Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Surprise, surprise manling! A Skaven Assassin jumps forward!

Busy, busy, busy and due to a small shipment error there is a slight delay in getting my workspace finished. In the meantime I finally found time to sit down and paint a bit. I was planning to get started on Necromunda so I took out some Skitarii sprues, put those aside, picked up my undead, dropped them again and looked at my Kharadron. To end this confusing story, I started work on a group of  (mostly) ancient Skaven. By going through my boxes (and friend's lead piles and the second hand market) I managed to acquire a nice collection of older Skaven to add to my horde. The first one to end up painted is this Skaven Assassin.

Quick, quick, kill, kill, and then run, run, I'm too valuable.
This model is mostly black cloak, so I got the chance to really work on my painting black skills. This time I basecoated with Vallejo German Grey and airbrushed (zenital) a mix of Vallejo Anthracite Grey and Shadow Grey on top of the cloak. I poured the remains of this mix out of my airbrush cup and added a bit of white to work up to the edge highlights. The darker folds where washed with Nuln Oil and I finished up by painting some pure (Vallejo) black in the deepest recesses.

Painting black is an ongoing struggle I'm not willing to give up.
Blown up on my 24" screen the highlights look as if applied by a drunk, but in real life it all looks quite OK (I think). The base is left unflocked or static grassed and bereft of tufts. I stored these materials in a very smart location. Unfortunately I don't seem to be smart enough to recall where.

Here's to hoping GW will one day release a new Gutter Runner plastic kit with models that look good. This guy needs some friends. 
The Weeping Blade was painted with a pair of very light greens and coated in Tamiya Clear Green. A standard go-to for warpstone. I might add a bit of glow in the dark nail powder later on (it is stored in the same location as the static grass, tufts and flock).

A last shot of my old Verminlord paint job, just prior to getting covered in Biostrip-20
Pictured above is my ancient Verminlord. Its been stripped of the above paint job my 16 year old self applied to it. It has also been reassembled with pins and basecoated. I'm planning to use an old White Dwarf paint guide to give it new life and add it to my Oldhammer pantheon. I am a bit unsure about applying a square base though, round just looks better (IMHO). On the other hand it will break style (so I might have to rebase the lot).

Yet another shot of my old Pantheon, I'm quite happy to own this lot. 
Another Skaven project awaiting completion are these three guys I picked up because I'm playing at an AoS event later this month. I needed to flesh out a Clan Skryre army I was planning on taking along.

Stormfiend are a terror on the tabletop and the models look lovely, but breaking them out of their monopose takes work.
However on a second test run of the army it turned out to be a rather unsportsmanlike mortal wound fest, so I'll probably branch out and make a generalized Skaven horde. I just don't want to be that guy. Still no reason not to finish these guys. I had a ton of fun making minor conversions so they look different from the three I already have painted.

Washed and ready for basecoat. Mental note: touch with rubber gloves only.
These guys have just been dried after a detergent wash. The Jezzails have been stripped last year, I bought the Poisoned Wind Globadiers Skryre Acolytes straight from GW to round out a second unit of five. They come in three poses but the mail order staff just took a grab at the stand and send me four with identical poses. I complained, they told me their staff was very sorry but they didn't have the time to really look at the orders they were collection so this happens....yes sometimes I really miss old GW (Q: 'Could you send left arm B from page 17 and Head C from page 82 with my order?' A: 'Off couse we can'). Sigh....

Ready for paint (or going on sale soon), I really want to see the metal Warp Lighting Cannon painted.
Pictured above is the stripped, pinned and basecoated Verminlord, an old Warp Lightning Cannon with crew just begging to be painted, two animal handlers, a Warplock Engineer, two Plague Monks and another Skryre Acolyte (number five). This acolyte was bought second hand so it actually has a  different pose (enough sour grapes now, moving on). I'm not quite sure what to do with the uncoated Skaven. I think I'm going to troll around for another Jezzail so I can paint a third team of three bases (hopefully a mid-nineties one as I don't have that model). The chieftain, standard bearer and Grey Seer will probably end up on the Oldhammer Trading Community at some point, I've already painted the Grey Seer (with the name Thanquol on its tab in stead of 'Grey Seer'). I'm not sure about the other two. We'll see, maybe I'll flip and just paint them too.

