Monday, July 25, 2016

Adventures in Lighting...

I'm home with the flu today, so here's a post I've been meaning to do. 

The larger ships of X-Wing have continued to hold my attention, and being somewhat of a completionist, I've embarked on a quest to add LED lighting, aided by fiber optics, to the ships in my collection. This is not without its challenges, such as taking apart things that are obviously not meant to be pried apart, running optical fibers everywhere, and jamming little circuit boards and batteries into things. I haven't graduated to soldering things yet, but with the limitations of space making Powered Play games products only usable in larger models, this is on the horizon.

You may recall my first effort, the Millennium Falcon's engines and headlights:

She required quite a bit of sawing, as well as some additional installation to get rid of all the light bleeding around the cracks. In retrospect, I should've done the bottom panel instead of the top one, but overall, the effect is rather pleasing: 

My next effort was both more and less easy; an Imperial Raider Corvette, which I have since christened the Rectifier. 

Pulling her apart was an exercise in horror, as I realized too late that her TIE panels were, in fact, clamps holding the top and bottom shells together. Both shot off in different directions before I could realize their nature and function. Luckily, repairs were easy and sturdy.

Yes, in retrospect I should've added more lights...
Speaking of said lights.

Her switch lives here, which I can live with, since you never see it anyway.
Her insides are an organized chaos of fiber optics running every which way and taped up LED wiring. I misjudged the fiber's propensity to break once secure by CYA glue, which resulted in a lot of re-cabling and re-drilling, and as a result there are half the number that there should be. There are still a few bits where I couldn't quite get to the old fibers, and the new ones are held in there by nothing but friction. Those illuminate dimly, thanks to light spill from all the working ones. I may yet go back and re-drill them, running their fibers to red LEDs to provide a little light variety. 

Following on the heels of this project, I attempted another, simpler one: the VT-49 Decimator. Pulling her apart was made easier by an online source, and turns out to be less tricky than you'd think. 

Her engines were filled by way of a hot glue gun, which gives them a weird sort of uneven mottling that I quite like. With the scarcity of translucent sheet plastic (you'd think there'd be more out there besides milk containers....) the hot glue filled the bill, and I had to be careful not to melt the actual model with the hot nub. 

I had originally planned to two-tone the fiber optics running to the doors and front running lights, so the doors could have both red and white lighting, but it was not to be. I was informed by someone who knew better informed that the chemistry of the battery won't support both red and white strands, which is an oddly arcane factoid worth remembering for future projects. 

Yes, I know there's light peeking out. No, there's no way to stop it short of sealing the hull and locking in the battery
My latest project is the Gozanti-class Imperial Assault Carrier, who will carry forward the lessons learned from the preceding projects. Be warned, modelers, that this thing is deceptively difficult to wrench to intact pieces, and I very nearly broke her keel. Gentle and Firm are two things difficult to balance when dealing with its crazy architecture. 

There is not enough room in this hull for these wires. Do not do as I did;  instead run the fibers all the way to upper hull.  
One of the issues I ran into was due to some poor planning on my part; I thought I'd have more white lights running from the board than was actually possible, and ended up having to re-do all of the fiber optics to both halves of the wing hull needed only 1 light each instead of two. This proved to be a boon, as it lessened the amount of crap that had to be crammed into a relatively flat area. You can see how insane it looks. Some of the fibers bent too far and lost their conductive ability. Most of them are fine, however.

Another issue is all of the crap crammed into the upper hull. Managing the wiring isn't easy in such a small space, and made less so by the different areas it has to funnel to. Added to that are the concerns that nothing can be made permanent because you have to be able to change bad LED bulbs and the battery. 


Another issue: light bloom from the cracks. ARGH!
Looks pretty though, right? 

Tiny switch would be great for Slave-1 and the Imperial shuttle, too. 
One of the protrusions on the side of the hull was the perfect size to accommodate the switch, too. I'm glad that Powered Play switched to these instead of its old huge clunky switches which, while great, were impossible to embed in a notch like this. 

If anyone's successfully done either Outrider or CR-90, let me know. The GR-75 Rebel Transport came apart easily enough, but the damn Outrider continues to confound me. Slave-1 and the Lambda-class Shuttle came apart easily enough, but I have yet to find a plug/play solution that will fit their tiny frames beyond a battery stuck directly to a light, which may result in my first foray into soldering. (gulp)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Desktop Wars part MDCVI: Meanwhile on Calth...

"Sir... These orks appear to be female.."

(Or, what happens when you paint multiple genres at once.)

Monday, June 6, 2016

Deathwatch: Overkill Part II: Genestealer Cult!

