Archive | August 2013

Project Updates and Solvent Abuse

It’s been a while since the last update and I have a few updates.

First I got the “biker” champion finished.

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As can be seen he has a shield and a power-spear.  A lot of the visual will come from painting effects.

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And to give him a shooting weapon I slung his combi-bolter off the saddle.

I also have indulged my creative side with sketches.

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Crudely depicted above is my vision of a command APC.  Rather than a large vehicle, I wanted a bit more of a compact vehicle.

But using a pencil is a bit different than building.  So I did that too.

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And this is where the solvents come in…”welding” with a soldering iron and plasticard results in some nasty fumes.

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To give a sense of scale, it will be a tight fit.  The driver will have a hatch with episcopes to see (much like modern armour).  There will be a hull mounted gun right beside the driver just like the old WWII tanks.  The main turret will be a Remote Weapon System over both the lower driver/engine compartment area and the command suite.

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A bit over-exposed but these show the new APC lifted up to the height the tracks will raise it.  It is beside a Chimera for size comparison.  Overall a bit narrower but much shorter.  Since it is intended to only hold 5 guys, it will be very roomy.

Since I have plans and key measurements I should easily be able to hammer out a few of these.  I see myself building at least 2, maybe 3.

A short post, but hopefully inspirational.

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HOTT night in a small town

Last night was a quiet night and the wife wanted to play a miniature game, something we haven’t done in a while.  HOTT is the fastest to set-up with the fewest rules to try to remember so it was a natural choice.

She played her fantasy army while I decided to bring the Early Achaemenid Persians for a spin.  Now, with the conversion to HOTT, the Hordes units count as less points and there are no psiloi.  I know many folks use their psiloi as Shooters in HOTT, but I already had 4 units and I figured that was enough.  So I opted to bring a psiloi as a lurker and steal the hydra to support.  The fantasy army fielded the gorgon model so had a bit of ranged support.

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About mid game the Persians moved to try holding the river.  Not pictured: the Sparabara (bow) that got turned to stone by the Gorgon (also not pictured because stone cameras don’t work so well).

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After a few clashes in the woods, a unit of Sparabara fell and the woodland spirits (warbands) were in disarray.  The horde and warband stood poised to halt the advance with a rider  and sparabara nearby to support.

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A sadly poor quality picture.  The White Lion general (beast) hammers into the warband with woodland spirits charging the horde.  The White Lion reared up to smite the warband…

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To be handily cut-down.  The woodland creatures lashed out at the hordes…

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Who backed up out of harms way.  In the background the lone psiloi (lurker) stood his ground for several turns against the woodland spirit.  Down a flyer and the general, it was only a matter of time before the fantasy army recognized the inevitable…

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…and rallies for several turns cutting down all the Sparabara and forcing the general to support the infantry flank.  By incredibly high dice rolls the handicap of no general seemed not the phase the fantasy army, reminiscent of a certain other story with a dead white lion.

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The general crashed into the woodland spirits and fought several intense rounds of melee…to no effect.  A wandering group of peasants (my horde returned after finally being cut-down) actually made it to the fray.

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Summarizing the battle to this point, the unicorn (paladin) fought off a hydra (behemoth) with a flanking spearman.  Emboldened by this success, the unicorn charged the hydra, cut-off another head, and realized why young Perseus carried a torch.  In short, the unicorn died after fighting the hydra to a stand-still for 4 turns.

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The death of the unicorn was no sure victory.  After the Sparabara were felled, it was only a 8-8 (tied) game.  The hydra swarmed over the riders who had been assaulted by psiloi in the woods (to no effect except camping in the trees for a couple turns).  While the general rallied the cavalry and the horde for a desperate last stand…

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Armed with torch and oil the woodland spirits were routed as the hydra realized horses taste almost as good as the riders.  In the top of the picture is barely visible the warband fighting the woodland spirits.  After nearly 12 combats, these two units learned to dance, over-come their differences and went on a book tour.  It is the only logical conclusion: neither was able to decisively defeat the other and even once faced death when a recoil would have resulted in contact with another combat.

All in all I think the Persians may have earned a bump up in priority.  The disjointed dog’s breakfast of an army provided a different approach.

While the lack of duplicate warbands and spear units may hamper the bonuses, it forces a wider formation.  The overall effect is an army expecting the initial defeats that will disorganize the enemy and allow a concerted effort to win.  Had the general-less army continued the streak of unnaturally high command pips I doubt I could have forced the win I did.

The wife did say she would like to see some more armies for some variety so I mentioned the celts (Brittons, Gauls, or Galatians) I was looking to buy, the Greeks, and an undead army I had in mind.  After seeing hordes in action I think it may be a viable army.  Not simply hordes, it will include (anti)clerics, lurkers, and a flyer.  I may include some warbands too, not 100% decided yet.

Overall, a good fun game enjoyed by all.  I hope something inspired somebody.

