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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ~ Edmund Burke

Monday, 12 September 2011

New direction with my Tomb Kings

Since I've now gained a cheap Wood Elf army I've come up with a plan to kill 2 birds with one stone. The current idea is to do a wood elf army with a storm of magic pact of tomb kings that are painted up and slightly modified to be Barrow Kings. The Tomb kings army will be done now (as it's almost finished) my Ogre army next then finally wood elves.

The story is that the Hordes of Chaos entered Athel Loren to corrupt it and harness it's unpredictable and mysterious power, quick to fight against such desecration the wood elves led by the cunning waywatcher Baequi'Siel came to fight but found they were hopelessly outnumbered. Chaos rampaged mostly unheeded as wretched torrents of twisted magic uprooted the trees and churned the earth.

What they did not expect was for the long dead and forgotten kings of Men and Elves alike to rise again from their slumber and howl with rage at their once beautiful homeland in torment. Uniting with the tired and distraught waywatchers they pushed back the tide, the Eternal guard of King Rethlin'Alai 'The Glade Flyer' and the Barrow Guard of King Hymenopteras 'The Wasp Tongued' marched in formation facing all blows as if they were a gentle glade breeze. The forces of chaos broke ranks and fled but the land they had fouled would never be the same, although small the elves feared for the safety of the rest of the forest and set it apart by surrounding it with warding stones and cleansing song, It was named by the empire as the land of eternal autumn, forever pulling at the souls of the grieving and troubled but offering nought but sombre silence. The Kings and their courts were denied their well earned rest as their burial sites were nothing but churned earth, trapped between worlds they conceded defeat and now stalk the woods preying on those with a grudge against Athel Loren and those who live within.

Baequi'Siel and his waywatchers were tasked with protecting the court of the dead elf and human kings from ill will during their eternal vigil and many years after these events, he still ensures that the restless spirits come to no harm or abuse any more than what they've already endured. Pale and withered, Baequi'Siel and his fellow waywatchers have long since let slip the joy and energy of youth but their souls too seem strangely bound to this place.

As themes go I'm quite pleased, the tomb kings probably won't see much alteration outside of the use of autumnal colours but the wood elves will be painted to have pale almost vampire like skin (think Mannfred Von Carstein) as well as autumn coloured outfits.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Upcoming Model Releases

With the new Ogres coming out next month I'm planning on continuing some of my previous series such as The Sprue Review, sharing with you my planned army list and then some how to guides based on what I intend my army to look like.

It's quite likely that I'll be sticking to the classic stony coloured skin instead of the more modern raw flesh look which is all well and good for demonstrating how far 'Eavy Metal have come but it is just not in keeping with (what I at least) believe an Ogre should look like.

With the release of Storm of Magic it also presents me with an opportunity to continue to use my Tomb Kings that I'm currently painting alongside my new Ogre project and pretty much every other army I have which (in keeping with my Yorkshire heritage) I'm dead chuffed with. After all skeletons make everything more awesome and their lack of flesh means they are unlikely to get eaten by ogres which is always a plus.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Joy of Sprue Fluff

The fun in models for me has always been the ability to create something unique and personal by using parts that are (typically) designed to be constructed in only one way. Without too much effort but with a lot of creativity I can make things that stand out and turn heads for all the right reasons, and I’d encourage anyone to do the same as you will find you start to think outside the box for inovative solutions in other parts of your life as well.

With that made clear I feel compelled to point out that the best model kit for me is one that contains ‘Sprue Fluff’. The term ‘Sprue Fluff’ can be defined as any model component that exists purely to either:

A. Give the modeller the opportunity to lavish his models with additional detail (a good example would be the variety of heads available in the Space Wolves kit).
B. Allow for the modeller to repose his model’s more dynamically (pointing hands and kneeling legs fall into this category, especially if standard hands & legs are provided also) and finally the most interesting category 
C. Pieces that exist purely to occupy remaining space on the Sprue.

Category C parts are what I wish to focus on as the reasons behind their existence vary dramatically. In early kit’s the existence of Sprue fluff was low primarily because it meant more work for the sculptor, on the odd occasion that you did find it, it mostly consisted of things such as knives for Catachans and Space Marine Scouts,  small runic symbols for Eldar and tiny piles of bullets for Ork’s. I specifically mentioned 40k races as early plastic fantasy kit’s were typically devoid of any Sprue fluff and although the fantasy kit’s now contain (in my opinion) the better Sprue fluff of the two game systems it also still has the largest amount of kit’s with dramatically empty Sprues (take a look at the Tomb Kings chariot kit for a perfect example).
As time has gone on Games Workshop has tried to provide Sprue fluff of all three category’s and in the process created fantastically evocative and detailed models that are often overlooked. These include but aren’t limited to the range of Knoblars available in the Ogre Kingdoms kits as seen below,

The dying Orc and Powder Monkey models from the Empire Archers and Musketeer kits respectively,

And even the Zombie Vulture from the Tomb Guard kit.

