Saturday, May 30, 2009

PAINTING: I've developed a new philosophy... I only dread one day at a time

As I tweeted yesterday I settled in for a marathon painting session and, about five hours later, I had a fully painted Dreadnought.

I had already sorted out the base and drybrushed the metallics so the big job was the red armour. And it was big job! The base layer was Mechrite Red over the Chaos Black undercoat as normal and then I built up the layers of Blood Red on top.

Perhaps because the flat panels were so large, or maybe because I over thinned the Blood Red, the paint went on very patchy and I'm sure you can still see some trace of that in some of the pics. Once I add some transfers it'll be unnoticeable I think.

I painted this model shortly after I painted my Terminators so I used a very similar palette, with the black left fist and the scrollwork and badges the same brown bone colour. This helps tie the elite models, and indeed the army as a whole, together visually. It might also suggest some shared history - could the Dreadnought pilot (called Eluvies, by the way) have been a Terminator before his confinement?

This is now the third Dreadnought model in my Blood Angels collection and it has me itching to field all three together in one force. They may not be earth-shatteringly good on the tabletop but they'll look cool!

So the completed Dread adds five whole points to my painting points tally and brings me up to the halfway mark of fifty for 2009 so far. I'm one month ahead of schedule with my target standing at 100 points for the year which now looks as achievable as ever.

The Dreadnought also helps out considerably for the Warseer Tale of 40k Painters pledge. My total at the moment stands at 1350 points and my aim is to have 2000 points painted. There are only three months left so I need to rack up those painting points! The Dreadnought comes in at 125 points and I also have 115 points to add from my completed Terminators (I claimed half points last month as they were half done). By my reckoning my new total will be 1590. That means I'll have two months to paint 410 points of models. It's going to be tight but it's possible I think.

I plan to paint my Land Raider Crusader next so that will gobble up 255 points on it's own. If I get that done within the next month I will have 155 points to paint in the final month. What will I paint?

My Chaplain Lemartes model is tempting because it is just a single model and will paint up quickly which could be useful if I struggle to complete the Crusader. The downside is that he only costs 125 points and will thus leave me short and he would be the second Chaplain model I have painted for the Tale.

Following the logic outlined above another character model is appealing. I have the Captain model from the Assault on Black Reach box but again there are problems; he would be short on points and he would need to be converted before I could paint him.

I already own all of the other character models such as Mephiston, Corbulo, Tycho and the mighty Dante himself which I bought and painted yonks ago. They are in need of a refresh but it seems a shame not to paint something new when after all the models are totally usable as they are.

Gamewise the best choice to strengthen my army would probably be some more Tactical marines. I could either add five marines to an existing squad or paint up the start of a new squad. Depending on the loadout of weapons and upgrades they might just squeak out the requisite 155 points. The downside to this is the length of time it takes to paint the models. I'm not sure that I could bash out five more infantry in time.

More leftfield choices would include a scout unit (add tactical variety to the army but LOTS more models to paint - at least ten to hit the points target), five more Death Company marines (rock hard models but are ten too many in a 2000 point army?), a Whirlwind (indirect shooting adds something new to the army but only weighs in at under 100 points) or more Assault marines (means I could add a powerfist jump packer but again five models may be too much to paint).

Decisions, decisions...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

GENERAL: Bi-monthly book update

I got two new Games Workshop novels through the post recently but I still haven't broken my New Year resolution not to buy Games Workshop novels. Confused? Angry? Apathetic? Just sit down, have a nice cup of tea and a biscuit, and I'll explain all. It'll all be over soon.

I explained the exact details in this post but the short story is that I won both The Killing Ground and Courage and Honour in a competition on Graeme's Fantasy book review blog. They are books four and five in Graham McNeill's Ultramarine series and I look forward to reading them later in the year, having already finished the first three books.

Unfortunately the acquisition of books continues.

I was in town with an hour to kill before a dentist's appointment and found a second hand book shop to browse in. I came across Bomber Boys by Patrick Bishop. I had previously read and enjoyed the companion book Fighter Boys so I bought the book for £3. I hope that reading this book will give me some inspiration for my Aeronautica Imperialis games.

