January 31, 2012

Celestial Fulcrum pt. 2

So I made some progress on the Fulcrum. It is still going to take some time but at least now it is fully assembled. I got the Druids done and attached finally. I reinforced the attachments with some greenstuff as they didn't fit flush with the joint. I don't really intend travelling with the model so I didn't pin it everywhere I guess I should have. So the base, wood and druids shoes need to get done and I think that's it. I won't be giving it the full glowing rune paintjob. I don't think it suits in this case. The warm grey tone won't really suit so much green. The base is giving me nightmares. I will be giving it a different tone. I will highlight the grey with green. I will also add some texture with a gentle drybrush/overbrush technique. The final result though will come from the weathering pigments I think I will use. I have used them before on some citadel terrain, the Dreadstone Blight and it helped a lot to give a nice effect to the stone work. They are a little messy though and I will have to be super careful not to get them anywhere else on the model. Hopefully Wednesday or so should see me finished with this strange little beauty!

January 30, 2012

Some Bones to Grind

These have been sitting on my desk three quarters complete for years. Finally getting the Farrow Bone Grinders done is a pretty good feeling. I am lazy and great at procrastinating. I often get compliments and comments about how often I manage to post completed things here. However it really takes a lot of willpower to keep me sitting at my desk and not off playing Star Wars or Skyrim. I think I would really prefer to be spending my time playing them however much I say I enjoy painting. There was something about the Bone Grinders that really prevented me from painting them. What exactly I can't say but the longer I left them the harder it was to get them done. I started them while supervising a Warhammer Tournament just after they became available. The base coats and some highlights were done. One model was even completed pretty much. Then they just sat there gathering dust. So last week while I contemplated the Celestial Fulcrum I instead found myself picking up the Bone Grinders. I think it is now four years since I started them. I couldn't match the colours no matter what I tried. So I am left with one little piggie thats much redder than the others. It's not so bad. The one thing I did notice while painting them is that they were actually fun to do. Maybe it is the fact that they are finished finallly that is exacting some influence on my judgement but I was considering picking up some of their brigand cousins to do. However I must stay disciplined and try to clear some more of the backlog...

One interesting side note is that on Saturday morning I awoke to find my left hand completely covered in paper cuts. Now I did have a few beers before taking the train home but I remember reading No Quarter whch I had just picked up. Enough to anaesthetise my hand obviously. It must have the sharpest pages ever because I have about six almost parallel two inch long paper cuts across my palm and no idea how they got there.

January 27, 2012

Friday Showcase - Gatorman Posse

When the Gatormen appeared I rushed out to get them. These are absolutely fantastic models and exemplify everything great about the Hordes range.They are really something new and look fantastic. Okay with Hordes models in general it might be a new take on an old idea but I think these are really something fresh. I had seen some of the Wargods of Aegytpus crocodile models and while they are pretty good these voodoo gatormen are something awesome. Since the release of the Blindwater Congregation as a faction things have only been getting better.

I painted mine brown in keeping with the Circle Orboros theme of Autumn. The less green the better. I also wanted to distinguish them a littl emore by giving them stripes. I am not 100% sure if this occurs in actual Alligators but it felt right. All in all I think they came out well. I have enough to finish off this unit and I am thinking I could easily pick up a second... though that would mean I have started another faction.

January 26, 2012

Bits and Bobs - Celestial Fulcrum

So here was my Celestial Fulcrum colser to the start of the week. The model is enormous and has far too many surfaces. The model dosen't fit together perfectly and to get it closer to what I am assuming is correct I have to trim a lot of the joins. The biggest problem being that the ring is not circular. If glues together as it comes one of the pieces, the one that appears to be floating free is a good few degrees from where it should be. This secondarily leads to italmost touching the central ball. After I noticed this I had already glued the model together. A few curses later I had everything apart again... old super glue is good for this at least.

So now the model is getting close to finished. The biggest problem I am having is in deciding if I should colour the runic inscriptions or not. I have built up a decent highlighting contrast on the rocks. Its not perfect but fairly decent. If I add bright glowing runes across the surface of this I will lose a lot of that effect. So I am not sure what to do. There are not that many painted versions floating on the interweb so I can't see much of what others have done.

