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. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

I teased these a while back and only recently got the free time to shoot them. This little group all happened to be assembled and painted at the same time. After seeing a vintage metal necron lot on ebay, I had to pick it up, and as a result added some much need scythe power to my army. 

Nehekhara here came from my wanting to use Anrakyr in a battle (not to mention my regret at never having purchased a WHF Tomb Queen) , but not having a mini for him. After experiencing the Failcast horror of Trazyn and Orikan, I wasn't about to go seeking out another rubbery horror. So I bought a PP Tomb Maiden (how apt!) and converted this imperious beauty. I shaved down the features of a stock Triarch Praetorian, narrowing the jaw a bit and accentuating the cheekbones. 

I don't mind that she's rather tall and lithe compared to other Necrons, because I imagine the Cryptek that crafted this shell for her was probably in love with her. Plus, being royalty she would've wanted to not only preserve her beauty, but look down on her subjects for all time. Imagine her anger when she woke up sheathed in cold metal. The poor fool that did this to her is probably scrap by now. 

She looks rather more like Imotekh in this pose. The PP base model took some reposing and a lot of pinning, and is terribly fiddly. Nonetheless I still prefer it to anything made out of that horrid resin. 

Those whip bits are courtesy of the Hive Tyrant that became my General Grievous. Combined with the skirt (which was almost bright blue) and an extra Destroyer spine, I think it lends the model a nice John Blanche-ian look. I found some of his Necron sketches recently, and in the future might attempt a model or two based on them. 

Speaking of Grievous...

Now mini-Grievous need not fight alone, thanks to his trusted Magnaguard. I didn't pose them with the Hive Tyrant C'tan sized version because they are, of course ridiculously small to be guarding him at all. Maybe if they were 30mm scale like the  Knight Models versions, but certainly not these. 

The original Pariah models were quite boring, and the capes help immensely. I thought about re-doing the heads with goggle-eyed robot ones and headscarves to match the movie droids, but then they wouldn't have gone with the Necrons. As you can see, these match up with mini-Grievous and the rest of the nobility quite well. They came out a bit too light blue, though, but oh well. 

Lastly, a stock overlord to serve as a lackey for Trollzyn Trazyn, and therefore painted with matching accents. Really, he could accompany any other nobility (like, say Nehekhara) that happens to need someone to kick around.

Next time, something much, much larger. 

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, September 12, 2015


This week's theme is "warscythes".

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Necrons: A little expansion of the ranks....

At some point, both the "to paint" and "done" piles on my desk looked like this. 
These days all the buzz is that the sky is falling, GW is in free-fall, 40k is collapsing, and lots of other doom and gloom that point to changes on the horizon, and not necessarily for the good. All fretting and wringing of the hands that has been, quite frankly, done to death. 

So of course, my group planned an Apoc game for which I dusted off some unassembled Necrons. The resulting frenzy of assembly was quite cathartic, considering the short hiatus I'd taken from hobby things lately. 

Orikan and his buddy Trazyn I bought for a song. There's no way I'd pay full price, ever, for this absolutely shitty resin. If anyone at GW reads this blog, please spearhead an initiative to get the characters either A) cast in metal, or B) out of some better resin. Whatever moron looked at the first samples of these things cast in this shit and stamped them "approved" should be boiled in his own pudding. I like the Orikan model, but I'm sure I'll be repairing that staff (which I already had to rebuild out of bits and green stuff) and tail soon. 

Wait, why the hell does he have a tail?

On the lighter side of things, in a game that will inevitably involve pie plate templates removing lots of things from the field, my hope is for Trazyn (or Trollzyn, as he's known) here to confound their efforts as long as possible with his body-swapping and empathic obliterating. We'll see if that combined with Orikan's hulking out will win the day. I'll just be happy if they both survive being transported intact. Necron characters, are of course, one of the good things to come from the First Great Revision, even if the Second Great Revision made them.... not as good as the first. Rest in piece, Fat Ward. 

I'm sure I'd had a plan to turn these two into something else. Why else would these two lone fellows just be sitting by themselves for so long? Also, you'll notice the heavy destroyer is the only thing in this mob of 'crons with glowy green rods. GW, these are what made the Necron line look really, really distinctive on the tabletop. What idiot convinced you to do away with them in favor of these:

Those plastic rods are absolutely wretched. Yes, you can paint them up to look nice, but they don't catch the light and glow like the old mk.1's did. This is indicative of the larger trend coming out their minis design shop: over detailed with zero character. You know what had character? All the things they did in 1983.

