Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Carnivean Progress


This post was written last Friday, just before departing for holidays. I had hoped to have fininshed the Carnivean by the time we went away but it was not to be.


For the duration of the entire week I had dedicated my hobby time to painting skin… white skin. Following the scheme used on the Shredders I had to get the skin pretty much white with some of the Sky Blue remaining in the recessess, just the hint of a shadow.


By the end of Friday it was as white as it was going to be. Once back I can go in with the blue and purple washes to add a bit of depth and variation across the skin – as much as I like the idea of the big man being able to camouflage himself amongst the snow and rocks, I do want him to look alive at least.

Once this is complete I can get on with the claws and and final details needed (might give his teeth another highlight looking at the image above). Looking forward to get this model finished so I can get another couple of 'easy wins' under my painting belt and get my wargroup to a healthy size.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Recon From The Menoth Camp


You've seen my (slow) progress over the last few weeks as I get my Legion of Everblight army into shape. You may also have seen my fledgling Cryx army being constructed as I cover bases in both Warmachine and Hordes arenas.


I thought I would share some photos Bull sent over of his Protectorate of Menoth force. He's had it since we first dabbled with Warmachine several years ago, gathering dust until we bought our Hordes starter sets at Salute earlier this year. Once his Circle of Orboros starter was complete he has been reading up on the changes in MkII rules to Menoth and giving his models a coat of paint.


The worrying thing for me is, as this photo hints at, he has an awful lot of warjacks gathered – a lot of them heavy 'jacks. From what little reading I'm doing of my own, Menoth are a power to be reckoned with.

Looks like I've got one hell of a fight coming my way!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Broadside 2012


For those of you who don't know the Broadside 2012 show is happening on 10th June over in Sittingbourne. It is still a fledgling show so needs the support of the local gamers. A couple of well known gaming magazines have let the organisers down this year with advertising (or lack of) so it's down to us to do our bit.

The show is run by Milton Hundred Wargames Club and you can find all the details here.


Now, I appreciate it's still a good two weeks away but make sure you mark it on your calendars and even if you can't attend, you can shout about it on your own blog and spread the word!


I'm away on holiday from tomorrow for a week, however, I am trying to get a couple of scheduled posts together so it will seem like I'm still here, just not commenting!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Why WMH over WH40k?


I was having five minutes downtime the other day at work and found myself scrolling through the Privateer Press forums. Somebody had posed the question "Why Warmachine/Hordes over WH40k?" and it got me thinking…


My first proper 40k army

I used to play 40k exclusively – nothing else could sway my attention. I loved Space Marines; the concept; the visuals; the models; the stories. As time went by I moved over to Chaos Space Marines as they were normal Space Marines with benefits. Then came the tournament years. It was all about pushing the limits of codex lists and rules to gain the upperhand – very competitive and rather addictive. The flip side of that is that everyone else is doing the same and some people are quite happy to cross the line and cheat… I mean really cheat, and there's bucketloads of attitude to go with it.

In the middle of this tournament time we had dabbled with Warmachine and Rackham's Hybrid board game (such lovely models). A great distraction but ultimately just a space filler before the next big 40k competition.

It wasn't long before I burned myself out and wargaming lost it's shine.

Warmachine Mercenaries

When I finally went back to the models, about the time this blog was started, I decided to just do it for the models – painting and converting was my new thing. I was still buying 40k models to feed this new-found hunger, but within six months the fire had burned itself out again.

Along came Malifaux and seemed to tick all the boxes that had been missing. I got addicted big time – "skirmish games are the future, no more big armies". However, at the same time as buying the Malifaux rulebook I had also picked up several other books, including the Warmachine MkII rulebook. When the Malifaux bug died (about a month ago) it coincided with me going back to repaint some old Warmachine models one Saturday afternoon. So began my Warmachine/Hordes journey of (re)discovery.


Back to the question in hand… if I'm back into Warmachine (which is not really a skirmish level game) is 40k not the same, and something that I'm more emotionally (and financially) invested in already?

Here are my thoughts. Disagree if you will, and by all means use the comments box below. I'm interested to hear other people's perspectives.


Warhammer 40k

Vet. Serg. conversion
I lost my faith. The problem with 40k is Games Workshop and their evolution into a big business. Now, I'm not going to use this post to bash GW – we're all aware of the issues and they've been talked to death across the internet. They're not going to change for the better, or go back to how it was so let's all move on.