So when next buying models do a bit of research into what you’re getting aside from just what you expect and do what I do, browse eBay and obscure websites for more fun bitz! After all how can you call any model good if it doesn’t have a racing snail on it!

In time I hope that both Warhammer 40k and The Lord of The Rings game system kits come to contain the same high quality of additional parts just for the fun of it instead of all those grenade pouches and knives nobody ever uses (well unless you wish to stick grenades on to your Uruk-Hai I suppose).

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Brotherhood of the Forgotten - Novice Combat Squad

My Dad tends to vary up his painting within a rough framework I.E. it'll always end up being a part of the army he is currently focussing upon, if he feels like he's painting too many vehicles he'll paint the odd infantry model to keep his buzz going. Recently he's been restoring as best he can an old metal/plastic hybrid 'Land Raider Crusader' that although not completely unusable when we got it, it was in a bit of a poor condition. When it's closer to being finished I'll take a photograph of the box so you can get some sort of idea of how old this thing is as well as the finished article itself.

For now though I have some photographs from the other side of the coin. When my Dad got a little bored of his landraider he cobbled together a combat squad of Space Marines out of spare parts he'd removed from severely damaged models he was given some time ago. Not content with just painting them as reguler Marines he felt they should be painted in a way that reflects their origins.

 Unlike most chapters the Brotherhood consider their colours not so much sacred but extremely meaningful (more so than any markings or awards a Marine may have aquired in their life span) this is because of the sheer variety of fighting men they hold responsibility over. Awarding a guardsman for an act of valour a Space Marine would just be expected to do may lead to dissent amongst the less experienced troops.
 To avoid this all inductees recieve the colour of inner clarity and understanding, Bleached Bone. In time providing they are succesful with their training or their missions they will recieve the colour of devotion and will, Darksun Yellow. Then finally the colour of unity, Calthan Brown is applied. As you've probably noticed although the order is strict the degree to which it is applied varies dramatically (with some emphasizing colours they feel reflect their own personal attributes more than others). As the Shadow Guard made clear though, these colours are not some mark of great triumph or victory, from the lowest guardsman to the mightiest hero of the chapter they above all else resemble the cohesive front they forged to stand against the forces of the darkness and their own personal daemons.

By now I'm sure you've noticed 'Silver Skull' at the front. His backstory is different from most other members of the chapter as he was found already dead inside of a Blackened Sabre Attack Craft that had been boarded shortly after it was immobilised. Wearing grey armour covered in unusual markings his flesh had been burnt away from his cybernetic enhancements. Feeling so inclined to grant him a proper buriel they purified his body and brought it back to their battle barge. After swift analysis by Adraunicus he discovered that the space marine was still alive! After repairing his essential systems 'Silver Skull' was deemed to be one of the legendary Eternal Warriors, however even after offering him a great robe of shadow he still insisted on training the Novices and ensuring that his saviours would find their redemption.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Sprue Review - Citadel Finecast Ork Tankbusters

As promised I am writing a review of the new citadel finecast range in both a general and a specific sense (i.e. the quality of the resin and it's molding process as well as do models look any better in this new material versus their original metal counterparts.) I'll be using my typical sprue review format and if I get the time I'll include a few photographs.

I recognise that I typically start with a first glance of the sprue but I felt that the new 'clamshell' packaging has some points to be said about it. From a structural stability standpoint everything is very neat and tidy and is pretty sturdy meaning that your new model is far from likely to be damaged by transportation at least so that's a plus, also much like the old blisters you retain the ability to take a good look at what you're getting before you buy which trust me is something you definitely want to do (I'll say why later). Another positive improvement is the small graphic on the blister giving you some indication of what your model should look like once constructed (it might stifle the creativity of some in terms of paint schemes but for myself having a bit of guidance as to what is flash or not is always handy). Finally my only negative is that unless your store owner has a pair of scissors around these blisters are a pain in the ass to get open and the plastic is sharp enough to cut you if you aren't careful.

Sprue First Glance
The Ork Tankbusters originally being metal wouldn't have had a sprue which is both good and bad and I'm going to tell you why. Although metal models pretty much always have vent trails left on them they are typically very small and easy to remove unlike plastic kits which when removed from the sprue typically end up with difficult to clean rough patches or burr's as they are sometimes called. More modern plastic kits attempt to ensure that burr's can only form in places that will be covered up or are easy to clean but the new citadel finecast kits have yet to benefit from the experience of plastic model mold makers yet and as such they typically end up with burrs in the worst possible places. However on the plus side though having the model on the sprue means that they are kept perfectly static in transit and unlike metal models they don't rub against each other causing sharp edges to dull off or break.

In comparison to the originals the models look exactly the same. literally zero improvement. I can't say that's a bad thing but is does feel a bit like we've paid more to get less as of course resin is cheaper and the models appear to have benefited little from the process. Of course that doesn't mean to say that applies to all of the models (far from it) as some of the other models I bought look much better. I'd say that if a model is more than say 2-3 years old you're better off getting it in it's original metal as the increased price is not worth it for something so old, however more recent models (Goblin Sneaky Stabbaz for instance) show vast improvement.

