Friday, June 25, 2010

Forces of the Holy Inquisition Part III: Inquisitors and Stranger Things....

Where GW really dropped the ball was not announcing a companion miniatures line to go with Dark Heresy. Fortunately, there are a bazillion other companies, like Rackham. I only wish they hadn't gone the badly-prepainted-plastic route, but what can you do? They're French. 

Above is a set of minis I don't get to use often enough, (which is good, because they stay intact that way); Ordo Malleus Inquisitor Thetis and her advisors, Doctor Phobic and High Canoness Vespera. All three are lovely (overpriced) minis from Rackham, minimally converted. I weaponized the staffs on Phobic and Thetis, turning one into a chain-glaive and the other into a force weapon with integrate plasma pistol.The High Canoness I left stock, because I love the freaking miniature the way she is; she has a nice high-holy look without being a frothing-at-the-mouth zealot. 

Yes, I know, square bases on models meant for 40k, it's a crime. I need to get some more Warmachine bases to transplant them to. 

In the grand tradition of high Imperial muckety-mucks, they carry their scriptures around with them, and miraculously manage not to maul themselves with their enormous weapons. I didn't add any purity seals because, quite frankly, they have enough detail, and additional bits would have obscured that too much.  If you look closely at that second photo, I did attempt to do a "vitruvian man" type sketch on Phobic's back banner, but... well, don't look too close. I also dirtied up his storm coat a little too much, I think; I wanted to show he'd been mucking about in battlefield trenches, not Imperial streets. The Rackham range has (or had) a lot of nice models that fit directly into the whole Inquisitorial aesthetic, including quite a few gun-toting weirdos. 

Speaking of weirdos, this bunch was positioned together for the sake of the pictures, but I think they make a pretty neat team. The Inquistor in the center is a Dark Age Bane model, with the rocket-thing flattened into a staff and various bits added.  He happens to own a powerfist-wielding servitor (a Cryx thrall; I love these models) to take down those pesky doors. Plus, there's the ever-present servo skulls, a fearsome looking mercenary (courtesy of the Iron Kingdoms range), the hot bald chick (a psyker; aren't all bald babes psykers in the 40k universe?) and that assassin-looking lady on the end with veil and wicked-looking rifle. (a Shirow Masamune ripoff design from the Corvus Belli "Infinity" range, also woefully overpriced; I got this one on sale from the Warstore, I think) . A lot of these are intentionally painted dark; with a few exceptions I generally start from black and work up. Some of these people shouldn't be walking around in bright, day-glo colors anyway, particularly if they're supposed to be assassinating someone. Speaking of assassins:

Yes, I know, I'm behind on my basing. Get off my back already. 

I'd like to think assassins come in other forms than just chicks with swords wrapped in lycra.  When I saw that Privateer Press mini on the left I had to have him, just by virtue of the hat and gas mask, never mind that his primary weapon is the grenade, of all things. Likewise, the Rackham sniper on the far left with the enormous rifle and puritan hat. I resisted the urge to put his =I= icon up there and mounted it on his belt instead. The other two are orc-suited Corvus Belli troopers with nasty rifles, painted to tie in with my chosen SoB order. The real jewel of my assassin corps is this lady:

Sometimes I have terribly poor impulse control when it comes to really beautiful models. She's so delicate and thin I can't even bring myself to put her in a case for use in an army. All that armor is positioned so that as you turn the model it becomes almost an entirely different miniature. It's just lovely. The rest of the faction she comes from is equally exquisite, but I'd bankrupt myself collecting them all, so I had to stop at this one. I still keep the catalogs, though, which are chock full of fantastic photos. You gotta dream.

I chose this Reaper model to serve as my Living Saint, although honestly I can't picture an army featuring one that would work effectively, badass as she supposedly is in combat. You get the feeling they wrote the WH codex right after reading a bunch of Dan Abnett novels, and tried to cram in as much as they could including the Inquisition co-opting IG forces. Well anyway, in contrast to other companies, Reaper's models are both cheap AND good, and I thought this haunted-masthead construct was perfect for a dark future supernatural dynamo. Luckily, the SoB Canoness model comes with a bunch of spare bits, including a wealth of gauntleted hands holding things (like that book). The flamberge-style sword is from a Reaper weapons option set that is also, helpfully, extremely cheap and well-sculpted (see a trend here?)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tyracon Retakes...

