Saturday, 8 July 2017

Purple, gribbly and coming for you...

Alternating between painting my Kolstek IG and my Emperor's Children seems to be a great way to keep me motivated to painting atm. My guess is that the radically different styles between what are going to be my two main armies for 8th Edition is enough variety to stop my hobby-addled mind getting bored and losing interest. Whatever works I suppose.

Continuing that theme, I've been working on a unit of Warp Talons for my EC's over the last couple of days:

As you can see, they're mostly built using the standard kit, but I've sprinkled in some bits which wouldn't look out of place in a 30k army. This was partially to make them easier to  paint, but also because I see these as ancient mercenaries rather than simply the Daemon-infused Marines which the main fluff for Warp Talons describes them as, so I wanted to tone down the chaotic elements a little.

I consider these about 75% done. The main job I still have to do is highlight all the silver, then add some freehand. I also want to add in some contrasting colours on a couple of the armour panels to emphasise the fact that these are Emperor's Children rather than just purple-looking jump troops. That really depends on how much patience I have left after doing the silver though.

Either way, I'm hoping to have these done by the end of the weekend, ready for a game against a mate's Black Templars on Monday night. Hopefully I'll be able to grab some photos from that to show you too.

Lots to keep me busy. As usual, I'll post more soon. This productive streak doesn't seem to be abating any time soon!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Cyclops'? Cyclopii?

What do you call a group of Cyclops? I think it's Cyclopes. I really should know this, having studied writing at uni. Either way, I've been painting up a lot of them for my Kolstek/ Elysian forces.

It's not often I can paint two squadrons of vehicles in about an hour! Being about a tenth of the size of most vehicles obviously helps. These really were a joy to paint. In case you can't tell, I've use the Land Raiders from the old Epic range with the sponsons cut away. At £14 per model from Forge World, the official models were a little out of my price range, especially as I'm planning to field ten of them in my final force. I've got another five lined up ready to go, as soon as I find enough 40mm bases for them.

Normally I'd claim 10 painting points for each vehicle I finish, but considering their size I really can't bring myself to do that. I think 2 for each one is a fair reward for them. It's still nice to have them done though.

More soon!

Friday, 30 June 2017

A break for Elysians

Despite my obvious excitement for my Emperor's Children in 8th Edition, I haven't abandoned my previous projects. There's only so much pink and purple a man can paint in one go without going completely loopy, so I've been breaking things up by working on my Elsysian forces alongside them.

Having had a look at the new rules for Elysians, I'm really liking how they work under the new edition. Being able to deep strike a ridiculous amount of guardsmen up the face of the enemy on turn one whilst my Inquisitorial assault elements advance behind them has really fired my imagination, so my Kolstek 133rd 'Elysian Pattern' Drop Troopers have made their way to my painting desk.

I've nailed down a really nice and quick method of batch painting these guys, so I should be able to turn them out quite quickly, I just need to work out my squad designation and markings for them. I'm thinking of using 3x Veteran Squads, a Command Squad + Commander, then a few Valkyries as backup. A good, compact force which shouldn't take too long to paint up.

At the rate I'm painting atm, I'm actually in danger of finishing models quicker than I'm buying them. It's been a long time since that happened! Clearly this 'hour a night' pledge is helping. Let's hope it continues.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

The ever-steady march of progress...

So 8th Edition has hit the gaming community like a hurricane and by all accounts it's been a roaring success. I've already played three games of the new edition and immensely enjoyed each one. That's already a massive increase on the amount of enjoyment I got out of non-30k 7th edition! I even spent the evening last Monday teaching a group of people who hadn't played since 5th ed how to play. That's pretty good going considering that at that point I'd only played one game of the new edition myself- a testament to how slick and streamlined the rules have become!

Needless to say, 8th ed has been the massive shot in the arm that 40k badly needed.Most people have nothing but good things to say about it and loads of people who'd previously left the game have made their return, at least judging by my local community. Previously there'd normally be a few of us meeting on alternate Mondays to play Horus Heresy. There'd be a few people would be milling about occasionally playing AoS, but 40k was pretty much ignored. Last week though there were four games of 40k being played, with half a dozen more people watching with great interest. Excitement is running pretty high in my local area.
Enough gushing about 8th edition though. The real benefit of this release for me is that it's set my motivation to build and paint stuff into overdrive. It's a shame this hasn't involved too much progress on my obscene backlog of projects though. Instead I've been focussing on what's looking to be my army of choice for this edition: Slaanesh.