I will have time to decide tday as I need to begin flocking the hill I made. The end of January looms and I would like to have it finished for that. Hopefullly the airbrush can speed the painting up a good bit. I am also finishing of some Farrow so I have plenty of distractions this week for my hooby time.

January 24, 2012

Taryn Di La Rovissi

I managed to pick up Taryn a while back for €3 which was nice. One of the local gaming stores was discounting their inventory of Iron Kingdoms models. Sadly I didn't think to pick up the Bone Swarms that were there. Still nabbing a cheap Taryn was fine. I painted her up quickly today. Not the best job ever done but it is always rewarding to make progress on the lead pile. I went for a blue cloak as I don't paint blue often. It will also serve to break up the more military greys I have used on my Mercs so far. I would have made far more progress on some of my other stuff if I hadn't gotten hooked on Breaking Bad. It's a really good series but depressing. Anyway I am almost through the second season so once thats finished its time to work some more on my Celestial Fulcrum!

January 23, 2012

Power Swell Wolves

Having taken my Wolves of Orboros out last week to photograph I decided that I would get the unit attachment done. So despite finally managing to get some games in this weekend I painted these up. They were easier than I had thought. I managed to match the colours easily enough to the older models. When I painted the orginal unit I thought that they were really annoying as they took ages. However these were quick enough so maybe I could manage a second unit sometime.

I really like what these can do in the game. It's an expensive ability but it really makes them super effective for one turn. Basically they add a damage dice so with a charge thats four dice. As they have reach the are likely to charge as they have a decent treat range. I will be using my Circle as soon as my cards arrive. Yes I am still waiting over two months... Maelstrom really dropped the ball on this order. At least they finally got my Celestial Fulcrum to me. I will be working on that today but I am pretty sure that its going to take me a while to finish.

January 20, 2012

Friday Showcase - Wolves of Orboros

As I am working on the unit attachment for the wolves finally I thought I would put up my old painted regiment. I love these models. Privateer Press really captured a unique style with them. The cloaks are awesome and I wish they were used more often. I have always been tempted to get a second unit but I have resisted while I still have things like Reeves and Skinwalkers to get. The models are relatively simple consisting mainly of armour, cloak and weapon. The entire back of the model and often a large portion of the front is taken up by the cloak and this saves a lot of painting time. The armour is also simple enough. After getting these done its just details that need doing and then the models are done. I am not sure how long these took originally but I don't suspect it was that long. I am not sure what to work on after I get the unit attachment done, maybe the Celestial Fulcrum or the Ravagers...

January 19, 2012

Hills, Hills, Hills

So I am making some slow progress on the hill. It has turned out to be difficult because I don't have a hotwire cutter. I picked up some cork bark finally. The pet shop here in Hamburg sells it by the kilo. So now I should have enough to do a number of projects. Some more large rock outcrops for one and maybe some more rocky stuff. I would really like to do an aqueduct for a rail line for some reason and making the foundations in rock like this would be cool. That project however can wait as I really need to plan it out properly. For the knoll (hill) I want to have a rockface on one side so I don't need to slope the piece so steeply. Breaking this piece was a lot easier than the cork I had before as it is maybe half as thick. This makes it perfect for rockfaces but maybe not as good for boulders. I will see when I get back to doing them how this cork works. At least this way I am getting more surface which is what I really want the cork for.

I am using some styrene as the base. It's a little annoying to use as it is fairly flexible. I chopped off the corners just to stop it from being too regular. I hope the the long straight sides won't look too artifical. I considered making them a little more irregular but that would have made it near impossible to cut the foam properly with the tools I have. I can vary the slope though ans that should break up the look and have it somewhat more natural.Once that was done then I tried out to see how I could manage to fit the pieces on the hill. The rockface was easy to do. I only needed to break the cork a little to make it fit perfectly. The polsytrene I am using for the body of the hill came from Ikea packaging. At least Ikea is good for something! However this meant I was using a couple of separate pieces rather than one large chunk.

