Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Completed Models: Contemptor and Kairic Acolytes

Flesh Tearers Contemptor Dreadnought
I'm having a bit of trouble getting a good, consistent red on large areas. You can see I had to layer and layer and layer and it resulted in brushstrokes everywhere. I think it might be the black undercoat. It came out fine on all the man-sized models I've tried it on but for anything larger I might want to start from a red spray. I think GW do a Mephiston Red spray now. Also, whilst bashing my own paintjob, the brass on the shoulder armour came out a lot less well than the photo makes it look.

Plus, yay for actual sunlight! The model doesn't look pink! The photo came out not too bad and I only had to crop it.

Kairic Acolytes

and then the sun went in.

I have to say, these fellows are very time consuming to build and paint. I can't claim they aren't worth the effort but I am thinking that I won't be painting more than this one unit. They look fantastic but what makes them look fantastic are all those fine details I'm painting in unforgiving gold.

I tried out Kantor Blue armour for the plate, just to test it out before doing anything in heavy armour. I wasn't fond of how the silver armour came out on the Sorcerer so I want to try a lacquered look on my Warriors and Knights.
I have to say, I really enjoyed painting the Scroll Of The Dark Arts, its one of my favourite parts of the whole kit.

Completed Models (2017)
Chaos (Tzeentch) : 6
Dwarfs: 5
Flesh Tearers: 7
Genestealer Cults: 5
Renegades & Heretics: 5
Sylvaneth: 5


A third of the way to 100! Counting is fun! 

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Hobby Goal #13: Tall Trees, Strong Trees

Behold the mediocre progress I have achieved on my Kurnoth Hunters...
Yeah, a little layering, some inking and drybrushing. Not spectacular progress but it just hasn't been a week when I could dedicate much time to painting. Still, its something and just about the only thing I managed to do this week. This week,, for the final Hobby Goal of Sylvaneth Month, I will be addressing the last model in my army that has no paint on it at all:

Hobby Goal #13
Work on my Treeman

Same rules as the last couple of Goals: doesn't matter about finishing him, I just have to work on him. Once I have some paint on this guy I can start going back through the other models in the army and polish off their details. Fingers crossed, I might even have something approaching a presentable army by the end of April.

Not sure what theme I'll be picking for my hobby in April. I might dedicate some time to the Flesh Tearers given how taken I've been with some of the ideas being discussed for 40k 8th edition the other day. That or the Tzeentchians, we'll see.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Reading tea leaves: 40k 8th edition reveals

Yes, reveals, not leaks. GW's commendable turn of telling people things continues with a preview of the mechanics currently being tested for 8th edition. Yes, its time to read some tea leaves and make some assumptions that are almost certainly wrong. Let's go!

Movement Characteristics

Yes! The basic sense here is that the generic unit types (Infantry, Jump Infantry, etc,.) will be going and replaced by a Movement characteristic on the unit's stat line. This knocks out a chunk huge of the main rulebook, which is just sensible, and puts more emphasis on the individual Codex. The less flicking between books the player has to do, the better.

Charging units fight first

An unfortunate reality of 40k's meta is that if you play a low Initiative army you're most likely to play against high Initiative (read: Space Marine) armies. If nothing else this rule is an inducement to dust off my Orks since my mighty close combat army might actually get to fight a combat round or two in this edition.

Armour Save Modifiers (for shooting)

Whether its a Strength based modifier or a Rending value as in AoS is unclear but I do think its sensible to bring this concept in. The fact that, say, an AP3 weapon completely knocks out the protection of power armour but has zero effect whatsoever on Terminator plate has always been a strange abstraction to me and modifiers are a simple way of bringing that concept into play whilst still keeping the spirit of how these weapons are meant to work (lascannons will still be the shit, lasguns will still be just shit).

3 Ways To Play

Definitely better to bring this in at the beginning than how they did it with Age Of Sigmar. Its the same tryptch of Open, Narrative and Matched play. Now, Open Play is still as unappealing to me here as it was in AoS but I can't pretend that having more options of play is somehow a bad thing.

Command Points”

Um... this one is a bit complicated because it isn't really explained. The basic idea is that if you build an army as the background dictates you get Command Points, a series of benefits like re-rolls and unspecified army specific special rules.

How army selection actually works under this system is left unsaid. Most likely, in my view, is that the Force Organisation Chart becomes optional and you get Command Points for following it. Also,perhaps the chart will be bespoke to each army, completely replacing the generic version rather than just supplementing it as the bespoke charts in this edition have.

