Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Age of Sigmar: Ranged Units and Me

Age of Sigmar has taught me one thing recently: using an army with no ranged abilities is quite hard. Also, don't be a doofus and remove your banners by mistake (stopped my Grave Guard resurrecting). This week, I've made a couple of new additions which should hopefully have me covered. I won't be going back to a fully-shooty force, but I would benefit from one unit that can do so.

Firstly we have this unit of Skeleton 'archers'. Since the new rules landed, I can use any unit from a Death army, which includes Tomb Kings. Their army has Skeleton Archers, a unit which would be very handy in my skeleton-themed force. However, the models are both outdated and of the wrong theme (ancient Egypt vs the Transylvania look I'm going for). So I cam up with these, after seeing Yogscast member Duncan playing Hand of Fate.

These Skeleton Musket-men are based on the standard Vampire Counts Skeleton Warriors set, with rifles (and some helmets) taken from a Perry British Riflemen set. The models have an undead-conquistador look to them, which both reflects the monster cards in Hand of Fate, and are a nice stand-in unit.

As well as this ranged unit, a Necromancer has been added. At the moment this is a stand-in conversion until I find a nice skeleton-like model to represent a Necromancer, or get a Vampire. It is based on a plastic Flamer, with parts from the Black Knights and Empire Flagellants set making up the upper body.

Next after this will be a monster. I've been told this big monsters are a big part of this game, so I may invest in a larger model. I'm tempted by the Zombie Dragon, though a Black Coach might be a great opportunity to convert something special.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

WIP: RT Land Raider Achilles (Part Four)

A project really starts to come together once you set down the first layer of paint. The mish-mash of whites, greys and silvers join together into one product once they share the same colours. The Land Raider Achilles, my Rogue Trader-era pet project, now looks more like an official model than the collections of bits and scraps it did only a week ago.

For this tank, which is a vintage relic, I wanted to inject a little bit of the colouring from that age into my modern-day scheme. Flames and other designs seemed more prevalent back in those days, especially ones in one solid colour like yellow or black. I've added striking yellow flamework across the front of the tank, and on the Heavy Bolter turret. The shape is somewhat based on the flames forming the Thousand Sons' own icon.

Since this tank is an ancient machine often in the thick of it, it will be extremely weathered. So far I've only started the metals, which were all based with a bix of Scorched Brown and rust pigmentation for a rusty and textured appearance. A silver dry brush has gone over the top of this, and this will be highlighted further with Mithril Silver for recent damage.

The warped framework at the rear of the tank, which I chose not to replace for style reasons, will be painted as if it was heavily corroded. So far it is in the same style as the other metals, but will be blended into the paint at a later stage, possibly with some cracking effect thrown in.

A few of the smaller details have been picked out as well. The trophy bins are coming together with a bit of colour. All the bone elements have been base coated in Steel Legion Drab. The Emperor's Children helmet has been added to highlight some inter-legion conflict that this vehicle took part in.

The trim will be the most time consuming part of this model, but once that, and the freehand work, is done, I can make a start of weathering.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Review: Kromlech Cyber Samurai Components

Channel the spirit of the samurai, as today we look at a few neat sets for those wanting to add a little Land of the Rising Sun to their Space Marine forces. I'm doing these sets, all from bits company Kromlech, together, as you really do need all three for the proper future-master-swordsmen look they give.

Firstly, we will be looking at the Cyber Samurai Heads, which retail at £5.05 for ten heads. Next comes the backpacks, which cost £4.33 for five. Finally we will check out the essential piece of samurai kit, the Vibro Katanas, at £4.33 for six. So for all three kits you'll be paying around £15, but this gives you enough to fully kit out five sergeants or heroes with a helmet, weapon and unique backpack, with plenty of leftovers for other models.

The kits, as per usual, are of the great standards Kromlech should by now be known for. Barring a bit of flash and the gates, there's no real imperfections to speak of. I did fond one hidden bubble in a sneaky place, but I'm not sure that counts.

I am a big fan of these helmets, which have combined the 40k-esque look of a futuristic helmet, with the design cues of the Japanese Mempo, worn by the Samurai classes. They have a fairly daemon-like look (much like real Mempo), which makes them a viable alternative helmet for Chaos Space Marines as well.

The backpacks also take influence from feudal Japan, with back-mounted banners similar to the Samurai's Sashimono. They attach to the backpack via a small hole, and in theory should not interfere with the model's other parts (unless you're going for an overhead swing with the next product). I will admit that I don't really like the vents: they seem a bit oddly shaped and the grills are external rather than recessed, a design similar to Space Marines from 20 years ago. The rest of the backpack is good though, with an Oni-like design in the centre, and detailed cabling on either side.

These swords are just divine. As well as the previous factors mentioned, I just love the clean, precise look. No ostentatious ornamentation, or elaborate hilts, just a pure weapon, ready for war and nothing more. The swords come bare (i.e. with no hands attached), meaning any model from any range could wield it. It could also be used for fantasy models, all you'd need to do is shave off the power cables on the blade and you're set.

They even look pretty sharp, a feature many other bits makers cannot fully achieve. I have seen a lot of chunky blades in my time, and these swords actually look like real swords, not novelty oversized foam ones.

Whilst each set is a great addition to your army, it's when you buy all three and bring them together onto one model that the look really comes together. This model has been given one bit from each set, and the future-samurai look Kromlech has aimed for really shows.

 So to sum this range up, the best things come in threes, and these three sets are a must-have for anyone wanting a Japanese theme to their forces.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Workshop Datalog (July 2015)

This month it has been 95% Age of Sigmar, as I begin to take a greater interest in the game. Since my first game I have expanded the Grave Guard unit to ten, built some Hex Wraiths, and a standard bearer to boost my units during the game.

