Monday, 30 April 2012

Death on Wheels

Almost finished the Mcgragge boxed set Marines today. Still got to finish the bases and put the transfers on but they are essentially done. I've also based the bikes on some resin bases I picked up on eBay. I probably should have pinned them on as they're only held on by superglue but I figured I'd do that if they came off easily.

I've now started work on a Razorback. I've managed to rig the turret with tiny (2mm x 1mm) magnets which William I can swap the configuration of weapons as I see fit (beats buying two just to have the choice). I'm also likely to start on my Death Company as well. I plan to use magnets on these too, to configure them with and without jump packs.

The new paints are working well. I'm really enjoying their new "stay open" mechanism, but it's a pity that some of the new paints seem to have been packaged in the old pots. Ah well

Thursday, 26 April 2012

DUST and GW alternatives

I was reading a review of DUST over on Bell Of Lost Souls ( and it got me wondering about other wargames that are not GW related.

I think that there are definitely some great non-GW games out there: I own a few and have played others. This new game certainly looks good but there is always one problem with non-GW games; opponents.

With Warhammer and 40k, you're pretty much guaranteed to find someone to play with at any gaming club or store you visit. With other games your chances diminish the older the game is. Certain recent games have bucked this trend in recent years, Flames of War being one, but it's still a risk. When funds are tight do you risk a less popular game over more models from GW? Personally I wouldn't.

It's a different story if you're already gaming with a group that collectively agree to play (I remember doing Warhammer ECW when I worked in the Forgeworld warehouse which worked quite well) but if you move on you're suddenly landed with a load of dust collection devices.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Impromptu site design

I hadn't intended to re-design the site but trying to add a Twitter feed box was apparently too much for the custom template I'd uploaded and it died spectacularly... so I quickly threw this together using Bloggers tools.
It will do for now :)

Saturday, 21 April 2012

A Sea of Red

Well more a puddle really.

I've now mostly finished just over half of my Blood Angels tactical squad. The bases are still unpainted as I umm and arrr about how to finish them (classic grassy/rock to offset the red or battlefield grey).
I've now started the remaining terminators and marines from the Macragge 40k boxed set. It took over 2 hours to paint the base coat of red on to the models. Hindsight says I should really invest in some Army Painter colour sprays if I'm going to do any more.
To rest my painting hand I also did some work on my resurrected bikers by drilling out the bike exhausts and scraping off yet more old paint.
I hope to get the marines and terminators done by the middle of the week and then begin on the bikers.

Friday, 20 April 2012

... and finally

Yes the spam-a-thon is almost at a close. I thought I'd leave you with a link to a crazy project I found online. This guy has built a scale Bolt Pistol out of MDF and pipes.

Looks amazing and I'm in awe of his skills. Check out his blog for how he built it.

More 6th edition rumours

The rumour mill is going nuts at the moment as to speculation about the new Warhammer 40k 6th edition. Various camps have suggested what's going to come out when and the jury's still out.
I think its certain 6th ed is coming out this summer. I suspect it will be sooner rather than later (so early June). There is good evidence to suggest that the boxed set will contain Dark Angels (although I suspect these could be painted to be any chapter). White Dwarf have been sneaking in some spine art onto their mags the last few months and it apparently looks like a Dark Angel marine (although it looks more like Chaos to me but what do I know- see left). Also the new paint starter sets have Marines with optional Dark Angel pads on.
Speculation remains rife over what the opposing boxed set army will be.

There is also wild speculation over which (if any) codex will be released before 6th ed arrives. Apparently there hasn't been a new codex for the last 6 months, which is a little out of character for GW. Several people claim Chaos is coming out as people working at printers have leaked info about it. Others claim Tau will be the next one as they're the last race to been still stuck on a 4th edition codex.
Personally I think it would be crazy for GW to release a new codex for 5th just before 6th comes out, but if the leaked version of the 6th ed is to be believed (see this previous post) there will be conversion rules for them so they may not think it matters.

We will see what transpires.

GWs new Paints

Post 2 of my spam-a-thon.

Finally got my pre-order of GWs new paints from Total-Wargamer. Actually these are the second delivery of paints I had as after I made the initial pre-order from them I realised I needed a few more and ordered them direct from GW (as oddly it was cheaper due to free postage over £10).

