Saturday, 30 November 2013

WIP: Possessed Relic Predator

Another old project of sorts today. I'm back to working on my Relic Predator with Flamestorm Cannon.

My attention has been mainly on the armour. Since the last time I worked on the tank I've added the other side plate, and have started working on the surrounding roof edge plating. I've also built the other gun sponson, though it still needs its magnets. I plan to make it appear more flush than my old Rhino conversion, so I will be sanding parts and fulling gaps with greenstuff. The Exhausts are from the Baneblade kit, with the tips rotated 90 degrees facing backwards. These help create the 'Deimos look'.

I've also added a few more daemonic pieces to the tank. Out of the hatch sprouts these eye stalks, taken from the Forsaken kit. The hatch has been attacked with a hobby knife to simulate damage.

Next up on the list is to finish the armour, ready for some trim. Then I will be adding a ton of chaotic bits, and possibly more daemon parts.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

WIP: Tzeentch Possessed

Today I’m resurrecting an old project from earlier on in the year: a squad of possessed. I only plan to focus on the first five guys for now, but I will start the rest of them at some point.

The models are based off some Warriors of Chaos Forsaken, with some Space Marine, Chaos Space, and Tzeentch Daemons parts thrown into the mix. The original kit is full of great parts, and is actually good value for making a big squad like I plan to.

I’ve decided to change my original plan for their paint scheme. I had first wanted to paint these guys in different colours, the colours of different loyalist chapters. But now, I want them to fit in with the rest of my army. O felt the original idea deviated too much and wouldn’t look right in my Thousand Sons army. Instead, I’m painting their armour predominantly blue, but with one section of armour being in the original colours (as shown with the Soul Drinker above). This way, the squad fits in with the army, yet each model still hints at its original loyalties.

The squad is part of a Tzeentch army, so I’m keeping to a Tzeentchy paint scheme. As well as the blue armour, the skin tones are part ‘human’ and part Pink Horror. I feel that this gives a bright daemonic tone without being overly silly. The Possessed champion (who might end up a former Sanguinary Guard) has an additional bright blue skin-tone on his arm, to perhaps suggest additional mutations or another daemon (a cheeky Blue Horror) sneaking its way into the host. This section was done with a bit of wet blending.

I’ll be working on the skin-tones, then moving on to the armour afterwards.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Showcase: Chaos Vindicator

'Guns of blue, yellow and fire, Come forth from Hell, warriors of a liar-
Sons a thousand, souls of hate. Governor of Primus, this is your fate...

-Prophecy of the seer Diadus Ormedes, Excecuted M39.888.12

My siege tank, the Deimos/Lucius pattern Vindicator is now complete.

I've gone for a heavily weathered and distressed look. Firstly, it gives off the image of a front-line bruiser (which is often it's role). Also, I imagine that the daemon possessing it refuses to let anyone near it to repair.

The weathering has mainly been done with AK products. The Sandy build-up is Africa Dust Effects, the rust is Rust Streaks, and the black dirt is Dark Streaking Grime. Considering it's my first time using these (barring the rust streaks), I think I've pulled off the right look.

Along with the heavy weathering, I've added a ton of symbols and scripture. For the legion symbols, I combined their pre-heresy icons with their present day ones. I've also painted an uncoiled serpent on one of the roof panels.

The lenses were treated like glass, and thus coated on a gloss varnish after painting.

As well as the lenses, this little detail was added: a leering daemonic eye.

So with another tank complete, I'll be moving to to...yet another tank. Either the Spartan or the Relic Predator.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Special Post: Doctor Who Anniversary Special and the Bradford Media Museum

In 1963, on November 23rd, at exactly 5:23PM GMT, the BBC aired a cutting-edge new science fiction drama, you may have heard of it. Doctor Who has been on our screens for fifty years, and fans across the world have come together to take part in the Celebrations. Today, it's all about 50 years of wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey-stuff.

If you have recently been bitten by a memory worm and haven't a clue what I'm talking about, Doctor Who is a British Science fiction drama starting a time-travelling alien from Gallifrey, the Doctor. Adventures in time and space are made possible by the Doctor's TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions In Space), a time-machine in the guise of a blue police box. For years the Doctor has battled fearsome aliens, met wonderful companions and visited not only alien worlds, but Earth's past and future.

