Thursday, July 26, 2018

Blast from the Past: Warhammer Fantasy Samurai Dwarves

This was my first army, painted nearly 20 years ago, so bear with me if the painting's a little spare. Quite honestly, I can't believe I never shot and posted them before. They're based on the sculpts from company called Old Glory. At the time I had a few fantasy dwarf models from D&D, but wanted something a bit different for the battlefield. Samurai are always cool, so, upon seeing these models in the local (now shuttered, sadly) game store, I seized on the idea of making an army out of them. My one regret was never finding suitably asian cannons for them, though.

Because the sculpts were limited, I had to improvise with what was available for characters and commanders. The Five Sages represented each element (air, water, void, earth, and fire, respectively). My favorite has to be the ice-themed water sage with his snowy base and greenstuff-sculpted beard. 

These ronin could fill in any number of roles, from a small independent unit to more character models. Not everyone is an immortal sage, after all. 

Despite their slow speed and somewhat limited charge range, dwarven warriors were (at the time) some of the best infantry in the game. A solid block of 25 warriors was nothing to sneeze at. 

Likewise, a block of 25 hammerers offers a lot of staying power and could flatten whatever it was pointed at. Sharp eyes will notice some Rackham sculpts at the bottom. Because there were, of course, no hammers in the Old Glory range, I was forced to kitbash their weapons. 

The dwarven army list had no ninjas, but it did have miners that could arrive from underground and chuck blasting charges, which struck me as a very ninja-like thing to do. They could easily bolster their numbers with the ronin sculpts above, as well.

Long range firepower came in the form of a unit of crossbowmen. above, and the below handgunners, whose ranks I never quite filled out. I wish I'd been able to find a set of dragon-mouthed cannons to add some long-range punch, but alas, I haven't played WHF in years, so it's an addition that may never be completed. 

This post is also for archival purposes, as I'll be putting this army up for sale on eBay soon. It kills me to do so, but quite frankly, times are tough and I need the money more than the dwarves.

Edit: On sale now. EBAY LINK HERE

Monday, June 4, 2018

WIP: Necromunda Terrain....

I wish they'd modeled the stuff in two layers: a pipes 'n' wires layer and a grate layer. Still, it looks great when it's finished!

So, other hobbyists who've worked on this, are you gluing yours static or leaving it completely loose and variable? I'm on the fence right now. Leaving it unglued (except for the large towers, etc) makes it easier to store, but big set-piece terrain is nice, too. Opinions?

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

MWO: Mech Conversions.....

Three conversions to wrap up the MWO stuff before moving on to other things. Many moons ago, during the original Battletech period of the 90's, I modified those old Ral Partha models higgledy piggledy before getting out of it for a number of years. So, in that spirit, here are three mecha based on other designs from other lines. 

This walking weapons factory is Agni, from the Armored Core series. He's the poster child of Armored Core V, I believe. Anyway, he's made form the torso and arms of a MWO Dragon, a pair of shields that came with the Catapult-K, and extra Cyclops legs amidst other bits and bobs. Agni is classically presented overarmed with 1 of every weapon AC has to offer, and as an option has an enormous weapon made of six chainsaws on an articulated rig. He's meant to kneel down and stabilize that sniper rifle prior to firing, and the left leg has an articulated shield that folds out, hence the way it looks. 

Incidentally, if you were a fan of the Japanese Battletech designs, Armored Core is where they went, in evolved form. Shoji Kawamori does more than Valkyries, folks. 

Usually my practice with these models is to do 3-up photos, but I loved some of these shots so much I let them stand by themselves. His massive sniper rifle is a composite of numerous bits, and sharp eyes will recognize that Tau gun on his right binder. 

If I skimped on anything it was his rear; the original's butt is a complex proposition. I tried to do it justice here but it falls short for me somehow. Ah well. 

The two Kagatsuchi-Otsu mecha, Sniper and Fencer, are from the Frame Arms model series by Kotobukiya. There's a third, standard version  that came first, but I didn't reproduce him. I suppose I should've. The Kagatsuchi has a lot in common with the Front Mission Whisk, but I haven't researched into whether it's the same designer or not. The squat build and stag-beetle head are definitely similar. 

At any rate, both are based on the MWO Thunderbolt, an excellent little model. A lot of sawing was required to remove the missile drum and head nub, but the result gave me an excellent canvas on which to build. The extra armor was made from GW tank treads, and the shields are landing skids. Both sport missile racks from Heavy Gear Blitz Spitting Cobras. The originals had machineguns in back racks, but I eschewed those as their hands were a bit full already. In retrospect, I probably could've stayed truer to the designs, but the missile racks made sense as a secondary armament. Both still have the Thunderbolt torso lasers exposed, so if I ever designed them for the tabletop they'd have them for close-range support. 