I've always loved Slaanesh and his/her/it's followers. They've run a close second behind Tzeentch in my love ever since I started 40k in 2003-ish and I've always wanted an army of Noise Marines, but ever since the 3.5 codex their rules have been a little lacklustre, so that's really killed my enthusiasm for them. I might be primarily a narrative gamer, but I also like to actually win games occasionally!

The moment I saw the new rules for Noise Marines though, I knew the time had come to make my dream army a reality. I started by taking the Primaris half of the Dark Imperium boxed set and having a rummage in my bitz box to make them suitably Slanneshii:

Yes it's left my painting points in tatters (I'm not going to even talk about the Ebay slurge I've done for Daemons to accompany them), but at least I'm actually painting stuff! I've been painting so much in fact that I'm running up a massive surplus on my 'hour a day' hobby challenge. Hopefully once I've got my Emperor's Children off the ground, this will translate into progress on my other stuff too, but I'll have to wait and see how that pans out.

My original plan for this force was to make something which works equally well in both 30k and 40k. The more I look at what I want and start painting though, the more I'm thinking that plan is going to fall by the wayside. I'm wanting to include some of the weirder and more obviously Chaotic stuff which Chaos Space Marines get like Warp Talons, Daemon Princes and Forgefiends, none of which have a direct 30k counterpart. Instead I'm probably going to be taking inspiration from Kraut and his World Eaters over at the Eternal Hunt blog and build myself some 'historical' versions of my 40k Chaos characters when I get around visiting my 30k EC force.

Back to matter in hand though, the Primaris Marines were awesomely good fun to work with. The kits are simple to build, although the limited poses we have currently made a few of the conversions a little awkward to do, especially the head swaps. You'll also notice I haven't done any swaps on the shoulder pads either. This is due to the way they detach -  the arm and pad are one big piece, or else the pads are sculpted onto the torso pieces. I'm hoping that the multi-piece kits we'll inevitably get don't have this issue, as I can imagine a lot of people getting frustrated when trying to swap the pads for Chapter-specific ones. I can work around that issue for now though.

Anyway, after a surprisingly short period of time, I had these guys ready to paint. The actual painting of them only took a couple of hours, as I tried to keep the colour scheme simple so I can produce an entire force fairly quickly. The trick was trying to balance the garish colour schemes which Slaaneshii followers are known for whilst still making it look good as a force. I think I've struck a good balance. I'll be going back later to add transfers and freehand detail, but I'm considering these guys done for now.

Hopefully I'll be able to finish up the rest of the box in the enst few weeks. After that I'll be building and painting the two boxes of Warp Talons I bought, then move onto the characters for the army. It looks like is going to be a summer dedicated to Slannesh for me!

I'll post more soon.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Taking a break from painting - to do more painting!

I've gotten a little tired of painting endless black and silver, plus the severe shake up of how Inquisition forces work under 8th has sapped my enthusiasm for them somewhat, so I decided to take a step back from it until I know exactly what I need to paint once 8th drops. I was unlikely to actually get the entire army done before release day anyway.

I've decided instead to take a break and 'cleanse' my painting pallete a little. My unpainted Thousand Sons have been staring accusingly at me for the last few months, so I decided to finally get some paint on my Breacher squad:

I know it's not the best of photos, but I was pretty shattered from work when I grabbed the pic. I'll post better ones once I've done the cleanup and highlighting on them. I'm only working on a small unit plus an Apothecary for now, but it's more progress on them than I've made for months, so I'm happy.

Hopefulyl I'll get these done this week, or at least get them to the stage where they just need transfers applying to them. I'll let you know how I get on.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Progress and Inquisition in 8th

Progress has been pretty steady over the last week, keeping up a good amount of painting hours. It's amazing what you can get done if you just do a little bit each day.