Yesterday I went to the opening of the Doctor Who and Me exhibition at the Bradford Media Museum. Here, fans of all levels shared,donated and lent items to the museum to form a collection of home-made items, toys, collectables, knitwear and original props from the series of old and new.

My girlfriend's knitted TARDIS (left) and a tiny Dalek from
Pittsburgh (front right, on the blue sheet)

What amazed me was how many items were there. Over 600 items were displayed in their glory, from 1963 to today's contributions. It was a massive global effort. Some items cane over from a lady in Germany, there were foreign-language copies of Doctor Who novels. There was even a teeny-tiny Dalek sent over from Pittsburgh.

Daleks: originals, replicas, inflatables...

As well as the massive collection, people shared their stories of how the Doctor changed them, how they grew up as children with the many faces of the Doctors. Some of the stories are fascinating. As a guy who got into Doctor Who when Christopher Eccleston's time as the time-lord traveller came to a close, it's fascinating to hear from people who were there at the beginning of it all, back when the BBC had no idea if it would even work. Fortunately for us all it did, and today we can celebrate what has become an icon of British television and an unmistakable sci-fi symbol.

Best socks in the universe.

The Exhibition is on until February 9th 2014, so you have plenty of time to get there. Entry is free, though there is a collection Dalek demanding donations on the way out. Make sure you also tune in to the 50th anniversary episode tonight, at 7:50PM GMT (on BBC iPlayer later on). Should you miss it, a DVD release is expected.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Product Test: Tamiya Weathering Stick Vs. AK Dust Effects

Weathering is one of many ways to make 40k models look more realistic. I’m always looking for new techniques and products, and today I’m doing just that with a product head-to-head challenge. 

In the red corner is my most used method: The Tamiya Weathering Stick. In the blue corner is the newcomer to my painting table: a bottle of AK Interactive Africa Dust Effects. Today I’ll be comparing both products under several sets of criteria.


Here the weathering stick gets the first punch in. The stick cost me around £2, whereas the AK wash was a hefty £4.60  for 35ml (not counting the cost of the paint thinner you will need). If you’re only doing a small amount of weathering the stick is the better choice. However, I imagine that the AK stuff will last a long time, so perhaps you get a lot for your money.

Ease of use:

Size comparison with 28mm figure

The Tamiya product is probably the easiest for beginners. All you really need to do with it is “draw” on the effect, wait a very short time for it to dry (this really won’t take long) then blend and soften it with a bit of water. It does take a while to get a half-decent effect going though. The main issue is it is a very chunky tool: it’s not the best thing for small objects or very textured ones, like tracks. The tool is too wide to fit into the crevasses of tracks and small parts, so you’ll have to do a ton of water work to get it to flow in.

AK’s product won’t work with water, you’ll need to buy some paint thinner to be able to work with it and clean your brushes. One thing it has over the stick is that it flows a lot better (being a liquid helps). It will get into the places that the stick cannot. Bear in mind that it also takes a lifetime to dry. Drying times can be compared to washes, perhaps even longer. Like the Tamiya stick, you can play around with it and smooth it out once dry, but again you’ll need the paint thinner. It is quite forgiving actually. You won’t be accidentally wiping it all off with too much thinner any time soon.  This allows for some very soft dust layering.

Effect quality:

AK                                                 Tamiya 

This category is where I think the AK product really shines. With the stick it’s taken me a while to figure out an effective way to make real looking dust build up, and to a well trained eye it still looks slightly blotchy. With the AK stuff I’ve practically got it in one go. Above is a comparison of the two products. Personally I think the AK Interactive dust looks a lot more like ‘dust’ in a realistic sense. That’s not saying the Tamiya product is bad by any means, it’s just from a realism point of view, AK’s wash does  far better job.


It’s hard to say really, it all depends on what you want. If you’re new to the whole weathering process, then I’d suggest the Tamiya stick. It’s easy to use and very cheap. However, if you’re after the best effect, then the AK product wins hands down. To me, it gives a far better representation of sandy build-up than the Tamiya product. It is certainly a product for non-beginners though, so if you’re up for a challenge, the AK wash is the way to go.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Showcase: Bolt Action Waffen SS

The next section of my new (ish) bolt action army is now complete: the elite Waffen SS. Here I have divided the SS into a nine man squad and a two man command team (I wanted to make use of all 11 models I received).

