Friday, 29 November 2013

Iron Hands Upgrade Pack

My thoughts on the Iron Hands upgrade pack from Games Workshop. Hope this is helpful.

Dark Vengeance Video

Uploaded this ages ago, thought I might just add it here for visibility. Always appreciate comments.

Where have you been?

I haven't posted in ages, and that makes me sad. Sad, because this blog is the manifestation of all my hobby progress, and no posts equals no progress. It seems that real life has largely gotten in the way. Since July things have been hectic, at work we were opening a new store, massive overtime, then I went to Australia for three weeks, no painting. Then I got home, spent three days doing a stock take, and then I was off to Denmark for a fortnight. When I got home some time in late October, I needed a rest. Recently things have settled down (after moving a store yet again), but now the Christmas rush sets in.

Luckily, I have snatched some moments to work on my 30k Ultramarines, but I could do with a hobby day. Time to get some stuff done for the Dark Pact, which frankly has stalled on all fronts due to changes in people's lives.

Hopefully my next update will be less despairing and more productive.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Mk V "Heresy" Armour Video

I decided to do a post on the Mk V Armour I got from Forgeworld this week, and realised that a video was simply more effective, so I tried my hand at making a video. You can see the results below, I hope readers find it helpful.

Time to start cleaning these chaps up so that I can make a start on my next five marines.

+ The Emperor Protects +

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The makings of a 30k Ultramarines Tactical Squad

So the first deadline for the Dark Pact is upon me, and here is my first offering:

Sergeant Demetrios of Orpheus leads half a Tactical Squad at the height of Horus' Heresy. Survivors of Calth, these Ultramarines fight to avenge the noble dead. My first five marines for the Dark Pact challenge are all in Mk. IV Maximus armour, which I think is phenomenal, elegant and clean in design.

Left to right: Marius Regulus and Demetrios the Mortifactor.

Left to right: Demetrios the Mortifactor and Sergeant Demetrios of Orpheus.

Left to right: Anacreon the Laconian and Decius Aurorus.
Focus on the shoulder pads.
Marius Regulus
Demetrios the Mortifactor.
Decius Aurorus

So there, all done. Sergeant Demeter has a stripe over his face rather than a full red helmet as I thought it just looked cooler, and also because I forgot he needed a red helmet and this was a good compromise late into the paint job. I also decided against using the command upgrade as I think that the sergeant's transverse crest helmet ruins the clean elegance of the Mk. IV armour, as well as looking a bit daft. I do however want a nuncio-vox chap and might use the crested helmets in other squads. 

My next month's project will be to paint up five more tactical marines, this time in Mk. V Heresy armour, which I have ordered and has arrived. 

+ The Emperor Protects +

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Planning 30k Ultramarines

My 30k Ultramarines project is well under way with the first tactical marine complete, the colour scheme nailed down, and the other four on their way. I have been thinking of ways to play with them, so that it isn't just an army of generic looking troops and I have decided to go for a very varied look. As I see it, every marine is a fighting unit and as such, during their long service will modify his kit and accumulate non standard pieces of equipment. Anyone who has ever served in the military will be familiar with that post-basic training desire to ditch all the poorly designed and seventeenth-hand equipment that marks one squarely as a crowbag. So I am going to make my marines a little different, whilst hoping to tie it all in. Here is my first marine again just as a reminder:

I have also thought long and hard about the "moment" I am trying to capture with this project. Having read, and thoroughly enjoyed "Mark of Calth" I think I will go for a post-Calth legion. So, red helmeted Sergeants will be the norm. However, to further extend the devastating effects of Calth on the legion I am going to try and make use of the Games Workshop Ultramarines successor shoulder pads. The idea being that after the devastation of the legion on Calth, as a mark of honour to the fallen, marines start embellishing their armour and equipment with items honouring the fallen. 

I saw a similar idea on a forum somewhere, though I cannot seem to find it now, in which a fellow did a Sons of Orpheus chapter within the legion as was. My idea is similar, though I imagine after being broken and battered many units would have had to be amalgamated into new squads. These marines then take their personal history with them to whichever newly reformed company they are assigned to, still honouring their fallen captains or commanders.

Some have wondered at my obsession with cast shoulder pads, and my dislike of transfers. First of all, I do not like decals, they just look flat, and never seem to look good for me. I have used them in the past with some Dark Angels, but I simply prefer moulded shoulder pads that allow me to do highlights that look good. Furthermore, as I have been reading the Heresy novels, one thing that is very striking is the rather Spartan existence of the Space Marines. There are several parts in which the authors emphasise the fact that the characters repair their own armour and that their armour and weapons are amongst the only only things they actually own. This idea of a personal piece of equipment speaks to my earlier assertion that the marines will modify their kit, but additionally, I like the idea of them mounting a former company marking onto the bare shoulder pad.

These are the shoulder pads I will be working with, which I found on Lexicanum:

Left to right: Aurora Chapter, Silver Skulls, Genesis Chapter, Howling Griffons and Praetors of Orpheus
All of the above are made by Games Workshop, apart from the Howling Griffon shoulder pad which is available from Chapterhouse Studios.