When cutting these pieces I kept breaking them. So I have a few places where I need to make some repairs. I often pulled the polystrene bricks off the base as for some reason the glue didn't dry fully. Eventually I managed to get the hill cut. It was a struggle as I was using the knife you see in the picture. Not really ideal but I didn't want to have to get a hot wire cutter just for this project, especiall as I have one in Ireland. I seem to have left all my hobby equipment there. So now I will be coating the entire hill in a plaster filler (polyfilla) to give it some strength and stability. Once that is dry, which should take a few days, I can sand it smooth. Then the fun begins with flocking and painting. I am hoping the propellant for my airbrush doesn't react with the polystyrene. Otherwise I had better find a big brush! Hopefully I can get this finished by next week!

January 18, 2012

Giving the Devouring to the Druids

One of the biggest suprises for me between MKI and MKII was the changes made to the druids. I always used them as a delivery method for the Devouring. Now I need to have an Overseer for this ability. I do have to admit that I am not able to get the Druids to work in this edition. I really need some practice with them. All the abilities seem great but figuring out when and where to use them is proving difficult. At least now I have managed to get the Overseer done so I can get him on the table. Next week I intend getting a second unit of druids done. If they are useful in a single unit then I guess they are good in a pair! A lot of tier lists require them so it will be nice to be able to build them. I am thinking especially of Kreugers list. For now I am working on the unit attachment for the Wolves of Orboros.

January 17, 2012

Zombie Swordsmen

Once upon a time I had an Undead army. It was my most succesful army winning my first tournament in Dublin. Suprisingly I had it based on Zombies. I had about 180 models painted up and converted. The army was based on the undead/empire switch that was prety popular around 2003 when I started them. When the new book came out in 2008 I dropped them pretty quickly. Zombies were far from useful and so if I wanted to compete I would have needed to add a lot more varied troops. I spent 2009 travelling 'round the world and Warhammer was for a long while forgotten. When I arrived home I picked out some of my poorly painted undead and revisited them. These were the first I finished, a regiment of Undead Swordsmen. I never really did anything more with the army though. Some more zombies got painted and some ghouls and that was pretty much it.

January 16, 2012

Beastman Battle Standard Bearer

I finally managed to get the Battle Standard Bearer finished. I wasn't sure what to do for the symbol so I kept it simple. A skull like the rest of the army seemed best. I also added a stylised chaos star. I didn't want to have the hassle of putting points on them so I just extended the lines to the edge of the banner. I like how this came out and I would have done it on the other banners if I had realised how good, at least in my opinion, it looked. I used a Bestigor body and banner arm. Hopefully I can manage to make the actual Bestigor standard bearer look different than this guy. I added a shield as I do intend to have one during the game. I made it look like the chaos armour in my mortals army. I kept the standard red armour colour on the rest of the armour though as I don't want the hassle of doing that armour on a regimental scale.

January 13, 2012

Friday Showcase - Woldwatcher

Here is another model from my Sticks and Stones army. These models are great and easy to paint. I keep the stone in a warm natural tone by highlighting with bleached bone rather than white. You can see this ones brother here. I am interested in Epic Baldurs theme list. I picked up a Celestial Fulcrum, which finally arrived today. Maelstrom Games took there time delivering it. Two months I think and I am still waiting for my Circle card deck to arrive... ridiculous! Anyway I will be looking at what I need to complete and compete with the theme list. Hopefully not too much more!

January 12, 2012

Gor Standard Bearer

Following on from yesterdays ungor standard bearer here is my gor version. The skull motif is a little more exotic than the last. I am guessing that they are based on a skull from the regiment they belong to. I hadn't done this deliberately but it works. I just need to continue this with the Bestigor when I come to it. I didn't get the horns balanced one hundred percent. I curved one a little more sharply than I had intended but it is fine enough! I should go back and fix it as in the photo it looks a good bit off. Well as I said my freehand skills are not that amazing. I am wondering now if I need some more definition between the motif and the background colour? Maybe some black lining would have worked or deeper shading somehow. I noticed to day that there are no variant banners for any of the beastman regiments which is poor! I am most likely going to have two gor regiments in the army and I really don't like the idea of having my two main regiments with the same banner. I will search through some alternatives. For my Battle Standard I will probably use a Khornate Banner from the Bloodletters. It at least is not festooned with skulls, suprisingly enough. It also offers a different banner so there is no doubling up.