Leftovers from last years Skaven painting activity. Maybe I'll finish these of this year.
I'll close up with my leftover Skaven from last year. I think I should actually make an effort to finish these guys. It would give me bragging rights that my Skaven lead pile has been fully painted (ignoring a bunch of Pestilens plastics). On the other hand if I don't get in a rabid painting fugue like I got with my Orcs Greenskins last year, that's ok too. Having a bunch of unpainted models is part and parcel of the hobby (and I really feel like painting Skitarii, Necromunda, etc.)

Taking a forced long break has put a bump in the long road towards Bingo.
As a sort of post scriptum I'll quickly add a stamp to my Warhammer Hobby Bingo card and award myself a 'play with an army you have not played with for a year' stamp for actually putting my Skaven on the desktop.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

My 40K armies on parade

After unpacking my Age of Sigmar armies I've spent rather a lot of time creating my dream hobby space. A bit more on that later. In the meantime with the final Billy bookcase assembled I could start unpacking my 40K armies. While unpacking these I got a bit worried that it would be a lot less then my fantasy collection. I've always had a soft sport for fantasy. In the end it turned out to be a good thing I upgraded the living room table in the interim as you can see the troops getting squeezed closer together towards the end of the table (please ignore my irresponsible misuse of the space at the start of the table).

As I got to the back of the table, I discovered I had quite a few more troops then expected.

I started the GW hobby way back in 1987-88 and I fondly remember my brother buying the hardcover of Rogue Trader. I also remember the horror as the glue holding the hardcover together melted on the attic where we played the McDeath scenario box. We never did really get into 40K back then. I did play some Space Marine (epic) and Adeptus Titanicus (also epic) and a few friends and I screwed around with cardboard counters to test our future 40K armies but we where mostly set on collecting fantasy armies. In the end I did buy some Space Orc models and a box of plastic RTB01 Space Marines (I could not find these for the group shot, they must still be somewhere in a forgotten box #never-move). After that (around '93-'94) my financial responsibilities shifted towards beer, rent and erm...Dutch herbs for a while. On the plus side, I missed most of GW's red period.

Painting these guys after the launch of 40K 8th edition was a lot of fun, I should get around to painting the Primaris Marines sometime this year.
I painted most of these armies after 2008 when the 5th edition Collectors Rulebook sucked me back into the hobby. I picked up Eldar first, fondly remembering an impluse to start an army of these when I read about Jes Goodwin's new design way back when. The really badly painted Eldar in the pictures above where painted first, quickly followed by an Orc army (including some of the ancient ones I still owned (and a few I re-acquired through the Oldhammer Trading Community)). Last as far as 40K armies are concerned where the Death Guard pictured above. Since the launch of Age of Sigmar I have been more focused on painting fantasy, although I think I really should get back into 40K and stamp out another army one of these days (or at least paint my Necromunda box).

A Tyranid army should have a beautiful mix of small gribblies and big monsters. Mine still lacks a lot of flying troops although I think I have a few in boxes ready to be assembled someday.

I painted the Spore Mines in the front fairly recently, they work rather nicely in the latest edition of 40K.
Starting a Tyranid army was a bit unexpected. I didn't like them when I re-entered the hobby (I last remembered these from Advanced Space Crusade and couldn't quite grasp the fun of them). Then I attended a tournament and saw this mix of huge monsters and small gribblies. I was sold and I've been building this army ever since. Usually by finding good second hand deals (people tend to really underestimate the amount of work that goes into a horde army, making them easy to pick up).

I had a lot of fun converting the Rhino on the left, but one of my prized models is the weirdboy shown to the right of the Tyrannofex.

The old Ork Dreadnought looks like a Killa Kan next to the modern one, luckily I only have unpainted Killa Kans (and no modern Dreadnought). 