I really had a pretty good time painting these. So much so, in fact, they may get turned into an army at a later date. 

Well, maybe. 

With a few limos, more bodies, and so on. Too bad the rules only exist for the specific numbers that you get in the box. Way to plan ahead, GW. 

And yet, you get the makings of what is at least an interesting bunch. You can tell GW has been refining their 3D sculpting technique; there are fewer weird extrusions and generally more complete bodies with these. So, I painted them as a slightly different strain from the Space Hulk grey-bodied variety. From possibility to the little details around the Patriarch's base, these are a definite step up. 

I still miss the old school slovenly one sitting on his throne, however. 

I'd like to think these two argue a lot, since the roughneck pit boss one has little in common with the upper-class magister type. I imagine he'll end up pushing his rival into the digestion pit first, then go off in search of a working shuttle. 

These guys turned out to be some of my faves from the bunch, bless their malformed little hearts. Blending their chitin and flesh together turned out to be a lot of fun, and the end result is pretty striking. Well for me, probably not for you, veteran mutant painter, but I mostly do robes and armor, so it was a neat departure for me. 

I imagine those hammers hurt. Too bad that on the open 40k battlefield they'd get shot to pieces before they managed to do anything, unless you could field them in squads of 10 or so and give them mining trucks to jump out of. Wargames Exclusive does have those neat resin vans, though. Hmmm.....

These guys turned out to be kind of a blast too, once everything started coming together. Still, though, when I go to these other fellows I began to wonder...

Where did all the women of Ghosar Quintus go? Were there breeding pits, or did they die in childbirth, or is there a whole other facet of this army we're not seeing? Did the purestrains just lay eggs, or what?

Also, it occurred to me while working on them that you could combine the factions from this, Space Hulk, and Assassinorum to make an interesting skirmish encounter, but that's a thing for another time. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Deathwatch: Overkill Part I: Deathwatch!

At long last, the entirely of my Deathwatch set has been completed, and by "at long last", I mean I've had them done for about a month now, and just not bothered to photograph anything. Life gets in the way. You understand. 

As with the offerings from their last board game, the Deathwatch sprues don't disappoint, nor are they entirely without questionable decisions on GW's part. Not on these three, however. These fellows are great. It's nice to see Ortan Cassius with a face on, and now I can field him without having to go looking for that other model. 

They made sure to put in a lot of extra detail like the backpack shrines, reliquaries, and whatnot that add character to each individual model, which I'm in favor of. Adding personality to Marines is a good thing, and these could very well have been nice metal special character models 20 years ago. Anyone remember when they put out a zillion different officers and librarians? Ah the good old days. 

While I applaud adding variety and neat details, I didn't at all approve of a little psyber-birdie that hung precariously atop the already breakable antenna on the White Scar's bike. What dumbass thought that was a good idea? It'd never survive a year of use intact. 

And for the (rather phoned in) 40k rules, where's our Storm Shield for the biker? Ah well, I suppose that's just nitpicking. 

A Terminator with a heavy flamer AND a built-in meltagun? Now you're talking! Why don't they get these as an option in addition to the usual? Too useful? That shot cannon is a sexy bit of kit too. Does this mean we're getting a new Imperial Fists codex where they carry these instead of those wimpy heavy bolters?

Yes, I painted the servo skull. Yes, the psyber eagle is STILL sitting on my painting desk with a base coloring of reddish brown feathers, just waiting for detailing. He's not separate in-game, though, so he may continue waiting. 

You can tell these were the last of the bunch to be designed, and that they pretty much ran out of steam when they got to the Iron Hand, who is rather boringly reloading his gun. Why didn't they at least make a him a Techmarine with a servo arm, or better yet, a servo harness? And that Ultramarine is what, just a regular Sternguard? Jeez, guys, is it that hard to come up with something swanky for him too? Maybe he's a sniper or something? Ah well, at least that Space Wolf is interesting. 

Yes, I'm aware the line is based on books. No, I haven't read them yet. Maybe I'll get to them.... eventually. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Ornstein and Smough or A Tale of Two Superheavy Tanks

"Hello, Forgeguard Activated First Armored. "
"Tanks department, please."
"Do you have anything that can flatten an infantry company by itself?"
"Sure do. How many do you want?"
"Uh, one?
"Just one? Are you sure?"
"No. Send me something to blow up other super heavies, too."
"So, which is it?"
"Better send one of each."
"Hold please."

