Wednesday, 4 July 2018

EPIC: Space Wolves WIP

  I've been wanting to learn and play EPIC: Armageddon for years.  Space Marine 2nd edition, as it was then called in the early 90s, was my first ever GW experience, bought by my older brother, who collected Space Orks.

  I never really stuck with a side as a little kid, barely understanding the rules and mostly making them up as I went along, hopping from one bunch of unpainted plastic to another playing on a bedroom floor.  I enjoyed reading the background and poring over the artwork even more than rolling dice.  Eventually I got a grab bag of Eldar 2nd hand to try out Epic 40,000, but again, that was moth balled.

  Eventually it was Warmaster which caught on in my local club when I floated it, in terms of an obsolete, unsupported Games Workshop game, and that is where my painting and modelling energies went for a few years.

  A few years ago I bought a mix of Space Marines, Grey Knights and Eldar but never got a head of steam to really paint them up properly.  A couple of people in the new clubs I've visited have suggested an interest in Epic and it would be great to get people to dig out their own old abandoned projects and revive them.

  So, I've dug up the models and I can see the really obvious mistakes I made painting them first time around, and how I've improved painting in the years between.  In addition, a couple of Games Workshop colours I used no longer exist so I've had to figure out a new paint scheme. I've tried repainting some of the old tanks, using these Whirlwinds as a test formation and I think they're coming along really nicely.




Instead of slathering wash / shade all over the models like I did in the past, I'm pin-washing; carefully applying shade into recesses.  Also, I'm mixing orange and bright brown into a rusty looking glaze to suggest wear and tear and accumulated grime.




  This is my first test stand for infantry, starting with Skyclaws, who are in essence, assault marines for Space Wolves.  I'm going for quite bright colours, more red and yellow than I would perhaps do on 28mm models because I really want things to stand out and be readable from a distance.  I figure their Great Company shoulder markings might as well be Ragnar Blackmane, simply so that I get an excuse to do a flash of yellow on what might end up being very grey looking models, overall.

  I'm really happy with these, so far.  They're going more slowly than I would like but it's more progress in a fortnight I've made at all over the past  few months or so.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Still Alive!


I feel like I've settled into the North East nicely, and it's lovely to be near more of my family.

I'm lucky enough to have a car so I can explore clubs that are further away from me than MAD Gamers was down South.

So far I've explored five, and experienced an exceptionally warm welcome in all of them!

Newcastle Warlords
Whitley Bay 3D Gamers
Contempible Little Wargames Club
The Rusted Revolver Gaming
Heaton Games Society

A useful website which collated a list of such clubs was the Edge of Empire podcast blog, which has a general North-East club list in the link, there.

===================

People play all kinds of different games.  Often the age range of the players determines what is fashionable at any one time.  Clubs with younger folks definitely stick more to newer games and the systems that Games Workshop have currently available.

With that in mind I tried to get a hold of some Age of Sigmar figures and that's why I dug out my Space Wolves to paint some test figures for them.

Of course, being the self-sabotaging make-everything-difficult-for-myself kind of person I am, I decided that the paint scheme for my Stormcast Eternals should be one of the harder ones to do.




Instead of the "chapters" which Space Marines are organised into in Warhammer 40,000, the Stormcast Eternals are instead themed around "Chambers" with different colours and icongraphy.  One which appealed to me is called the Knights Excelsior, with a mostly white, blue and gold scheme.  The iconography of this faction is meant to be an eclipse, not the hammer of the starter set models.




  However, there is a similarly coloured chamber mentioned in the Stormcast rulebook called the Maelstrom of Light.  I thought that that was a good enough excuse to be able to mix iconography in my force.  I haven't quite finished this test model, it's not been varnished and I haven't added any grass to the base, but felt it was good enough to show off a picture.

===================




  I also began my second 40k squad, this time of Space Wolf Scouts.  Again, going back to models I glued haphazardly half a decade a go then mothballed reminds me of all the mistakes I made and learned from.  There are so many fiddly, hard to paint nooks and crannies in these models due to how I glued them!  I have to remind myself: these are not Golden Demon models, they just have to be good enough to push around a tabletop.