Of course I had to buy the new Imperial Guard codex on the day of it's release. I've just started reading the book but I'm already further through it than the Space Marine codex that I picked up a few months ago. I guess it shows which book and army I prefer.

At least I showed some uncharacteristic self control by not buying the models to go with it (the Valkyries were flying off the shelves while I was there - boom boom).

Oh, and I did actually read a book too!

It was 13th Legion by Gav Thorpe, but calling it a novel is a bit of a stretch. It is really a collection of short stories in which the Last Chancers first appeared along with a longer novella which attempts to tie everything together. Gav makes a decent stab at this but the roots of the book are obvious and there is no strong narrative to hold the reader's attention.

The characters come and go with alarming, and refreshing, regularity so the only continuity we have is with Lieutenant Kage. Indeed we see all of the action through his eyes in a shift way from the third person perspective of most Black Library fiction. This is both a positive and a negative.

I like it because we experience the Warhammer 40,000 universe from the inside and just as we settle into our nice, comfortable 21st century morality Gav jolts us with some 'challenging' behaviour via Kage. I felt some affinity with Kage despite the fact that he is a rage filled killing machine which is no mean achievement for the writer.

Where it fails is in the story telling and as I've mentioned the narrative isn't strong enough to grip. There is also a technical problem in that Kage has to be present at all the major plot points so that we know what is going on - if he is knocked unconscious in a fight scene we don't see the rest of the fight. I'll be intrigued to see if Gav keeps to this point of view in the later books.

All in all I'd say that this book has interested me in the idea of the Last Chancers and I'd like to see what happens to Kage but the book itself ain't that great.

Books read.
  • 13th Legion

Books bought.
  • Bomber Boys
  • Imperial Guard codex
  • The Killing Ground
  • Courage and Honour

Books wanted.
  • Red Fury
  • Planetkill
  • Titanicus
  • Imperial Guard Omnibus Volume 1
  • Creatures Anathema
  • The Horus Heresy: Collected Visions
  • Imperial Armour IV: The Anphelion Project
  • Tales of Heresy
  • The Grey Knights Omnibus
  • Heroes of the Space Marines
  • Scourge the Heretic
  • Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium
  • Rogue Star
  • Star of Damocles
  • Lord of the Night

Here's what I already own and still need to read:
  • Imperial Armour Three: The Taros campaign
  • Liber Chaotica
  • Storm of Chaos
  • Imperial Infantryman's Primer (Damocles Gulf edition)
  • The Life of Sigmar
  • Faith and Fire
  • Dark Apostle
  • Cardinal Crimson
  • Kill Team
  • Annihilation Squad
  • Space Wolf
  • Ragnar's Claw
  • Grey Hunter
  • Soul Drinker
  • The Bleeding Chalice
  • Crimson Tears
  • Soldier
  • Codex: Space Marines
  • Warriors of Chaos army book
  • Disciples of the Dark Gods
See you again in two months.

Monday, May 25, 2009

NEWS AND RUMOURS: Planet-tastic

A day late and nothing earth shattering to report on, at least from my point of view, but we do have some official confirmation of both Planetstrike and Planetary Empires.

Planetary Empires
Planetary Empires is mentioned in the latest White Dwarf (UK 354). It contains 48 plastic hexagonal tiles which are very similar to the Mighty Empires set for Fantasy. The tiles include ruined settlements, roads and spaceports. Hive cities will apparently be available from GW mail order. While not mentioned specifically I can also spy factories, fortresses and cities which can be placed on the tiles.

Although not mentioned specifically in WD I understand the set will cost £30 and will be released in July.

This is trailed in White Dwarf and will be covered in depth next month, but the GW website has lots of new terrain up for advance order. The Planetstrike book will be £15, the landing pad is £23.50, the Bastion is £17.60, the Defence line is £11.75, and the limited edition mines, bombs and booby traps are £11.75. They will all be available from the 4 July along with the Shrine of the Aquila and the Space Marine second wave models.

The Blastscape craters will be released two weeks later on the 18th.

I plan on buying just about all of these models upon their release.

Bring it on!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I feel like I'm making progress.