One of my Deathwatch Kill Teams is pretty much ready to go. The Thunder Hammer guy had a run-in with my cat, so he still needs to be fixed up. Other than that though the team's looking good. I just need to do the Chapter pads now.

 They're going to be (left to right) Astral Knights, Iron Hands, Marines Errant and a Blackshield. Being the eternal hipster that I am, I've avoided just using the common Chapters which you get in the box. It gives me more of an opportunity to come up with some interesting models and fluff for them. More on that in a later post though. For now I'm just wanting to get a force ready to go.

On that note...

 I've been painting the Crusaders for my Inquisitors retinue. They're still in need of highlighting, but I'm liking how they've turned out. Having had a look at the new Inquisition rules at my local gaming shop, I'm not exactly happy about the future of my force. From what I can tell, Inquisition warbands aren't mixed units any more. Crusaders, Death Cultists and Servitors aren't even in the Inquisition section of their Index! I've got to borrow units from the Ministorum and Space Marine list just to use them and I can't combine them together any more. This basically invalidates both the warbands which I was using in 7th edition. One was 5 Death Cultists, 3 Crusaders and a Priest, the other was a shooty blob of Jokearo and Servitors.

This basically means the entire dynamic of my army is being changed if I want to keep using my Ordo Xenos in 8th Edition. Annoying, but I'm sure I'll cope. My annoyance is somewhat mitigated by the fact that we now get to draw units from any of the Imperium lists. This opens up awesome conversion and gaming options. I'm already considering making some Inquisitional Ogyrn Brutes!

So yeah, I've got mixed feelings on 8th atm. Overall though the game seems to have gone through a massive improvement. I guess I'm just going to have to learn to adapt.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Operation Homehammer continues

My run of hobby productivity continues and I've been cracking on with my project to create my home gaming setup. As I mentioned yesterday, I found some really good bits in my local Poundland to use as a basis for some terrain:

They're really cheap and rubbish, as you might expect considering the source, but they're pretty much the perfect scale for 40k terrain and don't look so crap that a dab of superglue in the moving parts and a quick spray of silver can't make them look passable as civilian vehicles.

They'll be getting a liberal wash of Nuln Oil and a good rusting up at some point, but for now I think they're surprisingly passable. Not bad at all for ten minutes work!

My nexy step will be digging around in my box of old half-finished terrain pieces to see what I can salvage. Should be interesting.

Building Inquisitional Warbands

I seem to be really getting my hobby groove on this week. Clearly this 365 Challenge idea is massively helping my motivation levels. Just trying to do something small that's hobby-related every day is really handy for keeping me focussed.

For my terrain project which I talked about last post, don't worry I haven't gotten distracted from it already! I had a day off yesterday, so I a poke around the local charity shops and Poundland and found some really interesting bits I can use. I'll post up what I'm cobbling together for that soon. Today though I wanted to show you the collection of Inquisitorial Henchmen which I've been pulling together:

I've got a slight confession to make. I cheated on my painting points total a little bit. Despite not having completed many models recently, I did a GW order for these. My thinking this that I find it easier to complete whole units in one go, so I needed to fill out my half-finished warbands before I could painted them. That's my excuse anyway and I'm sticking to it!

Anyway, moving on to what I've made. I've found the Tempests Scions kit really great for making basic mooks they have the right look and they're so easy to convert. I've build my Storm Bolter and Special Weapon guys for my Warlord's unit from these, as well as converting the Commissar to lead my actual Scions detachment.

The Storm Bolters came from the SW upgrade kit. I've got so many of these lying around from my SW's project a few years ago, it seemed a shame not to make use of them in some way. These guys are really just there to provide warm bodies/bullet catchers for my heavy weapons warband, but that wasn't going to stop me from kitbashing something cool to represent them.

The Commissar is just the plastic Scions Commissar with some arm swaps from the main Scions kit. I really love this model. The conversion potential is massive. I'm already tempted to get another one to act as a basis for my next Inquisitor conversion. I need to actually finish what I have first though.

Next up are my 'Jokaero'...

...Well, one Jokaero and one Squat.

