Wednesday 30 May 2012

Tech / Industrial Bases

Forge World have just released a set of tech style bases that would be perfect for my genestealer cult - seeing how many of the Space Hulk genestealers are already on industrial / tech bases already it makes sense that I give the army some coherence by basing the other models in a similar fashion. However, lovely as the Forge Word etched brass basing kit is, it's rather pricey. Luckily, there's a handy tutorial on From The Warp showing how to do something very similar from card. As with all their tutorials it really is worth checking out.

Picture taken from the From The Warp tutorial 

Saturday 26 May 2012

Genestealer First Generation Hybrid Conversion

Thanks to the smiling gods of weather, time and the bits box, I managed to put this together this afternoon:

I have enough of the original Space Hulk genestealers to do this with all the first generation hybrids. The only issue is the angle of the pose, which can be sorted out quite straightforwardly. I've added four arms and a tail as you can see - I'm going to keep the Ghoul legs and feet as they are sufficiently clawed as it is.

Friday 25 May 2012

Genestealer Cult - First Generation Hybrids

Following a quick trip to GW today I now have most of the parts to put together what I think will turn out to be pretty good first generation hybrids. I'm going to use Crypt Ghouls in the main, mixed in with extra arms. Here's an early blu tacked experiment:

On a trawl for internet inspiration I came across this great old diagram showing the different generational stages:

I'm not going to follow this exactly but it does give a good indication of the levels of mutation at each stage. Thanks to the gods of eBay I have another genestealer sprue on the way with plenty of heads on, some of which may well make it onto first generation models.

Thursday 24 May 2012

Genestealers In The Garden

As the weather this afternoon was absolutely stunning I managed to batch-prime all 22 of my genestealers, so I'm a very happy brood lord indeed.

I also tested out one of my second/third generation hybrid kitbash conversions... more of these in the coming days...

Monday 21 May 2012

Genestealer Cultists Test Models

Not much free time over the last few days, but I have been able to put together some genestealer cultists from the assortment that is my bits box together with the fruits of sprue mountain. Going for a steampunk look I've mixed Bret heads and bits with free company bodies and pistols from the Empire, then stuck in some extra cogs and such liberated (i.e. smashed) from an old watch. I'll now resist the urge to start painting them straight away and figure out a good colour scheme.

Friday 18 May 2012

Genestealer Cult Test Models

Here are a couple of test models for a smallish genestealer cult army I'm putting together. First is an old genestealer patriarch - it's been waiting over 20 years for a paint job (hopefully the entire cult project won't take quite so long!). Today I simply primed, base coated and added a few washes. I'm going for a very fleshy appearance here, which I believe is similar to that used for the Tyranid Hive Fleet Ouroboros.

Here's the second mini: a first edition Space Hulk genestealer. This is actually better than the patriarch, as I'd figured out a good painting recipe by the time I got to 'him'.

As with all my 40k / science fiction projects, the force will be pretty small with skirmish-level games being the aim. At present I have the patriarch, the genestealers from the reissued Space Hulk (plus some originals) and three very old space Zoats. All I really need to augment this lot is a unit of cannon-fodder human cultists, so I'm keeping a lookout for potential models.

Thursday 17 May 2012

Punk, Steam And Cyber - New Artwork

I have an art project in mind for my brother that will entail working in the most part with black and white acrylics tempered with splashes of matt medium. So today I created the following two pieces as studies in working with these materials - I just allowed both to develop as I applied the paint, and I suppose I must have been in a characteristically punky mood judging by the results. With no aim in mind other than to work together differing mixtures of the paint and medium I ended up with these (both on A5 acrylic paper, amateur psychoanalysts start your engines...):

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Minotaurs - Stage Two WIP

A couple of torso close-ups on two of my work-in-progress minotaurs from Scibor. As with all my work now I'm laying down bold lines of highlighting across and over multiple layers of shading. As I've said many times now, I'm not interested in developing a realist-cartoon style that is so popular at the moment; rather, I'm more inspired by the 'dirty' painters of the 80s and early 90s.

I am, however, fascinated by light in a way that work from that period rather neglected. This is why I've started using bold white highlights across all areas of my miniature painting. This was something that I started doing on canvas and paper and decided to import wholesale into my work with models.

The Scibor models have been ideal for developing and experimenting with this method as they are craggy, rough and full of brutal detail. Hopefully I'll get the finishing touches on these over the next couple of days.

Saturday 12 May 2012

Titan Forge Flesh Reapers, Zomblins and Bases - Out Of The Box

My first package from Polish company Titan Forge arrived this morning, so here's a quick out-of-the-box review...

