Wednesday 27 February 2013

Leman Russ Battle Tank Shading/Highlights

Having never tried to paint a tank 'well' other than dry-brushing silver on a black undercoat, I have looked to others for inspiration when tackling my Leman Russ Battle Tanks. Using a basecoat of 'Army Painter' Desert Yellow I then proceeded to add highlights and then shade down using washes/glazes as per the James Wappel method. I struggled at first, and feel it is a little sloppy for a first attempt, but the results are promising! Not bad for a couple of hours' work.

Base coat, applied over a previously painted model (a bit thick!).

Highlights of upper edges and minor reflections from the 'ground'.

Basic 'glaze' of blacks, browns along edges and shadows.

Black-lining using a black wash, more highlights as well.

A few chips, painted and 'sponged', with shading and edge highlights as well.

Now I am looking at the pictures I can definitely pick out a few water marks, missed opportunities to cover mistakes with 'chipped' paint markings, and a need to be more crisp with definition along edges. There's plenty more metal to practice on though and it's already looking less flat than the yellow on my Sentinel, but I also need to vary my palette a bit with some contrasting colours. I may try some pigments for dust effects on the tracks and lower hull.

Sunday 24 February 2013

Leman Russ Vanquisher, Exterminator WIP

Following on from last post, I have cleaned up and undercoated the first two Leman Russ Battle Tanks for my Imperial Guard army. With cool names like Punisher, Eradicator and Dominator (actually I made the last one up) there are limitless ways to equip these guys for battle, whether you are facing light, medium or heavy infantry, and all levels of armour. I have started things off with what seems on paper to be the 'best' Leman Russ for 6th Edition: The Vanquisher.

My first attempt at drilling barrels (see the sponson Heavy Bolter) didn't go to badly!

This guy has a long range, rolls an extra dice when trying to punch through armour, and since the new FAQ counts as a 'Heavy' tank meaning he can move and shoot all weapons, unlike the basic Leman Russ with its 'Ordnance' weapon. Best of all he only costs less than four percent more than the basic tank for all these benefits. Thrifty!

Casting up some new doors to replace the removed sponson weapons.

The next Leman Russ was a mix of old and new, picked up for a song from a friend, and converted into an 'Exterminator' with twin barrel Autocannons. Having removed the sponsons to clean them up, I decided to leave them off altogether and used some Instant Mold to copy the existing hatch and make a new set from green stuff. Most people equip these guys for high rate of fire anti-infantry and light armour duties, but I have gone out on a limb and included 'Knight Commander Pask' which increases accuracy and strength versus vehicles. I was sorely tempted to model him with a sword in reference to this guy:

(source unknown, used without permission)

Instead I went with some boring binoculars which are far less likely to snap off in transit/battle. Being previously painted I was unsure how it would look after a new undercoat, and apart from a few cracks it hasn't lost too much detail that won't be obscured with a layer of dirt and dust.

Either way, the added thickness and 'poorer' quality of the undercoat gives me the opportunity to experiment with weathering effects without feeling like I am destroying a $60 tank. Watch this space!

Update: You can see the completed Leman Russ Exterminator here.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Leman Russ Rescue!

As mentioned I have turned my 40k mind to the building some Leman Russ Battle tanks for my Imperial Guard. These will be my first I.G. tanks and my imagination is full of dust clouds, earth shattering explosions and the screeching of metal tracks. I have a long way to go to make these dreams a modelling reality!

Mold lines on the barrel have proved tricky!
First up is my Vanquisher, built from the new Leman Russ kit, sans instructions. I appear to be missing an exhaust, most of the accessories and I have no idea what the saw-tooth pattern on the turret is? The Heavy Bolters are sitting on my bench at work waiting to have their barrels drilled.

This one requires a LOT of imagination.
The second Russ was picked up cheaply from a friend, who in his younger days of modelling managed to glue the whole thing together using super glue (who doesn't remember doing something like this?). As I attempted to remove some mold lines and thick paint the whole thing sort of disintegrated, leaving what you see here. Definitely a work-in-progress.

The last two are clearly not Imperial Guard at all, but the first one proves tantalisingly close to being de-looted, with the second turret providing the Imperial flavour. These 'Boomwagons' (Looted Wagons with Boom Guns) have proved very useful in my Ork army in 5th edition, but the concept of Allies has rendered them somewhat useless, being within ten points of a Leman Russ yet having much less armour, firepower and discipline. I think the second one will stay Orky, and I will see how the others go in battle before re-enlisting the first.