A long-range specialist, the Otsu-Sniper is less heavily armored than his close-quarters-focused brother. He also sports better optics, courtesy of some GW binoculars. 

His enormous sniper rifle has an articulated arm from his back for support, as well as a giant ammo drum. For this and Agni's rifle, you'd probably have to design a new type of gun that penetrates the armor and does internal damage with each hit; a Gauss gun wouldn't fill the bill. 

He also needs to kneel, like Agni, to stabilize and fire, hence the bipod, which I suppose he's in the process of doing here. If you really want to make him a horrifying opponent, you could give that ammo drum a reason to exist like a rapid fire or special ammo capability. All things considered, I should've reversed designs and given it to his brother. You'll see why...

Try as I might, I couldn't replicate the massive chopper they gave the original to a degree that pleased me, so as an alternative I gave him a wicked-looking combination of that and a gatling cannon, courtesy of a bunch of leftovers from a Forgeworld robot. The ammo belt, being resin, snapped despite my gentle heating and bending, so it's reinforced by yet another spare belt and a paper clip running between the two. His ammo drum, based on the LRM-15 drum from the stock MWO Thunderbolt,  is smaller when it should be larger, but he should be trying to close with is target rather than standing off and shooting. 

I made his front skirts longer as well to give a more heavily protected appearance, and left his head with the stock visor, as the binocular approach didn't make much sense for a brawler. The head horn is a bit different, as I only had the one curved bit for the sniper, so his more angular one adds to his individuality. I imagine he and his long-range focused brother engage their targets as a pair. If I'd made the "general purpose" original version (I still might) I'd accent his machine-gunner look a bit more, and this triple threat would have all three range bands covered. 

If you're a mecha modeler and were unaware of the Frame Arms and Armored Core series, I'd recommend you look into them, as they have a lot to offer.  

Saturday, February 17, 2018

WIP: The O.....

So I think all of this mecha stuff is going somewhere. Here's a WIP build of the O from Zeta Gundam, made of Heavy Gear, 40k, Battletech, and other parts. The head is from a Loud Ninja Games kit that has... issues. 

Besides being heavily armored, surprisingly agile, and overpowered, the O carries a massively powerful gun and sports hidden sub-arms (between 2 and six, depending on the artwork). I thought to suggest the upper sub arms from the new artwork with omnimech legs with prominent joints, to show them folded into the shoulder armor. 

As the campaign storyline is set on Mars, the ground-type O has huge tread movement units and boosters in armored housings instead of rear skirts. As I'm using Heavy Gear models instead of (ugh) standard mechs for the most part, this fellow has the characteristic V-Engine. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

WIP: Something for INQ28.....

After taking a break from 40k stuff and working with lots of mecha, the INQ28 Facebook group has inspired me to once again return to the 41st millennium. Haven't decided on a proper name for it yet, or whether it'll be accompanied by an inquisitor or more crazies, but it feels good to work on something like this. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

MWO Battlemechs Part IV

With these guys finished I think I'm finally ahead of my Battletech to-do pile. Does that mean back to 40k? That pile is a bit big too, but I don't think I've gotten mecha out of my system quite yet...

The best version of the Firestarter is kitted out pleasingly with lasers and more armor, and is a real menace to mechs of all shapes and sizes because the thing can spring around like a jackrabbit. The model came with a set of extra legs for standing at parade-ground ready; we'll get to how I put those to use in a later post. I cannot get over how great the jump jets this one and the Vindicator are sporting look now. 

The Vindicator also received a much-needed  facelift, including a nice new leg sculpt. (speaking of which, he also came with an alternate "parade ground pair", which we'll come back to later on) If you've never used one, the thing is a deceptively well armored and very, very hardy. In an odd contrast to... well, everything else that has a PPC, this sculpt actually manages to look respectable, so I didn't kit it out with a replacement. 

The Catapult-K drops its LRM racks in favor of PPC's and machineguns. When you set the MG's to rapid fire, they make quite a close-range arsenal in addition to the lasers. This one's another excellent sculpt and a solid little model, and came with all the extras, including LRM battery arms and artillery rocket arms. 