===================




And here is evidence of me actually playing a game!  At the Contemptible Little Wargames Club I demonstrated a game of Warmaster; Chaos versus High Elves.  It was a lot of fun as Warmaster is the only game I can lay on entirely by myself, terrain and armies, fully painted.  Even two full armies and terrain don't fill up too many boxes as it's only 10mm in scale.  This photo is from me tidying up a lot of casualties at the game end, most of them mine!

A couple of other wargamers have mentioned that they might have some models for Warmaster lying around.  It was never as popular as Epic but it does create some fascination in being an official Warhammer universe game in a smaller scale.  I hope that if I convince others to join in for a game or two I might get some regular opponents - even if I have to provide the models!

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Warhammer 40k: Space Wolves Long Fang Pack

A fortnight later than intended, I have completed my first ever Warhammer 40k squad!

I learned a lot with these chaps and hopefully the next models in the army will go slightly quicker for me.  There's still things that I haven't quite got the hang of yet like painting certain jewels or the eyes of Space Marine helmets, but my edge highlighting and glazes and layering are all improving.




I built these years ago without thinking about the logistics of painting and getting my brush into corners etc.  So there was a lot of wasted and duplicated work on the chest / face / weapon as a result. The heavy weapons are worst, I think the others won't be as bad. I actually find the large, flat surfaces frustrating as I want to glaze them then highlight them.  In addition, free hand looks really awful unless it's perfect.  I gave up adding stuff to the purity seals as it looked amateurish and I redid the text on the leader's shoulder pad twice until the made up runes looked tidy enough.




I had some trouble learning how to do the Transfers as well.  Unfortunately, Forge World have stopped producing the large Space Wolves transfer sheet which has the full range of Great Company markings, so I have to be extra careful not to mess up these ones as I put them on.




Games Workshop currently produces a Transfer Sheet but it focuses on the three most well known Great Companies and doesn't have as much variety as the old Forge World one.  These folks have a mix of honour markings, runes on their knee pads and pack markings as I'm not going to be too concerned about creating perfect packs with matching symbols a I may need to swap around different weapons or change pack sizes.





These chaps are all from Gunnar Red Moon's Great Company.  The Space Wolves have 12 Great Companies, roughly equivalent in size to the standard Companies of normal Space Marine chapters.  Each is led by a Wolf Lord who picks his heraldry on ascending to the position.




 My rough idea, even years ago, was that I would like a Space Wolf army that suggests a mixture of different packs from different Great Companies, to allow different armour colourations and just generally to make it a more visually interesting army.  In the Codex, the Wolf Lords are described as having particular preferences for different units and tactics - Gunnar Red Moon favours Long Fangs, hence my decision to give them his symbol on their left shoulder pads.




Before I put on any transfers I used a Gloss Varnish to create a smooth surface on the area.  I used Games Workshop's "'Ardcoat" diluted with a little Lahmian Medium and that worked well enough.  I used Vallejo Decal Medium and Vallejo Decal Fix, but confusingly the official video tutorial from the Vallejo Youtube channel contradicts the FAQ PDF file on the Vallejo website.  One says to put the Fix on first, then the medium, and the other flatly says the opposite.  In the end I went with the water based fixer first, then used the alcohol based medium to soften the edges of the transfer once it was in place.  I used the medium several times and the edges of the transfers are much less noticeable now.




Another thing I had to learn to do was to get flat transfers to conform to curved surfaces.  This is a bit tricky and required something a lot sharper than my bog standard Citadel Hobby Knife.  This tutorial from the From The Warp blog was very helpful in explaining that it helps to, if possible, create relief cuts in the decal to allow it to conform to an uneven surface   My Dad gave me a spare scalpel he had with a fresh blade and I went about giving it a go.  The result isn't perfect but I am happy with it so far!



Wednesday, 10 January 2018

New Beginnings


 It is Future Year 2018!

I have moved into a new area and am seeking out new life and new civilisations!  Or perhaps i'm just after a chance to roll some dice in a new wargaming club.