Production Quality
I'm not going to lie to you, it stinks. Although for this review I've ensured that the models are pretty clean the original box of Tankbusters I got were so awful I'd have to resculpt their hands, crotch and chins to make them even usable. At that rate I might as well have sculpted them from scratch. Thankfully as always Games Workshop allowed me to exchange the models straight away as well as keep the busted ones (heck I might be able to do something with them). My opinion is that should you be fortunate to get a set of models that are good then they will be fantastic but these models lack consistency and that worries me, I'd like to think I could pick any box of the shelf and it be of a high standard and not be a total crap shoot.

For models of this style and size they aren't any easier to build than the metal one's were but to be fair you couldn't get any easier anyway. Cleaning them on the other hand...even with fancy tools and equipment some parts of the model were literally impossible to clean making all the fine detail on the model irrelevant as I ended up ruining it scraping great big sheets of flash from them. Things like Straps, buckles, stitches and fingers suffered greatly but again I can't say the metal one's were devoid of the problem merely that it was nowhere near as severe.One thing I will say though is that the mildly porous nature of the resin means that parts stick together more securely with less glue so that's positive.

Conversion and Customisation Opportunities
Oddly enough this new resin material is more resilient than metal in some ways but not others e.g. dropping it from a table typically doesn't make it explode apart like metal models used too but on the other hand when it does break it breaks very badly as in comparison to metal models it doesn't break at the glued join but at weak points in the resin itself. The good thing is that it is soft and pliable enough to be cut, filed and generally reshaped to be repaired as well as allow for new weapons and heads or a completely different stance if you are willing to take the time. Specifically speaking though Tankbusters (although fantastic as they are) aren't easily modified, which is not to say it's impossible but creativity will be required. One suggestion would be to make them into Ork Kommando's (if you can't wait for those to be made in resin also) by attaching suitably vicious looking hands holding knives and suitably sleek looking Ork Slugga's. The addition of a jaw plate and a stealthy paint job will work wonders.

Overall Conclusions
So they aren't the best thing since sliced bread (sliced bread is pretty awesome, I'm eating a salami sandwich as I type this). But they are capable of being a positive and beneficial investment for Games Workshop providing they work on their product quality control and make sure that you and your friend recieve models of similar if not exactly the same standard every time. If I had to give the new range a score it'd be 6.5/ 10 as for these Tankbusters (the box that wasn't miscast anyway) 8/10.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Citadel 'Fine Cast' Early Opinions

Typically I'm a person who reserves judgement of a new product until I can feel it in my hands but this current announcement has got me riled up enough to get my views on the situation out in the open earlier than usual.

 I can't really describe how angry I am without it coming off as nerd rage but  I am a devoted fan of classic metal models and this seems to be a method for GW to increase their profit margins under the guise of progress without taking into account the true joy of having a heavy chunk of metal in your hands whilst thinking of the many possibilities that await.

Now don't get me wrong, their are some models that I agree would benefit from the process purely from a financial standpoint but this is where it buggers up. Nearly all of the models on the leaked list are special character models, big monsters or elite infantry units (things like Flamers of Tzeentch and that sort of jazz). With that in mind the R.R.P increase seems absurd, people avoid buying those models currently because they are expensive not because they are metal, making them out of a new material won't help anything especially if they are going to cost more to pay for the costs associated with 'inventing' this new process.

For example, people have been wanting Chaos Space Marine Raptors and Chaos Plague Marines in plastic for ages but not for aesthetic or convenience reasons but purely because they are extremely expensive. Most if not all of the fans of these models like them exactly as they are, they are just frustrated that they can't afford them (myself included and I don't even play chaos). GW finally get the opportunity to reduce the costs of the models (as I'm guessing this plastic resin hybrid material weighs substantially less and therefore is cheaper to transport, so that's some small saving atleast) but instead they intend to put people off buying these models even further by taking away their gravitas and feeling of importance. A model being made out of metal for me always ment that it was something special, I bought plastic kits to screw around and have a laugh with but I got metal kits as birthday or christmas presents and because of that I'd labour over them to get them perfect.

In conclusion, I will purchase these models in order to write an appropriate (hopefully unbiased and fair) review but for the time being I will make it clear, I don't want my special models to feel disposable and tatty compared to older metal miniatures when (if you consider the rediculously escalating prices of the damn things) they are anything but.

Tl;Dr When I hit a guy in the back of the head with my casket of souls or my tomb spyder I want that son of a bitch to stay down damn it, if my model comes off worse than rule breakers than I'll demand a refund!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Ork Army Progress - Fick Fook's Smashy Horde

As unimaginative as the army name might be it does happen to suit it down to the ground. The Unfortunate downside of this naming choice is that the army includes a rediculous quantity of Ork Infantry. As it stands at the moment I have 20 Ork's, 5 Nob's, an Ork Warboss, a Custom Killa Kan (More of a display piece) and a converted chimera that will serve as either a Trukk, a Battlewagon or a Looted Wagon depending on what it looks like when completed.

