Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Scenery Week (?!) Pt. 3: Forge World Barricades, Or, Freenery... Free Scenery

Forge World are very generous in the excess resin that they send out with their kits. Having gathered a few of their lovely models over the last couple of years I had a bag of the off-cuts sitting around because I wasn't keen on just chucking the stuff away. So I decided to create some bespoke 'Forge World Barricades' as part of my scenery project... which is certainly now more than a scenery week!

Here they are in their original state, just stuck on some spare bases:

And here they are now, in the midst of painting and weathering:

Not a bad little freebie really and they'll fit right in with the whole abandoned toxic factory complex that this is all beginning to come together as. Frenery!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Scenery Week Pt. 2, Going Old School With Plastic Cups And Boxes

I must've watched a lot of Blue Peter when I was a child, something that clearly instilled a spirit of creativity within me that has bubbled to the surface this week. Although none of these pieces involve the classic 'washing up bottle' they do draw on the same home-made ethos. Or perhaps home-bought, as all of these things come from IKEA, with the addition of things found-around-the-house, plenty of glue, and finally some metallic paint and washes. Here are a few 'before' and 'after' photos, though I should note that the 'afters' are still works in progress, as there's plenty more weathering to attend to.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Scenery Week Pt. 1, GW Moonscape Craters WIP

Sometimes I just feel like I've lost my painting mojo, sit in front of a model and have no idea where to start or even which end of a brush is which. Long breaks don't help. When this happens I try to look for alternative hobby jobs to get my hand in and confidence back. This past week I've been working on a scenery project for 40k with just this aim. And here's some of the first examples. 

I've had this moonscape for a while. It's now OOP, which is a shame because it was great value. I like the new Quake Cannon craters too - they have tons of detail - but they don't cover even half the area of these older scenics. Here I've simply primed in Army Painter Necrotic Green and then given them a liberal coating of 50/50 Antelope Green and Paynes Grey inks from DR. Next up will be a light dry brush with a mid-grey then a couple of lighter colours, some washes into the recesses and static grass around the edges. Nothing revolutionary yet very psychologically soothing. It does remind me that I need to finish Castle Davenheim sometime though... Oops. 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Zoat Mercenary Army For 7th Ed 40k

This post has been long in the making. Here, in their mid-stage development, are the first wave of warriors for my Zoat mercenary army for 7th edition 40k. I've been tinkering away in the background whenever I could find the time over the last month or so, and it is with great pleasure that I now showcase my grand project-in-progress.

As I've mentioned before I'm using the current Tyranid Codex as the basis for their rule set. So in the picture below we have the Zoat Tyrant (Centre - Hive Tyrant), Zoat Guard (Left front - Tyrant Guard), Zoat Warriors (Right front - Tyranid Warriors), Zoat Destroyer (Tyrannofex - Left rear), and Bio-Devourer (Right rear - Haruspex). 

The narrative - which still needs a little work - will follow on from Rogue Trader and the fluff that the Zoats had back then. These are mercenaries that at some time in the past escaped from the clutches of the proto-Tyranids, who were developing increasingly nasty new bio-constructs of their own, meaning the Zoats had come to the end of their usefulness to the Hive. They stole and now reproduce the genetic material of the Tyranids, enhancing their own bodies and weaponry, while breeding a menagerie of foul battle creatures.

Most of the conversion work here has been quite simple - a little greenstuff and some additional bits, plus a few wires to bring a SF look to the fantasy models. Also useful in this regard were the scenic bases. I've decided to take the plunge wholesale and get scenic bases for all projects from now on: they've not too expensive, are very effective if selected carefully, and also keep me from purchasing new model lines and starting new projects (possibly)!   

The hard yet pleasurable painting work begins now. I'll leave you with some close ups of all the models... as my mind turns to further potential recruits...

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

From The Land Of Silly Hats To The Land Of Song, Via The Land Of Samba

Dear Sometime Readers and Accidental Tourists... things have been rather quite around here of late, mostly due to two factors that have been holding up progress on the Zoat domination of the universe.

Firstly, I'm in the final stages of a big project as part of my DPhil - they do expect you to work hard if you're an Oxford scholar!

Secondly, there's the small matter of this taking up all my evenings...

A summer in Cardiff begins next week when I will be snuggled up close to my miniatures (oh, and family, of course). The twisted plots of the merciless Zoats will not be so easily foiled! 

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Ork Airship Wins Insanity Project Of The Year

Check this behemoth out, which was recently shared on GW Cardiff's Facebook page and originally comes from GW Bilbao. I do fear sometimes that I might be heading towards such craziness myself. It's brilliant though, isn't it? 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Tasty Fantasy Rumour, Or, Wild Optimism... Brets And Beastmen In A New WFB Starter Set?