With some luck I can have the Battle Standard Bearer done by Monday and up here. I currently don't have plans for the weekend so maybe I can squeeze in some extra hobby time!

January 11, 2012

Ungor Standard Bearer

Today I decided to take the plunge and work on the ungor standard bearer. As part of this months tale of three gamers I am working on my Battle Standard Bearer and as such I need as much practise as possible. I want simple designs on green cloth. I am thinking that skulls are the best. Pretty much in keeping with the imagery of the army. Everything is bedecked in animal skulls so why not the banner? I am not that good at freehand so the designs are still simple enough. Maybe as I progress with the army I can start to add some complications. The skulls on the pole are a little washed out in the photo. They are very white but they do have more depth than is apparent here. I am happy enough with the final result. It is a little simple but really I would only over extend my talents if I try too much at this stage. I am doing the Gor standard tonight and I think I will go for a slightly more complex skull shape. When I do get to the Battle Standard I should be able to do the Skull well enough to try for something else added. Maybe crossed axes or something? I am not sure if a chaos star would fit with the already quite pointy skull?

Anyway I am not the only one to have made progress on the Tale of Three Gamers. Gar managed to hit his deadline for December and here are the wonderful results. I didn't get the e-mail with the photos in time to put them with last weeks stuff so here it is now. Thats a quickly painted regiment. I wish I could manage to crank them out as fast!

January 10, 2012

Hills, what are they?

Before I start making my hill as the first terrain project of the New Year I wanted to understand what a hill is. At least in game terms. I know what a hill is from slogging my way up a good few recently. However in games they are something completely different. It can take me a good hour or so to get to the top of a decent hill, thats not really the same thing as in wargames. So first lets look at some rules for hills and see if they tell us much.

In Warmachine a hill is discussed and defined in two short paragraphs. Basically it informs us to decide if it is a hill or an obstacle, this depending on the slope form. It also then tells us that all a hill does is provide elevation for models on them. They may be rought terrain also based on the ground cover.Elevation gives a bonus to defence as long as you are an inch higher than the attacker. It also helps with LOS. So a very basic definition.

In Warhammer Hills are given another short description. They are mentioned at least as being strategically important objectives. Again they don't hinder movement but they provide a bonus of +1 combat resolution for defenders that are uphill of attackers. Other than this there is no major discussion on hills. There are some special hills such as a scree slope and an Anvil of Vaul. These are worthy of their own discussions so I won't cover them here.

Another favourite game of mine is Warmaster Ancients and hills are also present there. Only one paragraph this time. Hills here don't impose any movement penalties as long as the slopes are not steep or rugged. Interestingly and I guess due to the scale, mountains are mentioned in this ruleset too. Only skirmishers can climb them and other than this models entering them are destroyed.

40k doesn't discuss hills at all that I could see. So basically hills don't impede movement and offer some form of bonus to defenders/occupiers. So rules don't really effect the form much. Most hills we see on the table are stepped. This is in someways better for gaming but I have often had problems still. Getting a squad of individuals onto it is fine but getting a large regiment onto it is a pain. Also in games like Warmachine balancing a top heavy 'jack onto one of these steps is difficult. So why don't people use sloped hills? Well these aren't ideal either as the slopes are too steep. It proves easier to get a regiment onto them but individuals are often precariously balanced. Hit the table and they start rolling off. So what is the happy medium? Is there one?

