Monday, 28 January 2013

Some pictures of some kitbashes and a bit of WiP

So, thinking my Beastman was finally finished, I took it in to Darksphere to take some photos on their terrain (until I get some of my own).

Then I got home and uploaded the pictures onto my computer and spotted an area of touch up that just didn't look the same colour as the rest of the model.

There was a lot of cursing.

See that right pec? Totally not OK!
Still, I got some other really nice pictures I'm quite happy with, either in low light, or from certain angles.

While I was there, I also took a couple of other kitbashes along for photoing. This is my medic, who is a source of utter hatred for many of my opponents. He is a joint effort between me and the wife. I came up with the box, and the bandages, and she added the lasrifle and green stuff strap, and added the servo skull and bandages inside the box.

The long suffering (and probably regularly replaced) bodyguards of Captain Rafiq were also brought along for a couple of shots...

OK, they're just head swaps, but I'm quite proud of them. One is a random Empire head, the other is one of GW's own metal Guardsmen heads you can buy from them direct.

Anyhow, after I finished my epic sulk, I finally cleared up the Beastman paint job, and just need to show you . . .

Oh, wait, haven't taken a photo yet.

Hold a moment.

. . .

Right, back!

There we go! Much better.

I've also taken a nice shot of the fur on his back.

I also spotted one of my WiPs on the desk, and decided to take a quick shot of him. He's just got a base coat of black and some basic grey drybrushing, along with the start of the brown basecoat. The metal is the furthest advanced. The photo is definitely something helpful for spotting where there's problems that need more attention. I may take some photos and blow them up on my computer in the future, it is proving helpful in spotting things my eyes aren't seeing yet.

I am kind of hoping this Wednesday to try and get in my first game of Malifaux and my first game of Inquisitor 28... Both will probably result in a lot of peering at rule books, but it seems a lot of people are curious about Inquisitor, so I'll be interested as to how that goes...

Monday, 21 January 2013

Eden: Endings and Beginnings

I had originally planned on posting about my little excursion to Darksphere on Sunday to go to a painting day, where I met up again with Max von D and Marta from Platoon Britannica.

I planned on showing off my newly finished Imperial Beastman, who is finally done.

Then a package arrived from Europe today.

My stuff from the Eden Indiegogo Campaign had turned up.

So plans went out the window.

The original plan had been for much of what I got to be Sim's Christmas present. As it was, I got her a small thing then, and this now - although she now has Battle for Alabaster nearly here now.

This is all Sim's stuff - a box of scenery, three limited edition pieces of scenery, and two ISC robots.

I've now read the rules of those robots. I may regret getting them for her. They are going to eat my Jokers for breakfast.

The scenery box
Still, it wasn't entirely presents for Sim. I had bought myself things!

I have started a Joker's faction for Eden myself. My 100 point (standard sized) force consists of four models. Although one is a pair of tumbling acrobats which looks like a nightmare to put together.

There are also two Askari (another faction) which Sim or I will pick up at some point when we are in a mood to do so.

So, here's the cards for my faction - a pair of tumbling acrobats, a ringmaster, a mime and a clown with a vacuum cleaner.

What could possibly go wrong?

One of the cards was unintentionally in German, but I know from Taban's reputation that this will get sorted out with no problems.

I am enchanted by the book. It is mostly the world background and faction details as the rules are very simple, and the rules for each model comes with that model.

For those of you used to Games Workshop's slick production values, you will spot a few foibles. There is nothing wrong with any of the pictures or the layout. That's lovely. But it seems that Taban's translators have decided to stick with the unique style which Taban's self translated work carries.

Now, I'm being a bit tongue in cheek here. My French and German is shocking compared to the Taban crew's English, and that might be why I find the wording issues endearing rather than infuriating. No "Read as Written" Games Workshop player will tolerate the instruction to play on a 60 metre square board (not 60 centimetres). None of the important paragraphs have been left in the original French by mistake. And no, "Category" doesn't have an "h" in it, nor "Ireland" two "I"s.

But these little tweaks, which will undoubtedly really irritate Mohand, actually make me love this game even more. It makes me laugh, and nothing actually stops me playing the game or makes it harder. The book remains absolutely gorgeous, the miniatures are works of art, and I hope to have a lot of fun running around causing anarchy in this wonderfully dreamed up post apocalyptic world.