This squad was very different to paint than the regular grunts. Historically the SS had a different uniform pattern, one which was far more intricate. I went for a pea dot camo paint scheme, similar to a guide found on the old Bolt Action website.

 I had to adjust the colours slightly and mix up some custom ones, as I did not have all the colours needed. In either case I think I did alright. The main uniform green is a mix of Vallejo German camo dark green with a dab of GW goblin green. I used German camo dark brown and black for the patterning.

They did dry quite shiny, so they were finished off with a coat if matte varnish. Their basing is the same as the other squads, to tie them in with the rest if the force. Next up for the force is likely some more teams, and maybe transportation for the squads in the form of a couple of Hanomogs.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

WIP: Raptor Icon Bearer and Spartan Tracks

The Raptor squad is slowly recruiting new members. First we had a new champion, which actually did quite a bit in it's first game (Plasma'd the butt off a dreadnought and killed a Necron Overlord on it's last wound...though it did get up again). Now, the unit has its own icon bearer.

As with the champion, this guy's been made from a ton of scrap parts and handy leftover junk, as listed below:

  • Legs: Anvil Industry robed legs (running)
  • Torso: Chaos Space Marine Torso
  • Left Arm: Chaos Sorcerer Bolt Pistol arm (sword and pistol variant)
  • Right Arm: Chaos Space Marine pistol arm, Warrior of Chaos banner pole, Chaos space Marine icon of Tzeentch, Puppets War Sorcerer shoulder pad
  • Jump Pack: Maxmini Iron Pattern jump pack
  • Head: Thousand Sons head

The running legs help to create an "in motion" pose, and the icon bearer is ready to share the blessings of Tzeentch. In case blessings aren't sufficient, I'm sure a stab with the banner will cause some damage.

As well as this guy, I've almost finished my track prototypes. I've made seven links in total: a set of four, a pair, and a single track. Doing it this way gives me the freedom to track any tank in decent time, without having to spend a lifetime gluing separate links together (though I still have the option to).

Here's how they look loosely tacked to the front wheels. Although this is only a small section, I'm sure you can picture how the whole tank will look. If it works out well, I may use these on other future tanks. I will need to make smaller ones for rhino-based vehicles, but in time I can see to it. All I need to do is finish riveting them up and adding greenstuff, then these bad boys are ready to cast up. 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

WIP: Deimos/Lucius Vindicator (Part Four)

Right, after some quality time at home, it's time to get back to painting. On my travels, I picked up some new weathering products, AK Interactive's Dark Streaking Grime, and Africa Dust Effects. I'll produce a more in-depth review in the near future, but for now here are some of the results.

I want this tank to be heavily weathered. The way I see it is the daemon that has possessed it will not allow others (baring the trusted Warpsmith) near it for repairs; perhaps it sees its battle damage as scars of honour and as a testament to its strength. Therefore, I plan to add a lot of grime and rust.

This is the back of the tank where I've been going to town with my AK products. So far it's just got a bit of the Dark Grime and some Rust Streaks. Despite the Dark Grime being made for green tanks, it seems to work very well on my blue vehicles. I now have the urge to go back to other vehicles and add some of this.

I've also been working on the gold, and some runes. The current gold layer is the usual Gehenna Gold.

The Runes are being painted mainly around to the chains, to suggest powerful binding rituals. When complete, they will be painted with a fierce glow. The technique I'm using is this one.

That's all for now, but keep up with current projects on Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Retro Review: White dwarf #295

To many White Dwarf, over the last five years or so, has devolved into something more akin to a catalogue than an actual magazine. Whilst there are pockets of goodness, it's not what the readers want, and by the sounds of things, sales are forever declining.

 Unfortunately for many, it’s the only print source for fantasy and 40k (and LOTR if you care about it); other magazines in the market don’t cover it, barring a few pictures in painting competitions. It seems that if we want quality printed content about the hobby we care for, we can only look backwards to a time then White Dwarf was more about the hobby itself than an eternal sales pitch for it. Whilst I didn't read White Dwarf in my early years, I do possess a number of 'older' copies I’ve been given by friends and other players. These contain what todays’ gamers really want: good quality content, battle reports, and lots of varied pictures, not just off the new releases.

Today I'm retro-reviewing one of my favourites: WD #295. It may be tatty and a little water damaged, but it is what today's White Dwarf ought to be.