Ooooh, the OCD part of my brain is acting up again. It's making me retake pictures after looking at old posts here that were dark as fuck, so here we go, in more or less chrono order:

Tyracron mk 1. Hmm, still a little yellow (damn tungsten filter...) and, shame on me for not photoshopping out some warps in the paper. Still, hmm...

Doomy. Brighter, but still looks like I've been taking pictures through popcorn butter. I still have a bunch of those heads... maybe I'll use them on my Zoans.

Deathleaper. I gotta say, I'm tempted to chuck the lights at this point and move to a room with more direct sunlight+mirrors. In its defense, Deathleaper's silver bits were dark-washed way down, since I wanted more muted stealth metal. I also color-dodged the hell out of and spent half an hour color-balancing out all the bits of yellow tungsten flare that the filters missed. I have GOT to get some yellow-blocker bulbs for these lights. 

Harpy. Man, I've forgotten A) how much I liked the model and B) how fucking GOLD it got, against my meaning it too. I'm still verrrrrry tempted to just strip it and start over, or at least add some mottling to the thorax and wings. 

Tervi. Painting-wise, I kept him dark, as I meant to, including the carapace, which is why he isn't shiny as hell like some of the others. By the way, before sticking the Tervi models to the bases, they STOOD UP BY THEMSELVES, BALANCING PERFECTLY. Seriously, it's fucking creepy when that happens. I mean, it's good, because I don't have to search for lead scraps to weight the base, but man. Creepy. 

Overall, I think I'm doing a pretty good job at sticking to the whole "eldritch robots who want to eat your soul" theme, but my lighting system (such as it is) is going to need  a lot of work. I thought it was a matter of photoshop skills, but you can only do so much with what you have, so obviously, there are going to be a lot more experiments where these came from. 

Lastly, the goddamn Inquisition codexes. I expected some kind of neutering rewrite, but what we got was shoddy editing consisting of someone basically deleting pages (oh look, they nuked a 2-page illustration!) and leaving things like points costs, glaring errors, and so on alone. GW didn't like the IG armies having anti-pysker and invulnerability save-defeating gear, so they screwed the players on that. 

Without fixing anything. 

Well, screw 'em. Now the Inquistion models are only good for Dark Heresy, and you'll NEVER run into/use Grey Knights/Battle Sisters in there unless the shit has really hit the fan. If there's a monster that you need a Grey Knight Terminator squad to handle in DH, then your little group of acolytes is truly fucked, and you need to roll up new characters. 

Ah well. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Forces of the Holy Inquisition Part II: Character Matters...

So 40k aside, I've been playing a lot of Dark Heresy. Our Inquistorial Acolyte team's 5 strong and consists of my Arbitrator, a Techpriest, a Guardsman, an Imperial Priest, and a Metallican Gunslinger. Aside from being an excellent (and nicely art directed) game, acting as miniatures wrangler for DH lets me field many models that would otherwise never see the light of day on the 40k battlefield, so I thought I'd share. 

(I'm experimenting with the light box, so bear with me)

Adeptus Arbites officers, converted from Dark Age Coil miniatures. I found a cheap "St. Mark Warband" on eBay a while ago, and have been painting converting as needed. I like them a lot better than the overpriced (and half-assed, design-wise) GW Arbitrator minis.  Since they're based on Brom illustrations, those chicks are monstrously fit and muscular, so people either love or hate them. (personally, I like strong women a lot, but man...)  In case you were wondering, I used the chap with the big revolver as my character mini when I was lower-level, but modified and painted up the chainsword version when I finally got my chainsword and bolt pistol, several levels later. The reds on their tunics don't match because I wanted to convey used, secondhand digs with the lower-level model and more of a polished, Judge Dredd feel with the higher-level one. Strangely, it's the non-combat investigative skills where this character really seems to shine; I just rolled better on some stats than on others, and if you don't have high WS/BS/Agility, then... well, you're better off acting as an investigator/ human sensor array/smooth talker.

