Friday, September 24, 2010


Son of a BITCH!

It seems the monster glimpsed in a fuzzy photo wasn't a hoax after all. The Necrons got an old-school D&D Carrion Crawler, and at first glance, it's really rather brutal.  

In contrast to the awful that was the Caestus, this mecha-centipede is actually a pretty well-designed monster (well, as good as mecha-bugs get; those antennae are a bit of a stretch), and would fit in the Tyracron Trygon/Mawloc slot rather nicely (adding a pair or two of scything talons). Not only that,  but unlike the rather underwhelming Scarab and Tomb Spyder bots, this thing can actually hit what it fires at (BS4) and is somewhat of a juggernaut in combat (WS4). Six S6 attacks on the charge from a T7, five-wound creature? That's also fleet, fearless, impervious to sniper weapons and poison, and happens to have hit & run and deep strike? Yes PLEASE.

Now the down side: cost. 195 points is a mighty chunk of change; you can get a trio of Heavy Destroyers for that much (or for 40 points more, a Monolith) and this monster is sure to draw a lot of enemy fire. What's worse is that it's only equipped with Gauss Flayers, which are only good in torrents of, say, twelve, not in pairs. Sure you can rapid-fire them, but they're still just Flayers, not even Blasters. Talk about half-assing it for a monster. For the points, I want something I can smash a tank with, not a pair of popguns to annoy infantry. Oh, and a high strength-thwarting Necrodermis might be nice. 

Come to think of it , if this thing is going to take up a Heavy Support choice, where's the tank-busting Fast Attack gribbly to pick up the slack?

Ooooooh right. 

Anyway, it's a step in the right direction, at least. Hopefully they've abandoned the stupid idea that Necrons rely on giant, slow-moving architecture, and they'll turn out more gribblies along the lines of Mr. Carrion Crawler. Perhaps another mechanized D&D monster? A Beholder? Good ole' Tiamat, maybe?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tyracron Update: Mycetic Tombs

These sort of got lost in the shuffle during the whole Highwind commission thing. In truth I'd had them near-done for a while and only just needed to add the final glowy bits, but never really had the time to sit down and do so.

The irregular cathedral door-like pattern picked out on the sprue was sort of a happy accident. I'm a bit of a pack rat, and so I  hold on to sprues forever. When I was searching through my bits box for detailing ideas, I hit on the patterns instantly, rorschach like. Cutting and fitting them to roughly hexagonal facings took some doing, but was by far easier than the initial measuring/cutting/gluing of the plasticard boxes that lie beneath. 

They got the standard "oily metal" treatment Tin Bitz drybrushed with Boltgun Metal, darkened with multiple of black paint washes. I've come to prefer the actual black paint to the packaged ink washes; it comes off grainier and sticks to recesses better. I decided to further highlight their weird geometry by placing the glowy bits in places where the needly sprue nubs create frames, rather than paying attention to the hard outlines themselves.

One of things that makes a Mycetic Tomb better than the standard drop pod is that it seats twenty little buggers or one big monster, and so by necessity it has to be a bigger model. Initially I fretted over making something so much larger, reasoning that people would cry foul, but honestly, you have to be realistic about scale with regards to transport capacity and internal machine workings, even with a the race can bend time and space like Time Lords. 

I tried to suggest this by making them taller and broader, yet thinner. They still look heavy and industrial as hell though; you get the feeling that the Tyracrons colonize worlds by simply dropping buildings on them (sadly, Mycetics are rather flimsy, stat-wise). I had initially planned to use those rib-like Monolith bits for the Tyrannofex/gun barge, but oh well. 

Yes, Grievous looks pissed after his express elevator ride. You would too if you had to fold up to fit in a box that you then ride through the hell of re-entry. Of course, it would have been a bigger stretch if the rules allowed multiple monstrous creatures or something like that. Rules-wise, it would have been nice to have to an initial turn of assault once you bounced out of the thing. As it is, they're only really good for dropping shooty elements like Pyrovores, Zoans, and template-spewing Tyrannofexes.

 Of course, as large as they are, I could use them as Monoliths in a regular Necron army in a pinch, but the real strength of the current codex is in Destroyers, anyway. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Shipbuilding 101: Another Highwind, Part 2

After all that greenstuffing, the only thing left to do is the basing and painting, and you get:

The only thing I didn't do was paint the hot bomber girl on the side, because she would've been so small it would've looked like a pink squiggle. Instead of using my traditional "glue, then sprinkle basing" method, I used some textured paint as an adhesive instead, and then applied the basing materials. 

After photographing, I quickly boxed her up and packed her away so as to fend off the  temptation to refund the commission and keep the model. I'll have to settle for doing some fine-tuning of my own model, instead...

Next time, back to 40k, maybe some Dark Heresy. I was actually working on a NSFW rogue psyker/necron cultist and some murder servitors while I was waiting for glue to set/green stuff to cure/ washes to dry, not to mention seeming to have finished my Tyracrons' Mycetic Tombs and then forgetting about them. Oh well. The Tyracrons appreciate it anyway. ;)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Shipbuilding 101: Another Highwind, part 1

Here I was, all set to cobble together a second Hive Tyrant, and a commission drops in my lap. Not just any commission, either; the guy wanted AIRSHIPS.