I finished work early today and started on my Dreadnought as soon as I got home. I had already done some work on the base so I moved onto my standard second phase for my Blood Angels; the metallics.

It's the usual recipe of Boltgun Metal and a heavy wash of Badab Black. When that dries I'll start on the copper/brass/gold metallics.

Over the past few weeks I've also been experimenting with stripping plastic metals with Dettol. I'm pleased to say it seems to be working and for a modest outlay of £1.50 per bottle I can strip over fifty models. The first in the pot were my Catachans. I had so many of them I had to strip them in four batches.

Here is the result:

The paint has come off really well. Some of the plastic became very soft and snapped on some of the models I had in the Dettol for more than a week so I'd recommend between two and four days as ideal. I'll still need to wash them in warm soapy water to ensure the rest of the Dettol is gone before I paint them.

Emboldened by my success I decided to strip some more important models.

I've had these Storm Troopers for a long time but they were very badly painted. The problem was that up until now I had never found a reliable way to strip plastic models. The Dettol worked a treat and this photo was taken soon after they were taken out of the pot.

Now I just need to work out what to do with the heavy weapon teams which can't be purchased for Storm Troopers any more. eBay perhaps?

Monday, May 18, 2009

NEW MODEL FUND: Pennies from heaven

I haven't spotted any exciting news or rumours over the past week so tonight you get an update on my New Model Fund instead.

I have some eBay auctions up at the moment here. Of possible interest to readers of this blog will be the Wolf Riders anthology, published in 1989 and now long out of print, and the 2nd edition Eldar codex dated 1994. I'm not sure how much these auctions will fetch but at least I have something up for sale.

Despite not selling anything in four weeks I have added to the fund. I banked £11 from my penny jar early in the month. Hey ho, it all adds up.

I've nothing to add to my model wishlist this month as I already had all the new Imperial Guard models on there. I do fancy some plastic though.

Games Workshop are keeping a very tight lid on the Planetstrike expansion considering it is due for release in six or seven weeks, but news of the fortifications terrain has leaked out and I'm very interested. Because they are terrain rather than models and I have had a half finished trench board for years and because I'm hoping to come into a little cash shortly I plan on opening my wallet for a change.

I'm second in my works Fantasy Football league you see and if I'm still there in two weeks time when the season ends I'll win a cool £150. That'll be my budget for Planetstrike which should arrive just as I finish my Blood Angels army, meaning I'll have the time to finish it immediately and it should make an interesting set of articles for this blog.

Here's hoping!

in 2009
My entire Praetorian Imperial Guard army (70+ models).

My model wishlist:

Plastic Cadian Command Squad
Plastic Catachan Command Squad
Baal Predator
Bloodcrushers of Khorne


Warhammer Fantasy
Hell cannon
Khorne Lord on Juggernaught

Other game systems
Epic IG army
Epic Ork army

Sunday, May 17, 2009

PAINTING: Terminators terminated

I've all but finished my Terminators. Get ready for a blizzard of photographs.

All that's left to do is paint some of the details on the bases and then attach the transfers.

I did all the painting that was left in one monster session yesterday. That meant touch ups to the armour, the power sword on the Sergeant, the highlights on the weapons and powerfists and all the iconography.

It's a shame I didn't get them finished in time for the Warseer Tale of 40k painters pledge. I claimed half points so I didn't have to play a joker, so it wasn't all bad, and it does mean I now have two weeks or so to paint up more models to make up the points shortfall.

I was fairly impressed by the quality of the Terminator miniatures given that they came from the Assault on Black Reach boxed set. Some of the details were a bit soft and undefined, especially the badges on the left shoulders, but overall I was happy to paint them.

At some point I might return to the Terminators and add some more individual heraldry to their armour; the armour plates protecting the left shoulder in particular are crying out for some personalisation.

I tried out new technique for painting the powersword, shamelessly copied from The Painting Corps. It came out okay for a first shot so I copied the technique on my Assault Squad Sergeant below.

So, with my Terminators all but done my attentions are turning to my Dreadnought. This should be a relatively quick paintjob and I should be done by the end of May, meaning I can add a hefty points total to the Warseer To40K painters pledge - somewhere in the region of 250 points. This should bring me back on track to hit my 2000 point target.