I also got a nice signed art print. Not the book cover as advertised, but a better one. I may share it later. That's totally me loving it so much I'm holding off on sharing, not that I forgot to take a photo of it. Honest.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Making the Papers: Games Workshop Half Year Financial Results

So, imagine my surprise as I browsed the business pages of the Evening Standard this evening to see a Space Marine looking back at me!

The article reads:

"Economists claim cash-strapped Brits are cutting back on fripperies to afford the necessities but Games Workshop still managed to flog £67.5 million worth of miniature soldiers, Lizardmen and tiny Orcs in only six months.
The chain, which calls itself “the largest and the most successful tabletop fantasy and futuristic battle-games company in the world”, saw revenues rise 8% in the half year to the start of December.
More adults and kids alike snapping up Games Workshop’s small Warhammer World, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit models helped pre-tax profit hit £11.1 million, from £9.5 million a year earlier. But that growth wasn’t enough to retain the interest of chief executive Mark Wells. The 50-year-old, who has spent five years in the top job and had a pay package worth £307,000 last year, is leaving, the retailer said, “on good terms and with our very best wishes”.
Games Workshop said its board will appoint a new chief executive “in due course” and that chairman Tom Kirby will be acting chief executive and chairman in the meantime.
Wells may be cheered to know shares in Games Workshop fell 2.5p to 657.5p on news of his departure."

An online copy of the article can be found here:
Fightback: Games Workshop on a winner as profits rise - Business News - Business - London Evening Standard

Of course, me being me . . . I'm more fascinated as to where they got the picture of the Space Marine in the picture - he's clearly a kitbash, and he doesn't show up near the top of most of the common google searches I can think of. Time for some detective work!

Monday, 14 January 2013

More work complete (with only a little bit of lying)


Well, the project that has been consuming me for a long, long time is now done. Well, mostly done. A last minute problem with fitting my Imperial Beastman's arm resulted in me scratching some paint on his arm, so that will need touching up, and I've spotted that one of my older corrections is not as good as I'd like - so there will be a tiny bit more work to do on him . . . but his arm is now on and he looks completed, and that's the important thing!

I also finished off the other Secret Weapon bases I'm planning on using as corpse tokens in Malifaux. But the observant among you will notice an 'odd one out' with these ones...

Yup, this chap is very different from the others! In short, I tried washing him with Gryphonne Sepia before the purple or red washes, and its ended up with a very different effect. Effectively, I've ended up with a dessicated corpse instead of a waterlogged one. Also, he doesn't stand out half as well as the other bodies do. It just doesn't look as good for what I was attempting.

Still, I am going to leave him the way he is. It was very much an experiment, and its a good reference for me.

Once I've finished the last bits of touch up on my mutated friend here, I'll start work on my step by step account of the kit bash - I've been carefully taking photos as I went, and notes of the paints I used, so now its just a case of writing it all up.

I've bought about half the parts I need for kitbashing 20 more of his colleagues to work as Penal Legion squads in my Guard. The remaining parts are all on my birthday list and hopefully some kind relative will take pity and pick them up for me!

This chap, as the kitbashing pilot, I think will become the faithful servant of some Inquisitor or other for Inq28, once I have an Inquisitor or two painted up. My current inclination is that he will probably find his way into Inquisitor Bernard's retinue...

Due to a minor 'slip' on ebay, I now have the old Henchman Scribe for Inquisitor, which means I'm now a little behind on where I wanted to be with the amount I had painted. As such, I want to get cracking on him straight away to try and use the enthusiasm that caused me to buy him to in turn get my 'points' score down.

My other 'on bench' projects at the moment are my ever stalled Malifaux crew and a Vindicare assassin who is challenging me with that entire "painting black" business. Three projects are really the most I should be working on at any one time - especially when one is a squad. Hopefully the assassin will wend his way to being completed quickly, so I can keep the progress going...

Thursday, 10 January 2013

The Kitbasher's Cookbook

I have a guilty love for cooking shows. I remember an episode of Dinner Impossible where the Robert Irvine had some of his most vital ingredients taken away - things like oil and salt.

I love me my kit bashing, although I am still building up my 'stock' of bits as we speak, because a lot of the stuff I thought was cool and useful when I was a kid is practically no use to anyone.