Age of Sigmar morale checks

About the only one I'm not thrilled by. Its not a mechanic I'm super fond of in AoS and that's a game with the option of large units. 40K has always generally lent towards five- and ten-man squads so I suspect this mechanic will be a lot less forgiving, especially the high-cost elite units like Terminators.

Overall, though, I'm looking forward to this, which I wasn't expecting to be. 

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Why my Runemaster won't be ginger

(Apologies for any typos, my word processor has gone insane and is flagging everything with a red underlining so any misspelled words are just going to get lost in the shuffle).
Whilst I did buy this Runemaster before the Kharadron Overlords were announced I am determined to paint him. However, he is absolutely not going to be ginger.

Part of it, I admit, is resentment. I've wanted a Slayer army since I started in this hobby and when it finally comes along in plastic they aren't Slayers. They've got the right god and the right hair but, essentially, they aren't the same army I ogled when they were unaffordable metals. They're wearing armour, for a bloody start. Cowards!

As much of their background and aesthetic as I like I do prefer to view them as the new concept they are rather than as a continuation of an old concept they don't quite fit. The Battletome has no shortage (if you'll pardon the expression) of alternative colour scheme but none of them inspired me. However, a description of the Sepuzkul Lodge from the short story Four Thousand Days by David Guymer really grabbed my attention:

... this one's wargear was black, fluted and moulded into the appearance of bone. His face had been painted with white powder, except for the eye sockets where the brazen red of his skin showed through. His beard was an unnatural grey. The twinned plumes of his helm designating him a karl of his fyrd might have been a reassuring point of commonality, but the likeness crafted into the black helm was that of a skeletal wyrm and the plumage itself was short, white and brittle.”

Now, we don't learn much about this Lodge and its origins but given all the imagery and that some of its members swear using Nagash's name as well as Grimnir's I think its pretty obvious they're from the Realm of Death.

So let's break that description down and decide how the model will be painted: armour black, beard grey, crest white, I'll skip the face paint because that's too fiddly with the helmet and since I can't re-sculpt the dragon face on his helmet I'll simply paint it as bone. Also, to carry on the “Realm of Death” theme the flames coming from his brazier he's carrying will be that sort of luminous green used on Hexwraiths and Realmgates if I can find a tutorial. Also, to keep the model relatively dark any metal that doesn't have to be gold will be brass and bronze. Not sure what I'll do with the scale cape but I'm sure something will occur as I work through the other stages.

This is actually one of my favourite AoS models: commanding pose, lots of interesting and intricate detail and plenty of chances for experimentation. I'm really looking forward to tackling this for a bit of variety whilst I whittle away at the Kurnoth Hunters.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Hobby Goal #12

Whilst my very, very fun, very, very visually interesting and very. Very time consuming idea of doing as many different coloured leaves as possible on my Dryads meant I didn't get them finished this week they aren't far off. I literally just have to do the leaves and a little blue to pick out the eyes and mouths and I'm done.

So. seems like removing the stress of needing to finish the unit in a week actually got me further than trying to meet the deadline. This week...

Hobby Goal #12
Kurnoth Hunters

I have virtually nothing done of this unit even though they're my favourite models from the Sylvaneth range. I have the soft inner wood based and inked and that's it. So this week they're what I'm going to be working on whenever I sit down to paint.

Let's see how this goes. 

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Sylvaneth Month #2: A time consuming idea occurs

As much as I insisted I didn't care about finishing the Dryads for my Hobby Goal this week, it was starting to look tantalisingly plausible. I had the main body of them painted and drybrushed, I had the leaf loincloths done and the bits of skeleton in their branches done but for the drybrush. All that really left to paint are the little leaves on their branches.

I started off thinking of just doing them in Deathworld Forest like the loinclothes. Then I thought maybe Khorne Red for an autumnal feel, just to get some variety into the unit.

Then I think maybe mix it up a bit: some green leaves, some red ones, some yellow ones.

Then a friend got involved, a nature loving friend who reminded me there are a lot of different coloured leaves. I could put some purple ones in there.

This all means I'm going to go through my painting tutorial books for anything that could believably be a leaf colour. I want as many different colours in this unit as possible, mainly because the basic shape of the Dryad doesn't lend itself to variety.

