Monday, August 30, 2010

The Inquistion, the Last Part (edit): GUNHEDS and Walkers...

Recently it was pointed out to me that I wasn't leading with my strengths, so I went back through and gutted this article for reposting.

The three GUNHED's above were my answer to the appalling vulnerability of the common Penitent Engine. Where the PE is slow, underarmored, and underarmed, (and based on those woussy mecha from The Matrix)  the GUNHED is fast, heavily armed and armored, and has a Sister Repentia in the crew compartment (which is, of course, featured open to show off said pilot). I kept the flamethrower buzzsaw arms and pseudo-sentinel legs (I only used the right one for uniformity) and ditched the rest. That said, it's based on this manly hunk of steel:

That's GUNHED Sergeant MBR-507, from the Japanese movie GUNHED, which came out some time back in 1989. It was pretty standard fare for a Toho movie, in that it was shot in glorious Tohovision and featured giant monstrous things trying to kill each other. The plot was thin, the acting was... adequate, but overall, the star is the Studio Nue-designed monstrosity you see there. GUNHED is an acronym for "Gun Unit/Heavy Elimination Device", and were meant to be entirely unmanned drones deployed in battalions to fight... other unmanned war machines. Interestingly enough, that Kawamori design is also the precursor for the mecha in the underrated Eureka 7.

Anyhow, my take on it was this (and no, it doesn't transform) :

A lot of bits went into #507. That long-barrelled vulcan in the turret came from an old, large scale Heavy Gear weapons pack. The metal turret and tread assemblies is from a pre-Flames of War tank wargame (three lead tank blisters for a mere $6 apiece!) and the rest are Penitent Engine parts, plastic bits, Inquisitor icons, and other things. The legs I extended by use of plastic i-beams and the tread bits from the tank models.  I tried to keep it gothic, keep it dark, and keep it, as other 40k designs, looking like it should have had more tacked onto it, but after thousands of years had been boiled down to its basic ugly funcitonality. Yes, the penitent inside is a Dark Eldar Wych (pun intended):

In the old days you used to be able to order practically any manner of bits from practically the entire range of GW minis, and life was good. Now you can't, of course, because maintaining a massive bitz inventory is evidently too much of a bother for the powers that be to handle. Now we have to scrape and scrabble on eBay for plastics that aren't even marginally as interesting as all of the things we used to have access to whenever we wanted, as much as we needed. 

Those thrusters, of course, are for turbo-boosting into battle so you can flame/buzzsaw them after to you Punisher cannon them to pieces.  I like the book on the engine section, there. I was really into the WH design motif of covering things with shrines and scrolls. This thing remains one of the jewels of my collection, and I liked it so much, I built another one, #508 (or "Flame-HEDD")  with an emphasis on fire:

That giant flamer in the turret belonged to an action figure a long tim ago; I found it at the bottom of a drawer, I think. Having the accelerant tanks on the outside of the turret seems like an awfully good way to get them blown up, but then again, having an open cockpit on a war machine is a terrible idea, too. Maybe it closes like a clamshell, retracting up into the chest? If that's the case, that Rackham babe needs to tuck in her legs:

Yes, I noticed the glare spot on these. The angle on the bottom of the chest section seemed to catch the light no matter what I did. I suppose I should have sealed these with matte instead of semi-gloss, but every time I use a matte spray-seal it just kills the metallics. 

You'd think the Ecclesiarchy would lock up all of their scrolls and relics in museums, but they seem to delight in carelessly nailing them to tanks and other monsters of the battlefield. You might also notice the engine sections are slightly different; these pre-date my current standardization kick. At the time, I did make sure to use only the right-hand PE legs, certain torso bits, etc. that matched up to connect the models, thematically.  It didn't take me long to discover the (then) newly-released Warmachine range:

The Grey Knight version, the X-252 "Melta-HEDD", uses Khador warjack parts (I forget which one) and Inquisitor Karamazov's tri-barrel multi-melta. In retrospoectAlong with the PE and other parts, this model fit together really, really snugly. The Dark Age Reaver girl even fits nicely in its little command throne. More than that, she actually looks like she wants to be sitting in there, and isn't chained to anything.

Well, she's not enthusastic about it, but she's not writhing in anguish, either. 

Compared to the other two it looks a little under-armed; my intention was for that boxy thing on the turret to read as a psycannon, (even though it reads, visually, as some kind of sensor). Being a Grey Knight construct, it has the obligatory Force Weapon in that bigass gauntlet. You didnt think I'd cut away  a dreadnought-sized axe, did you? Likewise he carries a Liber Demonica just in case he has to call out a demon's true name in the middle of combat to subdue it. There is no plastic on this model at all, so it weighs as much as two old-school metal dreads. I shit you not. This thing is fucking heavy.

Man, I do love that cluster of exhausts in that big, solid torso (if I was in the black again I'd start a Warmachine hobby in a NY minute) Sharp eyes will note the old-school Battletech Marauder torsos as boosters on the engine sections. I am almost (at long last) completely out of bits and bobs from the old B-Tech range, too, so unless you want half of a leg or torso that's been smashed beyond recognition, I wouldn't bother asking. 