With the sad closing of my local game store, they were liquidating all of their stock, so I was able to nab a some superheavy kit cheap. I remembered what folks like Joel over at Mordian 7th had done with their super heavies and some custom parts from Machinator's store on eBay, and decided to order up a set. Machinator even subbed out some tracks for dynamo generators, which was terribly nice of him.

Fighting them both at once is a terrible bitch. I mean, LOOK at them. 
Anyway, as soon as they arrived, I set to work on Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough. In case you're not in the know, these are two characters from the From Software video game Dark Souls, one armed with a lance and the other with an enormous hammer. They attack you together and the fight is a tremendous pain in the ass. While painting both tanks gold to reflect the characters was a bridge too far, I decided to reflect them in spirit with matching gold nameplates on both tanks, not mention their armaments.

FYI, I used the old shelf paper instead of the new mini-lightbox, as these tanks were too darn big for the lightbox.
Smough, the Machinator-pattern Stormhammer, boasts two turrets, each with a pair of twin-linked battle cannons, and a brace of four anti-tank lascannon mounts and five twin-linked heavy blotters for sticking it to any infantry that survive his initial barrage.

I had enough leftover parts to have two long barrels for Destroyer Tank Hunters and two Demolisher barrels for Thunderers or Vinidicators. These tanks are breeding tanks. crazy, I know. 
Mounting the sexy turret sculpts was no mean feat. The top deck had to be trimmed and remounted every so slightly to allow for the forward turret to be able to traverse, and even so, its firing arc is partly limited by one of the sponson turrets. I suppose it'd be better to drop the forward lascannons and add targeters a la the Shadowsword (and pre-Heresy Stormhammer) but oh well. Everything's twin-linked anyway. I was tempted to add pintle mounts to it, but when I did the mockup it just looked silly, so I left them off.

Every other M-type Stormhammer I've seen out there sports multi-meltas in the lower sponsons instead of the upper ones, which I generally regard as a tremendous mistake. MM's are short-ranged, and the Stormhammer is a barrage vehicle, not an assault tank. This way Smough can keep tanks at bay while pulverizing infantry.

I had actually painted Smough second, and was running out of metallics by this time.
Machinator's armored fuel tanks make more sense than the stock Baneblade barrels, and help the tank stay more true to its epic-scale origins. The tiny shrine took some elbow grease to cut free of the old back panel, but it fit the little sleeve in the custom backplate like a glove.

I kept the grill and engine hatch loose as well so I could display them open. It's the little things.

Ornstein was something else entirely.

He has two configurations (well, more if you count the barrel length variants, which to me are unnecessary) Shadowsword and Stormlord, and is switchable to everything in between.

I was tempted to get extra sponsons, but then the gunners wouldn't have had any field of view.
There's even enough space inside the model to contain its spare parts, which is nice. Note the two bits of L-bar. That's really all you need to do in order to make the hull switchable.

The little top panels are magnetized, while the side panels are long pins. In retrospect, I could've made the interior guns swappable with flamers, too, but honestly, where's it all end? The sponsons are switchable as well, although I left the middle panels static. I realized my mistake only after everything was dry, because now if you stick a pair of rear sponsons on in Stormlord config, they obscure the rear stubber mounts. No big deal, as stubbers are kind of crap, but it's the principle of the thing. I suppose I could halfway ruin the thing and pry the plates off with a screwdriver, but ehhhh.

The (underpowered) Stormlord main gun is magnetized to go into the turret. Everything else relies on gravity and friction.

I subbed in two surplus Valkyrie door gunners and painted them in Forgeguard Activated First Armored colors. I was tempted to do servitors, but with all the AdMech stuff out now, I wanted to make a differentiation between human auxiliaries and pure Mechanicum forces, which my army now seems to be splitting into.With their metallic bits, they do look slightly servitor-y anyway.

It's kind of frightening that according to the rules you can load the thing with Skitarii or Kataphron heavy servitors and drive it straight into the heart of the enemy with all cannons ablaze. Twenty infantry models from the top deck is a lot, even with that number reduced for model size you're talking about a blistering amount of firepower. Plus, if you use Kataphrons (why didn't they call them Praetorians? It sounds so much better) you'll have tiny tanks riding inside an enormous mama tank, which is both silly and horrifying at the same time. Let me know if you try it. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Desktop Wars, Chapter XVI: Overkill

"I swear, you guys! I'll have your money tomorrow!"

The backlog of stuff to feature grows larger, so here's WIP to show you where I am. Of course instead of mass-painting the Genestealer Cult I delved into the Deathwatch. Being unique and covered in fiddly detail, they took forever. 

More to come...

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Genestealer Hybrid WIP

"Sire! The miners are revolting!"
"Yes, but we need them to work the mines."

