Saturday, 29 March 2014

Showcase: Bolt Action Panzerkampfwagen 35R 731 (f) (R35 Light Tank)

My Bolt Action Germans have received some armour support, in the form of this Renault R35 light tank, freshly looted from the French army.

The tank has been painted in standard early-war Dunkelgrau (Grey). I started with an airbrushed coat of Vallejo Model Air German Grey. After this dried, I added a highlighting layer made from a mix of German Grey and Model Colour Basalt Grey. A Nuln Oil wash went into the recesses.

The tracks and bare metal on the exhausts were painted in the same way as those on the B2: Vallejo Charred brown, with GW Troll Slayer Orange sponged over the top.

I've added a bit of weathering using GW's Typhus Corrosion technical paint. Considering this is the first use of it, I think it works fairly well as an effects paint. I used it around the running gear, near engine vents and around hatches. I also added some dust and sand coloured weathering powders on the lower half of the tank

The German symbols are from a Warlord Games Transfer sheet, from the Hanomag box set. A layer of gloss varnish was painted onto the area of the tank where they would go. After setting the transfer, this was coated in more gloss varnish, before the whole tank was coated in Matt spray to remove the shine.

This tank was fun to work on, and the next stage of it is to work on this additional magnetised section, so it can be used as the Panzerjager R35 light tank destroyer.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Review: Maxmini Mecha Egyptian Head

Helmets are a great way to change up your models. To signify special characters, or simply to add a bit of variety, you can’t really go wrong with a good old head-swap. Today, I’m looking at Maxmini’s Mecha Egyptian helmets. These helmets are ideal for 28mm super-soldier models with an Egyptian theme, such as pre or post-heresy Thousand Sons.

The helmets come in packs of ten, retailing at £5.99 in most cases. You get two sets of five designs as followed:

First up is this one, which has an Anubis-like appearance.

Here’s a horned helm.

This head comes in the set. It slightly reminds me of Zerg, the evil (and very purple) villain from Toy Story 2.

Next up is a death-mask style helmet, which would look great on a Thousand Sons hero.

Finally, is this variant. It is my favourite design of the set, and reminds me of Sutekh the Destroyer, a classic villain from Doctor Who. This head may see itself on my Spartan commander, who may or may not be called Sutekh now.

The designs share a few similarities with Maxmini’s Stygian shoulder pads, such as these symbols and triangular patterns.

As far as quality is concerned, there are no serious imperfections. An inspection reveals no air bubbles, and details are relatively crisp. As expected with anything resin, there is the odd bit of flash and a mould line here and there.

The helmets fit well on “space marine sized” models, with no need to build up the neckline.

They don’t quite fit Terminator torsos, but could with a bit of hacking and resculpting.

Overall, this is a nice set of heads for customising your units. Personally I’d save them for characters, specialist squads (like Chosen) and heroes if using them for Thousand Sons: they clash a bit with the standard Thousand Sons heads, but work well for characters, who are allowed to stand out a bit.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Tutorial: How To Make Lascannon Barrels

Lascannons are powerful energy weapons, capable of reducing battle tanks to scrap. They are employed by the forces of the Imperium, chaos, and the occasional light-fingered Ork. Today's post is a tutorial on how to make a fairly basic lascannon barrel, including energy coil. It is an ideal design for vehicles and infantry. For this, you will need:

Two pieces of different sized plasticard pipe, one that is big enough to slide over the other
Greenstuff/yellow-blue two part putty
A (clean!) comb, ideally one with very fine teeth
Hobby knife
Poly cement/glue

First, cut your thin pipe to a size you are happy with for the main gun barrel. Cut a short piece of the larger pipe, at an angle on one end. Add glue and slide over the thin pipe, leaving a small tip poking out.

Cut a thin circle from the large pipe, and glue this to the lascannon barrel, somewhere near the middle.

Once fully set, cover the blank end in a layer of greenstuff. Make it no thicker than the large pipe ring from the previous stage. Leave a few millimetres of blank pipe at the end, and smooth the putty with Vaseline and your fingers or a sculpting tool.

Rub a bit of Vaseline on the comb, and start rolling the green stuff-covered pipe over it, apply pressure whilst doing this to create a ribbed cable look.

Allow this to set, clean up the greenstuff, and there you go. A lascannon barrel. At this stage you can add a back section and a power source to the gun, and any details and flourishes of your choosing.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Review: Blood And Skulls Industry Illuminare LED Kit

For many years, adding lighting effects, such as Object Source Lighting (OSL) has been a technique used to add a little realism to our models. Now, some people are taking it one stage further, by adding actual lights. Today, I'll be having a look at one of the sets available, from Blood And Skulls Industry.

The kit I have here, the Illuminare LED kit, in green, costs $8 (currently £4.81 for us brits. For that you get four 3mm LED bulbs of your chosen colour (blue, red, green, amber, white or a custom set of your design), a battery pack with switch, and two resin light housings. You do not get a battery to power the set, but all you need is a watch battery (type CR2032), and you can get packs of those for around £1.

