Monday 26 December 2016

Lord Commander Eidolon Conversion

It's been a full twelve months since Bertrayal at Calth was released and I started work on my Emperor's Children army but I'm afraid to say that it has taken almost a year to finally find a purple colour scheme that I am happy with. Only recently have I settled on a "final" scheme, and only on this conversion would I consider it finished, though there is always room for improvement...

I didn't go all out on the details for this gaming model as I am well behind on the rest of the army, though the gold is done in a newer "true metallic metal" style using some tips from a recent White Dwarf. As for the purple? No washes, no glazes, no two-brush-blending, just a little rough feathering with pink and some edge highlighting for the details. A real joy to paint without any of the "painters block" which usually accompanies a commander type model, let's hope that translates well moving on to painting the rest of the army!

The model itself is based on the recent Ultramarine Herald model which was languishing in my local shop for many weeks. An over-priced and poorly sculpted piece of nonsense (GW plastics are so amazing these days I wonder why they bother with these special resin models? I guess my purchase confirms they sell...) I still saw potential and enjoyed converting this commander model using the already oversized legs and torso of the herald to great effect. Add in some harlequin pieces for the hairdo (hello Skrillex!) and I have a fairly reasonable conversion for my updated army list. I am working on some Tartaros Terminators at the moment, I look forward to sharing these with you all in the New Year!

Sunday 25 September 2016

Completed: AOS Death Army

It's been a busy summer without blogging though I have used my hobby time well, not only dipping my toe into Age of Sigmar with the release of the General's Handbook but completing a full 1000 point Death army in a little under two months! Controversy regarding the games system aside, I found once I knew how many models were required to make a small force I was quite happy to pick up a start collecting box and a couple of units to not only finish my first army in two years but try out a new game with painted models!

Although the photos aren't the best, neither is the army designed to win any painting awards. After a lot of deep thought I have found the airbrush to be my kryptonite when it comes to painting enthusiasm. I would get a whole lot of models assembled and base coated quickly then lose interest in finishing an army with rows and rows of flat colour staring back at me. As such all these models were assembled and painted one unit at a time, using brushes only, basic basing and no conversions.

Another big decision in getting these models to the table quickly was cutting down the number of painting steps and colours. I utilised a lot of washes and drybushing, and the small units and limited palette kept things moving along. You can see the standard bearer in the photo above looks slightly different as he was an early test model using glazes and feathering which I quickly abandoned as the other test models took half the time and looked even better on the tabletop! Instead of choosing three technical paints (corrosion,rust,oxide) I stuck with just the one oxide paint and I think it really matches the snow-like theme of the army and dulls down the metals quite well.

These Harbingers were from a friend's 40k chaos army and were being used as Daemon Princes in an earlier army list. After not seeing them on the table for quite a while due to a list change I was thrilled that he was happy for me to me to paint them up for my new Death Army. We have quite a history of swapping models back and forth, and he warned me the main issue he had with them was painting the wings - he wasn't lying! I think it took nearly four episodes of The Walking Dead to get these guys finished.

Mannfred was my first foray into large scale fantasy models from GW, and it was quite intricate to put together! My one learning experience was gluing sections and allowing them to set overnight before continuing with the model, and I used this technique when assembling the skeletons as well. Unlike a lot of larger 40k models I found this one did not need pinning as a lot of the sub-sections had generous gluing points which were quite strong. The model does bounce a little when moved and I lost one of the ghouls in transit but I'm very happy with how he looks on the tabletop (he is also a beast in game!).

It has been really refreshing to get a whole army finished so quickly, and it has really helped me to learn how to play Age of Sigmar without worrying about how a unit performs/whether it is worth painting or even buying in the first place. My local store runs a lot of events at 1000pts so it will be good to get involved in a few of these without worrying about the "meta" or boring things like that. I have already had some really close games where even the skeletons proved decisive, the rules set seems to allow for most armies to be relatively competitive from what I have seen, and I am excited to try out the new missions with my fully painted army.

It's been too long since I could say that!

Saturday 14 May 2016

Fulgrim Conversion/Scratchbuild

It's been a busy couple of months without much hobby time or clear direction for my new Horus Heresy army, but the drought has finally broken and I'm back with a new model to share with you guys! After finally having a game or two using official source books at larger points levels (and with updated Emperor's Children rules), I decided it was time to 'speed' convert a Fulgrim model using an equivalent 40k sized character, an Avatar of Khaine. This gave me a great head start in the proportions and I eventually completed the conversion in one week. I have included some progress pictures below, though I may still change the hands as they are too big!