The 40k game itself has become something that has to be re-written and re-packaged every few years to drum up fresh business and so what happens is there is no balance. The newest army is usually the king of the hill, purely so that the punters buy lots of stuff. Rules are changed just enough so that long-term collectors of a given army still have to buy new stuff just to compete, or new units are invented that they won't have. The more popular armies are usually the easy win armies and flogged to death, everything else gets left by the wayside. The whole thing is aimed more and more towards kids and this has become apparent across the IP. Because of this, quite often you've lost a game before it's begun – that's not fun for anyone.

My (still) unfinished Blood Angels

The 40k models are (for the most part) still looking great, and GW's move towards more and more plastic kits is excellent. I'm a particular fan of their plastic scenery, which is superb and suitable for any and all same-scale games. Not so convinced about Finecast, but haven't had much experience with it so can't really comment. The prices of these models, however, is getting extremely high and Finecast (which was to be a cheaper replacement for metal) has reached ridiculous levels with this latest price hike. Add into this mix the fact that you need a lot more models in your army now than when I played in tournaments six or so years ago.

40k heavy metal

So at the end of the day, in my opinion, we have a game that has an unbalanced, ever-changing rule system and extortionately-priced models. I would hate to have to start an army from scratch. I know you have the skirmish rules for 40k now, which is great, but the rules are still unbalanced. Back in the day we used to, on occasion, play massive Apocalypse-sized battles with Baneblades and Forgeworld flyers – these now seem to be creeping into regular 40k games, which illustrates the escalating spiral.


Warmachine/Hordes

When I came back to Warmachine (which coincided with Salute 2012) I actually concentrated on the Hordes route, so had to start from nothing as it was completely new to me. Their starter box sets are an awesome way to get going – a skirmish sized entry-level (11-13pts) was ideally suited to my mindset and pocket. As my interest has grown so has my model collection (there's a surprise!) and I am now at the point where I could field a 20-25pt army (albeit unpainted). I'm only a couple of models away from 35pts or even 50pts, which seems to be the levels at which most games are played. I don't feel I've moved too far away from where I was with Malifaux – similar model count at this stage but could expand if I wanted to.

Newbie Hordes gaming

It seems like any faction can beat any faction (albeit down to which warcaster/warlock you chose to lead your army) and that the game rules, and individual model rules, are created and tweaked with the aim of retaining overall balance. I'm still pretty new to this, so no doubt veteran gamers could mention several imba models or combos, but I wouldn't feel intimidated facing anyone right now (foolish boy!).

My fledling Cryx army

The models are good overall. There are some dodgy sculpts (and some awesome ones) and there is a lack of pose variety in units, but generally speaking they're bloody good. The cost of these models is what I'd expect to pay from Privateer Press – you'd never say they were cheap but they don't render you penniless. There is a move towards plastic but it's more of a solid resin-like plastic than the GW sprue-based kits and are not nearly as nice or detailed (imo).

Plastic Deneghra

Another thing I like is that the Warmachine story seems to have evolved/moved on over time. I bought the current Cryx faction book only to discover that my favourite 'caster had been killed off, then later on brought back to life with a new set of rules and spells. What a cracking idea!! I can field either versions of said 'caster with my Cryx army, giving me plenty of choice. Having said that, the fluff doesn't grab me nearly as much as the 40k fluff used to. The faction books also offer Tier army lists for each 'caster, applying choice restrictions but making an army very fluffy and giving additional freebie benefits for sticking to the list.

Although the game may start at a skirmish level it can grow to any size, the rulebook including scenarios for  multi-caster games. With the recent release of the Battle Engines and the summer release of Colossals, the game is definitely getting bigger yet appears to remain balanced along the way. Time will tell if the needs of the business overtake the needs of the gamers.


Conclusions

I found a great quote from the PP forums, in answer to the question Why Warmachine/Hordes over 40k?

"I got tired of Yahtzee and wanted to start playing chess."


On the surface Warmachine/Hordes may seem very similar to 40k – I always thought it was a poor man's version of the GW flagship game – but the two games are worlds apart.

Chaos Iron Warriors

40k seems to be evolving – not sure into what right now – and it seems to be in conflict with where I want to go with my gaming. The final test will be the imminent release of 6th Edition this summer. It will either draw me back in or flush me out completely (cue massive Ebay sales). I'm struggling to see how it will win me over, but I will keep an open mind on the big day of release. If they release another crap Chaos Marine codex that will definitely be the final straw – 4th Ed Chaos was awesome, so flexible and allowed so much customisation, the current one has ruined the faction.