That's before basing them all *faints*.

It's not too bad really as most of my Ork's are nearing completion and I've nearly finished one of the Nobz (just missing an arm at the moment). As a theme I went with the snakebites as I've always liked the contrast between savage primordial anger and advanced space age technology that Ork's bring to 40k and the snakebites take that contrast to the extreme; especially considering my ork's have flint axes and bow's here and there just to add variety.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Classic Chaos Terminator Competition Model

Both me and my dad have always been fans of Chaos models because they are easily customisable as well as relatively unique to begin with. Even if your not the greatest of modellers you can be very creative with colour schemes ranging from drab and dingy to incredibly ornate as well as anything in between (with bright pink Terminators a definite option).

Although it's possible to say that you are limited to Nurgle, Tzeentch, Slaanesh and Khorne when it comes to design aesthetics these god's practically cover any and all horribleness you can imagine with some significant space for overlap between them. The only issue you might have is iconography and theirs nothing stopping you from creating your own and/or butchering someone elses.

For the month of Febuary we were asked by our local GW store manager to paint a classic Chaos Terminator model with any weapon description or head providing it's cost was less than £10.

This model was based on the GW studio's colour scheme for 'The Purge' Legion of Chaos Space Marines. I personally wanted my model slightly dirtier and less garish so I resisted the temptation to use gold decoration. I also used a lot of charadon granite drybrushed with boltgun metal to ensure that metal joints, his feet and especially his gun appear well battle worn which complimented the patches of rust quite well.

 A typical rule of thumb when basing models is to ensure that the environments reflect the attributes of the model but also make up for the models failings without detracting from it. To put it a better way Chaos bases need to look unnatural and warped but need to be either dull if your model is vibrant or colourful if your model is dark. This base was simply basecoated white then washed with shadow grey and then finally drybrushed with codex grey to highlight it.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Painting and Hobby Area

I read a forum post asking people to talk about their painting quirks and we all have them although to be honest mine aren't really any more bizarre than anyone elses e.g. pointing paint brushes with my lips and only using white primer. That aside I felt this would be a good opportunity to post some pictures of my hobby area.

It's basically organised chaos.

Just behind my dad's workstation is his model case, he likes to keep them close by incase he needs some reference material for a model he's not painted before.
 You'll also notice on the shelf is the entire collection of the Horus Heresy story so far as well as other random junk like the Viz book 'The Five Knuckle Shuffle' and the entire Sims 2 collection.
 At the moment i'm basing my Necron scarabs as well as working on my model diorama for my local GW stores painting competition.
 Whereas my dad just empties a zip lock bag on to his table and sprays its contents chrome.
During the day we get lots of sun and it's near a window so it's quite cosy to paint in here especially if I put Fairly Odd Parents on in the back ground.

"Odd Parents, Fairly Odd Parents! wands and wings! floaty crowny things!..."

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Savage Orc Painting Guide

I noticed a lot of people have clicked on my blog trying to find a guide to these models and instead got my review article, although I hope my article was helpful to them in some small way I doubt it was exactly what they were after. Eventually I'll be posting my own Savage Orcs painting guide as I intend to do an Ice Age cave dwelling theme but until then Games Workshop asked Nick Bayton to write a simplistic guide that I'll provide the link to. Having used his guides for everything from Squigs Teeth, to Spider Riders I highly recommend his guides to anyone getting into the hobby.
How to Paint Savage Orcs

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Forgeworld Empire Models - Ludicrous Landships, New Handgunners and Cool Characters!

The Empire from Warhammer fantasy have always been an army that I appreciate both the aesthetics and tactical skill needed in order to enjoy them (if like myself you enjoy both gaming and building the models fairly equally). At last years games day which I attended, Forgeworld staff announced the establishment of a separate design team in order to create a greater variety of models for Warhammer Fantasy that they basically called Warhammer Forge (straight and to the point) although they had a few bits and bobs to look at nobody at the time really had any ideas about what they were going to make.

I mentioned my interest of The Empire because after making available the models they had on display at gamesday (bile toads and nurgle trolls) Forgeworld have taken to producing some rather fascinating pieces recently (that are not without fault of course but no model is). Firstly is Theodore Bruckner and his mount; Reaper. 
For resin kits the thing I focus instantly on is ease of cleaning and construction. Theodore on foot in  is very open in terms of poses so even if he is very fashy (which I hope to god such a new model wouldn't be) I don't think he'd be too difficult to clean up. Atop of that he is fantastically dynamic and full of character which is wonderful to see in Empire models. His mount however is another story, apart from being incredibly underwhelming I think it'll be fragile as heck, I can see it's claws and beak breaking just in transit! Still that's just trying to predict the future really, if well packaged It shouldn't be their fault if it breaks but I still think it could be so much more impressive.

