Thursday 28 August 2014

The Road to Haven

I'm going to be attending the Haven event on the 6th of September run by the Overlords. It will be my first ever 40K event. I've been looking around for things to get involved in and when I heard about this it seemed perfect. The overlords podcast is the best 40K podcast I've heard, the hosts seem to have similar attitudes to playing to myself and they take pride in being welcoming and guaranteeing everyone gets a game.

The problem is, I can't take my Craftworld eBay Eldar army because it's strictly an Imperium vs. Chaos event.

I had planned to build a bunch of tanks and take a fully mechanised Guard contingent.  I've been having great fun scratch-building tanks, but so far I've got around 0.3 tanks complete.

So, instead, I'm going to take a bunch of Chaos Space Marines. The Chaos Lord and cultists from the Dark Vengeance box are painted and I just need to add a few more cultists and a sorcerer.

I've been busily building the sorcerer and cultists. The cultists have taken time because I don't like repetition in what's meant to be a rag-tag collection of misfits.

The sorcerer is almost ready to paint.

I'm imagining that the sorcerer, who I have named Scall, was until fairly recently a "young" space marine in a little-known chapter.  He'd made an excellent scout and was proud to be given a shiny suit of power armour.  In battle, he was becoming well-known for accurate shooting and always managing to avoid taking hits even when a hail of bullets were heading his way.

He was so good, the librarian attached to his unit started watching him more closely. What he noticed was that Scall not only dived out of the way just in time, but started moving before the threat was apparent.  And when firing, he could fire a single shot that would instantly kill an enemy that stepped around a corner into its path. The librarian was interested.  And a little jealous.  Prescience was an ability he had spent decades learning and this marine seemed to be achieving it by accident.

During a campaign to clear Orks from a small agri-world, the librarian watching Scall noticed that his bolter rounds not only hit more, but did more damage. They tore through armour that the rounds of other marines bounced off.  Scall seemed not to notice. He was totally sure of the Emperor's guidance and didn't think any of his luck was unusual.

As the campaign wore on, Scall's unusual abilities began to make his brothers nervous.  He fired more shots. More than he had ammo.  They did more damage, causing explosions even on rainy days with nothing even remotely flammable near by.

One day, Scall's unit was ambushed by dozens of boyz. In the first few moments, one of the brothers fell and was hacked apart by the rampaging orks.  Scall screamed furiously as he reached for his bolter, and as he did, every ork in sight fell dead.  The librarian was aware of more, though.  A darkness around Scall.  Not an absence of light - nothing the other marines could see - but a superimposition of the warp.  The librarian was sure now: Scall was tainted.

The chapter master, hearing the librarian's report, wanted to execute Scall, but the librarian argued against it.  If Scall died, it would probably be enough to tip the balance and allow the warp energy attached to Scall to make its way into reality fully. As it was, it was a shadow, exerting its influence but unable to take a form of its own.

So, instead, Scall was told he was to be trained as a librarian and his psy abilities honed. He was told a message had been sent to the chapter's homeworld and he must wait on a barren planet to be collected.

So he waited. It took many months for Scall to lose his grip on reality. A smarter mind would have succumbed earlier.  When it finally happened, Karthos, a Chaos Lord loyal to Tzeentch, was there to collect his prize. Telling Scall that he was the one sent to collect and train him, Karthos carefully maintained a delusion in Scall's mind.  Even as he releases unimaginable warp energies to tear apart marines of the chapter to which he once belonged, Scall believes he is serving the Emporer, using His magical gifts to do His work.

The base for Scall.  The "banner" will be behind him. It's clearly Chaos and also playing on the skull/halo motif used by the Imperium, but with a severed head instead.  Scall probably will never notice.

I wanted only small indications of the influence of the ruinous powers. The bolter has the beginnings of a spike to match Karthos's adornments. Karthos is represented by the chaos lord model from the DV box.

