Monday, April 26, 2010

Tau'chikomatic Days: Attack of the Lethal Little Spiders!

I had nearly forgotten about these little guys. They've been in a box for like 3-4 years.

Back when I was trying to decide on a new army after playing SoB for some time (and lamenting their utter lack of ranged anti-tank), I flirted briefly with the idea of fielding the Tau.    Of course, 5th ed has since pushed their codex into the crapper, but the idea I had (before jumping full-bore into the Guard) was to make a Shirow Masamune tribute army, and these little fellas were my battlesuits. 

Those of you who followed Ghost in the Shell from its manga beginnings will recognize these designs being closer to the Fuchikomas than Stand Alone Complex's Tachikomas.  GW didn't really have a lot orb-shaped bits for me to use for the body, and I wanted to stick to Tau Battlesuit bits anyway. The Major's,  of course, is red.

A rear shot showing his little jump jets. GW has always had problems with scale, and even constructed to spec out of the box the Tau battlesuits appear to have little room for the pilot in addition to all the power and support systems the thing would need, even with their miracle technology. With that in mind, I suppose you could fit a pilot in the body, lying down over the main processor; the thorax is dominated by that flight system. 

An underside shot so you can get a better idea of how they're put together. The battlesuit chestplate is wedged into the back piece's cavity, and with some trimming those ball-jointed legs fit in nice and snug. Tau battlesuits aren't really built for hand to hand, so I saw no issue with the charactertistic stumpy arms. Plus, they make him look kinda cute. 

Mugging for the camera, the blue soldier units. I had fun with different weapons mounts, and the ball joints allowed for some nice reaction poses. In-game, of course, they'd all have standardized weapon loadouts, mostly for anti-armor. Fire Warriors are fine for anti-infantry, giving these spry little fellows the dubious honor of popping tanks at close range. Of course, they're nowhere near as spry in 40k as they are in the manga and anime, otherwise they'd be treated cavalry for movement purposes. 

For true anti-armor, of course, you want Broadsides with their heavy railguns, so I converted up a squad of sniper-type units and painted them in low-vis colors. With those big guns, they are, of course, much less spry than their brethren.

The one in the middle seems to be going for maximum elevation. He must see something hiding in the second floor of that building over there. The models might seem back-heavy due to the metal cannons and stabilizers, but their four-legged nature makes them quite stable, actually. 

I thought about using the regular Tau missile racks, but they were too underwhelming, so they became railgun ammo hoppers. Plus, since railguns are firing solid projectiles anyway, you can put them higher up without worrying about them being targeted. After all, with railguns it's the power capacitors in the back and those magnets in the barrels you want to worry about. This little guy also has a laser designator in his central mount to paint targets with. 

He's really blasting away with those plasma rifles. I never understood why the Tau didn't have BS4 instead of the more pedestrian (and base human) BS3. Then again, with all the accuracy-enhancing gadgets and twin-linking, I suppose they don't really need to be natural marksmen to hit things. 

I suppose I could implement them into my AdMech army, but that would mean refitting them with more gothic optics and Imperial-standard weapons, which would sort of detract from that high-tech look. As they are they just sort of don't fit with any of my other armies, which is a shame, because I really like the models. Hmmmm....


If you're wondering what sparked off the nostalgia to dig out these (relatively) old models, it's because I just finished assembling and painting this fellow:

I'll do a more in-depth photo posting of him if you really want. The little Fuchis next to him came with the Kusanagi figures they released to promote the PS1 game. Of course, the inspiration for him came from this fellow:

Fully articulated, this Fuchi came with the Ghost In the Shell One Box, a $300+ product that came with two hardbound manga volumes, a clear folder, and a mini-artbook. Got that sucker waaay back in the day from Tower Records, which is of course, now defunct. Thanks iTunes, where am I going to find an eclectic blend of music, books, and weird stuff now?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sometimes, The Things Assemble Themselves.

No pictures this post. Today it's Theatre of the Mind. 

I see things, I put them together. That's this hobby of ours in a nutshell: putting seemingly disparate parts together to make something cool.

Whilst browsing blogs, as you do when you're unemployed like me, I came across this:

You can wear them for hours on end, and even an amateur can run and climb in them. 

Gimme some arm extensions with spinny wrists, lightsabers, a few more bits and bobs, and blammo, you have a Grievous costume. But, why stop there? Go the extra nine yards and add this:

Now it's a powered version, strong enough to lift lightweight weapons and armor. Not mobile enough for you? Go here:

Now it flies.

This stuff, it's not a game, it's the world. It's coming. Get it?

Good morning, people. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tyracrons: Every Army Needs a General...