Now here is something I really like! At least in terms of style anyway. I've always thought that Empire troops should be extremely well trained well organised and appear to be very formal (basically Imperial Guard of the middle ages) instead they all look pretty scraggy lookin' as if they told a farmer to put on a coloured leotard and pretend that screaming enraged Orc is a chicken.

Again like Theodore these 'Ironside Handgunners' have fairly open stances (except maybe the kneeling ones) with few places for gunk to get stuck in and be a pain to remove.

The only thing a potential buyer should bear in mind is that you do need the arms from a hand gunner kit which isn't too much of an issue as it means for £40 you get some badass handgunners and some reasonably nice looking crossbow men for only £10 more than 2 boxes of handgunners. You'll also be left with tons of spare heads and other random gubbins you'll probably never use but that's no bad thing.

Another prospect is that these guy's do come with experimental rules, your welcome to discuss them with an opponent and give them a go but Forgeworld do tend to put coolness before balance so don't push it if you want to use these guy's in a tournament.

Finally we have the Marienburg Steam powered landship O' DOOM! which aside from looking totally ridiculous (in my opinion) it is pretty much pointless. It is a fascinatingly weird mixture of unreliable and yet still overpowered I can only imagine attempting to get this into a game would be equally as difficult as constructing it and then safely getting it to wherever the heck you want to play with it happens to be! Tragically most opponents don't like playing against ducktape and resin rubble so ye... good luck with that one. If you happen to have money to burn (which lets face it, every Forgeworld frequent customer does) don't let me stop you buying this..thing. I still think it looks amazing it's just not something I'd spend £100+ on as an Aracknarok is of a similar size and is far cheaper, maybe they'll make a plastic version someday.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Grey Knights & Grey Knight Terminators

In order to keep things clean and tidy I’ll be doing the reviews of these models at the same time as there are some points which overlap both positive and negative.

Sprue First Glance 
Although Grey Knights are distinct from Space Marines, most of their armour and equipment share similar motifs with the distinction being that their equipment looks more advanced, this is good as it ensures that the models are built upon proven foundations but are also new and refreshing (this especially goes for the terminator models as they are far better designed than the standard terminators). As sprues go you can describe both the Grey Knights and their Terminators as being cluttered but in a good way. For some kit's the inclusion of 'flavour' parts can be to the detriment to the more important pieces as they were probably included at the last minute in order to fill out the left over space on the sprue (Dwarfs typically suffer from this and even after the addition of random bits their sprues still look kind of empty). However with more modern kits (these included) it's clear that the additional parts were going to be supplied from the start and as such have been placed appropriately so that they don't damage more required pieces e.g. legs or torsos. As well as this they don't make removal of parts from the sprue more difficult than they need to be.

Production Quality
Equally as high as Savage Orcs in terms of mould lines you could say they are perhaps even better, as Space Marines often have large smooth but easily hidden areas such as the bottom of feet and the connection between waist and torso, the creators of this sprue have taken advantage of that fact by placing most of the connection points on places that can easily be smoothed out or hidden once the part if removed.

For myself as a modeller these were an absolute joy, equally as easy as a standard space marine to build you can place them in a myriad of different poses with various weapons with the added bonus of both the standard Grey Knight kit and the Terminator kit containing hands clenching various severed Daemon heads you can have lots of fun just making the models look cool if you aren’t interested in playing with them. The only complaint I could make was that much like the Savage Orc and the White Lions models, the weapons come with pre attached hands but not arms. This is both a blessing and a curse as you can pose the weapons as much as you like but you have to ensure that the wrist joint has the precise amount of glue to attach the hand, without it then pouring out all over the shot.

Conversion and Customisation Opportunities
Just like all of the Space Marine and Imperial Guard Models (and especially Orks/Orcs) the plastic kits are all interchangeable so having a bitz box will help you here. As my Dad pointed out to me earlier, conversions needn’t be all one way and it’s entirely possible to take parts from this kit to make your own chapter more unique, just because the Grey Knights exist doesn’t mean your own custom chapter can’t hold a grudge against daemons! Imagine a dynamically posed Space Marine Commander on a cliff edge brandishing a Bloodletters head or Assault Marines with two handed swords or even something simpler such as decorating your Terminators with a few more purity seals and holy relics than they normally would have. Finally something about the Grey Knights screams BEARD to me, steal a few space wolf heads and mix them in there!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Dreadknight - The Sprue Review

Much like my review of the Savage orcs and The Aracnaspideryhugethingy...something, this article will make clear my opinions on the new Dreadknight model at a glance. Please be aware that unlike the Savage orcs where I built the whole kit the popularity of this model (and the others in the black box which I will talk about in tomorrows post) ment that I only got to clean and build a portion of the kit however I did take notes on the entire process as well as ask other hobbyists opinions on it (including the GW store Manager).