Everything arrived in well presented blister packs, apart for the larger miniatures, which came in their own box. All the pieces are good quality resin and I couldn't see any miscasts or problems on first viewing.

Here are the zomblins - zombie goblins. I really like these. They're very inexpensive and even come with their own scenic bases. The sculpts capture the humour of the Night Goblins very well and blend it with the downright silliness of the shambling horde: the fellow dragging his own arm is great, but my early favourite is the one with the exposed brain (far right in the picture).

Here are some of the 40mm scenic bases, showing a rather decrepit graveyard. Plenty of detail on each of these so they could be used as simple unit-fillers.   

These are the Flesh Reapers - kind of flesh golem ghoulish chaps. They have a pleasing scale, meaning they could be straightforward stand-ins for the GW Crypt Ghouls, while retaining some sense of humanoid-proportion - they look like they could've been patched together from various cadavers.  

And finally, the 40mm scenic base that was supplied with the 20mm set (see the Zomblins above). This will make an excellent objective marker or unit filler.

Overall then, excellent minis and bases - very much looking forward to seeing what Titan Forge bring out in the coming months. 

Friday 11 May 2012

Instant Mold - First Experiments

After watching a few tutorials on YouTube I decided to get hold of some of 'Instant Mold' material and have a go at making a few homemade bits. I ordered some 'rapid mold' from Anvil Industry yesterday and it arrived this morning (very quick service and by far the cheapest deal I could find online). I had a quick play with them this lunchtime and here are the results.

First I tried to made a duplicate turbine backpack that I'd got from Anvil Industry's Steam Lords range. As you can see from the photo I really managed to attain that desired 'melty' look! Actually, I was reasonably pleased with this, as the molding sticks (seen in the background) aren't falling-off-a-chair easy to use. I think they will require plenty of practice.

Actually the duplicate turbine looks rather better in real life - certainly it would be useable for nurgle traitor guard or similar. More of a success was my attempt with fur. Here I simply squished the heated mold stick against the side of a GW boar a few times in order to get the following effect:   

It will be very easy to make endless pelts and the like with this method. It actually got me thinking too - I wondering if the best way to duplicate bulkier objects would be to do half in one mold and half in another... this will be my experiment this weekend!

Thursday 10 May 2012

Were-Beasts And Other Cases Of Myxoma Corpus

Alright I admit it: I just made up 'myxoma corpus'. But no matter, it sounds pretty cool (even if myxoma is a form of tumour - yuck). This post is really just an excuse to show off another miniature that's jumped straight to the top of the WANT pile.

I love were-type-beasts and am interested in getting a few different half-human-half-something creatures to add to my bray herd. I'd say this Scarsell Griffon from Privateer Press fits the bill rather well. It's available in August according to Maelstrom Games.

Wednesday 9 May 2012

WIP, WIP, Hooray! Let's Hear It For The Paintbrush Punks

We are all - at heart - deeply insecure people. If you don't agree with that then I fear you might be a certifiable psychopath and you should probably pop along to your local psychiatrist. If the tabletop hobby blogosphere is to be celebrated for anything then it should be for works-in-progress photographs, because it is these humble offerings that allow us all to bask in shared doubt. I value these types of picture more that anything else: certainly more than the flashy, semi-professional looking snaps of squeaky clean, cartoony miniatures, in all their finished/finalised glory. 

Scibor Minotaurs WIP
Sometimes I do like to look at pictures of models like that, but without the in-progress views granted by genuine hobby blogs, it's difficult to fully appreciate them. I want to see from others what I see when I down paintbrushes at 11.30pm under the pool of light from my daylight bulb and say to myself - 'what the fuck does that look like?!' - before going to bed with the three most reassuring words repeating in my head: work - in - progress.

I also like when fellow hobbyists share photos of their 'finished' work, not in a sense of triumphalist completion, but in a sense of artistic abandonment. These people aren't following a formula, either technical (smooth, cartoony) or regimental (just getting the rank'n'file done) - these are the paintbrush punks - where expression matters more than perfection and where the terrier of doubt nips at the heals the whole way along. 

Sunday 6 May 2012

Forge World's Monstrous Arcanum - A Lovingly Negative Review

Let's start with a question: what do you do when two things from different times in your life - both of which you think are great - collide in a way that results in one of them looking like total shit. The answer? Tell the internet! And so begins our delve into Forge World's Monstrous Arcanum...

This is a book that I really wanted to love. I've had it for a few weeks now (as soon as it was announced on pre-order, out popped my credit card) but I haven't really known what to say about it: until now. My mind was made up during a conversation with my esteemed friend Dr Bargle. It was he who first said "compare the stuff FW put out with the old Realm of Chaos books..." and from that point the fate of this Monstrous Arcanum was to be forever sealed (in my own, humble opinion, of course). 