Well having thought about it a little I think one of the main problems is the fact that we call them hills. Really when you think about a hill its is pretty huge. Much higher than is represented in a gaming piece. It also covers much more of an area. If you really wanted to represent a hill you would probably begin with a minimum foor print of 4' x 4'. So instead of hill we should consider a different name. I have tried to figure out what a low 'bump' in the ground could be called and many names are somewhat suitable; mound, escarpment, hillock or knoll. None of them are perfect either with hillock being the most likely one we should use. Knoll sounds nice too so thats the one I will go for. So I want to make a knoll! How am I going to do that? I don't want steps as it breaks up the natural visual aspect of a battlefield. So it is going to be sloped. There are some excellent tutorials online. The best I have seen is here from 3t studios. I have bought some plasticard as a basing material just to add strength to the polystrene I will use. It has a foot print of about 2' x 1' so perfect for what I want. I can build up a decent but not overly high slope. To help with that I think I will put a cliff face on one side. That allows me to slope up to that rather than having to go back down once I reach the center of the piece. It also give the hill a bit more of an effect in during the game as part of it will be basically impassable terrain.

So once I get finished with the Beastmen targets for this month I can get busy with the knoll. I am looking forward to it.

January 9, 2012

Lazy photographs

So last week I was too lazy to put up a group shot of my Beastmen. Setting up the camera and lights takes a while as does getting the models out of storage. so here they are finally. I am not sure if the Gory can be fielded in regiments of twelve but if so these are two complete regiments! You will also note I managed to do the standard on the Ungors. I wasn't too inspired so I went with a standard skull motif. I think it came out fine and I will stick with it for the rest of the beastmen standards. Now I need to start adding to the Gors, the aim is to have forty in this regiment when finished. Eight more this month and then ten more in each of the following two months.

January 6, 2012

Friday Showcase - Wildborne

Just to contrast a little with yesterdays not so nicely painted miniature here is one I quite like the paintjob on. Kaya was one of the first models that I really paid a lot of attention to while I was painting. This was aided by the awesome guide that the Brushthralls provided on their website. It is a little sad that this resource is no longer updated but it is good that it is still available. Kaya suffers a little from the pruple skin syndrome of my early Circle attempts but thankfully it isn't as stark as it is elsewhere in the army. A lot of the colours I used here where transferred directly to the army and I learned a lot from them. Using brown for instance is not so easy and when highlighting it lots of strange effects occur. Sometimes very similar browns will change their character quickly when highlighted. A good example is GW's Bestial Brown vs. Vajello's Beastly Brown. Both are almost indistinguishable in their base form but GW's paint goes orange when highlighted and really needs to be washed out during highlighting to retain a brow character whereas the Vajello paint tends towards the yellow part of the spectrum but shouldn't be washed out too much when highlighting. Maybe I can show an example on a model soon of the two colours side by side!

January 5, 2012

Wayfarer

I really hate Ikea. Not only is it a hassle to go there and browse through mountains of furniture but then when you get it home you have to put it all together. So today is going to be taken up, yet again, with assembling shelves. Sometimes I think I live in a library! Painting has suffered a little over the last few days and I have only managed a short stint. Instead of painting Beastmen I thought I would get some Hordes models done for a change.

I picked this model up second hand and stripped him back almost to bare metal. I am still struggling in finding an easy stripper that will take off the sprayed on undercoat. I don't want anything thats really stinky or hard to store. I guess hard to store isn't really a big thing but I would prefer a small container. I can#t remember how I managed to get the nice dark effect on my druids cloaks but I know it wasn't as simply as I did it here. I basically washed and rehighlighted the cloak and then gave it a black glaze to tie in the now too stark highlights. Painting dark cloaks is always a problem. I managed to get it decently done on the druids but as you can see here it hasn't come out great.

I am hoping to get my Overseer done soon. I guess that depends on how well the shelves go together! I also have a second druid unit I would like to get done so my Circle should be getting some loving over the coming days. Hopefully I can post the results next week.

January 4, 2012

A Tale of Three Gamers - Month Two

So after my efforts before Christmas I have managed to get my second months target hit! That's six hundred points done, a full quarter of the target. I am pretty proud of that as I am usually lazy when it comes to painting, especially regiments. I have to say getting the Gors finished was a bit of a chore and I don't relish bringing them up to the full quota of forty. This month I will be doing a Battle Standard Bearer, eight more Gor and five Ungors. That builds the regiments up to a more realistic size and it gets a character done. Some time I know I will have to really sit and plough through a big chuck of models but this month I really want to get some Warmachine and Hordes done too. I also have some terrain to do so it will be a busy hobby month. There is a point I guess in most armies where you decide to quit or keep on going. I guess that comes with the biggest regiment where you just have to accept that it is going to take a long long time and get on with it. I know thats going to come eventually. Breaking the regiments down into chunks has helped though. I guess I still have about fifty Gor to do and thirty Bestigor. Getting them done will be the challenge.