How to Make Things Happen

In looking back at my previous posts I have shown off work, but never gone stage by stage before. So today my fine readers, you are in luck as I will walk you through step-by-step in my nefarious projects. Sadly the stage by stage for another concurrent project did not get the same treatment so it will just be a couple of before and after painting pics.

But enough pre-amble. For those of you who find 40k abhorrent, you have been forewarned. Today we will learn how to turn these two things into Slaanesh Chaos Space Marine bikes and a unit of Chosen (elite nut-jobs for those unaware).

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The nice thing about the Chaos armies in Gamesworkshop’s settings is that there is very little adherence to structured rules. As long as both you and your opponents know what it is, you are good to go.

To start off with, collect the bits you will use, to make one Chosen model and one bike rider.  The cavalry rider will be cut in half: his torso will go to the foot soldier, his legs to the biker.  His ex-wife got all the other parts in the messy divorce.  Ok, enough lame jokes, here are a few pics:

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A few pieces are missing but you get the general idea.  Note the two bolters for the biker…those will become his combi-bolter.

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Here is the biker with the legs, filed bolters and various other hack-jobs complete.  I cut the hand from his left arm and filed it flat to take the shield.  A key stage I have seen others overlook on Chaos kits is the choice of shoulder pads.  With all the spikes and blades and other nasty bits, you need to dry fit to make sure they don’t interfere.

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Here is the Chosen.  Notice the pin hole in the torso, it has a mate on the legs.  I also opted for a bare pistol arm so I kept a funky demon handle for the bolt pistol.  Sadly it makes it look like he is drunk or too weak to aim it right.  Meh, he is a close combat guy anyways.

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Imagine the missing steps.  I have used green stuff to cover the join and sculpted a fur skirt/kilt.  All the rage this season with sociopaths.  Note, if you do see a bare-chested guy wearing a fur kilt I suggest you run away because he most likely is crazy.  If the cut left a belt on the model it is possible to simply file the legs flat and glue it on.  I have chosen to embellish the chosen quite a bit.

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The completed Chosen with his cronies.  The third from the left model in the back row is a similar conversion but notice no green-stuff.  His belt was carefully left intact.  The model on the left has half his belt visible with half a chainmail hauberk…for the whole retro barbarian feel.

The biker is not too difficult.  While the power-armour torso is wider than the hips, the hips fit nicely overtop.  A small amount of green-stuff allows the concave curve of the power-armour torso to rest on the flat join of the legs.  The rest is a simple by the book kit…attach the arms and combi-bolter to the torso, and assemble the demon separately.  I have not glued any of the riders to their “bikes” for a few reasons.  First it will make painting easier.  Second, I may keep them removable (using pins or magnets) for ease of transport.  And finally, if I keep the riders off, I can use the steeds as demons in a demon army.

But enough bluster…

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The champion for the bike squad is the last to be done.  He will be quite the center-piece with a lance and his combi-bolter slung on a strap.  I am not sure exactly what else I want to do, but I want to make sure he stands out both in pose and paint-job.  I personally think a unit commander should be unique and stand-out even unpainted.

So there you have it, a how-to guide for some conversions.

Below are a few pics with-out the how to guide, but again it shows what a little creativity, a lot of bits, and some sculpting can accomplish.  Here is a small 5 (thing?) unit of possessed chaos space marines.

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The second is a slightly modified old conversion.  This gal was done up 12 years ago.  The fourth was done 12 years ago too, but his spear tip broke in a move and was replaced by a pitchfork…not sure if it makes him more or less dangerous.  The third one will be mounted on a flying stand to make him seem a bit more menacing.  The last is a work in progress.  I used a basic armature with the shape I wanted.  I bulked it out and am slowly adding scales and chitin along the length.

Hopefully something here inspired somebody.  I personally love doing conversion work for the game as any semblance of reality can go out the window and you can just be silly.

Up next, a HOTT (quasi) battle report.  The Persians faced off against the hordes of Narnia…

The first step is admitting you have a problem

It’s been a while since the last post, but sadly not a whole lot to report on the miniature front.

The Persians have been assembled (at least one army) and await some paint.  Sadly, they will join the Romans in the land of lower priorities.  The new town apparently has a wargame club.  They are dedicated solely to Warhammer 40000, but at least it gives me some regular games and the odd short term project.

This is my second game with the new club.  And coincidentally my second game in about 7 years or so.  My models are dusty and sadly many have not faired well through the various moves in that time.  Anyhow, onto the 4 player game.

I paired up with a Nurgle dedicated Chaos player.  I played my Iron Warriors.  We faced a combined force of Dark Angel Space Marines and Tau soldiers.  This was played with 40K 6th edition rules with each force consisting of 2000 pts (4000 to a side).

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The field of battle.

The combined forces of Dark Angels and Tau that fought against the Chaos alliance.

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Early moves.

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Mid game.

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The final turn.

The game was a loss for the forces of Chaos, and my Iron Warriors did not fair very well under new version changes.  I guess it will force me to learn to play differently since I will not spend a fortune to rebuild this force.

But it has prompted some new projects.