Yes, those Immortals do have Warrior chests and transplanted spines, as what I'd bought the two boxes for in the first place were these:

In a game about 3 weeks ago, two of them held up an entire space marine assault squad for 3 turns by refusing to die. It was quite amazing. Yes, I'd proxied them while having the unassembled kits all along. I didn't green the barrel inserts because they aren't gauss weakens, even though I did give them the obligatory green energy vents. 

You know what even Bandai is doing now GW? Option packages. If you were smart, and wanted to make money, you'd put out option kits containing what the dual boxes were missing, so all people would have to do is buy the kit box and the option box and they have both units. This is why eBay resellers are making money and you're not. 

Remember way back when I posted about how Ghost Arks were an excellent paragon of a kit? Well, the Tomb Blade is quite the opposite. I'd planned a separate post on these, but instead, I'll just get my rant out of the way here. 

On the one hand, I quite like the radiating spines with spikes motif the top 2/3 of this has, but on the other hand, the tacked-on cannons are like a hasty finish to a promising drawing. It's like the guy had this orb, and it was great, but he then didn't know how to finish it off or what it, in fact was, until Fat Ward came trundling up behind him to say "Whatcha coin? Oooooh can it be a jet bike? Put some guns on it!"

In practice, it's in infuriating piece of shit that embodies all of the worst things about the new design philosophy. It's covered in detail which you then further cover in detail. (an offense to be further repeated in the new Ironstrider kit) No glowy rods were some should be, overly fiddly small bits (separate spinal cables? Are you mad, GW designers?) that just plain are poorly designed (shield vanes with tiny, tiny contact points, and they're in 2 even tinier parts!). The end result looks like a chunk of a larger kit they just couldn't be bothered to finish. Here's your insanely delicate spiny cockpit orb for your...thing. (a 5-man Ghost Ark? A Triarch Stalker? Who knows?) Oh wait, let's put some cannons on it. (sigh) I may just sell these three and go make some different mecha-bugs. Or more of other mecha-bugs. God knows more of these kits would just be flogging myself.

To boot, it badly fills a role that the old mk1 Destroyer did quite well. Really, all they had to do was keep the mk1  stats (jet bike, S6 AP3 Heavy 3 gun) and add the Tomb Blade's options (especially nebuloscopes. Mmmm!) and you'd have had an excellent unit. The Second Great Revision requires you take a squad of these to get the good Decurion, which seems to be The Great Plan to Sell Models 2.0, subsection Everyone Has Destroyers, Here's How We Sell Them Something Else.

Make no mistake, these trends are bad, and they're not just limited to the Necrons. 

Maybe the sky really is falling. Maybe it's time to throw in the towel and evolve to another hobby. 

Maybe I'll just keep making things. 

Happy Wednesday, people. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Bring on the Big Boys: The Heresy-Era Thanatar Siege Automata

So, time to put on our Jeremy Clarkson hat and take a look at the FW Thanatar. Though fiddly, this model, when you finally manage to get it together, is a great piece. I only wish it were hollow plastic, because it begs to have LED light stuffed into it to illuminate the plasma mortar. 

Look at that thing. How is it this came from basically the same place as those revolting robots they put out for the CultMech books? There's some real artistic schizophrenia going on over there.

If the Mechanicum are such tech-hoarders and so reverent about their machines, then a great deal of these and other automata should have feasibly survived the heresy era. Sure half of them went to Horus, but for pete's sake, half didn't. Also, if the AdMech do anything, it's stuff things in vaults. Where'd all those crab tanks and walker cavalry units come from? They weren't stuffed in turkeys, you know. 

Or maybe they were. Who knows how big turkeys got at the height of the Imperium. 

Three things about it are shit, however. The first is FW's insistence on "heat and twist" ammo belts. They're awful. They never bend and flex properly. If someone over there had half a brain they'd cast the belts in pewter so you bend and shape the hell out of them, or better yet, make them actual plastic belt-link chain feeds, like these. Note the price of those kits, by the way.

In retrospect, I went a little overboard on the source lighting.
The second thing is the Hellex plasma mortar support mechanism. This flimsy bit of resin just does not have the strength to support this immense block of resin, and quite honestly, needs a set of hydraulics to elevate and  stabilize the thing. Sorry, FW designers, but you need to step it up and stop phoning it in like this. It's the details that make your models and stuff like this just won't do. 