Now that is the only real place for a group of Goff Rockers to perform!
My Space Orcs are in a large part rushed and badly painted. I was still picking up the intricacies of painting without resorting to drybrushing as the only means of getting things done. The Stompa is actually on its third layer of paint but it is working for me now, especially with the Goff Rockers having a place of honor on it. As for the rest of the army, most of it is glued with a notoriously bad batch of plastic glue that doesn't hold the plastic together all that well. I hardly ever bring them to the table and they usually fall apart long before getting there.

I had big plans for my Dark Angels, but stopped loving them with every spot of green I applied.
I used to love the idea of the Dark Angels chapter, but for some reason painting them has soured me on their background. I have no idea why that happened, but it did. I used to have a reasonably painted Deathwing Terminator group as well, but I managed to sell these a few years back. The rest of the army will probably sit out its life in a display cabinet.

The Chimera off to the back was the model that taught me you should take it easy on weathering. It used to look almost the same as the Leman Russ next to it. 
I'm still rather happy with the converted Ogryn's. On typing this caption I realize I should make a mental note to check if I put all my Dark Angels on their feet before shooting pictures.
The Catachans forming my Astra Militarum army where my first attempt to get serious about doing a lot of conversion work. There is a leap of quality hidden in this army as it also marks the point where I stopped doggedly drybrushing and tried layering for the first time. I'm still rather happy with my Ogryn conversions (The new plastic models where not available when I did these). I got burned on painting guardsmen during this army and I still have rather a lot of half painted models stored. 

The conversion of this Rhino was inspired by a picture in the old Cities of Death supplement. Its large (and in gaming terms purely cosmetic) radar dish tends to make opponents nervous for no reason at all. 
After performing grand theft Land Raider on the Dark Angels I covered the glue tracks of cloaked statues with proud wolves heads (halves) left over from the Thunderwolf kit.
The last and most recent (aside from Eldar additions) of my 40K armies are my Space Wolves. I started these by buying a discounted box of Grey Hunters and wondering how many of my unassembled Dark Angels could be turned into Space Wolves. I ended up with a rather nice army,  adding some Terminators later and repainting the Drop Pod and (Deathwing) Land Raider in Space Wolf colors (take that Dark Angels!). To be quite honest I haven't fielded these guys for quite some time either, I usually bring Tyranids or Eldar to the table when I play Warhammer 40K. 

Part one of my armies mostly: Death Guard, Eldar, Necron and a handful of one off models on the bottom right.
Part two consisting of Tyanids and Space Orks. 
And the last part: Space Orks, Space Wolves, Dark Angels, Astra Militarum and the end of the table appearing rather suddenly after all.
With these group shots I can safely end my private Armies on Parade (excluding a few ancient RTB01 marines hiding in a box somewhere). Next up my workspace? Or maybe I'll finally find time to do a bit of painting again? Who knows, we'll just have to see :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

My fantasy armies on parade

The long awaited move has almost been completed and I'm in the process of building my own hobby Walhalla. While deciding on display cabinets, workspace, lights, decorations and paint racks I took the unpacking of my miniatures as a quick opportunity to show my painted armies on (a private) parade. First up is my Fantasy collection as my 40K turned out not to fit on the table at the same time. Seeing it all together makes me rather proud of my painting production and the quality is getting better all the time too. So to shorten down a long post. Here are a bunch of (badly lit) shots of my Fantasy armies.
The entire lot as they turned up out of their boxes including my two actual Armies on Parade wins (bronze and silver) of which I am (perhaps a bit too) proud. 
Some of the Orruks I painted at the end of last year.

My Death army won bronze on Armies on Parade in combination with the Vampire Castle elsewhere on this blog.

Tzeentchian Slaves to Darkness march behind my (just out of frame) pantheon of the original Realm of Chaos Greater Daemons.

Skaven form the army I've been collecting for the longest time, as of last year I've decided to add a (few) extra unit(s) to it every year around my birthday. 