The mess of wires might look confusing, but it is a very simple process to wire up the kit: red wires to red, black ones to black. Use a pair of needle-nosed pliers to twist the wires together, and there you go. You will need to strip back a bit of the plastic wire coating to access enough wire, and perhaps use some tape to secure the wiring afterwards. You don't want it all coming undone inside of your tank!

The housings are designed to replace the standard ones you might find on a Rhino APC. They are a similar size and shape, and should look right on the model. They can fit onto other models with a bit of trimming. The bulbs will need to be glued in with a dab of super glue, as they can pop out quite easily. Be careful when gluing, too much glue could frost the bulbs.

The hard part of this kit is getting everything into the tank. For the bulbs, you will need to cut out holes in your tank to allow the wires to pass through. Also you'll need access to the inside of the tank, so you can put the switch inside. You could also simply glue it to the underside, but you'll still need to drill holes for the wiring. The best way to do this is to wire up the tank mid-build, when you have access to the internals. Failing that, or if wiring up a pre-built tank, tanks with large access hatches, like rhinos and Land Raiders, are far easier to work with. As an aside, it is probably best to install the bulbs after painting, as to prevent paint covering the bulbs.

The bulbs are quite bright for their price, and will certainly add a extra bit of noticeable detail to your tanks.

This kit is certainly a great value set for those who are new to lighting up tanks, buildings and terrain. It is simple to follow and can be quite customisable to suit your needs. To finish off, here's how the lights look on my Chaos Spartan Assault Tank. The housings have been trimmed

Saturday, 15 March 2014

WIP: Possessed Chaos Relic Predator (Picking Up The Project)

With a renewed sense of motivation, and plenty of success with updating the Spartan, I've now restarted work on another of my vehicles of chaos: the Relic Predator.

What's nice about where I left off is I don't have much else to do on it before it moves onto the painting stage. The majority of the building work is done, as is most of the magnetisation of the weapons systems. The final two exhausts have been added and now I can work on the detailing.

My main area of focus has been applying the trim. I've used my two favourite materials for this: plasticard strips and nail art beads. The trim has been applied to the edges of the Deimos style extra armour, with the beads making convincing rivets.

I've also made a few repairs to the hull of the tank. On occasion, when applying extra armour, I sometimes accidentally shave off a rivet or two. With my new beads, it is a very simple process to replace them. I decided to add a few extra ones to the tank to suggest an old and crudely repaired variant of Relic Predator.

I do plan to create the additional main guns for the tank in the future. I have a Heavy Conversion Beamer in-progress from last time, and have a good idea of how I can tackle the Magna Melta. The Executioner Plama Cannon will be a more interesting challenge. I have considered using two Plasma Cannons but I may try a different route.

Next to the towering vastness that is the Spartan is may not look like much, but the Relic Predator will be a valued support unit in my Thousand Sons force.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

WIP: Chaos Spartan Kit-Bash, Part Six: Brand New Face

I've been on-and off with projects lately, but I've still managed to dedicate some time towards the spartan. Over the weekend, I was looking a the tank, and thought to myself, "the front end doesn't look quite right." So do I analyse it and draw out a new plan? No, I rip off the front doors and start over.

The new, larger nose section was built on top of the existing section to provide stability to the model. I extended the nose by about 3/4 of an inch, leaving it tall enough for the old front door to fit on. I managed to save both front doors, though I still need to do a little repair work to the upper door.

I wanted the new front end to look more industrial and heavy-duty. To do that, I cut off the 'teeth' on the front door, and replaced them with four chunky-looking mag-clamps. I covered them in plenty of rivets, which are loose nail-art beads; I strongly recommend that everybody buys them. Twelve little vials for the low-low price of £1. Easily enough to last a lifetime....or two titans.

A new armour plate was added to the top, to fill the empty void made from moving the doors forward. I'm thinking of putting a cool icon here. If anyone has a suggestion for a good looking chaos icon, message me on Facebook.

Apart from the nose, a bit of work was done on the left-side armour. I completed the plating, trimmed it, and have started adding the rivets.

That is all for today. The next task for me is to finish riveting the tank, then move on to other equipment, such as Frag Launchers, and eventually, the Lascannon batteries.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

WIP: Pioneers Box Set (Warlord Games)

Pioneers are the unsung veterans of the German Army. Overlooked by tank commanders and other elite groups, the Pioneers played important roles for all armies of the Second World War. And now, I've added some to my own German force. Today, I'm showing you what I've made so far from the kit.

The Pioneers box set is easily the best-value set I've ever bought for Bolt Action, purely because of the sheer customisability and choice in the box. For a mere £3 more on top of the standard Heer Infantry box, you get a lot of extra metal components to make a variety of units and specialists. So far I've managed to make a basic Heer infantry squad, a SMG/flame-thrower totting Pioneers unit, and a Goliath tracked mine team. I won't go into detail with the basic infantry squad shown at the back, you aren't missing much.

The Pioneers are were it's at. The extra components set the unit out as combat specialists. The SMGs, whilst short range, will mince anything that gets too close. Proving the flame-thrower doesn't get them first. I can imagine this unit will be very devastating in those decisive close-quarters fire-fights.