Yes, there were wee pistons that go dead on the backs of the legs.
Yes, I left them off, because I lost one, and frankly, he looks just fine anyway. 
Third, the unnecessarily complicated hips. Why are they jointed in the middle instead of the more dynamic and more sensible ball joint? Quite honestly, posing has been FW (and GW's) biggest problem as they don't seem have a grasp on the basics of composition and dynamic form at all. Never mind the over-produced look everything has been getting on the GW side nowadays. Have you seen the Terminator Captain and Librarian? They're utter shit. Boring, under-detailed models in boring poses. The previous models were ten times better. Who quit or was fired from their models department? 

The base is from Secret Weapon Miniatures, and has this dreadful rut on one side. I was obliged to fill it with sprue to give the model more contact area and stability. SWM is really stepping up their game nowadays, and giving the Dragon Forge stuff a run for its money. This didn't stop me from investing in their kickstarted, though, and you should too. Especially if you have a machine-y army like, say, Admech or Iron Warriors. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Assassin's Creed: 40k Ed Part 2: the Bad and the Ugly....

Honestly, I'll probably never have a Chaos army, as much as I like the pre-Heresy Death Guard and some of the models, like the Forgefiend, so this is pretty much as close as we're going to get to anything like Chaos, ever. Also, the fluff text talks about the boss as a sorcerer, so I decided to go Thousand Sons with these guys because I didn't see Khorne worshippers staying calm long enough to get any serious sorcery accomplished. With that detail out of the way, the entire adversary war band just sort of fell into place. 

That said, working on these was a treat, especially Zehket-Ka the Inscrutably (and some might say unnecessarily) Obtuse. Word to the wise: never ask this guy for directions to the can. As I was futzing with the parts to assemble him, I almost said "fuck it" and made a better Abaddon, but the lure of the Changer of Ways is strong. 

How is he supposed to go plundering space hulks and outlet malls with that wildly impractical helmet? Only Tzeentch knows. Maybe all the little eyeballs adorning his armor give him 360 degree sight, or he has magic rearview mirrors or something. 

I'm very satisfied with the way his blue crystal Chaos spike came out. I suppose it's a hellish torture to inflict on your followers to make their chiefs be perpetually climbing slightly uphill. I imagine they all have calf muscles like steam pistons. 

Instead of using the stock Chaos familiar from the box set (man, how boring is that little robed guy compared to the old models from the RT days?) I opted instead to use this rather sinister cat mascot from the Raging Heroes Toughest Girls of the Galaxy Kickstarter. He's covered in weird jewelry, and suitably Egyptian enough to be little Tzeentch fiend. 

A big thanks to the prolific Joel of Mordian 7th fame for the Thousand Sons bits that adorn Aknot, Akenet, and Aknehmet. While the catastrophe mentioned last post killed their sapphire paint jobs a bit, I think they held up rather well. They still need to some shoulder iconography, though. When I have time, I suppose. 

GW could have hit one out of the park by making this game more modular (like Space Hulk) and introducing more missions, and more of a weird mix, but they didn't. I guess they felt like they were floating a trial balloon, or that it wasn't worth the effort to begin with, or something, but despite that the art direction is very good and everything is generally very well-produced. The whole business is a bit confusing. Maybe they plan to expand with an Inquisition tack, or something? A series of games along the lines of a campaign might be a great way to revive, say, Necromunda. 

Or do they think that far? I wish we knew. Anyway, more models.

As cultists go, the Order of the Azure Shroud is your run of the mill bunch of fanatics who don't see sunlight very often, and just watch The Mummy and the first half of The Ten Commandments in their basements non-stop. I imagined climbing the hierarchy in the cult meant wearing more blue as you went on, and picking up more things like gold masks and shrouds. In more practical terms, this meant introducing variation so I didn't get bored. 

These guys turned out to be a treat, particularly the chief cultist with his flaming head. Tzeentch is pretty much the king of dubious boons. Hey! Your head's a plume of blue fire now! Here's a kickin' rad hat! Thanks for worshipping!

I feel I didn't do the crow guys proper justice. I wish I'd been able to find some kind of wide-brimmed hats to make them look more plague doctor-ish, but oh well. I did try to make the one on the far left look more chaos-y by giving him a glowy mutant eye under that mask. 

I wish they had conical cultist hoods like the Mordheim ones. These hooded guys are actually kinda boring. 

And, of course the gimps. Under those masks are three perfectly normal guys who thought this was a cosplay club, and now they just want to go home because there are no girls. 

Happy Friday, gang.