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No longer organized my workspace has been over-run by quite a few projects.  On the table right now are repairs, single models to get finished for a rag-tag Imperial Guard planetary defence force, and a few conversion/sculpting projects.  Included in there are guards I got years ago for free, a few Necromunda models, and a couple of APCs I bought to go with the guards.  There is also the in depth conversion projects of Chaos bikes (using demon horses instead of motorbikes), possessed soldiers, and an elite Chosen squad.  All of the Chaos models will be used to flesh out my Emperor’s Children army as they went from a viable sized force to a small detachment.

I also threw together a few pieces of terrain in a hurry for my first game (not pictured).

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One of two sets of ruins.  Foam-core on MDF base with sand and flock to finish the effect.

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A more generic terrain piece.  Growing up on he prairies, something that has always struck me as a good battle terrain would be tall grass.  At first brush it doesn’t seem to hinder movement.  But…hidden holes, large rocks, and even the weight of the grass when it gets wet can slow you down.

Now, I’m not the first person to do terrain for tall grass, but as nice as floor mats and other pieces look, the effect is lost when models stand on top of the grass.  So I went with a compromise.  I based the tall grass flock and then use an area template.  Not perfect, but it captures the feel and look of a patch of tall grass.  I may eventually do enough to cover a board.  The next bases I do I will definitely keep the grass a bit shorter.  For 40K and the “alien world” concept 7′ grass is ok.  3-4′ grass would be the ideal though.

Hopefully something here inspired somebody.  Next up will likely be some painted models (likely 40K) and maybe even some of the Ultra FUBAR Neo-Spartacus models I have been working on.

New Base of Operations

Well the move went alright, in so much that only 4 items were broken. Still waiting to hear the movers side of it, but I’m sure that will be an angry rant for another day.  I am certain I will at least get some money back for replacing the damaged items.

But, with the new place I do actually have something that is a bit of a novelty since having kids: a dedicated workspace for hobbies.

Work Area

Not the best by some standards but I have all my books and computer for easy access, my miniatures drawers in easy access (only a few are pictured here), and of course beer.  No bar fridge or coffee maker here…I’m pretty sure they would be the same as requesting a divorce.

But what is that mound of plastic I’m sure you are curious.  Definitely not the usual 6mm fare I post.

Mound of Sprues

Right before I packed for the move I was browsing through the web and saw Wargames Factory had sprues of their Persians on sale for very cheap.  I discussed it with the wife since it was an unplanned expense and she came back asking me for her own unplanned purchase.  Score.

So I quickly checked the Early Achaemenid Persian list and realized I would need maybe 5 sprues for the Persian contingent of an army.

But I would pay more for shipping than the models.  That had me thinking.  I eventually wanted to do a Greek DBA army.  They could face Galatians as a viable force, and the purchases for an Ancient Britons army could let me play Galatians.  Sure, the Greeks could also face the Romans but that is a bit historically inaccurate.  So an army I wanted just because they look cool (actually two Greek armies so they could face each other) now has their stereotypical opponent.

So they could be viable.  So I crunched the numbers and realized that getting 24 sprues, a box of Persian cavalry and a box of Numidians to convert would give me 2 complete Early Achaemenid Persian armies – coincidentally the number of Greek armies I wanted to do.

I have made a bit of a dent in those models:

Sparabara

Of the eventual 8, here are three units of sparabara (8 Bow in DBA).  I gave them all a bit of character with varying positions of the shield and ranking to give some diversity.

Cavalry

The first unit of cavalry I completed.  A few minor conversions including Numidian parts, but still keeping the overall Persian appearance.

Allied Forces

Left to Right: Bow, Horde, Spear.  Front Row: Psiloi.

I tried to mix these up so they all have a varied appearance.  I am trying to capture the army of the empire look without going into the realm of silliness that is 300.  Once a bit of paint is applied they will definitely appear different with varied dress and skin colour.

For those wondering, I am using the DBA 2.2 list I/60 (a):

1×3 Cav (General), 1×3 Cav, 1×2 Light Horse, 4×8 Bow, 1×3 Bow, 1×3 Auxiliaries, 1×2  Psiloi or 4 Spear, 1×2 Psiloi, and 1×7 Horde.

This is the army that fought Thermopylae.  To field the later war army – I/60 (c) – I am short 2×3 Bow and 2×3 Auxiliaries to be able to field all the options of that army.  I cannot find a cheap chariot so I have opted out of that option for the General.

This doesn’t mean everything is roses on the miniature front.  I have not fully unpacked my miniatures and I am certain there is damage.  After peaking at the HOTT fantasy army, I see that I need to re-attached a few models to their bases.  The Romans came out with a few bent spears which I quickly fixed.  I am certain other damage has occurred.  The coming months will reveal how much repair work is needed.

So while nowhere near a fair fight, I may end up painting the Persians and Early Imperial Romans in close succession.  Maybe that might mean the Ancient Britons and Greeks actually get ordered sooner.

I hope something here captured some imagination.