I don't often touch rumours because they're usually too flaky and ephemeral, but I am rather taken by news reported over at Faeit 212 that the army books for Brets, Beastmen and Skaven are being sent back to GW HQ. 

This might - might - be our first indication of something interesting happening with WFB, which, if I'm honest, has been a bit of a wasteland over the last couple of years. A few good kits have emerged, that is true, however, the game hasn't progressed at all from the horde-hammer of 8th edition. 

I'm inclined (as some good news would be most welcome) to take this as a sign that Brets and Beasties will be in the 9th edition starter set. Look... the sun is out, so a little wild optimism is surly forgivable?!
Time to dust off some of these bad boys?

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Color Scheme Designer, A Great Online Colour Wheel

Just a quick post today to direct anyone who's not seen it to the excellent online colour wheel available at http://colorschemedesigner.com. Really worth a look if you're starting a new project and need some inspiration, or are looking to spice up an ongoing army with spot on additional detail. 

Friday, 30 May 2014

Zoat Devastator, Getting The Bits Together

The gods of eBay have smiled upon me and I have all the bits required to start putting my Zoat Devastator together. As perviously mentioned, this huge thing will be a proxy for the Tyranid Tyrannofex. As you can see it really fills up the large oval base... and then some!

I need to do some work with the weapon to ensure it fits the hand - it will be holding the cannon rather than it being a biomorph. It seems as if the Ghorgon torso will fit quite neatly into the Carnosaur body, with only a little sawing and green stuff required. Other than that it should be tinkering around the edges. Exciting stuff! 

Monday, 26 May 2014

Wait, What?! 7th Edition 40k?! Or, In The Grim Grimness Of The Grim Dark Grim

As a casual gamer it is with some amusement that I have watched the crazy-storm that has preceded and followed the arrival of 7th edition 40k. I can count the number of 6th edition games I played on my fingers so I genuinely don't qualify when it comes to having an opinion (*wink*). Having said that, this new rule set looks very much geared towards the kind of game I instinctively prefer - now you can officially field what ever you like, so this is fluff bunny heaven. I have more gaming planned so it suits me rather well.

I'm an odd hybrid because I like the Oldhammer ethos AND I prefer to play with the current rules. This is likely linked to my enjoyment of so many of the current models. No mystery here. A boundless make-up-endless-house-rules kind of game doesn't appeal. I need structure because I play rarely and need to plan whole armies in advance: plus, a clean, current rule set helps make the rare game run smoothly. Game designers study and play test for hundreds of hours so I don't need to!

I've just got my hands on the books (there are three, in case you didn't know). So a few evenings of study are ahead of me. A planned Zoats/Cult vs. Imperials campaign demands some engagement. My opinion is of little consequence although I may have some observations to add to the debate - particularly because I'm non-tournament player. An alternative view might be worth something...!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Zoat Proxies For The Tyranid Codex, Or, It Takes Diff'rent Zoats To Make The World

The Zoats-as-Tyranids-Proxy-List is coming together quite nicely, aided by some of the semi-factual stuff that's emerging about the new addition of 40k and a few bargains gained fortuitously on eBay. Here's how I see things developing (names to-be-confirmed)

HQ - Zoat Tyrant
This guy will be based on the Dragon Ogre Shaggoth model. I'll get the finecast version so I can convert his rather tiny front legs and some thought will need to go into weapons [see below]. He'll also need to be fitted with a respirator as the story goes that true Zoats have problems breathing anything other than a very specific atmosphere (something conveniently skimmed over with all other 40k races!)

HQ - Zoat Dominators 
These will be proxy Tyrant Guard and based on the new Dragon Ogres plastic kit, which is wonderful. I think I should be able to muster five of these beasts and have gleefully ordered some 50mm round bases for them to rampage around on. And the news of 'unbound armies' in 7th edition helps me field five rather than three of these - I know... I like the Oldhammer side of the hobby, but I also like to play by current rules. I guess I'm a hybrid! 

TROOPS - Zoat Warriors
Easy one this - classic metal Zoat models from the 'good old days'. Tyranid warrior profiles and the weapons should map over quite neatly.

TROOPS - Bio-Gaunts
Here's where it will get a little more creative. These Hormagaunt proxies will be Lizardmen Skinks with additional limbs - all these monsters need to look six-limbed and zoaty, after all, if we were making bio-engineered foot soldiers we'd probably give them the same body structure we have. Unless they were drones, but that's another matter...  

ELITE - Bio-Devourer 
Now, this monstrosity will be a Mutalith Vortex Beast standing in for a Haruspex. With additional legs, of course.