Yes, I do also own the Penitent Engines that the GUNHED was supposed to supplant. I even used GUNHEDS as stand-ins for PE's at one point, but was so disappointed by how quickly the PE's got chopped apart that I retired the models from that dubiously helpful duty out of shaming them. Yes, really. I went and got real PE's out of pity for the made-up ones. 

I always thought the Penitent Engine had  a lot of potential, if only it didn't have the major stumbling blocks of being open-topped and badly armored. It's far more interesting to look at than the average Dreadnaught, and is closer to being some kind of Dark Eldar construct  than an Imperial design. I mean, a machine powered by a tortured sinner that carries blades and shoots fire? It may be shit on the battlefield, but it's one hell of a neat idea. Unfortunately, neat fluff rarely translates well into the game. 

Remember, this was my first 40k army, and so the idea I had was to run some of these up behind Rhinos or Immolators and let them go to town on the opposition. Of course, Rhinos are terrible to hide behind longer than, say, a turn, and the PE's are so lightly armored that a violent sneeze chops off a vital engine part. Despite this, they were such a neat gothic concept that I even took advantage of some bargain-basement priced Sentinel parts, along with some of the nicer metal Specialist range bits:

The Inquisitor range was a treasure trove of cool-ass parts, like cyborg gladiator arms and devotional scripts. Unfortunately, big metal arms plus light plastic parts equal trouble, and this thing was so forward-heavy I had to build up the base on the bottom to it'd stand properly. Nowadays, my models are much better balanced (uncannily so, in the case of the Tervicrons). 

Like my other sentinel-legged constructs, both of these need a rod up the grounded foot to keep them on the base and stable, but the parts allow for such great poses that I don't mind all the extra drilling.

I'd cap off this edited entry with something witty, but there's a hostage crisis right now at Discovery in Silver Spring, where my friend works. I'm praying for the hostages safety, and that a police sniper will fucking blow the gunman's head off.

Wednesday's a bitch, gang.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mmm.... Minty.

Remember the old Judge Dredd film? With Stallone? The one that was complete shit because it was written and directed by people that hated the character? Well, wash your memory out with this:

Someone's making a fan film, and the teaser vid looks really, really, good. More about it (along with the video) here.

Now, by "fan film", you'd think it was two guys with a video camera and a copy of Premiere pro. Uh-uh. From the blog, it's an involved, full-blown production; greenscreening, location shoots, the works. See that Lawmaster? Wait till you see it in motion. 

And here I am, working from my kitchen. 

Stupid universe....

Monday, August 23, 2010

International House of Paincakes

Out of the fell shadows of August  comes a new blog network, courtesy of Lauby and Dethtron.  I was asked kindly to contribute an article or two, and contribute I shall. Of course, my kind of article requires building things and documenting that with a camera, so it'll require some planning. 

Anyways, check them out (and sign up, while you're at it: Int'l House of Paincakes

No, I don't know what a Paincake is, but I suspect it has something to do with ham. 

In other news, it appears the new Tyrant is going to be a horrifying centaur monster, along the lines of the Berserker shown in the last post. 

Maybe I'll call him "Ultima".....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hey Otto! Do Berserker! Girls think is big sexy!

I've been playing Final Fantasy XII on the PS3, and it's so visually gorgeous I'm willing to forgive the woefully neglectful lack of gameplay. Anyhoo, as my team of emo teenagers were beating the bejeezus out of these giant centaur automatons, the design struck me as something the Necrons would leave lying around. As if its size and enormous amount of HP weren't enough, when the thing is sick of dealing with you, it summons an enormous fucking sword. 

So I'm thinking it's a good jumping-off point for the second Hive Tyrant? Maybe a Tyrannofex?

In other news, I've started on an Emperor's Tarot deck for my DH group. We also play poker the same evening, so I thought it'd be cool to have a deck you could also use for that (less the 24 Major Arcana and 4 Trump cards, of course) . Here's my proof-of-concept prototype, the Ace of Thrones:

From my research, the suits are Thrones, Bolters (or Bolts), Shields, and Novas, and the four Trump cards are something you don't even see in regular Tarot decks. The other major difference is that these will be playing card size to facilitate Texas Hold 'Em as well as divination. The Minor arcana will be easy enough, but it still leaves me with 40 or so small illos of varying complexity to do. It'll be a nice long-term project. 

No, I will not, as others have, be stealing Jon Blanche artwork from the rulebooks. Others have done that, and that's cheating.

Next time we'll wrap up the Witch Hunters series with something interesting to look at. 

Happy Saturday, people. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Forces of the Inquisition Part V: Yes, Mother Superior...

I have never had a Canoness blast through a close combat, Mephiston style. No matter how I kit her out and spend those fate points, it just doesn't end up happening. Maybe it's because mine routinely faced off against steroided-up Ork Warbosses..... Well, what can I say about WH tactica that hasn't already been said ad infinitum? Get her a Book of St. Lucius, a combi-melta, and an Eviscerator (also a good weapon in Dark Heresy) and let her loose. Just don't say I didn't warn you. 