The Greater Daemons of Tzeentch and Khorne dominate this part of the table, I should get around to adding one of Nurgle and the Great Horned Rat to my collection somewhere this year and then the wait for a Slaanesh counterpart can begin.

My Highborn Aelves where the first out of the box (and I forgot to take closer photographs of them).

I like how the three blue Rockgut Trollocs stand out in this lot.
The large banner for my Moonclan Grots still puts a grin on my face.
A top view of the entire army on parade, next up doing the same for my 40K lot (as soon as I've found a way to store all these).

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Making The Unquiet Dead markers for AoS

With the launch of Legions of Nagash Games Workshop has given Death a new lease on life (har har). It also brings us the best hint of what Slaanesh has been up to so far. Good times (maybe too good) are to be had by all. In Legions of Nagash the rather wonky Age of Sigmar summoning system is replaced with something more workable and fun. An ability called The Unquiet Dead is part of this. Every army that belongs to one of the Legions of Nagash has it. It gives the player four gravesite markers that help reinforce and regenerate certain units in his army. More important than game mechanics (as far as I'm concerned): it gives you an excuse to get creative with hobby materials. In short I made these for use in my games.

As a Legion of Nagash general I get to slam down my own graveyards on every battlefield.
At launch Age of Sigmar had an all powerful summoning system. Basically every wizard could summon troops. It helped idiots make up 'game-breaking' scenario's where a single unit like Nagash would summon an enormous army (quite narrative come to think of it). Back among normal gamers (I said humbly) it forced you to try and get within range of wizards to block them from summoning reinforcements. Difficult, occasionally fun, often frustrating. The biggest downside was that it made it very hard to finish a battle in an evening (as new troops would keep coming into the fray). Death armies, Flesheater Courts and Seraphon (formerly Lizardmen) where the most summoning intensive armies. With the points system in General's Handbook 2016 this ended. Players had to reserve points to pay for the units as they were summoned. I haven't seen much summoning after that. Why reserve points and trust to die rolls and luck if you can just field a unit?

Enemies may moan about the dead returning to life, but they can't complain about the look of the markers (I think).
The new Legions of Nagash Battletome changes this system (unfortunately only for the legions not for the Flesheaters or Seraphon). Some units like Skeletons, Zombies and Black Knights have the Summonable keyword. Summoners like vampires and necromancers have an ability to heal and replenish a number (according to their power) of summonable units every turn. These gravemarkers also help reinforce your summonable units every turn. They also give an ability to return destroyed units to the table and allow you to 'deep strike' from the grave. The last two assume the enemy hasn't succeeded in blocking off a nine inch area around the markers. In short there are plenty of reasons to scratch build four of them.

Step one, cork, sand and bits. Also please ignore the terrible Game Color Black in the background I accidentally took that out of the 'abandoned don't use' paint rack. Vallejo Model Color Black actually dries up black and is a better choice. (I think everything is a better choice than Game Color Black).
I started out with a large round base (60mm). I superglued cork to make the surface uneven (and create the open grave look on one). Gravestones that where part of the (hideous) old skeleton models where used for decoration. After that the bases where sanded with beach sand. After this part I added a grave lid shield to represent a grave lid (how is that for a turnaround!) and added an old Mordheim lantern to the same base. The idea was to give the impression of grave robbers hard at work. One of the bases got a small 'candle altar' (no idea what kit that came from), an old (hideous) skeleton and a book. Skulls from the aptly named 'Citadel Skulls' box where added to all the bases. After that I left the bases to dry.

Airbrushing a few browns helps bases look a bit more realistic.
After the glue was dry I sprayed a German Grey basecoat and followed up by airbrushing Vallejo Tank Brown and Vallejo Dark Earth in patches (model air series). I left this to dry fully.

Drybrushing a bone color helps give the terrain definition. It also gave me a head start on coloring the skulls and bones (these have had a lot more paint added after this drybrush step).
With the basecoats dry, I drybrushed Tyrant Skull all over. I went through the regular wondering about why I buy Citadel 'dry' paints? These paints dry into a gum like putty even with the lids firmly closed. After the drybrush I followed up with an incredibly sloshed on wash of Agrax Earthshade (the more wash the merrier, take your two thin coats and...well you get the picture).