So I'm probably not getting this unit finished this week but it will look bloody sweet once its finished.  

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Mark IX Power Armour? Well, Maybe...

Just to be clear because this seems to be a very, very contentious subject at the moment: I have no dog in this race. I have plastic Maximus and Iron armour kits, I am happy forever. Still, here's the image that's been doing the rounds purportedly featuring a new Mark IX power armour kit:
"Can you tell me the way to Amarillo?"
The thing is I'm pretty sure this is a conversion and the supposed larger scale of the model is entirely down to the other figure being a very old Last Chancer and therefore a bit smaller the modern Guardsman. The real killer is the new bolt rifle which seems to be bent like two components were glued without being properly filed one side of the join.

The thing is, though, its a pretty good redesign. It bulks out the arms and legs with additional armour plating, the backpack rides higher on the back giving it extra height, that gorget bulks it out forwards as well: its a real lesson in how to enlarge the armour in all directions for the illusion of size more than the reality. The new bolt rifle, whilst a bit squinty, looks like a more heavy duty weapon even than the standard bolter: more high-powered because of its size and more suitable for longterm deployment because of the huge drum magazine.

GW could do a lot worse than this: it adds a lot of visual interest and size with its new elements whilst maintaining the absolutely essential and iconic outline of the Space Marine.

Its not Maximus armour, though, which will always be the best pattern. 

Hobby Goal #11

Well, I didn't get all the wood painted on my Sylvaneth arm but that's okay because for once I got distracted by something relevant:
(I had to over-expose the image a little because I was shooting at the last minute in less than ideal conditions).

Yes, when I was production lining the army I got fascinated by the Spite-Revenants and finished them. That's one seventh of the army actually finished, plus I have at least some paint on everything except the Treeman. I admit the paintjob is a little simpler than it could be but just for once this army isn't mean to be an all-singing, all-dancing production number. Still, I like some of the effects, especially the black-washed Stegadon Scale Green of the Spite's flesh.

On the design side, I love how the sculpters used a split in the body to create branches that twist through each other. Its an interesting use of It makes for a slightly frustrating building experience where you have to dry fit again and again to make sure everything is in exactly the right place but the effect is more than worth it.

Moving on, this week's hobby goal:

Hobby Goal #11
Work on the Dryads

I said I was swearing off the “finish X unit” goals because I never finish them but that's not what I'm doing here. Considering the size of the army and that I already have a finished unit, the rest of the goals for the month are going to be me taking a Sylvaneth unit and concentrating on it for the week. Doesn't matter if I finish them, just that I make some progress on the unit.

(Though if by some miracle I did finish the unit that would see the army more than two thirds of the way done, which would be sweet).

Completed Models (2017)
Chaos (Tzeentch): 1
Dwarfs: 5
Flesh Tearers: 6
Genestealer Cults: 5
Renegades & Heretics: 5
Sylvaneth: 5


Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Completed Model: Chaos Sorcerer Lord (of Tzeentch)

Yes, I've decided to keep score. It feels good, its content and it appeals to a deep part of me that likes making lists. Going through my hobby posts from the last two months tells me that this is the twenty-second model I've completed this year and that's a nice feeling, so anyway...
Angrelthir, Lord Herald of the Last Banetower
The first finished model for my Tzeentch Chaos army: the plastic Sorcerer Lord. I wanted to try a few things with this model, some of them worked, some of them didn't.

The flesh method worked. Its a base of Rakarth Flesh shaded with Carroburg Crimson and drybrushed Changeling Pink. Its not a method I think I'll use on the other “human” units and characters but it might bear keeping in mind for when I start painting up Tzaangor (the blue flesh GW uses on their exemplar models would look too much like the blue cloth I'm going to use to tie the human units together).

I painted the base in a method I saw on a WarhammerTV painting tutorial (for the Balefire Realmgate, incidentally). I like how the stone came out with a Karak Stone drybrush and now I have a new way of doing “mountain” bases for my Dwarf units. Also, it turns out that Steel Legion Drab comes out pretty well on a Mechanicus Standard Grey base which was a surprising solution to a problem I've been having since I started doing base rims in Steel Legion: it doesn't cover over black or brown very well.

Always nice when you solve a problem by accident.

The bright silver armour, however, just doesn't work. It isn't terrible here, the gold breaks up the brightness, but I imagine if I painted the Warriors' armour like this outlined by a Thousand Sons Blue cape it will lack contrast. Right now I'm thinking Kantor Blue armour, as I've used for the shoulder guards and such on the Kairic Acolytes, but we'll see how I feel when I get there.