HEAVY SUPPORT - Zoat Destroyers
A little work required here, but I'm pretty sure, having looked close-up at the models, that the FW Bull Centaurs are ripe for conversion into Carnifex proxies. These will actually work out as cheaper than the regular GW models (smily face). 

HEAVY SUPPORT - Zoat Devastator
Finally - and this one will be a blast - how do you fancy a Tyrannofex proxy built out of a Carnosaur with an upper body mixed with Ghorgon and Giant parts? I already have the massive guns...  

This needs a little thought. Obviously the original models have Tyranid-type weapons so there's no reason I can't equip this lot similarly, especially given the fluff I discussed in the previous post. It might just take a little experimentation with 'Nid plastics and plasticard.

The trouble with talk of Zoats is that I cannot get this theme tune out of my head. Although of course in my version "It takes, diff'rent Zoats, it takes, diff'rent Zoat to make the world..."  

Friday, 16 May 2014

Zoat Army For 40k: Ideas And Aspirations

I've spent quite some time working out how to expand my Genestealer Cult so that I could use more of the rules from the Tyranid codex via proxies. It's a hard line to tread because using full on Tyranids with Imperial Guard would be just plain silly and narratively wonky beyond acceptability. It just wasn't going to happen. 

For what seems like days I've been 'meditating' on the idea, looking at available models, thinking about the fluff, annoying my brother with endless 'what if...' messages, and going back to the Rouge Trader book for inspiration. It was then that I realised the answer was staring me in the face the whole time. Zoats. 

Zoats have a really interesting place in the early background of the Tyranids. Back at the beginning, Tyranids were smallish aliens who bioengineered creatures to do their bidding and fight in their hive fleet armies. The Zoats were the most intelligent of these creatures and were even used in diplomatic missions ahead of a hive fleet to see what kinds of civilisations lay ahead and to estimate the level of resistance the vanguard would meet. Some Zoats rebelled and fled to set up as independent forces in their own right. 

All this comes before the Tyranids simply became this relentless meat-barrage of the hive mind. Contempory Tyranids - aside from a couple of special characters - have lost all the interesting narrative promise that they had in the early days. It's a pity because the idea of a highly alien race creating bioengineered creatures to do their bidding and fight their battles is very appealing - much better than the 'bio-Borg' antics of current 'Nids. 

Enter the Zoats as I see them. Originally created by the Tyranids, many escaped their rule when they realised they would just be absorbed back into the hive both organically and mentally. This was not the fate they aspired to, so they fled to set up their own colonies, as far away from the Tyranid menence as they could manage. They took with them much of the bioengineering knowledge that the early Tyranids had depended on and set about creating enhanced versions of their own kind - genetically enhanced Zoats - along with slave creatures designed specifically for servitude and war. 

These Zoat colonies defend their own territories and act as mercenaries; they will take money, but prefer to take payment of more dubious kinds, sometimes slaves, other times masses of cadavers... basically anything that can be salvaged as bio-mass for the development of their slave-organisms and foot soldiers. So the Zoats are pretty bad news even if they sometimes prove to be useful allies.

I imagine that I will field the Zoats as an independent force although I also intend to use them alongside my Genestealer Cult. They will have struck up this deal with the Cult in an effort to secure some prime Tyranid genetic material with which to fine tune some particularly nasty monsters for the battlefield. The Genestealers distance from the hive mind will give the Zoats some confidence that they won't be find out. Although whether this confidence is misguided remains to be seen...

With the basic background in place, I'll explain how I'm planning on modelling the army in my next post.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

HR Giger And His Vast Influence On Gaming

Sad news today about the death of HR Giger. The Guardian rightly had an article about his influence on gaming - but they only mention game design for video games. 

There's no doubt that this is true: simply look at this screen grab from the classic R-Type.

But what they don't mention is his influence on one of the games we all love, Warhammer 40K. His influence was there right from the start in the posthuman terror of the dark millennium, and now all the more so when we consider the current Tyranid range (genestealers above all, of course) . His twisted imagination will be sorely missed, but his influence will live on in so much deviant art and, so closely to us, in the models we collect, paint and game with.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Stormtalon Jetfighter And Valkyrie/Vendetta Size Comparison

I've started to get some colour onto the jetfighter with roughly the same kind of pattern/distribution as the Valkyire/Vendetta, so here's a quick update to show how it looks in comparison (all rather sketchy at the moment). I'm going to be focusing on getting both these and the other heavy armour in the Cult finished soonish for a planned narrative campaign during July-August. 

Daddy's toys in the foreground, kids' toys in the background!  
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