While I like the Dragon sculpt in general the problem I have with the model is that the arms plug up into into sockets on the bottom of the static shoulder. While this gives you a bit of play, as you can see, the thing's mobility isn't as good as it could be. In game of 3025-era B-tech, my friend and I found that mk1 Grand Dragon not only overheats easily, it also blows up quite handily. House Kurita needed to go back to the drawing board pretty quickly with this one. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Deathwatch Task Force Artemis

Firstly, the Pathfinder is on sale. I'd have hung onto it. but I'm out of work right now and need the money more than the model. 

Minus their Dreadnought comrade (who was converted for a Dreadtober event in 2016) here are the two Kill Teams that comprise Artemis' anti-Eldar beatdown brigade. I made the mistake of trying out Armory's black primer with these, and boy is it a chalky can of shit. Never again, Armory. Never again. 

The Artemis model, while having an excellent pose (by the one sculptor at GW who understands such, suffers from design flaws that seems to be creeping into more and more GW models these days. Separate-elbow syndrome is no laughing matter, and requires drilling and pinning to be viable. I wish they would master the art of making tabs and deep sockets, or just plain sculpt the arm as a complete piece. His right also has feeder cables for his combi-flamer that, being plastic, are pretty much guaranteed to snap at some point in their lifetime. If you're going to have cables all over the place, just make a metal model, for pete's sake. I know it's no guarantee even then, but jeez. 

The Vanguard Vets have a curious mix of slow-hitting super-heavy hammers and the troopers with storm shields to take the incoming hits for them, which would be an okay combination if the squads weren't limited to five men. The eldar as present in the box are all close-combat monsters, and will positively ruin them in a fight if the marines don't get in a bunch of killing blows. These guys would be great against slow Xenos, but there really aren't any. Necron foot soldiers, maybe? 

The Sternguard are a bit better poised (I guess?) to gun down the flip-dancing space fairies, although it would've been better to have the shot cannon (and a full squad of 10) for gunning down those eldar skimmers. Ah well, at least the heavy bolterflamer's more than capable of removing the woussy elves from the field, albeit at close range where if it doesn't, the Astartes are going to get their asses carved into so much transhuman lunchmeat. I know, I know, I'm giving the eldar too much credit, but they're not going to face a whole lot of incoming fire from this bunch, which is essentially a half-squad's worth of guns. Why are the Space Marines always, always outnumbered? It's not like they're THAT good on the tabletop. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

First Model of 2018: Jovian Chronicles Pathfinder Alpha Resin Kit

The turn of the new year saw me working on the DP9/Fusion Models Pathfinder Alpha. It was meant to be fixed-pose, but I can't leave things well enough alone, so I delved into my box of joints and made this one fully articulated. As with all mods, this proved to have its own issue. Namely, that it wasn't made to be jointed. Assembled stock, you'd be alright. I wasn't doing stock. 

As such, there's no room for well-anchored sockets and things to nestle naturally flush. The upper and forearms are too stunty, ditto the thighs and lower legs, so it was a choice between things being sticky-outy and being well anchored. The third alternative is smaller joints, but they're not as solid, and quite frankly I didn't want to spend the extra money. The objective here was to use what I had, so I did. Color wise, I chose to go with a weathered look in Anaheim Electronics colors, as this thing would be getting sandblasted by micrometeorites and bits of flying metal all day long, probably. So...

It has a waist now. It can even angle forwards and backwards (and side to side; it's a ball joint)  so as to crouch. 

And a neck. It can look up and down now. 

The left leg comes with an open hatch for beam saber storage and a beam saber (unlit) hand. I closed the hatch (open ones always break, in my experience) and stowed the hand. It also came with a base I didn't need, so I didn't even bother to paint it. A Bandai Action Base is more appropriate now, anyway. I mounted the sensor dish differently from the directions as well; this is more as per the first (Moscato) version. 

There is no big hulking appropriately proportioned Wyvern, so here's an MSIA Dom model for scale. 
Now its feet aren't paddle-flat, courtesy of the superfluous backpack panels I turned into foot bits. Thanks to the ball-joint ankles they still have quite a range of movement. 

The beam rifle's pointy stock had to be snipped, otherwise the mecha couldn't hold it well; the pointy bit would have to be on the inside of its elbow or the arm would have to be ramrod straight. So, a bit of a snip an some filing were needed. While overall not a bad design, it does add weight to the tiny ball joint I used for a wrist. Luckily it's a fairly light piece of resin, so it holds. Also, you can position the hand and arm so the loading force doesn't slowly pull at the joint, so overall it's a win.

Technical review points: as a kit it's simple, solid, and  actually made of good resin. If you like mecha in general and Jovian Chronicles in particular and aren't a picky bastard like I am (quite frankly, I prefer the Moscato-designed 1st gen exo armors), chances are you'll love this.