I am not the only one to have hit the target. Al managed to get the Warriors done, no characters though. So thats a full three hundred done for him. These are converted to be a little more lightly armoured than the standard models. They are Greek themed and look great. Next months target for Al are the two characters, a mounted BSB and a disc riding wizard. It's not too high a target and I am looking forward to seeing the disc.

January 3, 2012

Army Diversity in Warhammer

I get really bored with some Warhammer Armies. I was wondering why recently especially when I consider how happy I am faction wise in Hordes and Warmachine. I have been playing for a long time, since the end of 3rd edition, and I have seen armies evolve and grow. However some haven't at all. When looking at exactly which ones I notice that those that got army book releases in 4th edition and to a lesser extent in 5th edition.

The best armies, at least with regards to background and troops choice, got early releases in 4th edition. Armies such as the Elves and Dwarves really benefitted. Dwarves have six different troop choices spread across core and special. These are Rangers, Longbeards, Clansmen, Hammerers, Slayers and Ironbreakers. High Elves have five but also three types of cavalry. These armies have a great depth in which there really is always something to add. Maybe the king of diversity is the Orcs and Goblins though this has varied with old troops vanishing and new ones replacing them. These armies are now getting even bigger. Consider the forthcoming Undead. They already benefit from three different core units, all varied and with different uses in the game. Two other infantry choices are present in special and rare. They now will have three cavalry choices and two new monstrous infantry choices with the new releases. Don't forget they too have a plethora of massive based models. The have plenty of characters also, I am thinking five different ones. Thats nice, really nice considering that some armies have two or three.

The worst offenders in diversity terms are Tomb Kings, Ogres, Lizardmen and Beastmen. When I look at these armies at least pre 8th edition I see lazy game design. Each race features one basic troop type as a core and then a more heavily armoured version as special such as Temple Guard, Ironguts, Tombguard and finally Besrigors. Most lists also include a smaller relation that generally sits in core too for example Skinks, Gnoblars and Ungors. Thats basically the entire army encapsulated within three choices. The variation comes from adding in monsters and some cavalry. It is really a ticking all the boxes situation. Do we have a monstrous infantry option? Do we have a heavy cavalry option? The army is boring because there is nothing to explore beyond the standard choices. I can understand that Games Workshop can't have an unlimited number of models and at some point they have to call a halt. However that has caused me in the past to drop an army very quickly. I have never been tempted by Lizardmen or Tombkings simply because the lists are boring.

One sad thing I have noted as the army books are being released is that the already diverse armies are getting more options while the poorer armies are not really. Basically everyone is getting monsters or warmachines of some type. Nobody is getting new infantry. The new monsters are great but the game is supposed to be about the infantry. Why can't we get more of that? Really how hard can it be to come up with a variant for Beastmen. They exist in the background already. A decent plastic kit could really give that army a massive boost. The same for the Tombkings. I don't understand why smaller human sized constructs were not considered as a rare or special choice. That would really have been excellent. Saurus's only come in two variants. Those with heavy armour and those without. It really shouldn't be too hard to change them up a little. Add a frenzied regiment with great weapons in there, even just a frenzied regiment would be fine. Something that really breeds life into the neglected armies. All we are getting is bigger monsters in most cases and well for me thats nothing I am that interested in seeing anymore. The models are cool, they really improve the look of the game but after plying for so long I am just a littl bored of the same options rehashed a little and rereleased to us. We now have some codified special rules it would be great to see them spread out a little more amongst the armies. Everyone should have scouts somewhere, what army can really go to battle withou them. Ambushers would be great to see more of. So please give me something really new!
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