So without further ado, here are work in progress shots of my second marine, just to give readers a sense of what I am going for:

No doubt you will notice that the metal Aurora Chapter shoulder pad is significantly bulkier than the resin Ultramarine shoulder pad. I think that in future I will switch them around with the bulkier shoulder pad on the left shoulder facing the enemy when firing. Reinforced armour? Also, I will use colours on the custom shoulder pads which I feel like using, not necessarily those in the picture above. I really want to combine the personal heraldry with the idea that those symbols refer to companies in the legion.

The first deadline for our five marines is the 14th of July, so I need to go get some painting done now. I hope that my idea will become clearer as I paint up my figures and fill in their back story. 

Monday, 17 June 2013


Although the focus is currently on my 30k Ultramarines project, and my continuing slow build up to my 40k skirmish project, I have also started painting up my Dreadball teams. The refbot is now painted and I have completed my first uniform test for my Ork team. 

Not 100% happy with the orange, I might add a wash to lift out the change in tone a little more, but otherwise happy enough. The sculpts aren't the best admittedly, but they paint up relatively swiftly. Looking forward to having some painted teams to play with. I bought Dreadball via Kickstarter, and frankly, I have barely looked at the game since it came in the post. However, with the possibility of gameplay rearing its head, I figure now is the time to get it painted. Everyone on YouTube and the wargaming community in general says good things, so I'd like to see for myself. Here's a rear shot:

Friday, 14 June 2013

First Complete 30k Horus Heresy Ultramarine

I had a rare day off work on Friday, the first in several weeks in fact. So needless to say, with 13 hour days being the norm for almost a month it was nice to relax and get some painting done with the sun still up. 

Over the last few weeks I have been working on my first set of five Ultramarines for the Dark Pact Horus Heresy challenge that I and several friends have undertaken. Five Marines by July 10th. With the cost of Forgeworld being what it is I am keen to put as much effort into every figure as is reasonably possible. Below is my first completed Ultramarine in Mk IV armour. 

I opted for a slightly darker take on the Ultramarine look as I am not a fan of super bright power armoured smurfs. Additionally the gold has a worn look that I quite like. Overall the chap is quite subdued in terms of colour and not too bling. Again, not too happy with the lighting of the photograph, I think better lamps are in order. I might post a step-by-step painting guide if I find the time. 

Until next time. Carry on citizen. 

Monday, 13 May 2013

A Wee New Project

A friend of mine from my university days got in touch recently about a "Tale of Four Heretics" project he and a bunch of other guys I know from university were starting. The basic idea was to do a Space Marine army of the Heresy (all Forgeworldy and stuff) with each chap choosing a legion. 

I was honoured to be let into this secret cabal as an observer, and after one comment the words "Join Us" were uttered after which I was voluntold to participate as the Ultramarines. I couldn't say no, could I? So now I have until July 10th 2013 to paint five figures, an easy deadline. So now from being a "Tale of Four Heretics", it is now "The Dark Pact".

However, being as these are Ultramarines, which I've never painted and the Forgeworld figures cost a veritable fortune, I want to do a good job. So I found a black undercoated Tactical Marine, and did a colour test for my blues. Here are the results:

The blue looks about right. I found some pictures of Heresy era Ultramarines on the Internet, which are below:

The next phase will be deciding whether to go gold or yellow. Yellow is an horrific colour to paint well, but a gold that is too bright will make my super soldiers look just a little too bling. Again, a colour test is in order, but this will all be about finding the right balance. Gold seems appropriate given the time period with Ultramar riding high, but I want to get those cool helmet with the face piece and I don't imagine they would look too good being gaudy and golden. 

Lots to think about as I read "Know No Fear" by Dan Abnett, whose "Gaunt's Ghosts" novels I really enjoyed. Enjoying it so far, and hopefully I'll find some inspiration. This will be especially the case as regards the basing I choose, as I might splash out on resin bases and do something quite thematic.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Imperial Navy Armsmen

Here are some more pictures, with less shadow, of my Imperial Navy "Armsmen", which I called Marines previously. Thanks to the chaps over at the Lead Adventure Forum for pointing this out and all the positive feedback, especially Plynkes. Without further ado:

I also got some really positive feedback regarding a ruleset to use for small narrative skirmish games. Thus far In the Emperor's Name looks the best, being free, though I am keen to try out Two Hour Wargames' 5150: Star Army which is available in PDF form and looks like it might tick the boxes. However, the budget is tight this month, so I will defer purchases until I am sure I have money available to waste on wargaming. 

On a technical note, these pictures were taken using my "light box" which is hardly perfect yet. I have been playing with my camera settings to try and increase the light intake and the focus depth. Interestingly,  May 2013's issue of Miniature Wargames features an article by Henry Hyde of Battlegames and View from the Veranda fame on the topic of miniature photography, which I found very useful. As an aside, Miniature Wargames is looking really good under Mr. Hyde's direction and I am excited to receive my next issue. Digitally of course. 