The positives
  • Gorgeous art and design
As with Tamurkhan the artwork is gorgeous and really captures the essence of the book. Similarly, MA also has the feel of an artefact from the fantasy world, which has reasonable fetish value.
  • Interesting rules
The narrative section at the front is superfluous so I'll skip that and get on with the rules. Quite a few monstrous beasts here: the elementals look fun, some others are reasonably inventive (e.g. Colossal Squig), while there will be plenty of scope for kit-bashing and scratch-building (e.g. Necroflex Colossus). A few new deployment ideas and a short campaign of sorts quickly round things off.  Interesting, but not much more...
  • A somewhat caged urge to push boundaries?
Picture this: someone shouts "it's your game, do what you like!" always echoed by "as long as you use Storm of Magic and all the other official rules provided by GW!" So: be free, but don't ever forget that the corporation will crush you... which leads me to...

The negatives
  • Gorgeous art and design
Hang on! Wasn't this a positive? Yes, but you can have too much of a good thing, and the artwork in MA is extensive, leaving little room for anything else, meaning that...
  • Lack of scope and ambition
It's difficult not to look at MA and see a lack of ambition. There are hints through the sketchy fluff and rules - hints - at something much broader that never came to light. There is, or could be, a whole world buried here but we never get to see it. Maybe the whole project was shackled for some reason? Perhaps it was a rush job so that the next campaign book is ready in time for Games Day? Whatever... What we have here is perhaps 30 or so pages of useful expansion and little else.
  • Mistakes!
K'daai rules replicate unit rules from the Fireborn to the Destroyer - the curse of cut-and-paste... Dread Maw is a monster but rules refer to units... These kind of errors in a book no longer than 20k words in length are embarrassing, unprofessional and lazy.
  • Compare and fail
The Realm of Chaos books, published in 1988 and 1990, are the benchmark for works produced by GW - yes, they're jumbled and difficult to navigate, but that's because the ambition, scope, aim and imagination of these books outstrips anything else GW has ever produced. Looking back at Tamurkhan now, having seen how MA has taken the formula forward, I can only feel sad. Tamurkhan remains a good book, it's just not the great book I thought it was, given hindsight and some perspective brought by MA.

The verdict

I wanted to enjoy MA and in some ways, I do. This positivity runs dry, however, when I look to the dusty and dogeared books on my shelf from 'back in the day'. Perhaps it's age? The Realm of Chaos books came out when I was 13 and 15, so how can I expect to have a similar reaction now I'm a near-middle-aged man? No, it's not just age. I read Slaves to Darkness now and it's still brilliant - mad, chaotic and jumbled, but brilliant nonetheless. I feel the same when I look at the 3e Warhammer army lists: aside from all the 1/2 points and other odd calculations, it was just better then.

So the verdict is... I'm an old fart. No, I think we knew that. The verdict is: MA is a sticky treat that is full of empty calories (and likely to leave you with a headache) that dangles temptingly in the jaws of the GW venus flytrap. Avoid...      


Wednesday 2 May 2012

Here Come The Beastie Boys (And Girls)

It looks as if this will be the month of the Brayherd. I've been farting around doing bits and pieces for rather too long so it's about time I put together some kind of concerted effort to actually finish something. To this end, here's my workload for the next four weeks:

The Brayherd: Part The First
This is partly a painting challenge - now I've got a method for painting fleshy and furry bits I'm really happy with I'm keen to plough on and refine several approaches - but it's also an opportunity to get the backbone of a force together to try out my developing home cooked ruleset (outlined in theory here). In sum this is my Pipe Dream for the month of May

This isn't the complete Brayherd, obviously. I have some plans for a chariot, some cunningly converted harpies (deamonettes with tyranid wings) and spider mutated centigors (hmmm, foul beasts...). I'm also on the lookout for ungor type proxies (skirmishers essentially) that are female, in order to complete this frenzied rabble.

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Transformers Vs Transmorphers?

Compare / contrast and wonder at the marvellous B-movie budget cash-ins that go straight to DVD in an attempt to grab the attention of unsuspecting, thrifty, hungover and/or possibly educationally subnormal consumers. Plenty more where this comes from - follow the link. Then you might want to take a moment to sit in quiet contemplation to consider the career of C. Thomas Howell, a man who thought it was worthwhile appearing in 'War of the Worlds 2: The Next Wave', which is possibly the greatest sci fi case of not getting the point...
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