a piece I can enter in a few comps.

Of course, should I be unsuccessful at the store stage of the Armies on Parade competition, I'll work on this project over the Landship.

So, two difficult decisions that I would never usually make. Am I growing old and giving up? or am I growing wise and making better decisions? Who knows?

More posts on some of our great Heroes of Armageddon sponsors soon!


Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Artillery Train of Nuln (Part 7)

I've finally grabbed a chance to post up some more of my Artillery Train of Nuln. With just under two weeks until the Armies on Parade heat in local GW stores. I'll be heading up to GW White Marsh, not quite the closest store to me, but the one I've spent most time at since the Battle Bunker in Glen Burnie closed.

Anyway, there's still a LOT of work to do in 13 days. Wish me luck.

Here's my second unit of handgunners, the Marksman is armed with a repeater handgun, effectively giving the unit 12 shots a turn.

Here are the first ten Ironsides, the resin handgunner bodies from Warhammer Forge. Lovely detail and very characterful, if a little "samey".

And here are the second unit of ten Ironsides. I enjoyed painting stripy pants on a few of them, just to break things up.

Here are a few shots of my Helstorm Rocket Battery. I'm thinking I should do some freehand work on the back of the cloak of the merchant and I'm open for suggestions. Leave your ideas in the comments ; )

I think I've mentioned before, but I'm keen on creating a story for each of my artillery bases. On the Helstorm base above, a prominent Nuln merchant has purchased this experimental weapon and is keen to find out how it might perform in the upcoming defense of the city. Bothering the Engineer whilst he is getting the machine ready for battle is obviously the best course of action.

The story here is much simpler, the crew are readying the cannon for another shot. Once the crewman at the business end has finished packing in the powder charge, the cannonball can be dropped in and the engine returned to its firing position. The crew have also been allocated a guard "for their safety". I must admit though, I've never seen cannon crew win a round of combat against anyone.

Two more artillery bases to go (another cannon and a Helblaster), plus two Engineers, a Battle Standard Bearer, and a Captain. If the replacement parts for my Marienburg-class Landship arrive on Monday, I should be able to get that done too. Plus finishing off the display board.

Busy, busy, busy!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Heroes of Armageddon Update

Here's my latest update on how things are progressing for the Heroes of Armageddon Project.

A couple of weeks ago I sat down for a Skype interview with Romeo and Kyle at 40KRadio. You can check out the interview here. I'm talking for about half an hour, from just after the one hour mark.

Also, my friends at Rankings HQ TV put together an ad that they'll be running in their programming over the next few weeks. If everything goes well with my novice embedding skills, you'll be able to see it below, but head to Rankings HQ and see it in their shows too : )

Here's a shot from John Dickerman from Santa Cruz Warhammer. He's finished off these Armageddon Ork Hunters (will be run as Veterans), and is now getting stuck into his unit of Savlar Chem Dogs. Very cool!

It also looks like other team members are starting to wrap up their commitments. I'm looking forward to getting in the eight other infantry squads, along with the four other vehicles and three sentinels, phew!

Last Friday afternoon Justin from Secret Weapon Miniatures was nice enough to give me a quit Skype tutorial on how best to use the SWM weathering powders to add lots of crazy "road dust" to the tanks I've been working on. He is planning to finish up a video on how to use them in the VERY near future.

It was a lot of fun to see where the dust/ash waste would collect and settle, then pile it on.

On the two Leman Russes with track guards, I went light on the dusting on the tracks where they emerged from under the guards, and then I added a few smears of the Metallic Iron powder to show where the dust would have been knocked and rubbed off as the tracks travelled around.

Here's the 1st tank of the Armageddon Steel Legion 23rd Armored Company.

Here's the 4th tank of the Armageddon Steel Legion 23rd Armored Company.

Here's the 5th tank of the Armageddon Steel Legion 23rd Armored Company.

And here's the 7th tank of the Armageddon Steel Legion 23rd Armored Company.

I hope you like them. Don't forget to donate as much as you can right now! Click on the button in the right column and best of luck.


EDIT!: Looks like Matt at MWC has not only posted my interview with him (see link below) but he has also made a teaser post regarding his contribution to the cause, see it here.