This fellow just started building himself, really. I realized Hive Tyrant models have utterly no shoulders, and built his out a little using some tubing, Cryx shoulders, and cannonry piping. The real question now is, lightsabers or boneswords? Hmm... time for another survey...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thanks, Folks. Really.

"A hundred followers, eh?"


"And there ain't no cute girls or gimmicks, eh?"

"Aye, none o' that."

"That's worth a smoke."


Thanks gang. I know it's only a blog, but it means a lot.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Adeptus Mechanicus: Techpriests, Engineseers, and Adepts

Like some other GW models, the lowly Engineseer is one of those characterful pieces that seems like he should do more, but isn't as great as he could be, somehow. In my AdMech army, I've been using them as filler models for things like Veteran Squads, heroes and other odds and ends (but strangely, I have yet to field an actual Techpriest in an army list, with or without servitors). The two above are stock, of course, but made for a good STC to use for others. Respirator, robes, backpack, servo arm, tools. Off you go. 

I'm not sure whether Dark Age is a defunct series or not, but I keep finding their box sets cheap (as in $6 plus shipping) which makes them ideally suited when found. The one on the right donated his head to a terminator conversion, and in return got an old Necron trooper head (look closely) under his green stuff cowl. The right hand one kept his human one, but wears his as a cogitator skull on his belt (which head is the dominant one is anyone's guess). They're adorned with IG and Flagellant belt bits, along with Necromunda pistols, where possible. 

You may recognize the fellow on the left as an ancient terminator, the old cobra-backed one that never really fit in with the other models (and as such, never joined my Ultramarines) Not to fear, as he gained an Obliterator power fist and augmetic arm with a Heavy Flamer. A few green stuff robes to complete the image, and you have a nice Praetorian flame trooper, and a hulking one at that. 

The Oblit fist came in a bits auction with chunks of another fellow you may recognize. In fact, I like the model so much I'll post a pic of him again:

Ah, Arch-Magos. So full of weapons and options that he's practically unfieldable without special rules (maybe as a Karamazov? Nah, too small..) That's a TL Plasma pistol, a flamer, a power claw, a blade of some kind, a smoothbore cannon of another kind, and some sort ocular mechadendrite. Oh, and a Rogue Trader Dreadnought left arm.

I suppose he'd be better off with Chaos Lord stats or something. Maybe a Tractor Beam (Lash of Slaanesh) but how to explain a TL Plasma pistol? The Tempus Fugitives list does feature a Magos Prime with a full servo harness and conversion beamer. Hmmm...

The forge halls must be built mighty large to accommodate this monster; he's practically a mini-Titan all by himself. Maybe he has a smaller sub-body to relax in and only wears this one when he's out in the field. 

The twins with their odd custom weapon-staves. I like the charging poses of these models, although the two-handed staff grip kind of limits conversion possibilities. The servo-backpacks are all made from standard SM packs, with the vents sawed off and replaced by machine bits, including the wicked saws, drills and claws from Necromunda pit gladiator bits sprue. I may look for some Cawdor or Redemptionist gangers the next time I'm fishing for Skitarii.

Female Mechanicum have always been rather interesting, and it's tempting to take them too far and make them look like jumped-up battle sisters. You have to walk a fine line between all the tech and weapons to keep them looking feminine, and as such these two presented more of a challenge than their male counterparts. The one on the left is a Magos Xenologis, as you can no doubt tell from her Eldar shuriken pistol and the rather arcane touches like the hourglass and cannon-axe weapon. Her companion is more along the lines of a Secutor or Skitarii, with a more aggressive pose and that folded-up flamer on her servo-pack. That hammer could probably do some damage, too...

Unlike the other Mechanicum, these two have purity seals on their weapons and gear. Are they plants from the Inquisition, I wonder? All of the Necron artifacts and gear about the forge might be cause for suspicion of Xenos contamination. Come to think of it, those strange conical "servitors" from a few posts ago have been seen ordering other servitors (and techpriests) about, and are devastating in combat. Hmmm....

Friday, April 9, 2010

Cloning Tanks Part 4: One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other...

Every motor pool has one (or more); the Chimera that's been repaired so many times it's a testament to spare parts stores and good ole'fashioned elbow grease. You folks will recall a post way back with some un-detailed and unpainted card tanks at the end? Well, I finally got around to finishing them off, and Chimera #3 is one of those. 