Warmachine/Hordes has been great to get into (again). The rules, whilst a new edition, felt familiar and it took no time to get up to speed again. The fact you have two games (in effect the sci-fi and fantasy versions of the same game) that cross over completely and remain balanced is fantastic… and is a genius idea. At the moment it's all very shiny to me; I'm fighting my instinct to buy loads of new models and have another shelf that looks like my Malifaux shelf – unopened blisters and semi-painted models.

Malifaux

I know there is a natural cycle with these things. I will play Malifaux again (which is why I'm not selling any of my stuff) and no doubt I will eventually move on from WM/H. I'm also hanging onto my Hybrid games and models, not just because they're all OOP and their value will increase, but it was a great game and I love the models and vibe of my Alchemists of Dirz. I always thought I'd go back to 40k some day which is why I kept hold of most of my Chaos models – Bezerkers, Plague Marines, Iron Warriors.

My Bezerker beastmen

I think the only real conclusion to be made is that I am no longer a one-game person. I'm happy to move from system to system, manufacturer to manufacturer depending upon where my interests are at any given time. My hobby time is far more limited than it was before and I'm not prepared to spend it flogging one particular system for the sake of loyalty or popularity.

I guess my 40k future will live or die by 6th Edition…

Monday, 21 May 2012

Enter the Carnivean


Having put together my Legion of Everblight starter box, painted my way (mostly) through Lylyth and a couple of Shredders, I was really looking forward to giving the monstrous Carnivean the attention his stature deserves.

I knew it was going to take a long time to complete. I had done his skin in the same way as the Shredders – highlighted to white – but the mass of armoured plates was intimidating and his weight was not making things easy.


I basecoated the armoured plates with a mix of Black and Coal Black. I then worked up highlightes using Coal Black and then by adding some white to the mix. This was washed with Asurmen Blue then Black to dumb down these highlights and add some depth. I also painted some Black into the gaps between plates to add shadow. The whole process took several hours spread over Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon and, to be completely honest, got a bit tedious in the end. However, I'm pretty happy with the end results even though some of the painting is quite clumsy.


The drybrushing and washes applied to the armoured plates pretty much destroyed the painting on the skin, so I had to go back in and repaint the body in Sky Blue, to effectively start this part again. As you can see in the photos, his skin needs re-highlighting back up to white then washing with blue and purple to match the Shredders' scheme.

I decided I wanted to finish the head before calling it a day, so concentrated on the tooth-filled maw for the last couple of hours. The Carnivean's claws need completing as well, and I will use the same palette for them as I used for the teeth – Black, Burnt Umber, Ochre and White.

This has been quite a change from the norm. I haven't painted something this large since the days of my Khorne Bezerker army. The weight of the metal model was inconvenient – I was in some danger of dropping him on a number of occasions while I painted details. Having said that, the added weight of the metal does give him a sense of gravitas appropriate for his station that a plastic alternative just does not have. I'm pretty happy with him so far, ask me again once I've finished his skin.

Looking forward to seeing him finished with the rest of the crew, but I won't be in a rush to paint another heavy warbeast anytime soon.


Friday, 18 May 2012

Plans for the weekend


So I'm finally back in the land of sanity after my few days away. The exhibition stand that took 5+ hours to put up came down in 15 minutes, I kid you not. We managed to jump the queue of waiting vans at GMEX too, thanks to a nice (if grumpy) man at the security gate and a cheeky request by yours truly. It meant we were on the road very quickly and got back to Folkestone around 11pm, which wasn't bad at all.

Having had no access to my miniatures for the past three days (though it feels like longer) I have plans for the weekend. My wife also has plans for the weekend, that involve me doing jobs so that's going to be an interesting negotiation! I have managed to stay in touch with things, my iPad being the lifeline that sustained me – except when I lost the 3G signal and was left playing Solitaire.


Anyway, the plan for me this weekend is to paint the Carnivean. There is a queue slowly building up behind him of Legion models wanting to be painted and whilst it was nice to get The Forsaken to jump the queue and painted to completion, the big fella needs some attention.

My thinking is that with a few painting sessions of 1-2 hours each he can be done quite quickly. The main issue will be painting the scales as there are quite a few of these and it is time consuming.

So keep an eye out for some lovely photos of a finished warbeast next week, or possibly photos of a trimmed lawn and hedge if negotiations don't go well!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Non-Hobby Madness in Manchester


So for the bulk of this week I am not in Folkestone, or indeed Kent. It is the time of the year that myself and a colleague have to travel up the motorway to Manchester to install an exhibition stand at the GMEX… er, sorry, Manchester Central (or whatever it's called nowadays).