All have been equipped with SMGs (and the flame-thrower), apart from the loader of the flame-thrower team. Seeing as it wont be firing that often, it seemed pointless to pay for an upgrade on the model.

Now this next unit is a little more unique. Essentially a remote controlled car strapped with explosives, this little tank-lookalike will scare even the biggest tanks such as the King Tiger and IS-2 with it's +7 pen value. If there aren't any tanks, it can always detonate near a building, hitting as hard as a heavy howitzer.

Once the mine's gone boom, the crew are still capable of damaging most foes, and are equipped with rifles and anti-tank grenades. Not much, but still helpful in any situation. I made sure to make the unit WYSIWYG, so I have given one of the troopers a stick grenade bandolier, a metal component unique to the pioneers. It did require a bit of chopping and filing, both to the part and to the plastic body, since it didn't fit all too well. Fortunately it looks good now it has been properly fitted.

And the above units were made with only half of the box. I still plan to make an MMG team, another pioneers unit, and an anti-tank rifle team using a modified grenade launcher from the kit. If I have any models spare, I'll either add to the existing units or make an extra unit.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Review: Blood and Skull Industry Oppressor Pattern Track Sets

Blood and Skulls Industry. What was once a small-time operation is now a well-known brand of third party bits and kits. What they are mainly known for however is their track kits. Able to make a boring tank into a brutal machine, these kits are fantastic for spicing up Imperial, Chaos and Orkish war machines. Today, I’m looking at the Oppressor pattern.

These tracks, shown in the largest 1.0 size (1” wide), are prefect for the forces of Chaos, or even more sinister Imperial organisations such as the Minotaurs or the Inquisition. According to Blood and Skulls Industry, it should take about two kits to complete a tank: three if you want overlapping tracks. Each set, in size 1.0, costs around £5.98 (based on current exchange rates) excluding shipping. In each set, you get 40 ‘links’ made up of two eight-link sections, two five-links, two three-links, and ten loose single links. Overall, they cover a length of around 13.6 inches.

The treads are mainly designed to fit with Blood and Skull Industry’s own suspension sets, but are suitable for the Baneblade chassis, with some modification. on the right, I’ve loosely laid them on top of the standard Baneblade tracks, as you can see, they are the correct size for this pattern of tank.

In terms of quality, most parts are in good order. As with all resin kits, you should wash them in warm soapy water first before painting. You do get the odd warped piece here, a bit of miscast there, but with so many pieces in the sets it’s only natural, and easily remedied either with a craft knife or some hot water in the case of misshapen parts.

The track pieces lock together with very little extra work, some parts do need trimming, but only by a bit. So how do they look on an actual tank?

Well, a little bit like this. This is my Chaos Spartan Assault Tank, and as you can see, is fully tracked with Oppressors. I did need three kits in total to fully track both sides. The treads certainly add a few millimetres of height to the tank. I did need to cut off all of the track locator pegs on the inner sides of the treads and relocate them, but then again they weren’t designed for this tank. Having said that, they really suit the machine, and are incredibly brutal looking.

So to conclude, these tracks are ideal additions to your own tanks. Blood and Skulls Industry do make other sizes and styles (as well as other kits like turrets and guns), suitable for use on Chimeras, predators, standard Land Raiders and Baneblades. Before buying though, work out how many sets you’ll need; it will be a bit embarrassing to find yourself short just before a big battle.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Review: Evil Craft Miniatures 3/3: Shoulder Pads And Chaos Carbines

Many of you will have seen the duo of reviews I have done over the past month, showcasing the kits produced by newcomer Evil Craft. Today is the last part of that series. I do hope to do more reviews of Evil Craft items in the future, once more of their amazing ideas become physical products. Today, I’m reviewing the last two sets, their shoulder pad set and a set of ‘Chaos Rifles'.

The shoulders come in sets of ten, two of each design, retailing at the same price as all other sets (as of writing). The pads come in pairs; each pair has a “embellished pad” with an eight-pointed star, and a corresponding blank pad. The pairs each have their own style, and so are easy to match up.

The pads, like the other Evil Craft products, follow the designs of “new chaos”. There are a lot of intricate rounded edges. They are roughly the same size as normal GW shoulder pads (shown above) , and so should fit to your models with no issues.

Here, the pads have been added to some GW arms on this test model. The pads do not interfere with arm placement or the backpack and head.

Next, the Chaos Carbines, which come in packs of six with three different designs.  These are very intricately designed, with lots of trim which I imagine would be fun to paint. Like with other parts, they are more organic than their contemporary counterparts.  If I were to nit-pick, I’d point out that the casing exit port doesn’t line up with the barrel. But I’ve noticed that issue on some GW guns so perhaps it does not matter too much.

They are noticeably larger than your standard bolter, but they still fit with standard arms.

So that is it for now. Six sets of items, all of which are fantastic. I’m not sure I’d be able to afford a whole army made up of them (it would be nice) but these bits are fantastic additions to units of chosen, characters and HQ choices.