Scall on his base.  More Dark Eldar spike mullets were chopped up to make the staff.

And finally one the new cultists.  I enjoyed making his weapon.  It's going to be painted like a chunk of sheet metal has just been bolted to a pole.  More danger of concussion than a slice, maybe, but that's OK. As long as something dies, this guy will be happy.

Saturday 2 August 2014

Scratch-Built Deff Dread progress

I've been working on this since around December last year. My son had kept one of the Kinder Easter-egg capsules and wanted me to make something with it.  Both of my kids are used to keeping interesting bits and bobs for me. I made some quick initial progress and then stopped because I just didn't know how to get from what I had to the kind of scratch-built wizardry you see posted.

So I looked at a lot of pictures, watched some videos and generally analysed what people were doing to see how the basic techniques worked.

In the past few weeks, I've added the right arm (not the big shoulder-mounted drill thing, that was much earlier) and worked on the "face".

The legs/feet were some of the earliest pieces I made and now I just want to ditch them and do something different.  It depends on whether I can work out a way to make better legs while still supporting the model.  The current legs cover thick wire supports.

Anyway, last night I built the start of the left arm.

I think I'm getting a lot better.  Still lots to learn.  I'm not happy with the elbow joint, but the piston-powered mega-chainsword part I think is starting to look really good.  I'm hoping to add a few more bits of detail before it goes on.

I'm planning to pore over some more pictures of people's scratch-built orkery to see what else I can learn.  Particularly about joints.

I also learnt a very important lesson: Kinder surprise inner-eggs are made from plastic that doesn't like to be glued. AT ALL. By ANY kind of glue. 

Saturday 19 July 2014

Battle Report: I beat a 7 year old.

My son and I managed to get a 750 point game in today. Hopefully the first of many over the summer holiday.

He's been painting Orks since Christmas and today was the first real outing for them.

His list was an Ork warband from the new codex: 6 units of boyz, one of gretchin, a warboss, a unit of nobz and a mek. The warboss took "da lucky stikk", cybork body and mega armour, so it was pretty much unkillable. One of the units of boyz was in a trukk and carried a waaagh banner, joined by the mek, and the nobz swanned around on bikes.

I took 5 dire avengers in a wave serpent, 3 lots of 3 jetbikes, a farseer with the spirit stone of cheap psychic abilities, two jetbike arlocks and a double scatter-laser wraithlord with ghost-glave.

We played long table edges, 3 tactical objective cards per turn. No rolling, we just wanted to get started. Eldar won the roll-off for first turn.

Eldar Turn 1

The wave serpent was perched on a hill in order to get as much fire into the orks as possible before we were totally overrun.  This turn, it wiped out the trukk with a combination of scatter laser and shuriken fire. In the image above it's hidden by the blue building in the top right hand quarter of the table.

It was also sitting on Obj. 4, which meant I scored it twice (two cards) at the end of the round. 

The unit of boyz that fell out of the trukk then got hosed by the wraithlord and ran straight off the edge for another point.

The dire avengers sat twiddling their thumbs on top of an objective that scored another point.

The farseer used Eldritch Storm on a unit of boys, leaving half of them dead and the rest pinned.

One of the jetbike units fires pointlessly at the nob bikers.

Score: Eldar 4, Orks 0

Orks Turn 1

Nobz return fire, then, in tandem with another unit of boyz,  brutally assault the jetbike unit that was silly enough to draw their attention. The jetbikes lasted for just a few seconds before being snatched out of the air by the nobz.

While this is happening, the warboss saunters over to the wave serpent and proceeds to tear it to shreds with his power claw.  The resulting explosion takes out a few boyz, but the warboss (and Sam) finds this to be just a little more entertainment and nothing to worry about.

Orks score objective 4, previously owned by the now wrecked wave serpent.

Score: Eldar 4, Orks 1

Eldar Turn 2

The farseer use executioner on the orks lurking around objective 5.