Thankfully, the closest club, the Newcastle Warlords, is only 15 minutes drive away.  Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40k are popular there so I have dug out some neglected, amateur models from half a decade ago to give 40k a punt!



There's a lot of things wrong with these models - lots of mistakes in how they were put together.  However, the time when I would have stressed out about that has long since passed and I am going to do the minimum of fussing as I prepare and paint them.  I am trying new things as I haven't painted 28mm in years and what I did was for vastly different models such as Dark Age plastics for SAGA or Infinity Ariadna forces.

The picture above is the first finished "test model" of a Space Wolves Long Fang, a long range support model.  I'm still learning how to use transfers and get consistent colours on such large, smooth surfaces that armour like this offers.

I hope to be posting a lot more here than over the past few months where I got very little done.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Perfect is the Enemy of Good

Sometimes I should just leave well enough alone.

A second attempt at spraying my LOTR chaps, this time with a pale grey, ended up with horrible "frosting" across much of them.  This was an attempt to "fix" the initial grey paint which I felt wouldn't stick as a primer.

So - a month of off and on paint stripping, regluing, rebasing etc. began.

However, whilst that's been going on, some packages have arrived and I have been busy prepping some new models.  A mix of Unreleased Miniatures models and Games Workshop ones now make up my army, with some bases from Dragon Forge and Micro Art Studios.  Now they are finally "ready", if unpainted, it feels good to say there is some visible progress!




I love the Kingdoms of Men generally and like the idea of allied forces from different regions. My main desire was for Fiefdoms with Minas Tirith allies. Frustratingly a lot of hero and even troop models are OOP so I've had to be patient on eBay.

I am hoping that with Games Workshop re-investing in Middle Earth as a setting in 2018 there will be opportunities for new models or re-releases of older ones as time goes on.



Sunday, 17 September 2017

Autumn Beckons

Summer ended, not with a bang, but with a whimper!
 
I just realised that I haven't posted in a couple of months - mostly because I have ground to a halt, hobby-wise!  I got most of the way through an Empire Knight unit for Warmaster and thought it looked superb.  Here's the finished test strip with a coin for scale.



Alas, I burned myself out and felt I must do something different, having spent so long doing nothing but Warmaster.

Then an unfortunate thing happened - I got excited about another army and game system!


So I have been on eBay and on the GW webstore and have some lovely Lord of the Rings armies of Good - namely "Fiefdoms" and Gondor.  Essentially, Fiefdoms is a catch all for allies of Gondor - including all the things mentioned in the books that didn't even get a nod from Peter Jackson in the films.

I love the idea of having a pool of troops to make a small army or warband in a similar scale to a SAGA battle but with fantasy elements.  LOTR focuses less on units but rather each individual model and it's placement and luck in combat is important, with different elements able to support one another.

I splashed out on nice resin bases from Mico Art Studios and faffed about basing them and prepping them, then the first thing I did was make a huge cock up!

I went to undercoat them with this grey spray paint I got from GW.

Well, apparently, the non black and white colours that GW have are not actually primers like the ones from rival companies are.

They are still meant to be sprayed over primer.

So now I have 10 infantry and 6 cavalry which look OK to the naked eye but I'm googling and getting mixed answers from people who say it will peel and others saying it's fine.  After leaving it for a day the paint did not scrape off even when scratching my nail across it.  My current thinking is that - I can't be bothered properly stripping all these fellas, so I'll only strip the metal models as metal chips so easily.

Then I'm going to buy an Army Painter white and blast them all with that.  When I finish painting models I always paint on Vallejo Matt Varnish in a few coats, so I'm hoping that will be good enough to secure against my indiscretion.

Always read the fine print, kids!


Sunday, 9 July 2017

Warmaster: Dark Elf Witch Elves

I just realised that I'd not posted this one!

With this final Dark Elves unit, I can say that I have a finished ~2000 point Dark Elf army!




These are Witch Elves, a fragile "glass cannon" unit which will probably break themselves in combat but take at least one enemy unit out with them in a frenzy!

I should probably put all the Dark Elves out on my desk and take a photo to prove I've done it.

