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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Tyranid Hierophant Bio-titan - Painting progress

A few months ago (back in September I think!) the Hierophant Bio-titan I ordered finally arrived.

Cue rough progress photo
Just so we're clear, he didn't arrive in this state but was a brand new kit in need of much building. And what a task that turned out to be! Having read from several sources that these guys are notorious for bending/warping under their own weight I knew that I would have some work to do if I ever wanted to be able to use him on the battlefield.

To begin with, I had a look around online to see if there were any tutorials I could follow. As it turns out there are several, and, by cross referencing, I formulated a plan to construct my own Bio-titan. The main difficulty is the strength of the legs compared with the weight of the torso (a huge solid lump of resin); in an attempt to remedy this, I cut each leg into 3 pieces using a razor saw and then drilled and inserted 2mm steel pins. I also sawed the front claws in half and pinned them using paperclips.

After that was done (including bending one of the legs back into shape using a hairdryer) it became the usual task of building a resin model. All the usual cutting, bending, pinning etc. In the end, I went a bit pin happy with this thing, pinning all the limbs, the head, both mandibles and even some of the larger carapace spines!

Once the main build was complete I used plenty of green stuff and Apoxie Sculpt to fill the gaps and iron out any casting flaws and air bubbles. The Hierophant was surprisingly gappy when built (common with ball and socket joints) and I used up plenty of putty filling around the arms and legs.

After all of that it was time to build the base. For those that don't know, these models are too large to be supplied with a base so it is left to the intrepid hobbyist to make their own or go without. One look at the Hierophant should be enough to convince you that a base is very, very necessary. I have seen plenty of different examples online of people making large circular bases out of timber. Whilst this would work pretty well for a display piece, I was unconvinced of the ability to maneuver something like this on the battlefield. That and I'm not totally sure that the added weight of a hefty piece of mdf would do this model any favours. In the end I opted for two layers of thick plasticard, stuck together and cut to shape, this helped with the rigidity of the finished model and also allows it to maintain a reasonable footprint (for a titan!)

After the base was formed and the Hierophant was fixed down (cue more pins and glue) it was getting on for late October. Excessive amounts of Chaos Black spray were applied (Abaddon black?!) and then it was down to me and my big brush to get some colour on it. Unfortunately, at this point I encountered a minor snag. The recesses in the Hierophant's carapace are so deep and many that I found it virtually impossible to paint them with a normal brush. After a little trying and frustration, the project was shelved for a later date.

A couple of months later and in stepped the mighty Blazmo of Tabletop Apocalypse fame. Wielding his airbrush, he generously agreed to hit up the Hierophant with a coat of red paint (and as it turned out, a little white and some grey too!) So, on Christmas day we sat down in the bathroom with our respirators on and got down to business (now there's a sentence I never thought I'd write!)

Since then, I've carried on painting with great enthusiasm, finishing off the red basecoat by hand and then applying my usual black wash. At this point, I've almost finished the white basecoat to the chitinous areas which means that the model isn't too far from completion! Tune in for the next episode when I hope to be able to show off the finished article.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Horus Heresy - Night Lords Legion Showcase

A few of these models have been around the blog for a while, but, as I have some fancy new photos, I thought I'd post them up for your viewing pleasure.

Night Lords Tactical Squad - Lead by the legendary Bathinko! 
The above is one half of my tactical squad, as always, I'm thrilled with the way these guys turned out. It just goes to show what kitbashing can do to personalize your models and really bring out the feel of a Legion (or Chapter if you're into all that 40k shiz.) The models draw parts from a wide range of different sources: Space Wolves, Chaos Marines, Anvil Industries Exo-Lords and Forgeworld Legion parts to name but a few.

Another photo - I'm most pleased with the models  wielding a hand weapon and bolter.
Below are a few more photos of my Contemptor Dreadnought - Honoured Brother Mordo. Nothing fancy here, just the stock Forgeworld kit with a plasma cannon and plasma blaster. Can you say Gets Hot!?