The remaining jetbike/warlock unit uses horrify on the boyz that would be contesting objective 1 (bottom of the table in the picture, just under the overhang of the building), then shoot enough of them to make them run away thanks to a leadership of now just 4. The jetbike unit is now free to claim objective 1. I was lucky again and had this as a target on two cards, so another two points to the Eldar.

The wraithlord shot a few of the grots hanging out on objective 6 (right hand side of the table in the photo, in the crook of the blue scaffolding building). They didn't run, but left fewer to cause problems for the jetbikes that would be shooting over next turn. He tried to assault, but needed to roll a 10 and failed.

And then the farseer did something silly: he changed his mind about shooting over to score objective 6 next turn and assaulted the boyz hiding in the building at the top of the table.  He nearly died, losing two wounds. What he should have done is not worried about shooting and zoomed off to stay out of range.

The dire avengers fired uselessly at the unit of boyz with the warboss that were lounging around the wave serpent wreck and laughing.

Score: Eldar 6, Ork 1

Ork Turn 2

Not much happens, but a lot gets set up to happen next turn.

The running boyz that got horrified run clear off the board.

The grots snuggle back on to the objective that the farseer is now ignoring because he's still locked in a combat he should have kept away from.  They're smug, too, because it's now worth a point to them.

Nob bikes charge warlock/jetbike unit, warboss charges into the wraithlord, boyz and jetbikes exchange blows but nothing decisive comes of it.

Score: Eldar 6, Ork 2

Eldar turn 3

Warlock/jetbike unit loses combat and skedaddles.

Farseer is regretting the poor choices of the last turn.  I mean, really regretting them.

Dire avengers charge in to help him. They don't help much. Unless giving the orks more things to hit counts as helping.

The wraithlord, down to his last wound, tries to smash the warboss. It was the right move. It failed, but it was still the best option. Dead wraithlord.

Score: Eldar 6, Ork 2

Ork Turn 3

Eldar do nothing much in combat except fail to die.

The grots make a mad dash to try for the newly important objective 2, but fail the run they needed so badly.

The end

We called it here because it was getting close to Sam's bedtime. A win for the Eldar, but what would have happened with more turns?

My prediction is that the jetbike/farseer/dire avenger combo would have won the combat and gone on to score a few more, taking out the grots and the last of the boyz. The warboss would have continued charging around but not having targets stay close enough to get hurt.  The bikes might have been a problem for the dire avengers, but who knows?

We both had a lot of fun and got just a little bit quicker at playing.  One day we will get a game that lasts more than three turns.

Final score: Eldar 6, Ork 2

Lessons Learned

  1. The Warboss is a beast. The lucky stikk is awesome and when combined with the cybork body and mega armour, means he's just not going to die without some serious effort being wasted on him.
  2. Don't put a wave serpent near something with str 10 ap 2 hits coming out of its ears.  Every one of them is a penetrating hit in close combat.
  3. Luck of the cards makes a difference.  I had two rounds where I doubled up on an objective. Without that, the scores would have been much closer.
  4. Orks are generally good at hitting things.  Eldar are not.  So don't try competing with orks in the "hitting things" game.
Here's the ork graveyard...

Remember that there were still more orks on the table than Eldar at the end of the game! There are just so many of them!

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Quick paint job, all serial numbers removed.

I normally dawdle and take forever to complete any unit or model, but having a hard deadline for a game has been a great cure.  I have 10 jetbikes (riderless, still), 2 jetbike warlocks and now a wave serpent, all done in one month.  

They all need maybe a bit of detail and some matte varnish, but if I don't get that done before the game it's not the end of the world.

Wave serpent:

It's going to contain Dire Avengers, so it's painted in their colours. 

Monday 23 June 2014

Much airbrush

Wave serpent now has base colour, ready for detail with a brush.

Airbrushing big curvy panels was awesome.  Might have overdone it and created one enormous colour gradient, but I don't care.

