Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Showcase: Thousand Sons Land Raider Proteus

Nothing feels quite as good, and also as sad, as a completed project.

First off, you have the satisfaction of finishing something you did yourself, something you can be rightly proud of. So why would this be slightly sad? Because you cannot continue enjoying the build: its done and dusted. That said, a simple cure is to start over: make another, finish something off, or start something completely new. That's what I've gone and done, but I'm afraid that that's top secret, for now. What I will say is that its going to be some valued air support. But for now, here is the much awaited Proteus.

 Considering I didn't have a genuine Forgeworld Proteus to work off, and with limited supplies, I feel that I made a great representation of this ancient battle-tank, and saved a fortune in the process.

 I suspect that it's a little too short, but what's a few centimetres when you have this much retro cool. Its a good idea, especially since the FW example is £80, and E bay classics aren't much cheaper.

For those interested how I paint my blues, it was achieved as followed (using GW paints):

  • After a Black undercoat, paint the tank (Old GW) Regal blue. People who don't have this should be fine using Macragge Blue.
  • Layer on top with Altdorf Guard Blue.
  • Wash the recesses with Drakenhof Nightshade. Tidy up with Altdorf Guard Blue where needed.
  • First Highlight  edges/corners with a 50/50 mix of Altdorf Guard Blue and white, then highlight with pure white on extreme edges.

Whilst the tank is fairly battle ready, there are a few details to do. It still needs its lenses painted, and I need to find a suitably menacing dozer blade to attach the front. I'm thinking of using this evil looking mine plough from Forgeworld, but I suspect it's too narrow. I suppose I could widen it a bit.

 For those interested in the overall size, here is the tank next to my Deimos Predator.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Album Review: The Avengers Soundtrack

It's not often I get suckered into buying a soundtrack of the latest blockbuster movie. Last time I did that, I was slightly disappointed. When I found it Daft Punk were doing the score for Tron: Legacy, I was thrilled, only to be disappointed by a generally 'meh' selection. Oh well, at least one song was good...

This time, however, I was a little more optimistic. I am a fairly big Black Veil Brides fan, and when I herd a preview of a new song, Unbroken, I actually wanted to hear more. Only later did I find out it was part of a movie soundtrack. After some research, and discovering the likes of Papa Roach, Five Finger Death Punch and Evanescence were on this compilation, I had a good feeling that this one would be worthwhile.

And so it was. The previously mentioned 'Unbroken' track tops the lot: another great song from BVB. I expect that their new album, hopefully arriving in stores on October 30th, will be just as good, if not better. Papa Roach's new track is another worthwhile song to listen to

The rest of the album fits in with the dark, adventurous theme of The Avengers movie, and I'm sure that the two go hand in hand. I imagine that the songs certainly help the fight scenes come to life, and instil the emotions that the directors of the film aimed for.

The album will cost you around £10, and based on my experience, is one of the few movie based sound tracks worth going out and buying, especially if you're a fan of any of the bands who worked on it.

Also, keep up to date on the blog, with additional insider comments on future work, join the Facebook page now: http://www.facebook.com/RockGeekJournalist

(image from Amazon.com)

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

WIP: Daemon Prince of Tzeentch, and a Bonus Pic

Its easy to overlook something as simple as a can of black spray paint. Having has a few goes at trying to find a decent new car primer to use (since the original brand isn't sold any more) I've decided to return to model sprays.

A small can of Humbrol Matt Acrylic spray has helped me carry on priming in a normal fashion, and with good results. The previous sprays were either too shiny, or didn't provide Ideal coverage.

Anyway, one of the first items to go under the can was a rather old Daemon Prince (by old, I mean the previous sculpt of the model). IT has remained in the 'to do' pile for around a year, and was in need of some TLC, after a mysterious combined encounter with the floor and gravity. I replaced one of the arms for one from the new plastic kit, and reposed it to give a more menacing (and bigger) stance, whilst placing it on a bigger 60mm base.

I also tried using a pink/purple tone for the skin. Having tried red skin and blue skin in the past, neither seemed to work, especially the blue, which was too close to the armour colour. GW's new chalky pinks (Daemonette Hide and Slaanesh Grey) work well, along with a purple wash. Its looking a bit dark at the moment, but I suspect it's all the unpainted primer still left, and the unfinished golds and bone.

Also, I thought I'd show you this image, as seen below. See if you can guess what it means, and ultimately, what it's for....

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Life: Is the Tabletop-Gamer Stereotype Dead?

A derogatory and often common view of war-gamers is that they are ill kept basement dwellers: devoid of showers, female contact and direct sunlight. The kind of person who gets all sweaty and excited at the idea of a new 40k edition, Star Trek movie or new magic cards.

Honestly, who still believes this rubbish?

Stereotypes, thankfully, appear to be a dying breed. Sure, there are many narrow minded people who still adhere to these labels, but the number of people matching them is on the decline, and here's my thoughts on why this is, as well as some key factors of the gamer-nerd image which don't seem to add up today.