When in doubt, wash it with a lot of Agrax. On top you see a bit of extra sand where I foolishly decided my base needed more sand long after basecoating and painting.
By the time the extreme wash was dry, I overbrushed all skulls with Ushabti Bone followed by (a bit more subtle) Screaming Skull and finally Pallid Wych Flesh. The gravestones where all painted Stormvermin Fur and then (while wet) overbrushed with a Stormvermin Fur/Vallejo Dead White mix. I quickly dried the paint using a blow dryer and added reasonably subtle recess washes of Athonian Camoshade to the gravestones, using a q-tip to remove/spread excesses. To get some color in I added yellowish static grass to all the markers. To finish off I painted the edge of the bases Vallejo German Grey. I'll get to the details on the bases on separate pictures.

Base one, a straightforward collection of gravestones. 
This is the simplest base of the lot. I added small dabs of Seraphim Sepia to the skulls. This looks a bit dabbed on in this picture. In real life it is quite ok (in my humble opinion).

Here some grave robbers where hard at work plying their trade.
This scene depicts a grave recently opened by grave robbers. I intentionally left extra mud free around one edge of the grave. The wood of the lantern and coffin lid where painted Steel Legion Drab, washed with Agrax Earthshade and highlighted with Talarn Sand. The lantern was painted Leadbelcher, washed with Nuln Oil and (after drying) with Agrax Earthshade. Then I added an Ironbreaker highlight. I finished off by painting the lit part Averland Sunset, washing with Seraphim Sepia and Agrax Earthshade and highlighting Flash Gitz Yellow.

The failed necromancer rests beneath his altar. I tried lettering 'Liber Necris' on the book, but ended up repainting it black. Rule #1: Always try new, difficult things. Rule #2: Use creative curses when you fail while executing Rule #1. 
I call this base 'the failed necromancer' it features a corpse holding a black book (Vallejo Model Black with an attempt at blending to The Fang). The silverwork on the book was painted Leadbelcher, Nuln Oil, Stormhost Silver. The candles where painted with Tallarn Sand and highlighted by adding Ushabti bone. I washed it with Seraphim Sepia. After drying I added a recess wash of Seraphim Sepia and after that (to get more extreme) a recess wash of Agrax Earthshade. The wicks where painted black.

I should find interesting new projects to use this rust technique on.
I decided to practice my variant of this tutorial on painting rust on the shields of this base. I started from Leadbelcher and washed it with Agrax Earthshade. After drying, I added slightly watered down dabs of Typhus Corrosion. I then made a wash out of Squig Orange by using Liquitex Matte Medium and water. I added this to bits of the metal. After drying (blow dryer time) I added some Troll Slayer Orange to the mix and dabbed spots with this. After even more time to dry I painted raised areas with a fresh layer of Leadbelcher. In the end I added a subtle last wash of Agrax Earthshade to tie it all together. A lot of work, but hey it looks really rusty. I really need to find something rusty to paint.

Another dot is added to the bingo card, only eighteen more to go.
Building and painting these markers took little time (one evening building, one evening painting, using lunchtime for washing and airbrushing the larger areas). I am quite happy with the result, and with the short break from painting massed ranks of miniatures. Best of all I get to stamp my Wargame Hobby Bingo card. The 'Build & Paint some accessories themed to match your army. (Wound counters, baggage train, objectives, etc.)' is now officially mine. Muhahaha, hmmm wound counters? No, must paint units first!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Orruk Ardboys can proudly (and loudly) join my Greenskin horde

When I started unpacking my Greenskin project box in September last year (end of post) I expected to put most of it back in the box by the end of the month. Now I can happily state that this didn't happen. This weekend I've managed to finish a last serious bunch of Greenskins waiting for paint. The group on the trail end of my enthusiasm was a mob of twenty metal and plastic Black Orcs Orruk Ardboys. As a member of my local gaming club organised a painting day this weekend, I decided to bring this lot. I figured that getting stuck with these boyz and nothing else to do but chat and paint would work wonders. It did (although I had to finish them up on Sunday).