After one evening's work I was able to remove most of the unwanted parts from the Avatar model, as well as pose the limbs in roughly the right position to match the official model so that even if my conversion wasn't spot on it would still be recognisable on the table. It was at this point I realised the hands were way too large and had to go!

The next few nights were spent building up the armour with the assistance of some brass wire, adding in details and generally avoiding the harder parts like the hands and head. With a goal to finish in under one week I was up early mixing and applying green stuff before work to ensure the next stage was ready to go without clumsy fingers wrecking the previous sculpting. After a lot of image searching it became obvious I would never match all the details on the official model, and I relaxed my goals a little and let the detail work begin with a gaming model in mind rather than display piece.

The head worked relatively well from a rough blob on a piece of cork, modifying the forehead, adding eyes and then working on the hair. This was the first time I used a scalpel for the sharp lines and I was happy with how the hair turned out especially. I also purchased a rounded oil paint putty tool which was great for smoothing out surfaces without leaving sharp edges. At this stage I was already seeing the model coming together and keen to see it finished!

All of the next steps involved a compromise between detail, the conversion timeframe and knowing I am a clumsy gamer who knocks models over a lot! I sculpted the cape flat in the bench before molding it to the rough shape and gluing it to reinforcing brass wire drilled into the model's back. Likewise the leather straps were often glued to the model at another point to prevent them breaking, and the small green stuff balls received a layer of super glue to keep them in place once dried.

These are the photos from the last evening of modding before entering it into a local store's conversion competition. I was resigned to the fact I couldn't finish the hands in time, so did my best to sculpt smaller versions of the Avatar hands until I have a chance to return to the model in future. A beautifully modified and painted Mechanicum conversion from a Necron C'tan model beat me in the competition, so I was able to get the model back early and have a couple of games with him. After three losses without Fulgrim, my Emperor's Children are now undefeated since their Primarch joined them on the field of battle! I look forward to sharing some of my painted models in future, I am still dreaming up new ways to paint purple, so far a blue undercoat looks to be a winner...

Sunday 7 February 2016

Saul Tarvitz Conversion

With my Emperor's Children slowly growing from Betrayal at Calth box set bits, I turned my attention to building a leader for smaller games while I earn myself enough painting "points" to build some of the more mobile units I have planned for the army. He is made entirely from bits box parts including a random arm which had been stripped of paint and a cape which I first tried two brush blending on. I love the look of the bright red coloured cape against the dark purple on some of my other work in progress models, so he should stand out on the tabletop!


Equipped in the rules with a "sniper rifle" boltgun and "heavy" two-handed duelling blade, I made the best approximations with the bits I had available though the sword is comically large and probably not balanced correctly for a one hand hold. I have kept the armour simple to designate his less pretentious background (using some MkIV running legs as a nod to the heresy era army) though with enough details to work with once painting begins!

Sunday 31 January 2016

Betrayal at Calth Contemptor Conversion No.2

After the success of modifying my first Betrayal at Calth Contemptor Dreadnought (which I picked up as a solo model before diving into the complete box set), I set about making a more dynamic pose for my second model. With an increase in the number of attacks thanks to the recent FAQ I wanted a model that would be in the thick of the fighting and make the most of the increase to the movement and run ranges using the Emperor's Children special Rite of War. Add in the Fleet USR and I hope he will be making turn two charges every game!

With the model being assembled in two halves off the sprue I had a lot of difficulty building strength with the "hollow" legs and pulled a badly pinned test model apart to fill each of the three sections with green stuff before pinning. This makes him quite weighty once the rocks were added to the base, but with such a dynamic pose it helps quite a lot with the stability once the dice are rolling and clumsy gamers like me are playing!

I found a MkIII backpack on my bits box along with a few non GW legs and heads from an earlier project, so I took a very rough mold so I can use multiple backpacks for basing with in future. I look forward to painting this dead space marine using some colours from the rivals of the Istvaan III campaign, most likely as a traitor World Eater space marine!

After finding the first dreadnought to be a bit of a mess of colour once finished I decided to make this one "simpler" and rely on the large areas of battle damaged purple armour to dominate rather than the ornate gold armour of the earlier model. With a holiday home to Australia for the next few weeks it will be a while until I get to paint this one but it will be worth the wait!

