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

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.