The downside to this is that it's an awful trip – 6hrs in a van starting out at 6am then spend another 6 hours putting up an exhibition stand; sit on your backside for 36 hours then take down the stand and drive back to Kent. It wouldn't be so bad if I could bring some models to paint but it's just not practical.


On the upside I get to see my family, who are scattered around the area. By pure chance my mum is looking after my 2 year old nephew at the same time I am up here so I've spent this morning playing trains, reading the Gruffalo and splashing in puddles (while my nephew is out at the park :D).

Normal service will resume next week.

Monday, 14 May 2012

The Forsaken Lady


We had visitors this weekend so painting time has been limited. However, I couldn't let the beautiful weather go by without taking advantage and getting some models spray undercoated. Lylyth alt, Epic Lylyth, The Forsaken and a Warwitch Siren all got their undercoat sorted.


Yesterday afternoon I decided to press ahead with The Forsaken as it would be an 'easy win' – she is a human sized version of the warbeasts I've been painting for the Legion of Everblight, so the paint scheme was the same – straightforward and in this case quite quick to complete.


Not one of my better paint jobs (or indeed one of my favourite models) but it's ticked a box. Looking at the photos, the last couple of washes to the scales has dulled the highlights so I should go back in with a final off-white to the edges. I may also do the same with the skin, to the front of the model at least. In the photos there's a little too much blue and not enough purple.

Having said that I am quite pleased with the final result – especially the snow on the base.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Fantastic plastic…


You may remember, in my post about building the Cryx Starter set I had an issue with the glue, eventually discovering that Privateer recommend superglue despite the models apparently being plastic. The general consensus from across the net was that they are in fact a form of resin and should be treated as such.

Fast forward a couple of weeks – I was watching the latest video on the RHQ YouTube channel about unboxing the new plastic Hordes Starter sets. Imagine my surprise when Andrew Galea tells us he stuck all three box sets together with plastic glue!

This called for some investigation, so these last couple of evenings I opened up the Cryx Bonejack kits I had stored away to see if the plastic glue would work after all. I am happy to say that the two 'jacks in the above photo are stuck together with plastic glue – straight out of the box, no washing in soapy water or preparing in any way. Time will tell which is the better glue option long-term, but this was very encouraging.


However, I hit a problem when it came to the second Nightwretch Bonejack – can you see what it is?

It seems I have been unlucky with my Privateer Press purchases in the last month. Not only did my Everblight starter set have a missing leg and the wrong spell card, my Nightwretch box had too many right legs and not enough left legs!

I could contact them again but it's getting boring now and I don't want to wait. So, much like the one-legged Shredder, I will have to come up with a solution to turn a right leg into a left leg (or replace it entirely) – I love a hobby challenge so stay tuned for that one.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Ready Shreddie…


Rather than finish Lylyth, which would seem the more sensible thing to do, I spent the little painting time I had this Bank Holiday weekend painting Shredders. With four of them to complete I wanted to get a couple done before tackling the monstrous Carnivean model.


The skin had been highlighted already to almost white, in time for my tutorial Hordes games, so needed little attention – it was onto the details. After painting all of the scales and spines Black, with some Coal Black mixed in for good measure, I set about highlighting with two stages simply adding more white each time. These were coated in an undiluted wash of GW Asurmen Blue, using the wash to add shadows to the skin as well.

The gums were painted GW Lich Purple (I forget the name) before being highlighted with added white, then washed in GW Leviathan Purple. Teeth and claws were given a Black/Burnt Umber basecoat followed by a Burnt Umber highlight. Additional highlights were done by adding Ochre to the mix then adding white to that mix. The teeth were given an additional highlight with an off-white mix of the same colour. Both teeth and claws were given a GW Devlan Mud wash once complete.

The base was given a Black/Basalt Grey basecoat followed by highlights of the Basalt Grey and additional white. Once all this was done I got to use my new snow flock. After doing some reading online I found my technique of choice – for this first outing at least. I mixed my GW Snow flock with PVA glue then added it to the base with a tooth pick. It's very thick so needs some coaxing into place. I found adding a bit of water to the base first made life easier. Once it dried I did lose some of the coverage and vibrant white colour, so I may add some white paint to the mix next time.


Yesterday I decided to try and get a second Shredder finished before the extended weekend was done. I thought I'd have a go at the one-legged Shredder as a bit of fun. The painting technique/palette was the same as the first critter but obviously with the added interest of the amputated leg.