That said, whenever I see a model that makes a good SoB character, I can't resist scooping it up. The above models were a joy to paint up, and I must admit to harboring a secret hope of rolling up a Sororitas in Dark Heresy (mostly because the abilities they get, especially at higher levels, are fucking sweet). 

I wanted to keep Sorscha's hammer, I really did. Unfortunately, it was so bloody long and ungainly the thing would've stressed apart in transport eventually, so I gave her the more hardy pair of matched power swords. The sword hands came courtesy of the Canoness upgrade sprue, which itself was the gift that keeps on giving, as you'll see. 

The Warmachine range continues to deliver sweet minis like you wouldn't believe, and in a lot of cases, you can find them cheaper than those of other ranges (don't worry, Dark Age, you're still my go-to range...). That said, this weapons this one was packing were pretty underwhelming until I added the gauntlet-mounted Eviscerator (hey, it's powered armor, right?). The Warmachine fluff seemed to think she was based around fire, but honestly if she wades through her own infernos that skirt of hers should be a lot shorter and a lot more charred. Of course, it probably shouldn't be any easier for her to dance around with gigantic chainsword,but oh well. 

Her newer (Warmachine) iteration had more of an aggressive pose and a better weapon than just the understated flamey gloves, so I went the extra mile and made her something you should never, ever field (until the next SoB codex comes out and makes them somehow better) : a flying Canoness. I truly regret having not sheared off that long glaive.  As nice as it looks with its forward thrust and purity seal,  the white metal is verrry thin and verrrrry bendy, resulting in her occupying two slots in the miniatures case when she needs to travel. That reliquary on her hip is from the lovely Black Templars sprue, which I highly recommend procuring for your hobby needs if you haven't already. 

Next and final in the series (until they redo the codex and release 5 new miniatures for me to replace with cheaper ones by other manufacturers): Walkers, and I don't just mean Penitent Engines, I mean GUNHEDs.... 

Also, I seem to be getting glare spots with the Lightbox mk. 1, and I just plain can't use it for some of the larger models like I want to, so soon it'll be time for Lightbox mk 2. Suggestions, amateur photogs? I understand Brent has been getting good results with an over-the-counter rig. What say you?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Forces of the Inquistion, Part IV: This is what 12 years of Catholic School does to you...

That Caestus was so ugly I think the last post threw me down a depression-hole of some kind, so today's entry is a little stroll down memory lane. 

Ah the Sisters, my first 40k army, ever. No, they didn't all fit in the light box. I had to improvise with some hardware, light-bouncing white plasticard, and more lights: 


The average Battle Sister model is a perfect example of what happens when GW designs something right; they're so off-the-rails from all of their other releases that, like the Tau, you'd think they were made by another company. I think that's what made them so appealing to me as I looked through the army lists, way back when. They were just so not marines I had give them a shot. I mean, look at 'em:

Oh, but they don't even have the humble missile launcher for anti-tank, do they? That's fail. Multi-meltas are nice, but yeah, no. It took me a few games of valiantly trying to make Retributors and Exorcists work before I figured out you want Inducted Guard for their anti-tank, and from there it's a slippery slope to the Heavy Weapons Nirvana of a full Guard army. Speaking of batshit crazy ideas:


Yes, I managed to get them to their target under the previous edition rules (four survived) and yes, they did chainsaw apart the Avatar.  No, they didn't survive, nor have I used them since. 

Overall, the SoB not a good codex by any means (Immolator spam notwithstanding), and certainly not the army I'd recommend to anyone starting the hobby, but hey, what did I know back then? I still trot them out to support my IG army when needed, but until their codex gets a complete rewrite, I think their days of serving as a standalone force are pretty much done. There's a Dominion squad in there too, I think. Everyone's seen SoB before, so I didn't want to dwell on the rank n' file, especially rank n'file  I painted forever ago...

Oooh this was a mistake. Seraphim are okay, but not as great as, say, all of the assault troops in the other books. Sure they have decent mobility and are better than the average Sister in melee, but man, if you don't exterminate whatever it is you're assaulting in that first round, then you're hosed. Faith Powers? Eh, they're really not great when you're rushing an ork horde, to be honest. Making your flamers sort-of AP1 helps, but not often. Making your girls S6 I1? Not helpful at all. Ever. 

I like building armies on the cheap, and these girls, sold as "Shock Sisters" for an obscure game company called Demonblade Games came 4 to a blister for 8$, with the sergeant and heavy weapon girl for 6$. Demonblade has apparently vanished into the recesses of time; I can't find a web page link for them anywhere, otherwise I'd have provided one. Anyhoo, I thought they'd work well for an Inquisitorial Storm Trooper squad, or a squad of SoB in a pinch, so I bought a set and painted them up. Yes, they look like Astartes, but take a closer look at them, and I assure you, there's  a chick in there somewhere.

Speaking of Space Marines, maybe I'll start using the Seraphim as Assault Marines in Blood Angels list. Hmmmm......

Next time, characters or walkers. I can't decide which. Walkers, probably, because I know you people can't resist my crazy-ass mecha.

Speaking of which, this week's poll is for Grievous' companion general. Enjoy.