I've always loved the idea of Squats and have always wanted to have a force of them. Unfortunately the best way to field them is using the 30k Militia list, which would involve converting far more models than I'm willing to undertake as a project atm and that's just to get the basic troops choices!

In the meantime I'm willing to settle for an outcast survivor of the race serving in my Inquisitor's retinue. I figure a technologically-minded Space Dwarf could fill the role of a Jokaero Weaponsith quite comfortably. I just need to add more mechadenrites and weapons to the Dwarf Engineer model I've taken as a base model.

Then there's my Priest and a Mystic:

These are just the basic models. They're such classic sculpts that I didn't really want to do anything with them. The only thing I've done is chop the end of the weird book-staff thing the Priest was carrying and turn it into a walking stick, giving the whole model a more low-key feel. I'm not sure what I'm going to arm the Priest with yet. I might wait to see what's best under 8th edition rules.

These next models however are far more eclectic:

I figure an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor, especialy one of a more radical nature such as Inquisitor von Nearostaffen is going to keep a few Xenos mercenaries around for when he needs them.

I'm not even sure what the Sslythe is going to be used as, I just really like the model and the backstory to the race in general. I did a minor conversion to replace his Dark Eldar blade with a Chainsword to give the suggestion that he's been working for Imperial forces for a while and left it at that. I'm thinking of maybe using him as a particularly unusual Arco-Flagellent, but I'm not sure yet. I'm sure I think of something.

The Tau defector is a model I'm particularly liking, mostly for the subtle conversion I've done, replacing his Fire Warrior chestplate with a Cadian torso. He's going to be used as a Mystic, represented by the weird device he's holding, which could feasibly be a homing beacon of some kind. Also note that he's carrying no weapons. It's almost like the Inquisitor doesn't entirely trust him...

And finally we have my Crusaders:

Another simple kitbash, using the shields from the Deathwatch box. The moment I saw these, the idea to use them as shield for my Crusaders just clicked and I think they work brilliantly. The only awkward bit was finding and attaching their axe heads, which came from the Dwarf Warriors box, but I think they've come together quite nicely.

So there you have it. I've gotten myself a nice selection of misfits and outcasts to bolster my Ordo Xenos. I should be getting these sprayed up in the next couple of days, then I can crack on with painting them.

 I've got plenty to keep me going for a while I think, although I should be able to start churning out finished models at a decent pace now I have everything I need (barring a few Ebay purchases I'm waiting for, but more on those later).

I'll post more soon!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Operation Homehammer

Something I've always said I'd do when I had my own place is to set up a decent gaming board for myself at home.

I made an attempt at this last year and bought myself a really nice gaming mat from Deep Cut Studios, then started gathering the materials to scratch build some terrain to go with it. 

Unfortunately starting a new job last year meant the project got shelved due to lack of free time. What little hobby time I could snatch went on painting models rather than terrain building. Any games I've played at home since then have been played using books, paint pots and whatever else could be improvised on the fly for terrain.

With 8th edition 40k on the near horizon though, several friends of mine have showed interest in getting back into 40k, giving me a damn good reason to revisit the idea of sorting out a good board to play on. With this in mind, I've decided to try and build myself a decent terrain set.

First on the agenda is a good sized table. So far I've made do with hodgepodging together several smaller tables to lay the boards down for the mat to go on. Ideally I want to find a 6x4 folding table to work from. With a bit of luck I can find one in a local charity shop, but I might end up buying a new one for simplicity's sake.

What I can do in the meantime though is get my old-school hobby hat on and scratch build myself some terrain. Luckily I have a massive tub of bits and pieces to work from, so I quickly knocked this together yesterday to start me off:

Nice and simple, built from an old coaster and some Paracetamol tubs. A little sand and dry brushing later and I'd gotten myself a passable set of barrels. A quick wash and a little freehand/transfers for markings and it should do the trick quite nicely.

When it's this easy to knock out some terrain, I can't help but wonder why I haven't gotten around to doing this sooner!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Times they are changing... My thoughts on 8th Edition

It's time for me to address the biggest elephant in our gaming rooms right now: 8th Edition 40k.