Two bands of Orruk 'Ardboyz stand ready to kill, maim and destroy.
For those of you counting along, yes it is a group of thirty. A few years ago I painted a group of seven metal and plastic Orruk Ardboys I found in a lot. This unit consisted of a banner bearer, a musician, five dual weapon wielders and three two-handed weapon wielders. This mix of weapons didn't matter in the old rules. Since Black Orcs became Ironjaw Orruk Ardboys, the load-out does matter. With the addition of ten more metal models and a box of plastic models I could split the lot in a unit of ten two-handed weapon wielders and a unit of twenty dual weapon wielders.

I added a last minute dab of Balthasar Gold to the Boss's shoulder pad as I recall having trouble remembering who was in charge in the unit.
Unfortunately the plastic box has not been designed to reflect these choices. The two-handed weapons are in short supply and only fit one of the body stances in the box. I also discovered a number of metal heads had gone missing over time. I solved the missing head problem by using plastic heads from the Black Orc kit, a few from 40K Nobs and a couple of leftover parts from the Orruk Brutes I assembled earlier (not quite up to scale, but it fits well enough). The stances required a bit of extra converting.

I'll write the red stripe on the drummer's helmet off as a mistake.
I rather enjoy sticking as many unhelmed heads in a unit as I have available. It adds character and (hopefully) distracts from the fact that my paintwork for units is a formulaic, conveyor belt type afair (and a bit sloppy). Besides that, nothing screams "I defy death," louder then taking off your helmet on a swords and arrows battlefield.

The head on this Orruk Ardboy is from the Orruk Brute kits, I think it works quite nicely on these models.
Another thing I actually cut of most other models, but allow my Orruks to get away with, is horned helmets. Yes it is a foolish look, but this is not an army of rocket scientists. Having the entire lot compete to see who can add the most (and biggest) horns on their helm, seems like 'just the thing' for Orruks.

I like the bare-headed ork in the back waving his two swords about (on a body actually better suited to holding a two-handed weapon).
As I was gluing the models together I thought the combinations on the plastic models where getting too repetitive. As I was working with metal models as well (where the problem of repetition in models is a bit more acute) I started using bits from all over. A number of these Orruks are wielding 40K swords and axes. All it took was cutting obvious bolts off, and it works fine for a fantasy setting. By the same measure I cut and glued quite a lot of Brute two-handed axe and sword blades to the two-handed weapon wielders to get a bit more variety there.

Off to the right and not quite as visible as I would've liked it is an Orruk with a wonderfully grumpy 40K head. 
One last thing I started doing a few years ago is painting the lower lip of the Orruks a skin color pink. I think the old school purple is just a bit too much, but adding a dab of color to the otherwise green faces does wonders to accentuate Orruk faces (I think). To round off I snipped the tabs of the metal models (with a wink and a grin to the silly 'these things belong in a museum' collector types) and glued the entire unit to painted and prepared 32mm bases with PVA. I ended up painting the rims of the 'original ten's' bases as I hadn't done that yet. With this I finished my lot of thirty Orruk 'Arboyz. Now to wrap things up I decided to take a quick 'proud&bragging' shot of all the Greenskin models I took out of my project box in September of last year. They went from various (colorless) states of disrepair and have been painted now.

That's a nice bunch of models I no longer have to feel the vague 'I never painted them' shame about when I walk around my lead and plastic piles. 
Going by the 2017 General's Handbook that is 3,340 points worth of Greenskins. A bit more then I can field for a regular Wednesday night gaming club game. I think I should declare my painting slump officially over. I also think I don't need to finish the two giants Aleguzzler Gargants that form the rearguard of my 'let's paint as much from the project box as I can' ambition. But not painting those to as they are not really needed would involve rational thinking, not really useful in this hobby ;)