---

I've had a fallow month where I've not done much of anything wargame related but I got some energy back and have been preparing a Warmaster Empire army to paint, next.

First thing I've had a crack at is a strip of Empire Knights.



The entire Empire range is incredibly detailed - really wonderful models.  I wanted to avoid simply painting it all in gun metal so I've gone for a lot of detailed paint and alternating colours.  My general desire for the Empire force is that it will represent many orders or different regiments so will not be tied by a simple colour scheme like my previous forces.


Sunday, 11 June 2017

Warmaster: Dark Elf Command

  Finally complete!  Warmaster Dark Elf Command!

  The original GW Dark Elf Warmaster Command blister is a slightly sorry affair compared with some of the others.  It contains a single sorceress figure with guards, a mounted hero with flag bearer and a little Cold One chariot.

  I disliked the chariot; too big for a hero, too small for a General stand, I felt.  My spare one is going to a friend in the gaming club who has had trouble sourcing Dark Elf figures.

  I scrabbled a spare sorceress and guards so that I could max out my command for 2000 points - 2 heroes and 2 magic users.  Even though Dark Elves are an "elite" army with a smaller number of more expensive units compared with some other armies, they suffer from a fatal flaw.  Namely, that if you roll a "blunder" on your command rolls (two sixes on 2D6), the hero responsible is either executed immediately or the General suffers a permanent penalty for the rest of the game!  The Dark Elves are ruthlessly inefficient, it seems.


  I am extremely proud of of these little figures. The cauldrons of blood that I put on the stands are in fact plastic Warhammer 40k scale Blood Angel Sanguinary Guard grails.  One from the plastic character clampack, the other from the generic upgrade sprue.  I chopped the hand out of the plastic and glued the top to the bottom.

  If you Google Image search "warmaster cauldron of blood" you will see top of the list, a couple of excellent fan models.  This one inspired me to use the first version of the Avatar of Khaine from Space Marine / Epic. And this one made me want to put the cauldron on top of a pile of bones - a piece from the Tomb Kings command blister. 


  I attempted something a bit different with the statue, attempting to paint it like black marble.  The results weren't spectacular, but I needed to differentiate it from the other models, so that people wouldn't assume it was an animate or giant character and not a statue.



Monday, 29 May 2017

Clip Studio Doodles


  A while ago I saw that Clip Studio was having one of its periodic sales so I bought it, installed it and mostly forgot about it.  I fired it up and thought it didn't quite have the immediate ease of use of Paint Tool Sai in terms of deploying its tools.

  This year I discovered that people sell large "Brush Packs" for art programs.  I had spent some Christmas money on some for Photoshop and then on some for Clip Studio.  Photoshop is a bit of a monster that my old computer groans a bit under so I let the license expire for it.  It didn't feel like something that natural to sketch in in any case.

  For Clip Studio I bought the Frenden super set.  I have barely explored the full range but I've found it an interesting experience.  It's been so long since I've drawn but I used the soft "pencil" brushes and then used "acrylic" to layer over the top, mimicing the way that I paint my gaming models in real life.

  These were doodles from imagination, without reference, to see if I could recall some basic anatomy and posing.







  I haven't had the confidence to really draw digitally in a long time.  I think this will be the program / tools which I use to get back into it.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Warmaster: Dark Elf General on Manticore

  I've had this one lurking in the wings for a while now!  Wasn't sure what colours to use, especially on the wings.  Bought a Vallejo "Hexed Lichen" paint as a dark purple basecoat to mix with black - then the GW paint "Genestealer Purple" to water down and layer on as a glaze on the "veins".  This didn't work quite as well as I hoped but the final result is good enough for tabletop, I feel.




   The Lion body I ended up using Vallejo Khaki on as a base.  Then I mixed in Vallejo Dark Sand to brighten it - again layering it on quite dilute to control it so that I kept the recesses dark where I had used an Agrax Earthshade wash.




  Very close to finishing the entire Dark Elf army now!  Only things left are a Witch Elves unit and four stands of command figures.  Very satisfying progress this year.