I like the way his rear section looks more like a little vault, thanks to the heavy rivets and imposing-looking hatch. Maybe they carry the regimental mascot and colors inside, for all the armor plating it has:

Those first two Chims came from a lucky eBay win (after unloading some old collectibles, a certain reseller had parts on sale, and... gee, can you guess my buying habits by now?) and I fitted them with upper track guards, so I've basically been holding onto the extra tracks for.... my, over half a year now. As you can see, the hull bears the same trademarks of my forge's reinforced armor, ie the heavy riveting (courtesy of ample sprue reserves). As Chimeras have a five-man fire point and no static lasguns anymore, it didn't seem an issue to model them. Our pattern multi-laser is more of a beam shotgun, as you can see, and the roomy turret actually accommodates a entire human gunner instead of just his head. 

Unlike the stylish sculpted GW treads on tanks #1 and #2, #3's are actually strips cut from a single sheet of Plastruct Clapboard Siding detail plasticard. The strips were laid over plastic  I-beam strips, which I also used for quick and easy track guards. The rear hatch is  static, of course, while I used lengths of paper clip (run directly through holes bored into the sculpted hinges) to articulate the Chimera hatches on #1 and #2. I would've liked the sub-doors on those to open, but they weren't molded in such a way that hinge-boring was possible. Oh well. #1 and #2's unused tread sections made two more Chimera tractor bodies possible:

Need quick and easy Hydra turrets? Get a $7 defense line turret, close the box with plasticard, add a top hatch and a Tau drone for a tracking radar, bolt the AC's on the sides, and then secure the whole shebang to the hull with rare-earth magnets. Those extra-blocky heavy duty treads you saw on the Basilisks way back are a thing of the past, I'm afraid. I'm quite taken with the i-beam-and-detail-plasticard approach to cheap, inexpensive treads. 

Added a few vents to the back for spice. I need to replenish my stowage bits box. I sort of shot my wad with the Basilisks and Leman Russes. But of course, they're modular:

So now I can go back and make two more Hydra modules for the Basilisk tractors, and a couple of artillery modules for these, allowing me to potentially field up to four of one or the other at once! WHA HA HA HA!!! 

Ahem. Sorry, still on the Dalek high from last time. 

I would have made Chim #3 modular, but I'll always need dedicated battle taxis anyway, so it's better to have a mix of modular bodies and static ones, right? Hmm, come to think of it, I need to make something up to serve as a Hellhound, too, don't I? Can't field Hydras all the time.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Adeptus Mechanicus: Skitarii

Everybody remembers this one, right? Today's post is about those little dots at the bottom; the infantry. Backbone of any army, really...

I got lucky one day on eBay and bid on lot of twenty (yes, twenty) Bretonnian Grail Pilgrims. I have never seen another, before or since, otherwise I'd grow my ranks by another two squads. Anyhoo, the converting began. Again, inspired by Mr. Taylor's lovely example, I set about giving those toothless frenchies cyborg parts (made of just about anything I could find in my bots box) and green stuff (where needed, which was not so much with these fellows) so they'd match up. Instead of lovely clean Space Marine bolters, I decided to go the heavy industrial route and fix them with Ork shootas for weapons. Skitarii weapons are described many times in fluff text but never elaborated on, but no one ever says "bolters" or even "gunpowder-filled muskets", so I figured I had pretty much free reign. Ork shootas are cheap and come in enough variety to make each model interesting. In case you were wondering, the sarge is the chap in the top row, middle, with the shield over his right arm like a Zaku.

Skitarii are primarily vicious assault troopers, so these squads sport assault weapons like grenade launchers and flamers. At the time I was still experimenting with army list builds, and using melta vet squads to hunt armor was still something I eschewed. Hindsight being 20/20, I suppose I'll go back an convert up eight or so more with melta guns.

Then another odd lot came up featuring twenty Empire Flagellants on sprues, which yours truly couldn't pass up. These were a treasure trove of devotional bells, books, scrolls, tiny hourglasses, little hammers of Sigmar, and so on. Those of you who want to add little bits and bobs to the kit of any model would do well to pick up a box of these things, because they are well worth the money. (on eBay, of course; never pay full retail for GW) Plus, the variety of heads is absolutely astounding. That sarge is one of my favorites, with his flaming metal skull and power fist (taken from a Warmachine servitor who now carries a support weapon), and still carries the iconic arm shield. 

Besides being uniformly robed (a definite perk) they're also, for the most part, in action poses, not just standing there like regular guardsmen, waiting for whomever to rend them asunder. I did have to greenstuff iron shoes on most of  them, though. I had a buzzsaw arm from back when you could still order Necromunda Pit Fighter stuff to your heart's content, and fit that to this squad's sarge along with the obligatory shield. The Flagellant-based ones required more green stuff in the form of cassocks, although for some reason I didn't carry over the cog motif the Grail Pilgrim-based ones had. I don't know why, really, maybe I was tired of painting cogs at the time. 

