Tuesday, 21 August 2018

EPIC: Space Wolf Infantry Formations

  These are not technically finished units, as they are unvarnished and have no snow or scatter on their bases.  However, I wanted to post something to prove I'd made progress.

  First up are some Blood Claws.  The fan-made Space Wolves army lists in Epic are still being play-tested.  This means that I might simply proxy these as Tactical Marines in a vanilla Codex Astartes list.  With all of these models I went for brighter colours than might be expected - favouring red on the chainswords and bolt pistols, as well as on the backback exhausts.  I wanted different units to 'pop' and be 'readable' from across the table.

  These are the Grey Hunters, who are ostensibly the backbone of a Space Wolves force.  They lack heavy weapons but that can be compensated for by having Razorbacks supplement their free Rhino transports.  The younger Skyclaws and Bloodclaws I painted with red and pale hair and beards, with the Grey Hunters and Scouts having more black and brown hair, to suggest their relative age and experience.

  The Scouts are quite small and fiddly, their official colours dominated by blue-grey, which made them a bit duller to paint.  The trousers they wear are a khaki though, which adds some contrast.  They're not technically meant to have sniper rifles unless you pay for them as an upgrade but I needed to add those so as not to use duplicate sculpts on each stand.

  My finished Skyclaws are my favourite.  Essentially the same sculpts as the Blood Claws, just with jump packs instead of backpacks, these break up the outline of the model and allow some bright blue exhaust colour to add contrast.

  There was lots of fiddly detail all over these models, such as wolf pelts and wolf tail totems.  I'm sure I probably missed something here or there, but there's point where you're squinting at tiny little toy soldiers a quarter inch high and you realise there's only so much effort you can put into them!

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.