The last tank for today is clearly not a Leman Russ, but provides further insight into the theme of my old Ork army, where everything is mobile no matter the cost. This guy carries my Mek with Kustom Force Field and a host of Burna Boyz, ready to rain fiery death from their 'Open Topped' vehicle, only to have the Ork driver roll a '1' resulting in them tank shocking through a wall and unable to shoot or disembark. Certainly made for a fun game or two! Who knows, maybe what is old is new again, and the answer to my lack of mobility in my Imperial Guard army lies in some Ork Freeboters?

Sunday 17 February 2013

Holiday Treasure Hunt & Upcoming Content

As mentioned this week I was away on holidays, and in that time I raided my old Warhammer 40,000 collection for some inspiration. Throwing caution into the wind I packed up all my Orks into a second check in bag and crossed my fingers they would make it through LAX in one piece.

So far so good, a cursory inspection shows only a couple of broken weapons/arms. Having not played these guys in 6th Edition I am itching to try out open topped Assault Vehicles, army wide Fleet and not worry about snap shooting when most of the army only hits on 5+ anyway!

In Imperial Guard news, I found a half started Leman Russ Tank (was rescued from being looted in fact!) so expect a post regarding these guys. Armour 14/13/10 is still pretty mean when most people are switching from Melta to Plasma, even with the apparent Hit Point problem vehicles have this edition. Following on from my Wargames Factory Zombie Gaurdsmen I also picked up a box of Defiance Games "Alien Wars" Marines to make some Veteran Imperial Guard. Hailing from Massachusetts (had to look that one up!) these models are nearly at the magical $1each mark making them ideal for Imperial Guard infantry blobs. 

Plenty to look forward to, thanks for dropping by!

Thursday 14 February 2013

Painted "Munitorum" Dice Holder Servo Skulls

As you may have noticed by now, I am more of a 'hobby' Warhammer 40,000 enthusiast than a gamer. I prefer to play without painted models (unless they are newly released game winners of course), prefer well crafted scenery to a pile of books under a cloth, and until recently put just as much modelling effort into creating individual race specific objective markers for each of my armies.

What has changed? The release of some great new objective markers in the form of (supposedly) limited release Munitorum Dice and Dice Holders. These guys are modelled after Servo Skulls, the 41st Millenium equivalent of a wizard's familiar or drone, fashioned from human skulls and given an artificial intelligence of sorts so that former servents or low ranking adepts of the Imperium can continue their duties even after death. Creepy stuff! Being supplied pre-assembled I leapt at the opportunity to give them a lick of paint.

As you can see from the header above, reproduced here in case of future changes, I have taken these very grey looking Servo Skulls from Games Workshop and added some colour and a dash of clearcoat to make them stand out on the battlefield. There's nothing more annoying than fighting for six turns only to lose because you forgot the 6th objective hiding in the woods!

Recently I added a few names to each of the objectives, taken from a transfer sheet included with my Imperial Guard Sentinel. I had hoped to name them after glorious battles won over hard fought campaigns through the years, but it seemed cooler to game with them already named. They have been well received at the local games store, especially as I won them as a door prize at the last painting competition! Best of all they work well with any army (Tyranids less so?), the ultimate in future proofing.

Sunday 10 February 2013

Imperial Guard Sentinel Diorama: Completed Pics

I am away on holidays this week, but to keep things ticking along I have some photos of my favourite modelling project of 2012, an Imperial Guard Sentinel, to share with you. Work in Progress here.

You can vote for this model over at Cool Mini or Not.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Review: Battlefoam P.A.C.K. 432 - Stormraven Gunship Inside!

This week I will be taking my army to the skies for a trip home to Australia and a game with a long time friend and 40k nemesis, Leigh. Instead of my usual Orks vs. his Space Wolves or Dark Eldar, I will be bringing my Blood Angels and Imperial Guard which I have been collecting for the last 18 months. In order to survive the trip across the Pacific Ocean (miniatures don't travel well from hobby station to light box in this house) I will be using a Battlefoam P.A.C.K. (Personal Army Combat Kit) 432. Designed with air travel in mind (both in dimensions and lightweight construction) it has enough room to carry infantry and my new Stormraven Gunship.