I use a mix of ebay and specialist bits websites to get what I'm after, and I have learnt a few lessons which I'd like to share.
  • Check the ebay description and the picture. If they don't match, don't bid
  • Show patience. Set yourself budgets of what you're willing to pay and don't go after them. Parts come around, and impatience will have a cash premium.
  • Shop around. I have one set of suppliers I use for one offs, single pieces and test runs, and another set I use for larger projects, as they sell batches of parts in one go.
  • Keep a list of what you're after, and go for larger, planned orders, rather than lots of little impulse buys. You'll save on postage, and also stress with non gaming partners who may start querying why you're getting hundreds of little parcels. I am lucky in that the wife paints and models, so is more forgiving!
My final piece of advice is that some things are not worth buying as bits. For me, the core item is Guard infantry. I shouldn't pay a bits supplier premium when I will be using 90% of the parts in the boxes. I plan on saving up, buying a Battalion box, and working through until I need another.

There are also some items I'm seeing as pretty common in kit bashes on all those nice Inq28 blogs. As such, they're things I'm thinking about picking up as a full kit.

High Elf Archers
Robed legs, in large numbers. You won't get much more out of the kit, maybe a couple of the torsos, a nice pointing arm, some feathers, a cape or capes, and maybe a head with a Prince Valiant haircut.

Bretonnian Men at Arms
I am worried that kit bashing the bodies into Guardsmen will be a horrid, horrid experience, but I've picked one up to play around with. But there's lovely heads, odd little things people can be carrying, shields that can easily translate across to combat shields / storm shields . . . there's not much you won't use.

Vampire Count Ghouls
For awesome creepy mutant bodies, mis-shapen arms, and freakish heads, you can't go far wrong. The best conversions I see only use one or two bits from this kit in them - use too many and it's obvious what you're basing off - but most conversions will benefit from a freaky ghoul part.

Empire Militia
The heads, the long coat, the other torsos and some of the legs and arms - your good parts to rubbish is very high here. Its likely to be one of my first purchases.

Empire Flagellants
You should know this - everyone uses them. I think they are maybe a little overused now, but the robed bodies, odd heads, scrolls, parchment, books, bells, flaming torches . . . there's a crazy man with a flaming brazier on his head!

It seems most of the parts kitbashers are after, at least from a human point of view, is to introduce more of the gothic and grotesque into the ranges, by introducing yet more medieval elements into the 40K setting. We want the crazy stuff from Mr Blanche's drawings to be on our gaming tables or display cases!

There are certainly other things I want to experiment with - like using non human parts from Tau, Kroot, Eldar & Orks for human mutants and renegades, but I suspect the challenge will be to do so while disguising them sufficiently that it won't be obvious where they are from . . .

Monday, 7 January 2013

Taking stock

So, back to work, back to something approaching a normal daily schedule. I've not managed to get painting done every night, but I'm getting a little done most nights. Regular progress is really what I want to see.

I've not taken a photo of the Imperial Beastman, because reasons. Well, particularly because he's getting close to being finished, and now I kind of want to do a big reveal when he's done. I'm hoping he'll be done in time for next week's Monday post.

I have finished painting some of the corpse tokens now. The next stage is experimenting with water effects, but that won't be for a while yet - they'll be going into my Malifaux case for use when needed...

Would anyone be interested in a write up of how I painted them? I'm particularly pleased with the corpses, as they are suitably horrible...

Here's some more detail of my favourite one!

I put it this way around on a whim
Or am I just too lazy to change it?
I did have a little bit of a daft moment on Saturday. I skipped out of my regular LARP day after the first game to head home early, but decided to pop into the John Lewis sale on the way home to pick up a painting lamp. I was fed up of painting in the very low light conditions in our dining room, and wanted to improve things.

However, having fought my way to Oxford Circus during the January sales, my wife called me to remind me that I already own a painting lamp. We bought one last year during the January sales. Once mentioned, I remembered this. My brain's logic had been that I'd been painting in a half lit room for several months, so why on earth would I be doing that if I owned a lamp?

I'm also now caught up on my creative writing in terms of battle reports. I hope to write up a bit more explanation of the circumstances and background of some of our major players. I've also been doing some basic sketching out of some Inquisitors and warbands for Inq28. My two existing metal models I own are now being set up as two rival Ordo Hereticus.

I had originally considered making the already named Inquisitor Bernard Ordo Xenos, as it seems no-one really does much with the poor under-loved fellows, but the weapon I'd pictured him using is only used in 40K by the Ordo Malleus, so he had a mild tweak to his background. I plan on kitbashing him in the future, once I've cleared a bit more of the backlog.

Wife got a new toy. Or rather, a couple of new toys. Her family and my family clubbed together to get her an airbrush and compressor.

It is very pretty, isn't it?