Dreadknight Model Breakdown

Sprue First Glance
Even whilst it was still on the sprue it was clear to see that this model was extremely dramatic and very big, which is great for those of you impressed by size alone. Myself I thought the sprue seemed a little cluttered and as such most of the parts were difficult to remove without damaging them, after a bit we gave up using sprue cutters and resorted to slicing them out with a craft knife which proved much more effective.

Production Quality
Although I can't say the model was as clean as the giant spider model, any faults were not obvious immediately upon viewing the sprues which is similar to my High Elf Phoenix Guard kit. Put simply on some of the smooth surfaces I could see deep wavy lines across some of the smooth surfaces e.g. legplates, that when primered become extremely visible. Although incredibly easy to remove it's frustrating that you end up wasting paint on the kit only to have to clean it and spray it again but this kit is not the first to have this fault and I also believe it's just a drying time issue which varies between batches, the model you buy might not have this problem.

The best way to explain building this model is to use a comparison. Similar to an Imperial Guard Sentinel you get multiple choices so that you can ensure that your model is posed and equipped exactly as you'd like, however once you start building you soon discover that articulated ball joints that have been filed to remove mold lines invariably cease to be a ball and as such lock into wacky positions. Unless you want your Dreadknight to look like he desperately need's the bog you might want to be careful when cleaning the parts. After that one of the main joy's of multi-positional models is the ability to pose the model on the fly, again much like an Imperial Guard Sentinal attempting to keep the model standing up but also retain the capability of being reposed when you want to is a nightmare as your model will constantly headbut the ground. Finally should you decide having your Dreadknight constantly engaged in a battle versus gravity is probably a sub-optimal use of his time, attempting to glue him into a solid position is equally as difficult without causing glue to tricle from the ball joint and solidfy causing an oddly shaped mechanical tumour.

I recognise this may sound like I'm being harsh however I'm not an experienced model builder, I write this blog in order to motivate myself and learn as well as for fun, after all the best way to learn is to teach! The manager of my local GW store is far more experienced than I am at building models and according to him this model is not as challenging as a lot of the other kits (both GW and other brands) he's had over time. According to him the kit's strength really is the fact that it's plastic and as such a lot of mistakes that you may make are easily repairable. With some time and effort you can pin the joints with a flexible piece of wire so that you retain the ability to pose him on the fly without him falling over but it's worth piointing out that the wire will break if you repose him too often (if the plastic doesn't first of course).

Conversion and Customisation Options
The model itself is rather noticeable as one thing and one thing only so anything you might want to do with this will require getting creative. Being a fan of the Witch Hunters and the Sisters of Battle it's worth looking into how difficult it would be to make a relativly muscular female model and converting the kit into a penitent engine using the female model as it's pilot (driver/controller? *scratches head*). As for customising the model you need to either A) consider the actual rule limitations of the vehicle itself, what can/can't it do and then work in the confines of those rules or B) Bollocks to it THIS IS GOING TO LOOK AWESOME! To give you guy's some suggestions a simple headswop is always an effective way of making a model your own, myself I think an appropriate Space Wolves head would look great, it having a beard being a requirement of course. If you wish to be a little more creative, lengthening the barrel on it's gun would look great as would borrowing suitable dreadnought weapons to ensure it's armed to the teeth. You could also try attaching a suitable battle standard or focussing on the models base decoration and have it kicking a Khorne Bloodletter or Slaanesh Daemonette into the air or even crushing it against a suitably placed rock.

Overall Score
Even though some aspects of this model bring my score down to 8/10 I have to confess to being a little bit biased, Grey Knights always strike me as an army that people are quick to latch onto whenever they get updated but then just as quickly ditch which is a shame as they have some of the nicest models in the warhammer 40k range. As always when approaching anything objectively I should hate the player not the game and this model really has nothing to hate about it, a skilled hand and a bit of patience will override any problems this kit might have ensuring a 10/10.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Grey Knights Update

So the new models are up on the Games-Workshop website for pre-order. Some of you will shout Yay! and woot! (myself included) and others (probably daemon players) will be fearing their inevitable ruination by ridiculous wargear. Still I'm hoping the general idea of the Grey Knights is retained and although people will cry 'Overpowered!' till they are blue in the face I feel that it's likely they will only be so effective in the hands of a skilled player (as they are now to some extent). Well unless theirs some ridiculous loop hole special character that makes Dreadknights count as core troops anyway...

This may sound a little harsh of me but as models go Grey Knights strike me as same old, same old. They are effectively the same shape, theme and form to Space Marines with some slight alterations in terms of iconography. In my mind this makes them no different to any other Space Marine chapter like Blood Angels, Dark Angels or Black Templars, they are all cool in their own way but at the heart of the matter lies the fact that they are still just Space Marines. I'd like to see something that is either imperium related but has a unique artistic style all of it's own (Hopefully Sisters of Battle should they ever be redesigned) or another Xenos race (unlikely but an update to Necron's wouldn't go a miss *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*).