We all know it's coming. GW has been teasing us and drip feeding us snippets for weeks now. We even got a release date of 17th of June confirmed this week. I've been wanting to hold off on giving my opinion on it until we got some more information, mostly because this is going to be the single biggest shake up of how the game works since the transition from 2nd to 3rd edition. It's certainly no exaggeration to say that this is going to be massive and is going to change everything.

Now that we've got to this stage however, it's time to give you my thoughts.

In short, I'm excited. Really excited.

This surprised me more than anything else. Like most gamers, I don't like change. I'm such a fanatical 40k player I could probably play a game in my sleep. Such a drastic change in how the game I've been playing since age 13 operates should piss me off, but instead I'm finding that really looking forward to it.

It's easy to figure out why though. It really goes without saying that the game as it stands at the moment is a bloated mess. Although I feel the 'base' rules for 7th are pretty solid, there are way too many factions, sub-factions, formations, super-detachments and all the rest, each with their own special rules and interactions to reasonably keep track of, much less keep balanced. Right now someone could turn up to a game with a completely made up formation and probably get away with it, simply because of the sheer amount of rules there are spread across way too many sources.

7th ed has been an era of Deathstars and rules abuse, even amongst a lot of so-called 'casual' players. Armies really don't look anything like how they should in the background. We've all seen seen the Tau/Eldar abombinations being played, as well as those players who bring nothing but formations from half a dozen different factions, built with nothing but maximum rules abuse in mind. A lot of the time it's not even clear what rules to use. A good example is my Inquisition forces. GW has turned around and actually said to choose whether to use the Inquisition Codex or the updated rules in the Imperial Agents book. I actaully played a game the other day where we were both using a different Inquisitional list, both of which are fully legal!

All this has had the effect that over time, the game has become less and less fun to play and more of a negotiation between two plays not to be a dick towards each other for a few hours, with mixed results. Arranging a game would often come with a far too many caveats to agree between players: Casual or Hard lists? Are we bringing Lords of War? How many formations are we limiting ourselves to? How many factions? The list goes on. It's enough to try anyone's patience and sense of joy they feel when playingthe game. It's one of the biggest factors in my jump over to playing 30k, where those issues are far less prevalent.

Yes 8th Edition has its critics. There are players who are accusing GW of dumbing down or 'Sigmar-izing' the game, but the way I see it this new direction can only be a good thing for the game. The game is getting a serious tightening up of the rules, streamlining how it plays so we can focus on playing instead of having to grapple with the clunkiness of the rules every time we want to play a game with our toy soldiers. I can understand why people are nervous, but having spoken to people who play AoS on a regular basis, I can safely say the game is not getting dumbed down. Yes the basic AoS rules are simple, but the complexity comes from the rules which appear in the various Warscrolls and unit entries which are out there.

A tighter ruleset also means less 'wiggle room' for WAAC players to operate in, especially with the introduction of keywords to stop units and characters gaining special rules which they really have no right in gaining, like the 2+ re-rollable invunerable save, which can only be a good thing in my opinion. Yes I'll miss some of the complexities of 7th, but the trade off we get in exchange for that should more than make up for it.

That's not to say I agree completely with everything that's happening. The loss of mechanics for falling back is something I disagree with and I realy don't care much for the new Primaris Space  Marines. On the other hand, each new edition has brought something I haven't liked. It's part of the game. I still rememeber not liking the introduction of the run move in 5th and I still disagree with the entire concept of challenges in the 40k universe which 6th brought. The trick is to just roll with it and not let it affect my enjoyment of the game. The new direction 40k is heading in is a very positive one in general. I've just got to sit back and see where it takes us.

So there you have it. Those are my (slightly rambling) thoughts on the new edition. There's big changes afoot, but I'm personally looking forward to it. It's given me a huge shot in the arm to make the jump back to the main game from 30k and start paint up some armies. It's also drawn back in several local players who left 40k altogether a few editions ago, which can only be a good thing. Me and a couple of these friends are planning to meet up on release day and put the ruleset through its paces, so I'll probably do another post with my thoughts once I've rolled some dice 'in anger' and gotten some practical experience of the new ruleset.

For now though, embrace the change. To those hating on it, this might actually turn out to be a good thing...

Happy Gaming!