Love this model!
I have a second Contemptor in the pipeline, this time armed with a Volkite Culverin and Kheres Assault Cannon. Hopefully it will bring some brutal firepower to the tabletop! Sadly, construction of this Contemptor will be postponed for a while whilst I work on some Mice & Mystics miniatures and my Sktarii! With any luck I can get all of that out of the way and return to the sons of Nostramo sometime soon!

Ave Dominus Nox!

Monday, 22 August 2016

Horus Heresy: Converted Night Lords Legion Centurion

So, I found an old finecast (shudder) Wulfrik the Wanderer in the bargain bucket at my FLGS. After looking over the model for a few minutes, I couldn't resist buying him (only £3!) to convert into a leader for my Night Lords Legion force.
Well worth the asking price I reckon!
As you can see he's absolutely festooned with skulls and bones and other assorted body parts. Just the thing for making him look like a veteran Space Marine who's been carving his way across the galaxy for centuries, spreading terror wherever he goes! In fact, there's so much detail crammed into the model that it made him somewhat difficult to paint. Just knowing where one part began and another ended was a chore in itself.

The conversion is a simple one involving swapping out both weapons for plastic Betrayal at Calth parts (yes, I know a power sword and plasma pistol is a useless combination, but it looks cool, so there!) The head was exchanged for one of those delightful White Scars helmets from Forgeworld.

The only other change was to remove some of the detail from the back and add a random Chaos backpack that I had laying around. (I know this isn't strictly correct for the era but once again, it looks cool, so there!)

Obligatory 'rear of the year' view.
As my only painted HQ choice, he sees more than his fair share of battles (for such a useless miniature with even more useless weapons.) In spite of his many deficiencies, he's often performed surprisingly well on the tabletop. Winning a game by being the only surviving miniature and beating a squad of Space Wolf terminators in close combat are at the top of his accolades.
Ooh, menacing.
It's always nice to be able to make a conversion like this, a relatively simple thing which results in a unique miniature which can be used again and again. As his legacy of tabletop victories (and defeats) grows, I hope to share some of them with you in a fictional format. Until then, Ave Dominus Nox!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Night Lords Legion: Night Raptors - Showcase

Following on from my previous article, showing off my Night Lords Terminators I thought I'd continue with a brief showcase of my Legion Night Raptors.

We have come for you!
These guys are a gorgeous set of models from Forgeworld, and the only Night Lords Legion specific unit available so far (with the exception of the Terror Squad parts which are essentially just kitbash materials). I really love the details that have been worked into these minis; the bones, skulls and scraps of flesh hanging from their armour add a really horrific feel and help them to evoke the background of the Legion.

Ave Dominus Nox!
The standard kit includes enough parts to arm the squad with a choice of two power weapons and a single Nostraman Chainglaive. I have gone a step further with these guys, including three Chainglaives within the squad and adding a cheeky hand flamer for the squad Sergeant (a bit useless but why not!?)

Combined with the unit special rules, the Chainglaives mean that these guys are capable of putting out some serious hurt in assault. Potentially 5 attacks apiece at Strength 5 and WS 5. All with AP3 and rending from the Chainglaives! Now if only I had ten of them so I could take advantage of the Legion trait - A Talent For Murder.

Death is nothing compared with vindication.
Hope you've enjoyed seeing these guys, more Night Lords to come as I update the blog this week. Until then, Stand in Midnight Clad!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Betrayal at Calth - Night Lords Terminator Showcase

Well, it had to happen eventually, I finally borrowed my bro's photography set up and managed to get some decent images of my Night Lords Cataphractii Terminators.

What do you mean that's a Volkite Caliver??
These are beautiful models and IMHO some of the best plastic Space Marines that GW have ever produced. The kit comes with a vast array of weapon options but I just had to go one step further and armed them with a selection of Volkite Chargers and a Reaper Autocannon. This was mostly in an attempt to make them effective at range whilst keeping the points cost as low as possible. Unfortunately this aim failed horribly as the kit only has options for lightning claws or power fists, so I was forced to arm them with a selection of expensive close-combat upgrades.