Still don't let me put you off buying them, as models go they are beautiful, hopefully I'll be able to do another sprue review on the new kits so you can get my proper verdict of them. If you happen to like the style of Space Marines (and imperium stuff in general) but want the opportunity to try out different colour schemes or battle tactics then you really can't go wrong with a Grey Knights army. They just aren't my cup of tea is all.

Also my suggestion to any current Grey Knights players, KEEP YOUR METAL STUFF! they no longer make a lot of the range and the stuff that is still avaliable won't be there forever, in terms of style their's absolutely nothing wrong with them and I'm sure they are likely to become collectors items in time.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Painting Updates - Necrons & Dwarfs

Those of you who who've been reading my blog since I started it will remember I wrote a guide detailing how I paint Dwarf Ironbreakers, although the unit isn't full (I still need another 10 models) all the models I own as of now are painted.

 Like all of my models it's unlikely they'll stay exactly as they are. There are a few little odd spots of detail that would benefit from being painted but as it stands I need a little more practice and I don't want to spoil them (best to screw up something crappy like a plastic goblin).

Dwarfs aside the other thing I've been working on is correcting a few faults with some of the models I did when I first started painting, mostly my Necrons.

To be fair the only thing I was slightly concerned about was the degree of mould lines and sprue marks on the plastic models I have, at the time of construction I must have completely ignored them but looking back now I can't believe I made such obvious mistakes. Thankfully the brush work still held up pretty well and my paint scheme was quite simple for my earlier Necrons. After cleaning them up and repainting a few small patches I'm extremely satisfied, in order to completely finish them I also spent a little bit of time painting up their bases to match my current scheme (it helps ensure a small degree of coherency at least).

In terms of future updates for both armies I'm going to finish basing and cleaning up my Necrons and then once complete move on to doing this months painting competition model that I mentioned in a previous post.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Tomb King Models - What Should/Shouldn't be Updated

I wanted to do a poll but decided it'd be easier just to ask people to be more specific and write what they like/don't like about certain Tomb Kings models.

Personally most of the metal model range is spot on in terms of character and style even if they have been a pain in the arse to construct. Tomb Guard would benefit from being remade in plastic in order to make them cost less however I really like how they look as they are, the same could be argued of the Bone Giant but it's nice to have a big hefty metal model in your collection so maybe it'd be best to just keep him as he is.

As for the plastic range all of the skeletal horses need redoing, although I appreciate the extremely dry and desicated look the inclusion of saddles, reigns and a few dangling trinkets as well as maybe even leg armour/bracelets would make them more aesthetically pleasing as well as more undead instead of ducked taped together and wheels attached to the hooves.

The same could be said of skeletal warriors , in comparison to Vampire Counts skeletons which wear much more armour, have more intricate and detailed shields and weaponry and suit the whole eastern european theme quite well, Tomb Kings skeletons are extremely lack lustre as they don't have many things on them to mark them out as a Tomb Kings skeleton instead of just an ordinary boring random skeleton (because ya know their's tons of those around, next time you look you'll notice that all lolly pop ladies are actually skeletons, trust me they totally are).

In conclusion an update to the model range need's a fairly light touch in my opinion, some more bits and bobs to make unit's have a bit of character and variety would be nice as well as the inclusion of some interesting pieces like special characters and death star style pieces like the giant goblin spider thingy *cough* sphinx *cough* would make the range perfect.

Anyhoo what do you guy's think? what would you like to see updated and in what way?

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Forum Thoughts

I browse a lot of forums in order to get inspiration as well as thoughts of what I should add to this blog. One question I found was "What models did you find hardest/easiest to construct?". Up until now I've never really thought about it as I've never had any complete and total failures just models that I feel could have been better if Id've taken the time to study the instructions and do some forward planning. Browsing my back catalogue of miniatures I've built or helped build for friends there were a few that were a few that made me bash my fists against the table in frustration.

Hardest - Recently it was probably the new High Elf kit's, pretty much every one of them look amazing but are spoiled by hideous poor planning in regards to construction, some skill with modelling putty and a steady hand with a tube of glue and they aren't so bad but with most of the parts being so delicate you can easily end up glueing a White Light to the inside of your nostril. My Phoenix Guard are perfect examples of that as I attempted to fill in the gaps on their cloaks with plastic glue and melted sprue, they are just balls of glue and mush now. The Dragon princes weren't too bad though they just needed a lot of post construction tidying up with a file.

Easiest - Necron Scarabs but they are pretty much a none build really, just shove stick into slot then glue to base. The most enjoyable build recently was definitely Savage Orcs, those guy's are a model builders dream. Keeping on the theme of eaiest some of the best models I've bought were simple slot and pin, although sure you could argue they limit your ability to customise your models most of them look pretty badass to start with and aren't ruined by poor model building skills ( which is great for a beginner).

I'm hoping to have a few full army photo's some time soon (probably saturday) as well as some more work in progress pieces.