It will also add some much needed points to my own painting points total. Speaking of that, after much deliberation I have decided to add large infantry (that's anything on a 40mm base or larger) to the two points category. That means the Terminators I've just finished are worth 10 points in total, rather than just five. I think this makes sense given the size of the models and reflects the extra time it takes to paint them.

Monday, May 11, 2009

NEWS AND RUMOURS: Baltimore Gamesday

Baltimore Gamesday took place in the USA over the weekend and I was expecting some details regarding the Planetstrike expansion to emerge given that it is due to be released in early July. However, little concrete information was forthcoming.

dienekes96 attended a seminar held by Matt Ward and the Perry twins and reported the news on Warseer. Other posters chipped into the thread and I've combined everything below.

'No codexes would be left behind.' Any books less than five years old are unlikely to get a release soon but the older books are being worked on.

Planetstrike supposedly has a metal kit and a plastic kit that we haven't seen yet. The new plastic craters may include destroyed vehicles such as the rhino seen in the recent IG codex.

Imperial Armour 8 is definitely confirmed as Elysians versus Orks. The IG will get a Commissar and maybe a light assault vehicle or tank with a Valkrie transporter. The Orks are getting the Battlewagon and Trukk conversion kits which have been rumoured for a while.

Kor'sarro Khan was the only brand new miniature on display and although he looks pretty good he comes without a bike.

Tyranids will definitely not get a codex in 2009.

Not a great deal of ground breaking news there I'm afraid.

Righto, I'm off to the match...

Friday, May 8, 2009

PAINTING: Terminator highlights can be lowlights

Over the past couple of days I've managed to get in about five hours painting time on my Terminators. I've been concentrating on the armour and building up the highlights. My first session was to complete the second layer of highlights.

Here are the results:

I used Blazing Orange with a little Blood Red mixed in to edge all of the armour. It's a tedious but necessary step to get the effect I want.

The next thing I did was to mix up some Fiery Orange and Bleached Bone in preparation for the final layer of highlights.

Each model took about thirty minutes to highlight. I hope you can see the difference between the two photographs. The sharp highlights really bring the models to life, I think.

So, enthused by my progress, I plan to edge the armour in black and then tidy it up with some Blood Red over the weekend so that I can call the armour finished. Then next week I'll complete the odds and sods like the powerfists and badges to try and get the unit done for the Tale of 40k Painters deadline.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

GENERAL: The Gauntlet 2003 tournament report - done!

I've just blogged the aftermath part of my Gauntlet tournament game reports here.

That ties up my entire coverage of the 2003 tournament and I can now move on to the 2004 Gauntlet tournament. This will be a far trickier job because I seem to have lost the digital versions of the games. All I have are hand written after action reports and it will take me some time to transcribe these over to the blog.

But that's for later; I have some Terminators to paint...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

GENERAL: Back in the game

I've just come back from a few days in Nice which is why I haven't blogged since the weekend.

I obviously haven't done anything of any consequence gaming wise but I have posted another battle report on my other blog. It's the third game of three of the Gauntlet Tournament where my beleaguered Daemonhunters were desperate for their first competitive win. How would they fare against the dastardly Eldar?

Find out here.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

PAINTING: Blood red Terminators

I've added another layer of red to my Terminators.

The Blood Red really 'pops' compared to the rather dull layer of Mechrite Red underneath but it takes on another level of intensity again when the highlights are added. You might just be able to see that I've added some Blazing Orange highlights to the model far right. I need to do this to the other four then add some Fiery Orange highlights before I can call the armour done.

The armour looks great when finished but bloody hell it takes ages. The Terminators are obviously bigger than a standard marine too and their armour is more intricate. I might regret just counting them as one point infantry for my painting point scores; it doesn't really reflect the work I've put into them. Ho hum.

I just need to look forward to the day I can whack them in a Land Raider and send them into the guts of my opponents army.

Gauntlet 2003
You can read the second game of my first ever tournament here. After my crushing loss to Gary's Dark Eldar I took on an Imperial Guard army.