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Emperor's Children "Champion": Oil Wash

One of the key breakthroughs of my new "Emperor's Children" army project has been the use of an oil wash over the whole model after the acrylics to make them more battle-worn without worrying about the usual darkening of a paint scheme that is associated with "dipping". Aside from the terrible smell of white spirits (turpentine) the oil wash has many benefits as it can be manipulated for many hours after applying, does not affect the overall finish of the paint scheme (no shiny residue once dry), and is very cheap when compared to acrylic washes or similar products.

Aside from the terrible photos (which have both had an "auto white balance" applied to them) you can see the effect most noticeably on the cloth sections of the model and the base, both of which gain extra depth and lose some of their glare which detracts from the overall colour scheme. The gold on the left has been shaded only with an acrylic purple wash (after the two gold colours where applied and re-touched), then the whole model coated in GW's Lamium medium before the oils are applied. I used a hair dyer on the first few models to speed things up, but now have a dedicated drying container to keep the smell in and the cat out!

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Emperor's Children Contemptor Dreadnought (Completed)

The first model I have completed for my new Emperor's Children army is a Mortis pattern Contemptor Dreadnought! I used this Betrayal at Calth model to try out a few new ideas, with some brass wire details, an instant mold copied aquila, and a little freehand detail inspired by some of the Emperor's Children artwork floating around. It was also a great opportunity to see my darker purple colour scheme on a larger model. Overall I am very happy with how it turned out!

I am still getting to grips with my photography (mostly the focus with a phone camera), but the model looks great in person and I can't wait to get him and a few more painted models onto the table for a game later this month. I used an oil wash for the first time, and the brown really ties the base to the model, shading and dulling the metals, while warming up the rather cold colour scheme on base and model alike. I have left the base deliberately sparse but may add the usually grassy patch or two at a later date. I also used a dry pigment to pick out the shadows of the rocks and act as a second brown to compliment the oil paint.

On the sides of the model I added some details using green stuff, parts from the bits box, a little brass wire and freehand. I left the rear of the model quite plain to see what the larger sections will look like should I use the same colour scheme in future on the flat surfaces of a tank. Overall a great start to my army project and I learnt many lessons which I can use on the next Dreadnought! Thanks for visiting the blog. You can see some work in progress pictures in this previous post.

Sunday 3 January 2016

New Year's Army Project - Pre-Heresy Emperor's Children

After a fairly patchy hobby year in 2015 I've decided to keep things fresh and start a new army for Warhammer 30,000 using the recently released Betrayal at Calth box set. I spent the last year or two culling my miniature collections and games down to just two (fairly large) Ork and Blood Angel armies, and it made little sense convincing myself the Calth box set was "good value" if I was only going to use it to add to my Blood Angels. I have always wanted to make an Emperor's Children pre-heresy army after seeing Dave Taylor's work over six years ago (!), and had put off any plans as I was still learning to paint different techniques while finding it difficult to stay focused. As a result my desire to match the "perfection" sought by the Emperor's Children with any paint job would result in a long term project that I felt I would never finish.

So with the New Year comes a new plan to build and paint a full army in a matter of months, and build and paint it specifically for the tabletop. I have been pushing the same models around in the same state of undercoat or partial paint jobs for nearly two years, hoping to one day paint them up "really well" but being distracted by newer models and competition pieces. As a result my enthusiasm for gaming has waned and I want to correct that this year. Having a fully painted army that is painted to a high tabletop standard (and not rushed for a specific deadline) is my number one goal this year, and less than a week in (I cheated with some assembly after Christmas) I am kicking major goals!

One of the keys to this success has been repeating the "tabletop/gaming" army mantra when something doesn't look quite right during assembly. A small gap here, or a slightly less than sharp mold there, would have brought a previous project to a halt but not this time. As a movie director will fix things in post production, I hope to tidy up, mask, and accentuate with a crisp paint job. I will be using all my speed painting skills that I had forgotten, a lot of airbrush, washes, real metals, dusty pigments on the bases (with minimal fancy features) and get back to the roots of painting armies rather than the six step process for painting an eye perfectly. My aim is to loosen up my painting style, relax my eyes and previously rigid hobby schedule to create a beautiful gaming army.