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 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!  

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Stormtalon Jetfighter Conversion Completed

I managed to salvage enough time this week to bring a salvaged kind of look to the finished stormtalon jet fighter conversion. I wanted it to have a patched-together look, something that serendipitously happens to match my haphazard and lazy modelling skills. Luckily, my painting style can be relied upon to mask a multitude of modelling sins, so I'm confident I can make it look rather good in the coming week.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Stormtalon Jetfighter Conversion First Stages

A few weeks ago I got my hands on a stormtalon as part of some elaborate exchange deal with my brother (a regular hobby occurance). Not actually needing a stormtalon I immediately started to think how I could convert it into a proxy for one of the Forge World jet fighters and slot it rather neatly into my Genestealer Cult. Here it is in the first stages. I took about a week or so to move things around and try out different configurations until I ended up with what you can see below, which is about 70% completed. I went with a WWII kind of vibe and I'm really pleased with how it's coming together - certainly it's much cheaper than the FW offering! Updates to follow during the week as I finalise the wings, streamline the bodywork and get it up to the base coat stage. 

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