Models Completed (2017)
Chaos (Tzeentch): 1
Dwarfs: 5
Flesh Tearers: 6
Genestealer Cults: 5
Renegades & Heretics: 5


Sunday, 5 March 2017

Hobby Goal #10: Woodworking

This week I'm going to try to get the big production line stages finished on the Sylvaneth Wargrove. What I'll be aiming to finish are the largest block areas of colour common between most or all of the models in roughly this order:

1) The light interior wood, basically the joints and moving parts of the Treelord and Kurnoth Hunters using Rakarth Flesh, a Seraphim Sepia wash and an Ushabti Bone drybrush.

2) The hard exterior wood on all the models using Dryad Bark with a drybrush of the new Sylvaneth Bark dry compound where necessary. The Dryads will be based entirely like this, incidentally.

3) The remaining wood elements, such as weapon hafts and branches, in Mournfang Brown, washed Agrax Earthshade and tidied with another layer of Mournfang. 

They're simple methods and all ones I've used for wood in the past so there's no trial and error here, just reliable methods I can be confident in. I might not get as far as finishing all the Mournfang wood but I feel confident I can at least get pretty far into the Dryad Bark stage. 

Friday, 3 March 2017

Sylvaneth Month #1: The Wargrove Assembled

The Village Green Preservation Society, yesterday
Assembled and undercoated, this is my 1,000 points Matched Play list: a Branchwraith (my general), 20 Dryads (as one or two units, I'm not sure), 5 Tree-Revenants, 3 Kurnoth Hunters with Kurnoth Scythes, 5 Spite-Revenants and a Treelord. That's just shy of a thousand points.

I have to admit, the fact that a complete mid-size army weighs in at thirty-five models feels reassuringly achievable. Anyone I play will gladly tell you that I like my hordes of disposable minions and that I can turn any army into a horde army but when you're starting virtually from scratch a low model count is a blessing. Given my record with such things I'm not going to say anything to tempt fate like “Oh, I can probably get this done by the end of the month” but I should have something vaguely presentable in a couple of weeks, especially given that there are enough common colours I can probably production line a lot of the army.

Its not particularly optimised, as far as I can tell, its just based on what I had to hand and what I had a yen to paint. I absolutely wanted some of both Revenant units and the moment I saw the scythes I knew that was what my Hunters would be armed with.
I also had a little money left in my “Getting Started” budget so I also picked up my favourite AoS miniature: the Fyreslayers Auric Runemaster which did take me slightly over budget but I really like the model. That and I found a cheap copy of the Legends Of The Age Of Sigmar omnibus in the Oxfam Shop so that's my research material dealt with.

Hopefully I'll have some painting progress to report soon. 

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

March is Sylvaneth Month!

Okay, so Dwarf Month was a wash. I went in with no plan and made little actual progress. This month, though, I have both a plan and an aim in mind.

After a lot of consideration I've decided that the best way to ease myself back into social gaming is to kludge together an Age Of Sigmar army out of existing models. The simplicity of the system was never a selling point to me before but now it might actually serve a purpose. I love classic Fantasy and they'll tear my 8th edition rulebook from my cold dead hands but the sort of long, complex game I can enjoy with my closest friends is perhaps a bit long and involved for playing against near strangers in a store environment.

And I just can't be doing with the convoluted mess that is 40k. Not yet, anyway. Once I'm in the groove and confident the Flesh Tearers will have their day but, for the moment, I feel like a soft learning curve.

Now, I have a couple of Fantasy armies that have Battletomes (I want to avoid the “get you by” battlescrolls and their silliness) but ultimately only two AoS factions really attract me: Sylvaneth and Fyreslayers. Of course, I have no Fyreslayers models but I do have a Wood Elves army.

So, step one: what do I have available to me and what is it worth in Matched Play terms?

I have twenty Dryads (240pts and one of my compulsory Battleline units), a Treeman (a 260pts Treelord in the new money) and a plastic Branchwych (100pts) I bought but never got around to building. That's 600 points right off the bat, no purchase necessary.

Next steps are to dig out those models and work out what I need to make a 1,000 points Matched Play list. Also, to have a quick examine of the army rules and background just to give myself a grounding in what these models do and what they're meant to be in the new continuity.