First thing to point out is that the magazine is split into sections, one for Fantasy, another for 40k, and a third for LOTR games. This is how it should have stayed. I’m only really interested in 40k, so a lot of the time, half, if not 2/3, of current issue releases do not appeal to me. With this method, there was something for everyone, and everyone was at least a little bit happy.

One of the things it contains is free bonus rules for games. In this issue it was rules for fielding the Relictors chapter: a chapter of Space Marines that used daemon weapons and chaos artefacts against Chaos, for the good of the Imperium.

Today, you'd have to pay £20 for a supplement to get bonus content and rules. Whilst it is only a couple of pages, it was content that readers welcomed and enjoyed incorporating into games.

Combined with pictures of some cool conversions it made for a great article.

This brings us neatly to the next point. #295 is choc-full of conversions, painting guides and terrain-building tips. My favourite has always been the Iron warriors section. This article actually got me playing Iron Warriors briefly. Whilst I never found the other parts to this series (if anyone has them let me know), I can sense continuity and good journalism. The reader feels engaged in the journey to create a bad-ass Iron Warriors army. And it’s honest too. The writer admits how the army lost many times in its early incarnations: something you rarely see when it comes to current 'flavours of the month'.

Tactics and gaming theory are fascinating articles, which can really help players who are struggling to get to grips with a new army. The Imperial Guard one in this issue is well thought out and in-detail, which you have to be if you want to explain the tactical doctrines of the Guard.

So there we go; a history lesson in how to make a fantastic magazine. Normally we shouldn’t be going backwards, but in the case of White Dwarf, it should be. By bringing back the old way of doing things, gamers and hobbyists would have a magazine they’d actually want to buy and would enjoy reading time and time again.

Friday, 8 November 2013

WIP: Deimos/Lucius Vindicator (Part Three)

The Vindicator is coming along nicely, and looks a hundred times better with some paint on it.

I started off by spraying the whole thin in Army Painter Ultramarine Blue. I've tried a different method of painting this time; instead of completing one colour at a time, I base-coated all of them.

To ensure I painted neat metallics, I used masking tape to cover up the edges I wanted to keep blue, then went to town with a big brush, painting on a black undercoat, and a Leadbelcher base-coat. I'd say that masking method was more or less a success. Not perfect, but far better than other methods. and it vastly speeds up the process, even when you factor in the time to mask the areas off.

I'm currently currently highlighting the blue areas with Calgar blue.  I'll follow this up with with a 50/50 mix of Calgar Blue and Vallejo Glacier Blue. Once that is done, I'll go over the areas in black, to mark out battle damage I'll paint later in silver.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

WIP: Thousand Sons Raptor Champion

My Raptors have made a small comeback lately. I used them in a 1000pt game against my girlfriend's Necron/Slaanesh alliance. Not only did they blow the butt off a dreadnought with meltas, but also managed to distract the army and challenge noise marines. I mean, they got their ghost-butts handed to them, but it's a noble effort. I did experience a real-world casualty though: my Raptor champion fell from a first story floor (in-game, about 2") and broke. Hmm, you think they'd be tougher than that. Whilst I plan to fix it, it did give me an opportunity to make another champion with new parts, a cooler looking one with different gear. I've wanted one that looks a little more fluid-motioned, and this is what I've come up with.

This guys is made with a lot of spares and junk found in my bits-box. Here is a parts breakdown:

  • Legs-metal GW Chaos Sorcerer (staff and plasma pistol variant)
  • Torso-Anvil Industry Renaissance Torso
  • Left arm-GW Raptor with GW Dark Vengeance Lord Krannon's Plasma Pistol, Forge World MKIII shoulder pad 
  • Right Arm-Maxmini Bionic Arm, Necron Hyperphase Sword (reversed hand piece) tipped with a horn from a Chaos Terminator, Puppets War Sorcerer shoulder pad
  • Jump Pack-Maxmini Iron Pattern jump pack.
  • Head-forge World MKIII helmet with a Chaos Terminator horn

I feel that this pose screams "last samurai". He is ready to make a back-hand swipe with his power sword and has picked out his target. The helmet, once finished, reminded me of this piece of art of Argel Tal, a key character from The First Heretic. 

After completing this guy for my Raptors, I'm very tempted to get back to work on the additional squad members. Next up is likely to be an icon bearer.