Not sure I'll get chance to do the shadows between panels, glowing gems (lighting from them already in place thanks to the airbrush), edge highlighting of blue, definition on black (dry-brush and edge), paint details on pilot, etc., but Friday, but I'm definitely getting there.

Here are the pieces:

Sunday 22 June 2014

Wave Serpent... small step forward

I need this on the tabletop on Friday.  This is how far it's got by the end of Sunday:

Really need to get moving!

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Jetbikes primed and basecoated

Warlocks are colour coordinated.  Looks a bit too stark and simple at the moment but it's just block colours to sit other things on top of. Everything was pre-shaded and then sprayed solid colours.  Still getting the hang of it and wish I'd had more light and less dark, but it should look OK when done, still.

Saturday 14 June 2014

Jetbikes, jetbikes, jetbikes!

I've been hoarding jetbikes, jetbike pieces and jetbike wreckage from e-bay for nearly a couple of years now.  Every time I saw them cheap, regardless of how badly they were painted or how insanely "customised" they were, I got them and stripped them.

After playing a 500pt game against  +Daniel Goldsmith' s Dark Angels I decided that for the next game (750) I needed to have mobile troops.  No way was he going to let me get away with camping 5 feet away and around a solid wall  from his firepower a second time.

So, jetbikes it is.  I'm also painting up the objective crates from Mantic, because I like them and want to use them as markers in 40K as well.

Here's everything, ready for priming:

In amongst them are two warlocks.  Their bikes are half Dark Eldar, half Eldar, with bits of extra plastic making smaller exhausts on the back, their torsos are DE wyches, their legs are elf (I think) horse riders from fantasy, their heads are from DE scourges and the spear arms are dark elf scourgerunners'.  A bit of a hodge podge, but I like the look.  They have magnets in their seats and buttocks, so I have the option of changing riders/bikes down the line.  

Not really sure if they're worth it considering 7ths new psychic phase. But I also have a half formed idea about just rolling single dice for them and taking the 50:50 chance of powers with no perils risk. With two powers each now, that's a 75% chance of something each turn.  A bit chaotic, but I can save the important stuff for the farseer, with his nice safe ghost-helm.

Here they are before priming, zooming over half-finished terrain pieces...

The problem I'm having now, is that I really don't like old Eldar helmets and that's what the standard jetbike pilot has.  I'm thinking of using kabalite warrior heads instead.

Also, for more warlocks in future, I have some wood elf wildrider heads with awesome antlers that would look good.  I don't want any two warlocks to look the same, but I want a certain amount of uniformity in the jetbike troops.

Swoopy Norks update

I think I'm done painting them.  The bases need to be finished now, especially the flying ones that need careful grass placement to hide their supports.

Thursday 15 May 2014

Jetseer conversion part 1: gluenado

I hear lots of opinion about how GW are moving toward having a range of models that matches exactly the items in the codex in order to push out third party manufacturers.  That doesn't seem to have stretched to farseers (or warlocks) on jetbikes. Which  is fine by me, since there's very little in my collection that is made from current, out-of-the-box, un-modded, GW produced plastic.

I've seen lots of really great conversions and I was going to do something similar, splicing and grafting a cloak onto a jetbike rider, swapping heads and arms, etc., or possibly modelling a cloak with greenstuff.  But then the voice of Edna Mode came to me: NO CAPES!  This is a jetbike, flying at breakneck speed through a battle zone.  You don't want to be hurtling round a corner only to get tangled up on some spiky chaos adornments.

So, I get a guy in a close-fitting bodysuit, like the usual jetbike riders, give him a farseer head and an arm holding a spear. But he doesn't look like an HQ choice.  He looks like a windrider at fancy dress.

Instead, I thought, why not make the jetbike special instead?  I actually like Eldar jetbikes.  I think for the same reason I love the metal wraithlords: I had one as a kid. I may still have my harlequin jetbike somewhere. If I ever find it and scrape off the half-dozen layered paint schemes I lavished on it, I'll use it for a jetbike warlock. I wanted something special but still in keeping.