Don't try this at home! The strength lies in the hard plastic edges, as tested here to 85kg!

The key to maintaining small dimensions is the use of only three large trays, minimising wasted 'edge' space where the foam can't be plucked from. Unfortunately it means most of the trays for other Battlefoam bags don't fit into this bag for easy army swapping, but as I have a relatively small collection this hasn't been an issue so far. It also makes for an interesting 'unzipping' method, effectively lying the bag on its back and opening two panels over the rest of the bag:

The PACK 432 is supplied with three 'pluck foam' trays or your choice of 'custom' load out.

The 1" tray holds around 56 models, including a foam 'topper'

The 2" tray is perfect for models with weapons/wargear that protrude.
The two top rows here have Jump Packs attached with plenty of room to spare.

The 3" tray is perfect for 60mm Heavy Weapon Teams and vehicles.
A Drop Pod is too big to fit in this tray!

The '432' from the name supposedly comes from its ability to hold 432 models, with the correct custom trays I presume. As I am able to fit 56 troops on the 1" pluck foam tray, and with an apparent 7.5" of foam according to the product description I guess this is about on the money, but with the base and foam topper for each tray taking up room as well each tray swells by 1/2". With 7.5" of space including foam toppers, I could fit three 1" trays (4.5" total) and a 2" tray (2.5") for a total of 224 models, with 1/2" room to spare for rulebooks etc. I guess that's marketing for you, but either way I end up fitting quite a lot of models inside the standard plucked foam loadout!

All the models in the above trays, around 2000 pts of 6th Edition foot-sloggers and flyers!

While on the subject of rulebooks, I should mention the PACK 432 is perfect for the 6th Edition "Big Yellow Book" provided you are only using one codex. Two Codices makes things a bit of a squeeze and the likelihood of damage to the pages when storing them increases. The whole bag ends up quite 'front' heavy once you have put your tape measure, dice and so on in the pockets, but it includes a carry strap for those with neck muscles of steel. I prefer to throw mine in the car and just use the carry handle.

Yes the 6th Edition hard cover rulebook does 'fit'.

Overall I would rate the PACK 432 by Battlefoam a 4/5. It is light, durable, relatively inexpensive given the value of protecting the contents and general cost of the hobby, but lacks flexibility once your army outgrows the size of the bag. I have had to leave the Assault Terminators at home, but who needs them when you have thirty 2+ save guardsmen when going to ground behind the AEGIS Defence Line? If you are wondering how I managed to fit a Stormraven Gunship inside the PACK 432, a little careful magnetising goes a long way.

Sunday 3 February 2013

Death Company Stormraven Gunship 4

This week I hastily assembled the rest of the Death Company Stormraven, including all the fiddly weapons, pilots, doors etc. With a black undercoat I painted it up to a '3 colour minimum' and took it on the road for a battle against the Tau Empire. With a payload of Death Company and a Blood Talon equipped Dreadnought I was sure to win the game, if only they could get into combat without being shot down.

Turn 2 arrived, with the Stormraven taking down a Devilfish with missiles to spare.

After a successful Turn 2 incursion the Stormraven attracted many shots but survived, mostly due to being in 'Zoom' mode, which required all enemy models to roll a '6' on a D6 to hit. Armour 12 all round helped any shots that found their target. I then switched to 'Hover' mode the next turn and the Death Company disembarked:

All I had to do was make a few charge rolls...

With the Dreadnought having the  'Fleet' special rule and a paltry 6" to make into combat out of a potential 12" range, I was sure to charge the cowering Tau Stealth Suits hiding in the ruins, freeing up with Stormraven to concentrate on other targets. Alas, it was not to be. Not only did I not make either of the charges, my Stormraven was shot down thanks to some Broadsides from the other side of the table. Needless to say, not the best inaugural outing for my Stormraven, but being Death Company, there's always more where that came from...

I eventually lost the game on turn 6, keeping the pressure on with Imperial Guard orders and firepower. By concentrating on his scoring units I was 4-0 up at the end of turn 5, but lost 1-4 in turn 6 due to his commander contesting my objective and gaining the 'Linebreaker' Victory Point at the last minute. Next game I will certainly concentrate on taking out any threats to my Stormraven before slowing down to let the passengers jump out!