Hex Wraths, it turns out, are a fantastic unit. They fly, ignore Rend, and generally look amazing. And with my local store, Space Myth and Magic of Scarborough, having a 30% off sale on WHFB, I just had to buy them. They are pretty much built from the box, as they look fantastic without conversions. They have, however, been based on rounded bike bases, in-keeping with the aesthetics of the newer models.


Using parts leftover from building the Hex Wraiths, I managed to fix up some of the Grave Guard. A few models were missing shields and shield arms, and the new kit was perfect for supplying replacement parts as the Black Knight's armoured parts look very similar to Grave Guard bits.

The kit also gave me enough components to build a Wight King standard bearer riding a Nightmare. The horse of a spare Marauder horse from my days of playing Chaos Warriors, with barding and a rider from the Black Knights parts of the kit. The banner has been extended using an additional Grave Guard banner.

During the game, this guy will probably stick back and plant his banner for added buff range, though as I found out in my first game, the Wight King is very capable of defending himself, with four attacks that can cause double wounds.

As well as my work on the Sage of Sigmar force, I have squeezed in a bit of 40k modelling too.

The Land Raider relic tank has been base coated ready for the real painting to begin. In a unified colour, it is really starting to come together, and months of work will hopefully pay off.

I've also been working on an updated rendition of Ahriman. The standard model is great, but it is about 15+ years old now, and so is in need of a serious modernisation. The base model is the plastic Aspiring Champion, with Ahriman's staff and a bolt pistol arm in place of the kit's knife arm.

 The helmet has been modified with a new mouth plate, third eye and streams of scroll paper coming off the helmet, much like on the classic model. I will be adding a cloak to bring it closer to the original piece, but I think that this more dynamic model will better represent the character.

That is all for today, but keep up to date on all my projects, reviews an more via Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Age of Sigmar: My Return to Fantasy Gaming

I used to have a sizeable WHFB Warriors of Chaos army, replete with Chosen, Forsaken, Warriors and Marauder horsemen. But I fell out of love with the game. I found it slow, clunky, and quite boring, the death sentence for any game. Four years after selling the army, Age of Sigmar has come along, and I find myself quite liking it. With free rules (yes, really free, the sky isn't falling is it?) and streamlined gameplay, I've taken my first hesitant dip into the pool that is AoS.

A change this big is a perfect chance to try out a new army. I've always gone for Chaos armies, so I've gone for something different; the undead. Vampires, zombies and ghosts are familiar icons to me (being a goth in my spare time), and I've always liked the models. Amazingly, I've found a fair few models to get me started, plus the newest White Dwarf came with a free model, which I quickly found a use for...

...As my Wight King leader. The model is huge, towering over a Space Marine with ease, making it an ideal candidate for conversion into a hero choice. The armour was heavily chipped and scraped using various knives and files, and a large chunk was taken out of the chest. Some ribs were glued in the hole to make the model appear more undead, and not just a Stormcast who sucks at armour maintenance.

The weapon were swapped out for those from the Grave Guard set. The shield has been extended as the normal shield looked more like a buckler on this huge model.

For the paint scheme, I wanted a severely worn looking model. The Stormcast's normal gold plating has been replaced with beaten and verdigris-stained brass colouring. With a dark red as a secondary colour, this dark and dirty scheme looks well-suited to the hordes of undead. It is likely that this scheme will be applied to all future models.

So what about troops? I've been quite fortunate, in that I've found a few bits here and there. These Grave Guard models were intended to be part of another Chaos Space Marine army that never really took off. So instead they've been returned to their original purpose, armed with swords and shields. The champion has a larger set of weapons to pick him out.

As well as the shambolic skeletons I've come across some Chaos Hounds, which make ideal stand-ins for Dire Wolves. I have enough for a squad of five, as the first five were used for my Vraks force.

I'm going to try my first game later this week, but I have an idea of where I want to go with this army. I plan to get some more skeletons, then a special unit, either some Spirit Hosts or Hex Wraiths, and a Wight King banner bearer to buff my skeleton units.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Showcase: Tzeentch 'Daemonkin' Rapier Platforms

The Deathshoal are a feared weapon of Tzeentch, and the creations of an unholy pact between sorcerers of Tzeentch and the Hellforges within the Eye of Terror. These weaponised creatures began 'life' as Screamers, Discs and other similar daemons of Tzeentch, before being forcedly grafted with heavy munitions. The high-calibre weapons became infused with the raw power of change, making them many times more deadly, erasing not only the flesh, but also the souls, claiming them for the Lord of Change's entertainment. Only examples armed with weapons dubbed 'Hades Autocannons' have been discovered officially, though rumours of more exotically-armed creatures have begun to circulate amongst Militarum platoons.

-Idonis Raus, Ordo Hereticus-M35.464.21

Finally, I have finished something. Most of my current projects have been builds, so it has been nice to work on, and finish, some painting work. These three models are my chaotic stand-ins for Rapier Weapons Platforms. At less than the third of the cost of one Forge World Rapier, they are a nice bargain unit, and very thematic. Although there is no such thing as a Tzeentch Daemonkin book...yet.

They are based on the plastic Screamers set, with various gun components (Autocannons, Heavy Bolters, Ripper Guns) making up the Hades Autocannons. I chose these weapons for their good rate of fire and high strength: perfect for taking on tougher units, monsters, and medium armour: even flyers at a pinch.

The paint scheme is fairly simple, involving a fair but of drybrushing and blending. The main body was Regal Blue worked up to Temple Guard Blue. The other fins are purple, using Liche Purple with a bit of pink mixed in for highlights.

for added contrast, the smaller spines were painted pure Temple Guard Blue.

The eyes were done in yellow, with a cats-eye-like pupil for that daemonic touch. I made sure to have them all facing the right direction.