One of the claws in question
Despite weighing in at a hefty 243 points they have performed surprisingly well on the tabletop. The volkite chargers add a real punch at range and in close combat the addition of a chainfist and power fist for the Sergeant means they are able to crack open armoured targets fairly well. Despite being 'Slow and Purposeful' the additional 4+ Invulnerable save granted by the Cataphractii plate makes them much more survivable than regular terminators. Is it any wonder I've nearly painted the full squad?!

Close up of the power sword - nice!

The four finished members of the squad - where's No 5?

I've got a load more photos of my Night Lords to show off, so hopefully there will be more posts looking at the VIII legion this week.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Games Workshop - Dreadnought Attacks FAQ

Undoubtedly many of you have seen the faqs being issued by Games Workshop via their Warhammer 40000 facebook page. Generally, I'm delighted that GW are providing faqs for their publications in this manner. It's something the game has needed for a while, and will continue to need as the complexity of the rules and force organizations continues to grow.

Think you're a nerd? My daughter has this on her baby-grow!
However, scrolling to the end of the latest Space Wolves faq, I was met with a surprising and somewhat disappointing 'house rule' for the number of attacks on a Dreadnought stat line.

Before I start complaining bitterly (and believe me, that's what this article will most likely devolve into - feel free to jump out now) let's reminisce a little. Back in the days of 5th edition (actually, 4.5 edition if you had that dodgy pdf download rulebook - does anybody else remember that?) times were simpler. They were heady days of 500 point battles, modest miniatures collections and making the attempt to use whatever you had that was actually painted.

Back then, Dreadnoughts and their equivalents were a pretty big deal on the battlefield. There's only so much you can fit into a 500 point CAD that can even glance a Dreadnought or stand a decent chance of wounding a monstrous creature. Many times these battles culminated in a miniature 'clash of the titans' as Dreadnoughts, Carnifexes and Talos Pain Engines tore eachother apart in the middle of the field. In these clashes, there was only one possible outcome. One combatant would be utterly destroyed; the other would stagger away, horribly damaged, but usually functional enough to be the deciding factor in ultimate victory.

The point I'm trying to make is that, in a one on one scrap, these things were relatively balanced and that made them tense and exciting. The dreadnought would lumber forwards, chipping a wound from the Carnifex with it's assault cannon. In return, perhaps the Carnifex would glance the Dread with it's bio-plasma. Who would get the all important charge? And would it be enough to seal the fate of their opponent? Much trepidation and nail biting ensued as the dice were rolled and the fate of the vanquished party was sealed!

Now, with the sudden enhancement of your average Dreadnought, these types of battles are no longer so balanced, nor, exciting. Four or five power fist attacks will make mincemeat of most monstrous creatures and your average walker stands even less of a chance. A Space Marine Dreadnought charging into a Carnifex or Helbrute looks almost comical as the Dreadnought emerges victorious with perhaps a couple of scuffs to his paintwork. Meanwhile his 'towering opponent' is just a pile of scrap metal (or gooey Tyranid chutney).

Changing the balance of a unit within the game (even one that is considered to be underpowered) can have far reaching consequences. Maybe in these days of super heavies and D-weapons, these types of things are insignificant. But, for me at least, this change damages the cinematography of the game. It takes away what should be an exciting and fluffy tabletop moment; and for that reason alone, it can only be a bad thing.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Skitarii vs Necrons - Battle Report

Just over a week ago I managed to get in my first game with my fledgling Skitarii force.

It wasn't quite like this....
Those of you that may have followed the construction of this army, in its brief history, may know that it was destined for a battle against Blazmo's Necrons. (The infamous Blazmo of Well, said battle took place last week and since our encounter; Blazmo has been kind enough to write it up as a short battle report.

You can check out the batrep here, together with pictures of Blazmo's gloriously painted Necrons and my woefully unpainted Skitarii.