Most of the colors have been blocked in, still have to do some detailing.

I need to post some finished pics of super heavy tanks too. I wish I had a staff photographer....

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Stormhammer WIP


Who has two thumbs and is making a Stormhammer? 

This guy.

Happy Saturday, people.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Deathgaze, Overlord of the Deathmarque Guilds

Bit of a mea culpa here. I've actually had this model complete and ready for quite some time, and just never bothered to photograph him. 

I know, I'm sorry.

So anyway, yes, he's named after a Final fantasy 6 character, and yes, his sniper's shield cape comes from a Persona 3 character. A rather neat combination, wouldn't you say? 

I featured this scythe in a WIP post, and to be honest, it was ready far before the rest of the model was. It would've snapped into a million pieces had it been made of, say, plastic or resin, but thanks to the all-metal frame it survived quite a  bit of bending, drilling, and general manhandling. 

I always liked the design of the Thanatos from Persona 3, but never found a way to incorporate it into a character miniature before this one. The sarcophagus lids are from Reaper miniatures, bless their bits-friendly hearts. I had thought to give him horrible organic spreading wings to tie him more into Deathgaze, but this seemed the more Necron way to go.

I suppose I should have named him "Thanatokh" or something, but with that big cyclopean eye, "Deathgaze".

I suppose, like Grievous, in addition to just being used as a Transcendant C'Tan, he also deserves an entirely for funsies character profile: 

Deathgaze, Master of the Deathmarque Guilds, Lord of Death

679 points

BS   WS  S          T    W   I     A    LD      Sv
12     9     8 (16)  10   8   6     4    10     2+/2+

The Scythe Invictus Mors: Invictus Mors is the ultimate weapon of war, crafted by Death itself and given to Deathgaze just so he could show up General Grievous, because the wily son of a bitch keeps escaping his own certain demise through various schemes and generally cowardly acts. That he doesn't have such a great piece of kit honks the good general off like you wouldn't believe. This pleases Death, and makes Deathgaze very happy. It has two profiles. 

As a melee weapon it doubles Deathgaze's strength attribute, and may be used either against a single target for Deathgaze's maximum number of attacks, or Deathgaze may make a single attack against every model in base-to-base contact. If Deathgaze hits, remove these models from play. 

As a ranged weapon, Invictus Mors has the following profile:

Range    Strength        Special Rules                                                                      
 72"             D                Firing modes, Ignores Cover, Instant Death

Invictus Mors may be fired in one of two firing modes: Single and Death Ray.

- In single shot mode, Invictus Mors is is a Heavy 1 weapon. If you miss with a BS of 12     you have no business rolling dice. 

- For Death Ray mode, designate a point within 48" of Deathgaze. Roll 5D6, find something that long and 2" wide and lay it down on the table. evevything above or below the line is hit.

Necrodermis Mortis: Deathgaze has a 2+ armor save. Rolls of 1 must be rerolled.

The Bastion of the Dead: Given Deathgaze by the great death lord Nito, this immense shield was made from the sarcophagus lids of the nine previous Lords of Death, and grants Deathgaze admittance to their monthly card game. It also gives him a  2+ invulnerable save, and allows him to redeploy himself via Deep Strike once per turn, during either players turn, at the beginning of the movement phase. He may assault on the round he does this. Furthermore, it gives him the Shrouded and Stealth rules. 

The Blades of the Arkhanus: Deathgaze replaced his legs long ago with these because he felt they looked cool. He moves in a skating motion that crackles with cold energy, producing a high-pitched squeal that draws in his minions like carrion birds. Deathgaze may move 18" in a single turn, ignoring terrain and other models. If he does this, the nearest unit of Deathmarks (yes, even if it's 52" away) removed from the table and deployed within 6"of Deathgaze via Deep Strike. No buts.  

Master of the Deathmarque Guilds: For every maximum model number Deathmark unit you purchase, you may purchase an additional one at zero cost. Any Deathmark unit entering play via Deep Strike does not scatter. Deathgaze's presence makes the Deathmarks so anxious to please, that the Hunters From Hyperspace rule remains in effect for the entire game instead of just one turn. Furthermore, at the beginning of the Necron player's turn, a unit of Deathmarks at less than full strength may be removed from the table. During the movement phase, that unit must be returned to the table via Deep Strike at full strength. All Synaptic Distintegrator weapons gain the Armourbane rule, and their range increases to 36". 

Death is Fickle: If an independent character is wounded by Deathgaze, roll 3D6. On a triple 6, that character is unharmed.