Back to the Armsmen. I have my first scenario in mind for my narrative series, though I'll need the crashed Aquila Lander terrain piece for that as I don't have a crashed flyer to act as a suitable objective marker. I've sketched out the details for the scenario already, but I'll publish them on here once I've had a chance to actually do a play through. 

Of course we'll need some enemy for said scenario, and to that end I have been painting up some Orks. At the moment I am not happy with the colour scheme I have used so far. I won't repaint the once's I have done, the primary colours are fine, the issue is the more drab elements of the Orks which I am having a hard time feeling inspired by. Once I have more to show, I'll pop some pictures of the green menace up for your viewing pleasure.

Until then.

PS. Here are some Vikings I fixed up... I can't find their shields though.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Painted Dwarf Cannon and Some Photographing Notes

The proud dwarfs of Karak Azul now have a cannon to help stem the tide of greenskins that threaten to seize their mountain home. I finished this earlier in the week, when I decided one morning before work to quickly dip the crew and the dwarf lord figure that came with the Skull Pass boxed set. A word of advice, don't try and dip figures before work whilst on the phone, you will drop your dwarf lord into the pot of quickshade. And then you will try to dab the excess quickshade off with a brush loaded with dirty water, and then you will end up with a horrid looking model with greyish muck patches. Sigh. Needless to say the dwarf lord will need some clean up before he is ready for photographing. 

Some notes of the photos. First off, I finally got around to building a lightbox. Nothing fancy, just a box with white paper sides and three lamps to bombard them with. I bought a lamp yesterday which produces a nice white light, but the other two are quick yellowy and feeble. However, as the photos show the shadows are eliminated and the light is pretty decent. I would like to invest more into my lampage, but at the moment I simply don't have the space to devote to the hobby. Hopefully as I clear out the house I will claw back some room to store lamps etc. I also don't have a tripod, which is an oversight on my part. It's going to be a tight month monetarily, so I'll have to hold back on the spending majorly. A tripod would make the camera steadier and allow for longer exposure times without the risk of blur. 

Now, in all honesty, I really don't like these miniatures, but they are what I have. At the moment, the mighty army of Karak Azul consists of 25 Warriors, 9 Thunderers, 8 Miners, and 1 Cannon. I haven't got a Dwarf army book, so I can't work out the points value for this little force. However, I think I might be approaching a point where I can start playing small sized battles to familiarise myself with the new rules. 

That is all.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Basing 15mm World War II Russians

I've started basing up the Strelkovy Company to fight the Finns in the Jatkosota, or Continuation War. These figures have been painted for some time and have been awaiting completion, and frankly World War II isn't a priority for me. In any event, I did a test model using Polyfilla to build the base up to the metal feet of the miniature followed by Games Workshop's Stirland Mud texture paint and a drybrushing of Steel Legion Drab, and then some flock and stuff for a Autumnal look. Not really happy with the result, which to my mind was flat and just not rich enough. Here is a rather poor photo:

I then did another element using sand, and a base coat of Rhinox Hide followed by a Steel Legion Drab drybrush, and more Autumnal flock. The result is far more to my liking, it looks richer and creates a better blend with the figures on the base:

Once I have built my fabled light box, which might happen on Thursday if I am not in London, then I will post a step-by-step tutorial on how I do my bases with some better photos. In the meantime, please have a look at the photos below and let me know what you think.

The flocking materials I used are Games Workshops ancient green flock, and Hornby Skale Scenics foliage fibre clusters, late Autumn medium and a bag of fluffy yellow flock, also from Hornby. I was inspired by Doctor Faust's Painting Clinic on Youtube when it came to the bases, especially picking out the largely gravel bits in grey to break up the base. I also realised that I really made this harder than it needs to be by painting the figures unbased, and in the future I might just paint the figures in situ like he does. Have a look, I think it is a worth a watch.

 More to come of course.

Carry on.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Completed Imperial Navy Marine Landing Party Outdoor Pictures

All fifteen Imperial Navy Marines.
I keep calling these guys 40k Imperial Navy Marines, which has led to some confusion, because in 40k Marine means power armoured superhuman. The basic idea here is that they are a sort of "shore party" that escorts the Fleet head-shed when they go planet side. I decided to go for a uniform inspired by Imperial Russian Naval uniforms and I will use these figures as VSF Russians too. I am a big fan of reusing figures if I can, and these chaps have a nice late Victorian style to them. Onto the Red Planet perhaps?

The weather has been glorious today, so I had a chance to take some pictures outdoors. The lighting is good, but there are still some shadow. I think the ultra-controller environment of a lightbox is better, but I haven't had a chance to get my hands on some lamps for it, so here you go:

The quality of the paint job is okay, I am not one hundred percent satisfied with them, but at least they are done. In the flash they look much nicer, although there seems to be a little frosting because of the varnish. So there, fifteen chaps done. I plan to run them as a section of two fire teams, minus the heavy weapons team. So a team of seven and one of six. I might pick up a junior officer to lead them. Once I have the light box up and running I'll take some more pictures so that we can see the difference.

Carry on.