How to Overcome Being Your Own Worst Critic & Other Tips

If you’re anything like me you'll always feel a bit hit and miss with your own models, most people are their own worst critics. Aslong as you strive for consistency within unit’s and gradual improvement you'll feel a lot more positive about your work. After drooling over a few 'Eavy Metal painted miniatures it can be hard to go back to painting your own without feeling as if you'll never be as good. Even 'Eavy metal will be keen to remind you that they didn't get so good over night and their are still things on models that they dislike doing or find difficult to do. 

I’d never tell a new starter to run out and buy a high elf dragon lord or Azhag the Slaughterer even though they are impressive models because heck they take a small amount of expertise before you even get to the painting stage, 'Eavy metal from time to time paint these models as a team in order to overcome any blindspots that an individual painter would have. Don't let this dishearten you however, start small and compare your models with people that have been painting and modelling for the same length of time as yourself, try to share cool tips and tricks that you've discovered and they'll be eager to share theirs with you with the added bonus being that they hopefully won't take a leaf from the 'Eavy metal school of teaching and leave a massive gap between stage 1 and stage 2, after all "if your any good you'll already know all those bits". White Dwarf and guides on the internet only have so much time or space to provide photographs and so they tend to omit those all important fiddly bits like what colour mixes look like on the palette etc. A friend or modelling store owner can just show you right then and there.

When starting out the best thing you can do is brainstorm ideas and bounce ideas off of friends and relatives. It's fun to experiment with different brands of paints as well as artist supplies in general and you should always have a tidy space to keep left over bits and old sprues to check if the paint reacts with  other acrylic paints, model plastic or the glue's used to put them together as well as for future conversion projects when you feel more confidant. 

Look into popular entertainment for sources of inspiration, I haven’t got enough fingers to count the amount of times I’ve dived right into a model and although it looks clean and well presented the colour scheme and any modifications I’ve made don't work together at all. Try to look at what colours and materials popular sci-fi characters outfit's use like Judge Dredd, Robo Cop, Xenomorph and Predator, most of the models in the citadel range use these as sources of inspiration anyway and you know what they say "If you can't innovate, emulate!". I'd love to see Space marines with yellow shoulder pads and black body suits or Kroot with lazor sights and electrified nets.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Orc Raider with Pig Display Model

Occasionally me and my Dad enter local painting competitions as they give us both an incentive and a reason to paint models we wouldn't ordinarily bother with. It's something I'd encourage any hobbyist to do as we often get stuck in a rut and tend not to deviate too far from our hobby comfort zone.

The best way to describe that is mastering a particularly easy but extremely effective technique and then applying it to everything in liberal amounts. Dry brushing is often quoted as a clear sign of this behaviour, although the technique is still utilized even by professional painters, the mark of any beginner after mastering this technique is you will find them attempting to dry brush areas of the model that don't have texture and instead make surfaces look dusty or dry. This is terrible if the surface happens to be skin or something more unusual like a candle flame as these surfaces need to look organic and alive as well as convey a sense of motion, a dusty dry surface indicates to the viewer that the object hasn't moved for some time or is dead.

Last month (January) we were challenged to paint an Orc Raider with Pig which can be found here.
All models selected for the local competitions have to be a) Unusable in the Warhammer or Warhammer 40k games (or at the very least not have any direct rules intended for it even if you can use it as a stand in for something else) and b) Cost less than £10, this is to ensure that as many people as possible can afford to participate.

Both rules exist predominantly because the previous winner gets to choose the next model and gets that model for free, as such it wouldn't be fair for the other contestants if they ended up buying a model that the previous winner picked just to finish his army off and could'nt really care about entering or they already have a nicely painted one of the model they've just picked that they could enter.

Rules aside here's what we came up with:

 Your welcome to guess which model out of mine and my dad's eventually won (Huh...I still think mines better...) Either way this model to the left is mind and I painted the orc flesh on this model the same way I paint the flesh on my ork nobz in order to give him a bit of age and character. After all, this is unlikely to be the first pig he's stolen.
 The leather backpack on the rear was painted inititally with snakebite leather with the stiching in graveyard earth, it was then washed entirely in old Flesh wash in order to make it a bit battered as well as add depth. I use Flesh Wash for all sorts of things and I am really annoyed that it is no longer produced.
 This model is my Dad's who attempted a more vibrant style even though their are many similarities. For this model I taught him how to stipple the rust on the helmet which in the long run came out better than my own.

His pig was originally painted in a skin colour that he mixed up to immitate the way 'eavy metal had painted it however it came out purple for some reason so until the pig was repainted it was nicknamed Trevor the Cosmic Pig. My Dad still insists he should have left it like that.

For this month (Febuary) my model is still on display at the store (Chaos Space Marine Terminator Champion. )so when I take the March model in for judgeing (The Chase ) I'll get you guy's some photo's.

Hopefully this post will encourage you to have a crack at painting a few choice models from armies that you don't play in order to practice techniques that you wouldn't ordinarily use.