1) "war gamers are smelly creatures"

Sadly, this does apply in small, isolated groups. I still recall the chewable odour of a local gaming group where I am at university. Thankfully, this was only one group, and my previous group (and current when I have downtime) has at least a standard level of cleanliness. The manager of the store even insists customers keep a standard: recalling the time he sent out someone until they bought deodorant.

A fair point, as no matter where you go in life, people shouldn't have to hold back gagging near you. I never seem to find myself choking on a nauseating funk, which is a good sign for the progress of tabletop gamers

2) "gamers never get the girl"
Royalty-free Image: Couple playfully piggybacking through field
Often people think the nerdy types are hopeless with the opposite sex: they might clam up when even standing near one, or would prefer to finish off their 6000pt Skaven army list. Truth is, a number of gamers I know have girlfriends, partners, even fiancĂ©es and wives. Some gamers are even the wives or partners, defeating the notion that gamer geeks are male exclusive.

3) "gamers have no lives"

This seems an unusual one set in the public mind. People might think that gamers live in their mother's basement, living off takeaway pizzas and Dorrito Crumbs. This is also a silly notion. A number of gamers are fairly ordinary. They go out drinking, play sports, and have very nice jobs. Sure, some gamers play far too much WOW or have seen all episodes of Stargate SG1, but most also live in the real world of mortgages, driving and social interaction.

(some images from Getty Images)

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Update: Chaos Land Raider Proteus (Part 3) and a bonus

Hey all. I feel that I'm finally making headway with the Proteus. With the exam out of the way, more of the tedious jobs on it have been further done.

The tracks are almost complete. Finally. Although it has been a massive task, making each link individually. I feel that the final effect is suitable for creating a close replica. A nice plate was found for the front, with a Horus eye-like design. It was this or a rhino window pair, and this felt more suitable, and ties it in with its future chaotic pact with the Thousand Sons.

The side armour is also being plated over, to fill in the huge gaps and make it a decent size. The lascannons will probably be the next task, then its on to the oh so fun task of the riveting.

Also, I had a small little brainwave for a cool renegade character. I managed to make a cool looking rogue psyker for my renegade guard, using my new favourite tool, the hacksaw. It uses a Forge World renegade torso, a metal horror's right arm, a flagellant's left arm, and the bottom half of a Warmachine Cryx figure. Some sort of pistol slinging skeleton/wraith.

Greenstuff was used to bulk out the very thin waist, to match up with the torso. Overall, it makes a very cool, and creepy, addition to my guard, which is undergoing a slow, slow refurbishment.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Battle Report: Chaos/Valhallans vs Death Korps/Grey knights (3000 pts)

First off, I apologise for the lack of content this week. With my final exam in that week, I'm afraid that it did take priority over my work on this blog. But anyway, back to our regular programming...

It's not often that I manage to get a big doubles game in during a day. Usually theres not enough interest, and when there is, I have to leave early and return to the real world. But when I do get a big game in, they are generally fun.

Before I recall the game, I will say this: I hate Dreadknights. It might be down to me not having much to take them down, or some bad luck, but one can't help be annoyed by the 30" super objective-blocker move. I admit it is a fair tactic, but a massive pain. Perhaps more plasma guns are needed....

Anyway, the game. It's hard to remember what happened in each turn, so it'll be segmented into start, middle and final moves, for general convienience and to present some form of chonology.


Me and my valhallan plaing friend siezed the first turn, and devastating it was for them. With good shooting (and 9 artillery pieces, we neutralised most of their serious guns (which were on table), inlcuding stunning the hellhound and demolisher, destroying an earth shaker battery and griffon mortar, and picking off infrantry.

I will note that a contemptor dreadnought with heavy bolter and mark of tzeentch is really good. the AP3 comes in handy, as well as the rerolls in combat. It probably did more than its conversion beaming brother. I may use a butcher cannon next time.
Before an artillery 

...and the aftermath
Our opponent retaliated, and even with some serious holes in their line, they hit fairly hard. Quad carrying psycannons were effective, taking out a number of models with each salvo. A basic troop should never have so many special weapons, but I digress. An assassin blew up my prized land raider with turbo shots. A big annoyance he would prove throughout the game, poping a fair few tanks that game.

Mid game

Things were still looking OK from our side, until the Dreadknights showed up. One on each side, the worst that could happen.

We lost a number of our tanks at this stage, including my Deimos predator and a number of artillery pieces. My lord even failed to down one, rolling a 1 with his daemon weapon. Doesn't help that my mate shouted: "roll a 1!".

The heavy bolter Contemptor was in full stride, wiping out a death Korps unit, and smashing down a Strike Squad from its building hideout. The Other managed to destroy their siege drill, but not in time to stop a unit of engineers coming up through. Thankfully their damage was minimal.

End Game

This is where it went a little pear shaped for our side. With both Dreadknights still alive (but one tied up in combat) there was little we could do. Most of our big guns were destroyed or otherwise occupied. My push into their lines was thwarted by a Crusader full of terminators and a Grand Master. We couldn't prevent a very nasty teleport, denying us an objective, and turning a safe draw into a defeat. A fun game overall, and highlighted a number of changes I may need to make.