For the longest time I had considered simply shelling out for massed ranks of Vostroyans, but never found them in any quantity. This one squad I got on the cheap, and converted them up with Pig Iron Productions heads. They really are quite fantastic, and very easy on the wallet, so I do recommend you check them out if you haven't already. This squad usually gets broken up when I field them; the support weapon joins the other Heavy Weapon Squads, while the rest of the lads get bundled off into a Vendetta with some Techpriests or Squats carrying melta weapons (more on those and other stand-ins later). I made the decision to use them as Veterans to the other squads' standard infantryman role, which I suppose ropes me into fielding more (as funds allow) to differentiate the two. Sharp eyes will notice  something extra on that support team's base:

I know modeled cover doesn't count, but honestly HWT's swim on those massive 60mm bases. I also had a small Facehugger from my Alien Queen kit, but somehow I like having the cat on there more. Kitty's going to get a real shock when they open fire.

I really do love the job they did on those Vostroyan models. Why they didn't simply release a plastic box or three of them while they were re-releasing the IG I'll never know. Oh wait, I do know: they're shortsighted berks. That's why it's easier to, say, go on Micro Arts site and buy some of their Skitarii. They're almost too well-made, though, and leave little room for conversion. Where's the fun in that, I ask you? Speaking of fun, it's time to unveil the real power behind my Mechanicus forces. Did you look closely at the very first image? Did you?

Yes, you were lead astray by all that Necron talk, pitiful humans. The Daleks are behind everything on Mars. All of it. Stop us if you dare, Time Lord. (yes, I know they need basing, I think they look a little ghetto, too; I rushed them out before a battle and never got back to them...)

These have been in practically every army I've fielded in 40k, standing in for one unit or another. Even the most stringent WYSIWYG Nazi has never, ever objected to my Dalek squad, and they never fail to elicit a smile . Psyker Battle Squads? Storm Troopers? Daleks can do it all. Back when I was building my Necron army, I had considered taking advantage of Black Tree Design's many (and generous) sales, and making the Necron force entirely out of Daleks. If anyone wants to commission such a thing, I'd be more than glad to assist them.

Happy Easter, people.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Adeptus Mechanicus: Praetorians and Heavy Servitors

Tyracron stuff is in the pipeline (more accurately, on the drawing board) and I'm not even going to delve into the whole Storm Raven speculation thing (partly because of $$$, partly b/c the real thing is probably going to be ass anyway) so today it's AdMech, and specialty units, at that. The above units are conversions of Micro Arts' lovely resin models. I had meant to get ten of the things to form a single unit, but these suffice for the time being (I still want four more, just to even out the numbers....) . If I ever use them as Heavy Weapons Squads in anything but friendly 40k games, I should re-mount them on 60mm bases with minders and/or flavorful terrain. I know IG HWT's don't lug multi-meltas around, but in the eventuality that decent Praetorian rules come out, I wanted to plan for any eventuality. I guess I'm just living in hope for some FW codex content for them...

I think Ogryns get a bum rap, largely due to their comparatively huge points cost. They're fun  to use and kick a lot of butt in assault, even if they don't have good anti-armor ability. These heavy servitors were inspired by Dave Taylor's, and originally slated (in their raw Ogre state) to be Dogs of War Ogres for my WHF Dwarves. One thing led to another and, well, they joined the Adeptus Mechanicus as Heavy Servitors. I found some ork power klaws and bike bitz on eBay ultra-cheap, and, with some other bits, set about making giant dumb cyborgs. The Ork weapons are rather amorphous, design-wise, and so stand in for a variety of possible weapons (autocannons and heavy bolters, not to mention Ripper guns). Sharp eyes will notice the profusion of Necron bits, mainly scarabs and old Warrior heads. Yes, it's all part of the conspiracy, I'm afraid. These big chaps are smarter than they let on (and some are controlled by the heads in their gut plates). I had some epic-scale termite drills and turret-gunner bits, which made lovely mining implements.  I'm particularly fond of the Diving Helmet chap (top row, middle).

Ork bits really make for some characterful conversion parts, even though I for one am sick and tired of FW and GW spending so much damn time on new ork krap to the point of neglecting better projects (Storm Ravens, Thunderwolves, etc). I suppose it's a form of rebellion for me to use them on an Imperial army, albeit a fringe one. Like the Praetorians, these last saw combat as Heavy Weapons team stand-ins, although I could probably have used a bunch of power-claw swinging, assault weapon firing giants in that game, too. I made sure to space them far apart enough for them to theoretically be on 60mm bases, for fairness sake.