My first impressions? I quite like them. I understand that GW have gone with a completely new paint manufacturer (I think it may even be Vallejio but I could be wrong) and as such all the paint names have changed as well as an addition of about 60 odd new paints. I've learned that apparently paint names are like trademarks so you won't be seeing Chaos Black any more.
As for actual use, they're pretty good. They've introduced a new system of organisation, grouping paints into Base, Layer, Dry, Shade, Texture and Glaze. I think the idea is to simplify how to paint a specific colour and the increase in available colours will help cut down mixing time to achieve shading (something I hate doing as I never get the same colour twice).

I've now tried all but the texture paints. The Base paints work in the same way as the previous Foundation paints and go well as a first coat. The layer paints seem to be standard and I see no difference in the consistency or application. The Dry paints are interesting. They're essentially heavy on the pigment and light on the liquid. The upshot is this almost paste like paint that works very well for drybrushing. As theres very little liquid I remain sceptical as to whether these just dry out within weeks or not, but from my initial use one pot could go a very long way. The Shade feels much like the previous generation of washes (a VAST improvement over the older ones). The Glaze is an odd one. I've never really used them before, even when GW produced them previously so I don't really have any base for comparison. It seems to be a wash that colours rather than shades (if that makes sense). Seems to work very well at un-chalking my chalky Blood Angels (see previous post).

The pots have had a re-design too. The look similar to the previous paints but for a large fin at the back. This is a larger and more reliable system of keeping the paint pot open when you use it. I know that its generally frowned upon to paint from the pot but I do it simply because it saves time and brushes (not to mention palette cleaning). The lids feel more secure too and I've noticed that if you close the front of the lid (as you did with the previous set) the back of the lid tends to not secure itself, which I can see will lead to dried pot syndrome some day. Easily managed by simply checking the top of the pot tho.

All in all I think its a positive step for the hobby (if a little obvious that its a big money spinner for GW).

Intermittent is my name

Hmm the posts on this blog seem to be mostly coming in 6 day bursts. Its probably as not much is happening or I'm saving up for a multi post day (which today is likely to be).

The Blood Angels are coming along nicely, with the Dreadnought pretty much done and now 6 Marines almost complete along with 2 Terminators.
I have been experimenting with which colours to paint them with and in which order. I found a handy guide online that I based mine on, but have been swayed by GWs new paints. I have discovered my over reliance on drybrushing (so much so I've had to order more brushes!) but this has the downside of making the marines look a little chalky. I'm still working on the finesse and I suspect I'm being far too fussy for gaming minis (the wife certainly seems to think so).

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Trouble with transfers

... or lack of. My Blood Angels are coming along nicely thanks to the help of some of the new GW paints, but I've run into a new problem; transfers.
I had originally intended to use transfers for the Blood Angel winged icon on their shoulder pad. I would use the dedicated blood angel shoulder pads BUT I'm painting the vanilla marines you get in the 40k game set which means you can't replace the pads.

Anyway my issue is that GW don't seem to make or sell Blood Angel transfers. Forgeworld sell an A4 sheet of them but at almost £10 I'm a little hesitant to buy them.
However I don't really have many alternatives. My painting skills aren't good enough to paint the complex BA symbol on the pads exactly the same every time and I think it looks a bit crap with dodgy symbol painting. So it looks like I have little choice.

On the plus side the new paints seem to be ok. I don't really notice the difference with the layer paints and the old paints but the new dry brush paints are pretty good.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Other surprise finds

To follow up my previous post on this topic, I also found the following items the other day.
Gorka Morka Pendant

This item was from when I worked part time at the York GW store back in 1997. Gorka Morka had just been released and these pendants were painted by the store staff and given to the winners of in-house games. Gorka Morka was a sub-game by GW that had groups of Orks race round in wagons and blow each other up. It was a very handy way of building up a 40K ork force as the game had loads of Orks and vehicles for comparatively not much money.

40k Bolter Pin Badge

This item was given to those buying the 3rd Edition of Warhammer 40,000 back in 1998. To be honest I'd forgotten I had it but I'm glad I still do. Its one of those little things that has a story. Its also from the time I last played a decent game of 40k. :)

Warhammer Online Pin Badge

I think this came from when I worked on Warhammer Online from 2002 to 2004. This was the Climax version that never got release rather than the Mythic -World of Warcraft Clone- that was released a few years later. I worked as a level designer back then making the 200 sqKM world for the game. I think I enjoyed most of it, but as is typical with good things I didn't really appreciate it at the time and mostly wasted a golden opportunity to work with GW or in games development. Either way I spent the in between years still trying to figure out what to do.. SO in a sense this item is a reminder of regret.

