Tuesday 28 March 2017

Titan in a day! - How to build an Eldar Phantom Titan

This was a hell of a project and something that I was thrilled to be involved with.

Hot damn! That's impressive!
To explain a little, a good friend of mine who shall remain nameless (Jack) has a bad habit of buying enormous Forgeworld models that he's too intimidated to construct. Now I have every sympathy here, having built my own Hierophant Bio-titan which was a tricky and time-consuming job but very rewarding in the end. At any rate, Jack has been hassling me for some time to help him out with his growing pile of un-built Forgeworld super-heavies, the grand-daddy amongst them being the Eldar Phantom Titan pictured above. After many months of hassling and a couple of tins of beer I finally snapped and agreed to set aside a day to help him out with these projects.

As the fateful day loomed we talked briefly about what we would need and what models to build. I supplied an enormous shopping list (drills, pins, putty, glue, cookies etc) which Jack went out and bought. As there were several models available including a Revenant Titan, Scorpion grav-tank and a Vampire Raider we weren't exactly sure which to attempt or even how much we could get done in a day.

As a beautiful Friday morning dawned (nothing like building titans in the sunshine) I headed on over to Jack's and we got stuck in to some resiny goodness. After looking at the models we both knew we had to attempt the Phantom, after all, the point of the day was twofold. Firstly to build some badass miniatures but secondly, to give Jack the confidence to tackle some more of these projects alone.

Early progress showing the left leg.
Straight away I could see it was going to be a challenge, the left foot alone was made up of nine separate components all of which had to be trimmed, pinned and glued. On the upside, the feet of a Phantom Titan are exceptionally poseable enabling you to make some really outlandish miniatures if you're feeling brave.

Completed leg assembly, we weren't brave enough to go for a one legged pose!
Strangely, the legs themselves only consist of three separate components, the upper, lower and the knee. These needed to be reinforced as strongly as possible so they were thoroughly pinned along with the hips to make the lower section of the Titan stable. We were able to drive a pin straight through both hips providing a good connection between both legs.

As you can see from the photos we were making a horrendous mess (anyone who's ever drilled and sawn resin will vouch for the amount of debris created). The hoover was used liberally throughout the day to try and keep on top of the stuff.

When it came to the torso assembly we hit a snag, one of the components (front breastplate) was missing. Ultimately I left it down to Jack to decide what he wanted to do, should we stop building and try to build the Revenant instead? Luckily he had a brainwave, a battered Wraithknight was laying around in his bitz box and its chestplate was just what we needed, you can see it in the photos below (the horrible purple part).

Starting to look impressive!
The main torso was quite straightforward and we were able to drive a single pin through all four of the components and into the hips making it rock solid. The shoulder assembly was quite something, involving all the holofield fins, the missile launchers and the massive pauldrons. It all went together pretty quickly though (despite me getting superglue on the coffee table) hence the lack of progress photos.

Then came time to add the head, arms and weapons. Jack declined to paint the inside of the cockpit so the head went straight on. The arms turned out to be a major headache as the guns were really heavy. Much pinning gluing and swearing later and the beast was finished!

Getting there!
Jack wanted to magnetise the right arm as he had both D-cannon and close combat options for the Titan. In the end, we got the sword ready to go but the D-cannon was left for a later date.

Taste the beast!
At any rate it was a fantastic day and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Thanks to Jack for letting me be part of such an awesome build, now all he has to do is paint it!

Monday 27 March 2017

Painting Kastelan Robots - Monster March week 4

The end of another monthly painting challenge looms and how have I done, well not bad at all if I do say so myself!

March of the Machines!
I'm delighted that these guys are finally finished, partly because I really like the models and partly because I want to move on to something else. For anyone who missed it, I've been painting these as part of the Monster March challenge set up by Swordmaster over at Path of an Outcast.

As with Squaduary before it, Monster March has motivated me to add another unit to my growing Skitarii/Mechanicus force. I'm really happy with my progress so far this year as the army is going from strength to strength. These monthly painting challenges have shown me what a powerful motivator a blog can be. Knowing I have a weekly progress post to make has pushed me to work through my projects and made me feel accountable. Seeing the great work of the other participants each week is also a great motivator and spurs me on to reach the finish line.

All of this got me thinking, as I don't know of a painting challenge in April I've decided to challenge myself to paint a unit to completion in the month. I've chosen a unit of Kataphron Breachers to add to my Mechanicus force. Look for weekly updates down the line under the banner of Adeptus April!

My favourite is still the datasmith.
Thanks again to Swordmaster for running Monster March; even bigger thanks for letting me paint things that really aren't monsters at all. I promise next year I'll do something big and gribbly to make it up to you. Speaking of big, monstrous things, my Kastelan robots aren't the only thing I've been working on in March, check my next update for something huge!!