Our GM pointed out, and rightly so, that the Chaliced Commissariat isn't actually a bunch of Imperial-Sanctioned Commissars, to the chap that's 3 from the left is pretty much just for looks. He usually stands in for Creed when I field a Mechanicus army. (strangely, though I'm curious about Warmachine, I just keep tossing the cards for the minis) The Priest is a Reaper mini that was originally a just some friar holding a cross. Since our priest uses a flame pistol full of holy promethium, I stripped and upgraded him a bit (with the book, Emperor icon, and flamer, natch), and his new home is in the DH box. That guardsman is a polyglot conversion job using Tau legs, Scout Marine boots, and IG bits and bobs from the odd vehicle sprue (all of my tanks are buttoned up anyway).

Though we've been using an Engineseer mini, that 3rd chap with torch has been a fine stand-in every so often, the others (well, except for Flamer Arms, there on the end) have been seeing pretty good use as adepts, servitors, and other academic types. I wish someone would put out some kind of old lady cyborg, since we seem to be running into the odd eccentric old biddy once a module. 

I converted these guys up as a couple of hunter/trapper types, and intentionally kept their colors drab, so they'd look like they just fell of the (interstellar) turnip truck. That flintlock and pistol came from a Mordheim dwarf sprue, and the enormous pick hammer belonged to... well, another Warmachine mini that's since gone on to other pastimes. 

Yes, you'll see her in the future. 

Yes, she works for the Inquisition, too. 

Yes, she's hot ;)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

This is Greg's fault.

Greg tactfully pointed out the less-than-stellar lighting conditions from the last shoot, so I dug around on the web and found a tutorial on lightbox building and lighting. I still have to get some nice cool (ie not-yellow) bulbs for the shop lights, but the abovewas shot in the result. I papered the inside of a box with white shelf paper,  leaving a curved surface on the back and minimal seams (they can be photoshopped out anyway). Is it too small to me to do whole armies and tank companies? Yes, but for squads, monsters, etc, it should work okay. 

So thanks, Greg, for telling my lighting was shit. Now it's bright as fuck. 

As you can see, the Angels of Fire color scheme is a dark palette anyway, but it does light up nicely. 

No, I won't retake every damn photo I've done already, even though the OCD section of my brain is screaming at me too. 

Happy Father's Day, people. 

You too, Greg, if you're a father. ;)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Commissions, Part 3

People sure are funny. 

This guy originally told me he wasn't that into 40k, and yet, when I turned in the 2nd boxed set, all painted and gorgeous, he came back with a bag holding a Dread, an HQ squad, and a Captain. 

Imagine that. Maybe he just likes my painting. :)

Anyway, because I liked the way it works in the Blood Angels color scheme, I decided that veterans and other higher-ups in the Angels of Flame have brassy helmets, as well as back packs and other gear. Also, I decided that, since I was doing flames, I use this (hopefully ongoing, fingers crossed) project to do other things I normally never do. such as banners. So:

This Captain has a lovely back banner (first one I ever painted, really; the scrolls on my Terminator Chapter Master  don't count, because they're scrolls) and the wicked cool (and useful) combi- melta, not to mention little winglies on his flame icon. I realized after that there were bits I could've used to further spruce up the armor, but that might've made it too gaudy. He does have to stride into battle, after all, and that banner is going to get in the way the first time he goes through a door into.... well, anything. I suppose it auto-folds away when he has to get into a Land Raider?

His command squad got the same treatment, with fixed-up backpacks, gear on their belts, and lots of shiny brassy bits all over the place. I though of giving the Company Champion some kind of personal heraldry, but didn't want him to overshadow the Captain, so I left him relatively spartan. Just some scroll work on the leg plate for him. Everyone else got mastheads on their backpacks and terminator honors. 

Not bad for the second banner I've ever painted, ever, eh? 

Banners are a bit of a wast of points, so I sold him on having the main company banner as an objective. The angel is some angel or other (probably Sanguinius, but didn't he have black wings?) who had fiery wings and obviously impressed the fuck out of whomever founded the chapter.  These guys became the 4th Company by virtue of there being a little skull with "IV" in the CC's pack-mounted mini-shrine:

See? So I repeated that on the shield and company banner. It helps to have a theme. I wish I could have carried it over to the guy's other tac squads, but oh well. The Dreadnought was another story:

Another first, this being the first plastic Dread I ever modelled, ever. He's SO light compared to the metal ones. It helped to weight him down a bit with magnets (and detail), but man. Anyway, no magnets in the waist, because it would've been a waste, pun intended. 