Firstly, it is evident we didn't have enough anti monster. Yes, earthshakers and cannons are nice, but with the Dreadknight's 2+ save, it prevented any damage. Perhaps it is time for me to invest in more plasma guns, power fists and lascannons.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

WIP: Land Raider Proteus (Part 2)

With lord Tzeentch changing my work schedule and content around so much recently, it appears that there is more progress to report on the Proteus. One set of tracks has been completed, the front is mostly complete, and it now has a nice engine, complete with large exhausts (topped with necron Tesla-gun muzzles, interestingly, they make good chaosy exhaust toppers).

Having searched high and low in town, I have found an important component for a proteus: The track links. I had been pondering how to make these iconic parts, which give the proteus a more retro look. I found the answer: semi circle tubing. Although it wasn't cheap for what it is (3 lengths for £3.10) its probably the best (and only) choice in my area. Also, the whole project has cost me about 1/9th of the genuine article, so I am well within budget.

The side armour has also come under way. It had been bothering me, since the last time I tried making my own hatches disnt go so neatly. Thankfully, I saw the answer in some spare Rhino side pieces, spare from the Deimos. With a bit of hack-n-slashing, they seem relatively suitable...not perfect, but pretty good none the less. The white background and card doesn't help, but squint hard enough and...

The next big worry will be the lascannons. I don't have enough, so it looks like they'll be scratch built. The Proteus will be OK for it's pintle mount: a nice multi-melta (since it gives my chaos a nice anti tank boost). I might built a twin-heavy bolter turret, in case it needs to become a box standard variant.

I feel that the tracks are going to be labour intensive and monotonous. I'm only half complete and I'm already feeling my sanity dwindle

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Player Interview: Tom Whitman and His Blood Angels

A first for you my many fans. Wanting to expand on this blog, I thought I would get the voice of the gaming community, by interviewing players I meet with stories to tell. This, for our first of many interviews, is Tom Whitman.

Tom was set on having a close combat army in some way. And of all the choices, Blood Angels were the ones that stood out. He said: "I liked the idea of Running into close combat, chain swords raised and mouths foaming at the thought of blood. I had never really played a space marine army up until now and thought "hey why not make it blood angels?".

"The Adaptability of the army is quiet staggering, with the options for all the normal space marine. Gubbins and Stormravens ontop kind of sealed the deal".

He found it simple to get hold of. He said: "Picking up the army was fairly simple. I make a rule of buying the Codex before a Buy models and giving it a good read so I know what im doing and so on. Getting My head around tactical situations while play against most armies didn't take to long". I find myself agreeing with the codex-first philosophy. It allows players to understand their army, and avoid making modelling mistakes like over-upgrading (I realised this in my early youth, when I found out Thousand Sons didn't really use chain swords).

Blood Angels have been a popular army, especially since the new codex arrived, so it was important for Tom to make his army unique by his codex choices, but also to make it look good. This was achieved though a very crisp colour scheme, staying true to the codex. Tom's scheme, for those interested, is as follows. I recommend looking up the GW (Games Workshop) comparison chart where need be (non-GW paints are noted):

1. Models are airbrushed with Vallejo Grey Primer (Poly)
2. After Allowing to dry for a few moments I then Airbrush the models with "Fire Red" from the Vallejo Model Air Colour Range.
3. The Models are then given a light wash with  Ogryn Flesh
4. After the wash has dried I then Highlight the model with a slightly watered down  Blazing Orange, this allows for better application and a smoother finish.
5. The Models are then washed, but this time with  Baal Red, the new equivalent is ok but i prefer the older one.
6. I begin to fill in the detail blacking out the Imperial Eagles and sculpted shoulder pads along side weapons and other parts that are going to be metallic.
7. with a slightly watered down Codex Grey I apply highlights to the Eagles and Shoulder pads, along side I dry brush all of the metals Leadbelcher.
8. I then wash the Leadbelcher lightly with Badab Black along with the Eagles and black details, thus reducing the contrast.
9. Lastly I paint the eyes Dark Angels green, and then dot them the scorpion green and skull white.

When asked about his army list, Tom said that he would usually run:

  • Astorath The Grim
  • 1x 5 man Sanguinary Guard Squad
  • 2x Man Tactical Squads with Heavy Bolter (One Mounted in a Rhino for movement an such)
  • 1x 10 Man Death Company Unit (2 Thunder Hammers)
  • 1x Death Company Dreadnought (With Blood Talons)
  • 1x 5 Man Assault Squad
  • 1x 3 Man Scout Bike Squad (with Astartes Grenade Lauchers)
  • Devastator Squad with 4 heavy weapons of various flavours (Depends how im feeling when I field then)
  • Death Company Storm Raven Gunship (With all the Extras)
So, what is next for the army? Tom said that: "the next Step for my army is probably going to be more Death Company (only 5 more I think), a Librarian Dreadnought to add comedy value to everything, and possibly a Land Raider . . . to give me some ranged weapons on the ground".

Certainly, it is good to see people thinking well and doing well in the hobby. If you want to be interviewed about your army, or want to discuss your experiences, please do not hesitate to contact me at my NEW business and professional stuff email: matthew.david.davies@gmail.com. So keep your thoughts coming, I am all ears.