I picked up a couple of bits of Amera scenery for Sim to practice using the airbrush with so she didn't feel bad if she did something wrong with something expensive. I will say, I was quite impressed with the Amera stuff - it's super cheap, and helps bulk out your terrain collection quickly and cheaply. I'm planning on using Vallejo Pumice texture to make it look a bit less like vacuum formed bits of plastic - I'll let you know how that goes.

I did not take a picture of her work in progress and post it here, because doing so without asking might have resulted in my sudden and untimely death.

I did, however, while rummaging around the shelves at Dark Sphere, find an interesting thing, which only cost me £1.35.

Its a nice brick / cobble tiled piece of plastic, again by Amera. I intend to use this as a background for photographing models once Sim has finished playing with her airbrush on it, as I've not yet got a painted / textured gaming board. Hopefully this will improve my photos a little bit!

I also picked up a couple of nice bits in the Dark Sphere sale - an out of print Games Workshop terrain set of Landmines and Bombs (still a couple left when I last looked, so if you want one, get to their website pronto), and a set of the Under-Empire Basing Kit. I've had a nose, and they look quite fun - would people be interested in photos and a little unboxing review?

Given all the new shiny things, I've decided not to back the Kingdom Death Kickstarter. I would love to own the game at some point, but I can wait. I also want to try and paint some of the resins he does, but getting the backlog down before I try is pretty vital. I can buy some miniatures from him direct if and when I decide to do so. You have a few minutes left at time of writing - the co-operative survival horror mechanics look absolutely awesome, and the only reasons I'm not getting it are lack of money and time!

I am, however, in for the Malifaux Kickstarter. If you like Malifaux, go for it. The stuff I've seen about the concept and mechanics look really positive and solidly thought through. It hasn't exploded and taken off due to falling in an awkward spot between roleplayers and miniature gamers / painters. I would have loved to go for the Hanging Tree, and having my own little Wicked Doll, but again, the pesky limits of reality and money mean I'm only in at the basic level.

I've been maintaining a really good level of two posts a week - I'll be curious as to whether or not I can keep that up, although my bare minimum is one a week.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Apocalypse Fiction: Aftermath (creative writing)

7902912.M41, Lambum Obscurum, Laxus Sector, Segmentum Tempestus

"Is he dead?"

Sergeant James shook his head.

"No such fucking luck, mate. Not a chance."

His colleague looked at him, incredulously...

"But we saw him get attacked by an entire squad of Deathwing . . . no-one walks away from that..."

"You're right there, lad. Not even the Captain walks away from those sort of beatings. That's why we're going to be fucking carrying him, ain't it?"

This revelation moved the first speaker into a sullen silence. They continued to pick their way, barefoot, across the shrapnel riddled battlefield in silence, until the third diminutive figure spoke up for the first time.

"Why were we fighting for the rebels, Sarge? Its not one of the Captain's get rich quick schemes again, was it?"

The sergeant gave the speaker a murderous look, and a long uncomfortable silence fell.

"No, it wasn't. It was, for once, a proper, authorised, shitty mission. Rather than a proper, unauthorised, stupid shitty plan. The Captain was able to pose as a senior rebel commander who was some tactical genius to talk them into deploying right into the Imperial guns. Genius fucking plan. Or, at least, it would be if someone had told the Deathwing, or that fucking bomber that tried to kill us all."

"Or maybe someone did" was the treacherous, unspoken thought in Sergeant James' mind as they trudged on in awkward silence. He'd lost two good lads to that bombing run, and it being a stupid accident was a lot easier for him to cope with than some scumbag Inquisitor having tried to deliberately get him killed... He was drawn from his dark thoughts by the first speaker.

"Here he is Sarge. And he's still breathing!"

So now they'd have to lug him back to camp, evading the Space Marine kill-teams, and the sentry picket.

Sergeant James wondered if getting dangerous missions from the Inquisition earned bonus pay. Somehow, he doubted it.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Some work in progress pictures

I have, sadly, failed to complete anything more before the end of the year.

Still, I thought it would be good to give some work in progress shots of where I'm up to so far.

The teeth obviously need work, but I've started
base coating the bone and horn.
I need to decide what I'm doing with the eyes...

Happy with the fur on the back.
The fur on the back of the legs needs more contrast.

And the right leg needs a little clean up too

Just the strap left to do here!

The corpse tokens - bases by Secret Weapon

You can see here that I missed a large blood flow...

The next stage is washing the corpse parts

These ones still need the lighter colour adding first.
So, I did manage to achieve something over Christmas, but without anything finished, as I'd have liked. There's still a good deal of progress, which I'm happy with.