The guy wanted magnetized shoulders so he could switch the arms around into any config he wanted. I became fond of the Lascannon & Claw look, but for purposes here he's in Mortis configuration. I decided to do something new with insets for this pic, the top one showing how damn strong the magnets are (ooh, but wouldn't you love to have all four arm options at once?) and the bottom a nice detail of the spent shells and skull on that nice base (not to mention more of the cool hydraulics). The way the terrain is broken up made me think "pavement", but in retrospect I probably should've done it as sandstone to tie in with the wrecked Aquila terrain. Oh well. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tyracron Update: Tyrannofexes?

Been going through different ideas to make a Tyrannofex; the walking cannon, some kind of tank crab, etc, and found this old thing in my Necrons file:

That's right, it's old concept art from the previous GW website.  Back when GW was slowly but surely losingits imagination, it seems the Necrons would've had some decent armor choice like any other army, like  a floating SPG (dare I dream it might've been Destroyer-fast, too?) I lifted bunch of it before they changed the site over to their new version. Anyhoo, it's got a big gun and a Necron steersman. Not crazy about those wing things, but I definitely like the ribcage treatment, if not the taste. There's also this:

Another tanker contraption with the ribcage build, but this time more of a vehicle-thing than a self-propelled gun. While not as monstrous as the first one, I definitely like the prow. Question is, of course, where do you get that bloody big set of ribs from? Near as I can figure, you'd have to cobble them together out of plasticard, b/c even the largest Nid torso wouldn't fit. I wonder if even a dark Eldar Ravager would work as a base?

I'm leaning towards the first one, but the rib cage thing is still vexing. After surmounting that little question, everything else would be cake. 

Don't say "'ow 'bout those monolith spine thingies?" because they're waaaay too tall. Also I'm already using them on the Mycetic Crypt prototype. (Which is larger than a drop pod because it somehow has to fit 20 infantry models or 1 monstrous creature, plus the guts necessary to run the thing.)

Happy Thursday, people. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Something is wrong the poll-mo-tron. I just can't get the one in the upper right panel to work at all. Sorry gang, but Blogger (and Google) don't care about what you think. 

They must not know that I'm the secretly the one who controls their pay and bennies. 

And watches them while they sleep.

From SPACE. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tyracron Update: The Gate Spider, Tervigon!

As promised, a new set of Tyracrons! Tervigons (or Tervicrons, if you will) are probably one of the most useful monsters in the new codex, what with their ability to spawn troops units, their psychic powers, and the fact that you can buy them AS troops, which is  pretty huge considering what they are and do. The brainstorm came after staring at Carnifex torsos for a an hour or two and finally figuring out that A) I could use the Sentinel crotches to mount the heads and B) not using metal tomb spider bits is a crime. After that, they rather flew together, from the immense gate generators on their back to those wicked-looking composite legs. Did I mention how much I love the Sentinel kit? 

Yes, I have scads of leftover paint pots. Lord knows I go through paint fast enough.  

So now a bit about design. Those big things on their thoraxes are gatefold generators, which warp time and space and allow hordes of Necron warriors to literally walk through the thinned (courtesy of its energy field)  fabric of reality from one place to another. The thick clamshell shields are there to protect the generator, when the gate field isn't active. What, you thought Tyracrons laid eggs, like bugs? Well, I toyed with the idea of a "troop carrier" insect, but to pop out hordes of Necron warriors turn after turn it would have had to be immense, so thanks, no. Besides, this fit the whole Void Dragon theme better. Go read Graham McNeil's Mechanicum and you'll see what I mean. Also, they have six legs (not eight) because Tyranids are hexapods, and it's a theme, so there.

The distorted time/space field has a sort of inverse effect on the Tervicron's local gravity, and as such the Tervi moves along like he's dragging an immense kite full of wind. The motion is rather like a hermit crab pulling itself along the sea floor, which is the reason all of the legs are pitched forwards in a sort of "pulling" pose (as opposed to a more insectile one with the rear legs pushing and the center set carrying the weight). Also, his beady little head is white, because he's a synapse organism. 