This model is for sale (or trade for classic RAFM Heavy Gear/Jovian Chronicles minis). Email me if you're interested. Otherwise, it'll be on eBay by Monday 1/15/17.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

WIP: Another mecha resin garage kit.....

This thing has actually been painted and is curing after being matte coated in the cold January sun, but I thought I'd give you some pre-color WIP shots. This is a Pathfinder model from Dream Pod 9, fitted with leftover joints from my bits box. I prefer the old John Moscato design, but I thought I'd give this one a whirl. 

I wish the legs were 30% bigger and the side torso vent bits higher (hmm, could've cut and reset those, I guess) but oh well.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

MWO Battlemechs Parte the Thirde....

Didn't I say something like "I should probably stop building and start painting"? Well at some point I did. Anyways, my notes to the sculptors in bold. They said they wanted feedback. They're getting feedback. Post replies on here if you want, maker guys.  

Natasha Kerensky's famous Destroid Tomahawk Warhammer. The original had absolutely wretched tiny arm guns that had to go. The Tau fusion cannons get the point across much better, don't you think? FASA made a half-assed attempt to have Natasha as their poster girl, but they could never quite decide (or care) what she looked like, nor did they make a lot of material featuring her, so it never took off. In an ideal world, you'd have "character models" with special stats, just like.... well, certain systems. When I win the lottery and publish Near Future Battletech 2085, this will be so. You'd play the heck out of a Battletech game set entirely on Earth between nations, right?

Destroid Defender-Rifleman in classic colors. I left the arms on this one be, despite how damn short the barrels are. (I suppose it could be the AC-10 version). Of course, the long slender barrels on the old ral Partha models bent and broke all the damn time, so it's a bit a of a trade-off, I suppose. 

The ever-popular Urbanmech gets not one, but two incarnations: the regular version (painted as the excellent Chopper from Star Wars Rebels) on the left, and the sllightly kitbashed K-9 "hero" version on the right, with an armor-busting rotary autocannon. Did anyone else think these are what AC's were supposed to be in the first place? 

I like the new take on the classic Ostall Locust, although for some reason the chin turret wasn't pronounced or there at all, really, so I was obliged to upgrade his stub with a stikkbom bit. 

The Jenner now looks like something that actually makes sense, (well, relatively)  instead of just some model kit no one wanted to bother finishing. It actually has a waist now, for pete's sake!

Soltic H8 Roundfacer Griffin in desert colors. I still don't dig the PPC sculpts on these, but I do like the common "built into a gauntlet" look of the guns that were formerly rifles. Note to the sculptors: please make the missile drum on this one and Thunderbolt separate pieces. Arm variant weapons for for this and the Wolverine would also be nice.  

Two Commandos, in desert and forest camo colors. The arm missile boxes are a bit small, and I had to go in there with a pin vise and drill some SRM tubes. Also, the ankles are a little too thin, (Note to sculptors, thicken these) so I was nervous modding the pose, but they seemed to come out okay. I do love this version of the plucky light mech, though. I keep seeing them in 1/60 scale and I would LOVE to work on one, so if anybody knows where they can be gotten from let me know.  

An Enforcer painted in night attack colors. This one was a test model for a paint scheme I refined a bit for another model you'll see later. I'm rather pleased with the way it came out. Yes, I did give it a Zeon mobile suit-style mono-eye. It is, however, taller than the Warhammer, Note to sculptors: reduce the size by like 20%

Oooooh that Urbie's gonna get it. 
Last but not least, some terrain. There's a lovely set of Gregster's Lab shanties over at Vanguard Miniatures that gives you quite a few buildings for a song. I wish there'd been a few more 3- and 4- level ones, but oh well. They are AMAZING sculpts, with their own dumpsters, garbage cans, stacks of tires, and so on. Gregster really does some fine work. My one nit, Gregster, if you're there, is that there aren't enough multilevel ones. In the future I may buy another set just to shave the roof detail off and stick them together to make more shantypartments. I wonder if I should try to make some hex map bases for them as well. Hmmm..

I was kinda sad that the TV show Defiance ended, so I made a Need/Want bar for my shanty town. Mechwarriors need some place to relax, you know. 

Still to come: a Zeus, a Firestarter, a Vindicator, a Cataplut-K, and a Dragon. Also a small city. Oh, and the first of those builds from the WIP posts!

Also, I'm still looking for the older RAFM 1/87 scale Heavy Gear models, so if anyone's looking to sell, drop me a line.