What I came up with was part vyper, part jetbike, with a sprinkling of wave-serpent and war walker bits.

The back end is a pair of wings and seat from a vyper with the enormous footplate bit removed, the  seat trimmed down and a jetbike front and shuriken catapult added.

  Then: fins, lots of fins.

There's a little gap either side of the seat that was annoying. It was obviously missing a part.

I found a bit in my box that fit, but needed another one.  It was an arm shield from the new plastic wraithguard. I don't own any, so it must have come in one of the bunches of bits I'd bought on ebay when I was looking for jetbike parts to build my squadron. Reddit helped me find the source and supplied the missing piece.

The rider is made from a guardian torso and legs, with arms from my bits-box and a metal farseer head I had in there.  If for nothing more than to hide where I trimmed the excessive shoulder pads, I decided a little cape was OK and created one from greenstuff. It's a fur over a cloak and although I don't think it's technically possible to stretch the definition of "mantle" to cover it, it's my "mantle of the laughing god" if anyone asks,

The base is documented in: this post and this post.

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Jetseer base, continued

After getting the colours how I wanted them (see the previous post) I gave it a coat of matte varnish and added some static grass and Army Painter tufts.

Now time for water.  I used clear tape to build a temporary wall around the base.

The scenic water seeps through gaps (bitter experience)  so I went around the underside join with thick PVA and allowed it to dry before going any further.

A thin layer of scenic water was added and then it's a matter of waiting.

It took a couple of days to cure fully and unfortunately there were a couple of strange holes in the finish, so I decided to add a second thin layer of water to fill the gaps.

And here it is. Surface tension pulled the edges up, so I trimmed them with a sharp knife. I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out.  The jetbike and seer still need painting, so that's next on the list. I think I might use some masking tape to get a nice clean black ridge along the bottom to tidy up and make it look finished.

Thursday 24 April 2014

Jetseer base

So, my jetseer needed a base, too.  I really wanted to make something special since I've been taking so much time on the mini itself.

I decided to make a base with some greenery and some water.  Water because I've been wanting to try making a water base.  Greenery because I found some great twigs with lichen on them.

The base is cut from a spare top from my growing collection of Poundland drawers. Here  are the drawers in the middle of my organised chaos.

They come in packs, but the tops come off so you can make taller towers.  I have a bunch of spare tops and I use them as little trays, but I realised that they are also a source of sheet plastic.
I took a corner so that I could use the ridge to help build height and as something to anchor the wire that supports the jetbike.

Here's the piece:
And with a wire and lichen-ey twig...

 Trying out the jetbike on the suppoort...
Next, I added some plaster rocks. I made a batch of these a while ago using some plaster moulds. I only needed a few back then, but made enough to last for a few projects. I filled in around the rocks with air-drying clay and pressed in some smaller rocks.

The idea is that the ground will slope down to the water and the water will stretch to the edge of the base. See how I used clay to extend the twig into the ground?  I was chuffed with how that turned out.

Now for gravel, sand and flock.

Happy with the shape, composition and texture, I gave everything a spray of thin PVA, let that dry and then a coat of spray varnish.  I like the lichen, but don't want it squidgy, or changing shape with heat or moisture. Once everything was encased in PVA and varnish for good measure, it all got a coat of black primer.

And now the colours start coming back by getting painted on. This was all airbrushed. I made sure to have a black shadow where the log and ground met, to enhance the depth. I think it worked well.

And drybrushing...

Next I need to add the static grass and water. I'll report on that soon.

After a long spring term...

Another burst of progress.  The swooping hawks are nearly completely painted.  (Photos to come) Lots of things have been primed, some even have base colours on.

The wraithlord has colour, but needs a wash and detail.

I have some warp spiders that need painting:
I've also primed all of my deadzone stuff now, minis and scenery.