Man, that poor skeleton has it bad. First the guy gets crushed under a manhole/wheel/whatever and now a big fat Tervi is standing on him. What a life. Oh yeah, and since I spent (or mispent) my youth on Gundam models, I happened to have some bits lying around:

They're just so perfect I may forego the whole "hybrid" idea and just give Grievous straight lightsabers -- or would that be too derivative? If only I had four factory boneswords instead of two (yes, I've seen the recasts by a certain resin caster, and sorry, $12/pair is too pricey for what they are). Anyway, this way Grievous will be living up to his trophy lightsaber habit, and has apparently killed two Jedi, a Sith, and Mace Windu. 

Now we can finally move forward with the Grievous project....

Monday, June 7, 2010

Commissions, Part 2

As soon as I turned in that batch of Macragge stuff in to the client, he turned around and produced.... the box set that immediately preceded it, namely a box full of Dark Eldar and more Marines (including the ubiquitous Land Speeder). At least these Astartes are the fully posable stock type and not the e-z assembly type for beginners. Personally, though I'd prefer bolters welded to hands, rather than the loose 2-arm battle grip that's always pain in the ass to model (you really just have to eyeball it and hope for the best, I guess) . Oh yeah, now they have a Speeder:

I must say, the angry crimson paint job is growing on me. I skirted the flame job by painting the unit insignia as a flame tongue flanked little BA-style winglets, although easily it could've been those gay hot-rod flames they dared deface Optimus Prime with (damn you, MIchael Bay... ). Speaking of gay, here's 20 Dark Eldar for the Astartes to massacre:

GW's relaunch of them, if the recent codexes are any indication, should be interesting, but I can't bring myself to respect the Eldar in any form. At least their bosses surround themselves with slave girls, Conan-style, and you have to admire that from a badass standpoint. I do like that they have female models on the sprue as well, which you'd think the IG would have (but don't, and more's the pity. Anyway, I modeled one of them with a captured imperial auspex (can you spot him?); maybe he's homing on the other one near these oil drums:

Hey, they give you oil drums and wall sections, so why not? Why would the Dark Eldar want these things anyway? Do they have promethium obsessions like the Tanith First's Brostin (one of my favorite characters, ever, by the way) or maybe it's peanut oil for their restaurant-grade fryers. Hey, the Eldar are hedonists, and deep-fried food is a pretty hedonistic pursuit. Here's another view; I used the wall fragments on the sprue to dress up the objective bits a little:

What happens when the Dark Eldar use those barrels of oil to fry their turduckens outside? You get ruined terrain. Now you know. Good thing they put out tank traps to keep the rifraff. You never can be too sure. 

It turns out he had some Grey Knights, too, and he didn't bite when I made him a "trade for painting fee) offer, so I painted them up for him just the same. I always loved the classice GK models, with their force weapon/bolter hybrids. The new models with gauntlet-mounted bolters just don't have the same gothic look and feel as these do. 

Next week, more TYRACRONS! WOO!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Time to clear out some stuff that's just taking up space (not to mention I really need the cash), so I'm putting some models up on eBay, including the above Tau Hammerhead. Head on over and check out the listings, which include some GW Ogres from 1984. 

Links to the listings (click straight through to eBay):

The Tau Hammerhead (I was thinking of a Shirow Masamune-themed Tau army, and this low-vis sniper tank was originally also going to have a set of legs and be a Spider gun platform. The guns and sensors swivels/traverse, the rear door opens, and the landing gear are removeable.  If it doesn't sell, I might just strip the model and convert it to go with the Fuchis...)

More pics of the Hammerhead:

Other links to other stuff:

Ogres (8 of 'em) (Stamped "GW 1984 on the bottom! I just never got around to painting them)

War Altar of Sigmar with Grand Theogonist Volkmar (only one horse, though)

Reaper Minis Shadow Dragon (Have you always wanted one? I suppose it's make a nifty bottle opener...)

Reaper Minis Frog Demon (perfect for a Great Unclean One!)

It occurs to me that they'd sell more painted, but assembling/painting is half the fun, isn't it? 

Happy bidding!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Charity Drive...

Dave Taylor and others will be building decked-out Storm Wardens army to raffle off, with the proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders, so head on over to his blog at

and make a donation to the cause.