Inquisitor Scale Tau.. leader thing :)

I got this when I worked for Forgeworld in 2002 as an interesting painting project. Inquisitor was a side-game from GW that was kind of like a cross between 40K and a roleplaying game using 54mm scale models rather than the usual 25mm. I thought this model was interesting and would be fun to paint but the reality was that I really need to paint models Im gonna game with before new ones so this got put in a box and forgotten. I also came across an Eldar Ranger model that I didn't even make up so I might bung that on eBay :)

So anyway thats a trip down memory lane for me and a boring read for you :)

Continuing the Heresy

Finished the 3rd book in the Horus Heresy series this morning, Galaxy in Flames. The series is interesting as (so far) each instalment is written by a different author, this one being by Ben Counter. I was a bit worried when I started reading it as, although it was just as thick as its predecessors, the print was significantly larger making me worry that the content was poorer.

The overall story arc is very gripping and although there are differences in the authors styles, they gel together very well. As I said before, knowing the general outcome has made reading the details slightly depressing as it feels like watching the beginning of an avalanche.

I'm about to start reading the next in the series, Flight of the Eisenstein, but after this I may finally read the 3rd Gotrek and Felix Omnibus thats been waiting for me for the last 2 months :)

Surprise finds

Whilst rummaging through my model boxes I discovered a number of items I'd forgotten I had. Chief amongst these were 5 Space Marine bikes that I'd bought on eBay years ago. I got them cheap ( like £7-8) and they were cheap because the previous owner had done a very amateurish paint job then under coated over it to sell them.
It was mostly an experiment to test a method of removing paint from plastic miniatures. I'd found out somewhere that using Mr Muscle Kitchen Cleaner will remove the paint and leave the models intact.
What I found was that it does indeed work but with a caveats. Firstly you need to immerse the models completely in the stuff for a day or two. Simply spraying on does not work. Secondly you need a stiff brush and a lot of elbow grease to remove the paint. The cleaner only really softens the paint and so you have to scrub to get it off.
Finally it can weaken poly cemented joins. This is no bad thing if you're going to resurrect a model but it's worth remembering.

The models I found had been mostly cleaned but some may need some more work and I'm not sure how much of the detail will come through when I undercoat them again. Given the amount of effort put into stripping the models down I suspect this isn't a sustainable way of obtaining wargames miniatures.

Oh and I also did some more work on my dreadnought. I'm really enjoying paint red for a change.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Finally a decision

After much debate I finally chose to go with Blood Angels. The deciding factor was test painting a couple of Marines in yellow. I remembered that I found yellow boring to paint so red it was ^_^

Made a start painting up the 40k boxed set dreadnought which had been sitting in the box for the last 2 years.

I've also been reading the 2nd book in the Horus Heresy series, False Gods, which I'm finding gripping, yet slightly sad. When you know the overall story and how bad it gets, reading this is like watching a very slow avalanche and feeling powerless to stop it.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The missus finally paints

After cleaning up the models and waiting for me to sand base and undercoat them, my wife finally got to paint her miniatures this afternoon. Its an odd feeling teaching someone else to paint as I've been doing this since 1989 and I'm trying to condense 23 years of painting knowledge into 20 minutes. And its not the things I expected either. Simple things like how to open a GW paintpot without getting paint everywhere, something I take for granted, has to be taught.
Still I think she's enjoying herself (as I sit and type this out!)

I've also finished cleaning my Space Marines and have undercoated them in White (something I've not done in at least 15 years, as I found black easier on the mistakes). However I'm still torn with which chapter to go with.
I'd like a chapter that was there from the First Founding and have narrowed it down to the ubiquitous Ultramarines and the Imperial Fists. Both have great fluff backgrounds. My first Army was an Ultramarine force (using the famous RTB01 space marines set) but they are a bit contentious these days as a lot of players use them. Imperial Fists are less common and I also like the yellow of the Imperial Fists but it can be a pain in the backside to paint, so I guess its really down to if I like yellow or blue.

Either way I'd better decide soon :)
(Edit: I forgot.. I'm also mulling over Blood Angels as a chapter. I like the fluff but not sure I'm sold on red as a colour).