As you can see he still needs his base repainting in line with the first Shredder and snow added. Now I see the two Shredders side by side it's clear this second guy needs another highlight on his teeth as well as a couple of other places.

All in all it took a couple of hours to paint each Shredder. The question is, can I transfer this technique and palette successfully onto the much larger Carnivean model?

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Reinforcements…


Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you Lylyth, Lylyth and… Lylyth.

Yes, I love this character so much I bought all three poses.

Lylyth far left is from the starter box, middle Lylyth is the alternative sculpt and Lylyth far right is actually Epic Lylyth, who has a different set of skills and spells.


I have started to accumulate reinforcements for Lylyth's Legion of Everblight warpack. Unfortunately the rain has stalled any painting progress as I can't spray undercoat anything. For those unfamiliar we have, from left to right, Raek (light warbeast), Forsaken (solo), Nyss Shepherd (solo) and a Nephilim Bolt Thrower (light warbeast). There are also some Harriers (lesser warbeasts) still in their packet but I need to clear space on the tray before starting on them.


My fledgling Cryx army has not been idle either. After the disappointment of the 'plastic' Deneghra model, I bought a new warcaster as well as some other stuff at Salute. Again, from left to right, we have warcaster Iron Lich Asphyxious (or 'Gaspy' as he's know on the net), a Warwitch Siren (solo), the plastic Slayer (helljack) and the two plastic Deathrippers (bonejacks). There are also some plastic Nightwretch bonejacks that need building but, again, space is at a premium and Legion have to take priority.

With any luck the sun will come out at some point over the bank holiday weekend and some of these models will see paint!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Painting tutorial test…

Earlier in the week I had a go at shooting a painting tutorial. Well, I say tutorial… it is in fact just me painting – no voiceover, no captions or descriptions.

Here it is…




So what was the point?

I actually needed to test whether I could get my iPad to sit still long enough to film it, what the quality was like and how comfortable it was to paint around the thing (not very!). In the future I shall speed things up significantly (it gets rather boring watching me paint for 15mins!), I will also add a voiceover or some sort of guide – I will also choose something more visible to paint, the bow is difficult to see I think.

If you can get anything out of it then great – even if it's just to see my messy hobby tray.

Comments welcome as always…

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Post 200: Painting Lylyth's Cloak


This one is a bit rushed today – pics aren't terribly sharp – but I am overdue a post. I've also had a report that my blog throws up a malware warning, so if anyone else experiences this please do let me know.

Ok, on to the post.

This lovely lady, as you may have gathered from recent posts, is Lylyth – warlock of the Legion of Everblight. After she was given a quick paint job in time for last weekend's tutorial games I wanted to go back and lavish some time finishing off the details. Not too long mind you as I have TWO alternative versions of this character, both better sculpts, waiting in the wings.


Today I will concentrate on her cloak, which was a joy to paint thanks to my recently acquired pot of P3 Coal Black. Now let's be honest, it's not black at all. In fact it's a gorgeous deep sea blue/green. With the plethora of paints I currently own I never thought I'd need to buy paint again, or rather I couldn't imagine a colour I'd be missing or couldn't match. Coal Black is the colour I've been missing – it's amazing, and it gives great results.

I have made today's photos a bit bigger to retain the original colour as much as possible. The camera doesn't catch it exactly but it's pretty close.


Lylyth's cloak was given an undercoat of Black then a thin base layer of 60/40 Coal Black/Black. After that had dried thoroughly I went back in with several layers of 100% Coal Black, thinned with a lot of water so I could build up highlights slowly and gradually.


Once these layers had reached a point where they weren't having much more impact I started to add white to the mix, still very watered down. It tends to look very harsh when first painted on but dries to almost transparent.


This process continued until the mix was probably 70/30 White/Coal Black. At this point I mixed some white with a small amount of Coal Black – probably 90/10 – and watered it down a lot to add a brighter highlight to key edges. I then went back in with a thicker version of the same mix (i.e. less water) and added tiny amounts to the same key edges. In this instance I didn't feel a final highlight of pure white was appropriate as it is meant to be a cloth surface.

Under normal circumstances I would probably have spent more time getting the layers smoother, and it could do with some shadows re-applying and then a wash to unify the layers. However, as I said earlier, this is a quicker paint job than normal and I'm happy as it is.

As you can see she still needs a few details finishing, and I'm due to get my delivery of snow flock today, so she should be complete by the weekend.

I have made another test video, this time showing me painting the wooden bow on this model. It didn't make it into today's post as it takes an age to upload to YouTube and the wife needed the internet for work today – keep you eyes peeled for that any day now.

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