If you missed the earlier updates you can find them here. Stay tuned for the inevitable painting disaster of Adeptus April!

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Painting Kastelan Robots - Monster March week 3

We've reached week three and so far, progress has been good. I was hoping to have the last robot finished for this update but unfortunately things rather got away from me over the weekend and I didn't manage to finish.

Close, but no cigar!
As you can see from the above, there is only a final highlight to add, along with finishing out the base and he'll be done. I'm really looking forward to having these guys finished, not just so that I can admire them, but so that I can move on to the next project. I feel like I've made great progress with my Mechanicus in the last few months; in no small part due to painting challenges like Squaduary and Monster March. Hopefully I can continue to work at the same rate and finish up an army within the next couple of months. Does anybody know of a painting challenge for April?!

I'm also looking forward to getting a few more games in with my Mechanicus. I haven't used them much on the tabletop and have yet to really find my groove with them. I know they've got all the tools but I never seem to be able to use them quite right. This is probably because they're very different to the Tyranids and Dark Eldar which I am more accustomed to. If you're an experienced Skitarii/Ad Mech commander drop me a line in the comments below, I could use some tips!

Once again, big shout out to Swordmaster at Path of an Outcast for running the challenge; it's been awesome so far. If you've missed the rest of Monster March you can scrutinize my efforts here and here.

Monday 13 March 2017

Painting Kastelan Robots - Monster March week 2

Well, another excellent week of progress if I do say so myself! These painting challenges seem to do wonders for the old motivation! Behold the first of my completed Kastelan Robots.

Johnny 5 is alive!
Not only have I managed to paint one of the Kastelans, I've also finished off the datasmith to lead the squad.

This model is just amazing.
As far as the painting goes, the Datasmith proved to be a lot more work than the Kastelan. Another incredibly detailed Mechanicus miniature that was an absolute joy to work with. I'm very pleased with the way both miniatures have turned out, even though I wasn't quite sure what to do with the visor on the Kastelan Robot I'm reasonably happy with it.

Note the vial on the top of the backpack.
In the photo above you can see that I've painted the vial on his backpack using the same method I first attempted on my Magos Dominus. It's challenging for mw to paint something so tiny with a gradiated highlight but I think the final effect is well worth it. I've also deviated slightly with this model as it includes slightly more pink than my other Skitarii; I picked out the cable bundles on his back and head and I think it meshes with the scheme nicely.

Phosphor blasters all the way!
For those who don't know what this whole Monster March thing is all about, it's a month long painting challenge run by Swordmaster over at Path of an Outcast. I've pledged to paint a squad of Kastelans (only one remaining now!) by the end of the month.

If you missed the first part of Monster March you can find it here. Tune in next time to see if I'm still on target or if my inevitable hobby butterflying has led me to paint something completely different!

Monday 6 March 2017

Painting Kastelan Robots - Monster March week 1

Following on from Squaduary, another excellent community painting challenge has sprung to life, namely Monster March! The aim of the game is to paint a monster in March, simple right?! Well, as usual I had to make things more complicated. First off, I only really have two choices immediately available, neither of which are monsters from a fantasy setting. The first possibility is my Hierophant Bio-titan, however it is half finished, so would be a bit like cheating and is also enormous and not a commitment I feel I can make right now.

The other available choice is a unit of Cult Mechanicus Kastelan Robots. Robots! I hear you cry, those aren't monsters at all! Well, to be honest, I agree with you one hundred percent but being an enterprising sort, I got in touch with Swordmaster over at Path of an Outcast to see if a pair of robots could be considered a viable entry for Monster March. Luckily for me, the answer was a resounding yes and so, I'm proud to present my first shoddily basecoated Kastelan Robot!

March of the Machines!
I will be following the usual scheme for my Skitarii with these guys. Namely an aqua green colour with lots of brass and a pink spot colour. Hopefully it will translate to a larger, less complex miniature without too much trouble.

Speaking of the miniatures for a moment; I totally adore the Kastelan Robots. I know a lot of people have come down quite hard on them saying that they don't match the rest of the range or that they look to simplistic. For me, that is the charm of these models, they are styled with a real 'atomic era' feel which makes them seem old and anachronistic. Quite a feat in a setting like 40k where styles from various eras clash quite happily. The official 'eavy metal paint job on these guys takes it one step further with the weathering showing layers of old paint beneath. Almost as though the robots pre-date the Imperium and have been stored and used in battle time and again. I really enjoy this concept; that these are something beyond the capability of the Adeptus Mechanicus to create or even properly understand.

At any rate, my goal for Monster March (March of the Machines) will be to paint two Kastelan Robots and their attendant Cybernetica Datasmith. Tune in next week to see if I've progressed any further or if I've fallen miserably into the pits of painting despair!