As in, the kind I built from Crimson Skies planes. The Highwind and Hilda Garde III, to be exact. The Hilda Garde I wasn't (and still am not) sure about due to the availability of specialty parts, but the Highwind I was pretty damn sure I could whip up. Plus, I've always wanted to improve on that decade-old+ model with better parts and modern techniques. 

So, what the hell. 4 kits from 3 eBay sellers later, I started up the works. 

Inspired by the fantastic step-by-step articles over at DEI GRECI, I decided to photodocument as I went. Here's how it went down, starting with the Kestrel:

Ugh, what an ugly plane. Let's dismember the fucking thing:

Next, came the Metroliner:

Nice little helicopter, aint he? He gets the chop too:

Man, that was a lot of sawing. Later on I realized I needed the fuselage and sawed off his little tail, too. On to the Ground Hog. In my frenzy, I forgot a before picture, but here's the eBay picture:

After he was chopped,  I set to drilling and putting together the subassemblies. The Phalanx still hadn't arrived in the mail yet;

I drilled into the nose and inserted a heavy-guage coat hanger rod for the pusher prop. I also sawed apart those big engines with a jeweller's saw (this took a while, as they're thick), capped the propellor halves with Tau shoulders, and let the rear half be. Those little winglet with guns became the basis for the Highwind's over-complicated tail. I made it with 3 rudders instead of four, so A) it wouldn't be over-wide and B) so I could center the metal bit and drill a pin hole:

At this point, I turned my attention back to the Kestrel parts, and drilled the pinholes for both this tail assembly: 

Oh yeah, we also have Groundhog bits to manage. This required more pinning, drilling and fitting, using the tried-and-true method of inserting pins in one part, marking their destination in the other using them and some ink, and then more drilling and glueing:

And while I was at it, I got a jump on the crew section with some more cutting and drilling:

That second rod goes all the way up through one part and into the Kestrel fuselage. The forward window section is supposed to be offset, so you can go out on deck and talk to whatever party member was hanging out on deck (I think it used to be Yuffie, barfing over the side). No there aren't bits small enough to make the little railing. It's just too small. The bit on the front is from an old Sazabi-ripoff Mekton mini that went to a better place, years ago.  At this point, I stopped for the day and worked on other things, mostly because there was, as I said, no Phalanx model to hack up. 

Till the next day came and it arrived:

Oh look! My work is half done. Let's get rid of that other wing and saw the front dome off that fucker. An half-hour later (god-DAMN it took FOREVER to saw through) I fit everything together, then it still wasn't long enough, so I had to further hack apart the Metroliner, as previously mentioned. Luckily, all that sawing makes for nice, smooth surfaces for Super Jet (tm) CYA glue to adhere together like rock. I also used a bit of sprue, drilled through and pinned, to anchor the rear strut-- oh hell, just look:

I used a bit of plastruct i-beam (I swear those i-beams have a 1,000 uses)  to square off the top, and also to use as a mounting point for the engine nacelles. Being wider than the Metroliner, we'll fill it with green stuff after assembly. I also made the clamshell half for the rear thruster that pops out when the thing transforms on disc 4. We're pretty much ready to drill into the fuselage and mount the engine nacelles now, so then you end up with this:

Now she looks more familiar, doesn't she? We'll do something about those ugly parts on the side in a minute. How about from the back:

That SM clamshell will get added after we greenstuff the hell out of it. I added a couple of  space marine shoulder pads to round off the nacelles, and then some plastic missile halves (from the same 1/35 scale Tamiya set the mk. 1's bits came from, in fact) to bulk out the fuselage of the upper section. I also used the weensy center bit from the Kestrel for the little hull section on top of the main fuselage, giving us this:

Next went a lot green stuff to smooth out angles and fill in big gaps. The underside of the upper fuselage section, where the Metroliner bit was, needed this especially. I also green-stuffed it to the base(s) and anchored them in place so it wouldn't topple while it cured overnight. In case you're wondering, I didn't buy the Citadel green stuff; A while ago I bought a much larger, much cheaper tube off the internet. 

Yes, that's the good old Highwind mk. 1 in the background, envying her younger sister's more true-to-form modelling and metal hull bits. 

Tomorrow, the big finish!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 9/11/01...

Two images today, folks. One so you will always remember, and one so you will never forget.  

On 9/11 I was taking animation classes in Arlington, VA, just across the bridge from Georgetown and a few miles upriver from the Pentagon. A few of us went to get coffee. We heard the boom. We heard what happened. We got the hell out of dodge so fast we probably should have gotten a million speeding tickets. Cell phones were down. News services were shitting themselves. Every airplane aloft was grounded. When we got home to our loved ones, this was what awaited on our TV screens:

There are the civilized, peace-loving, free peoples of the world, and then there are monsters that perpetrated this atrocity. They will not be negotiated with, coexisted with, persuaded, or appeased, and it is foolish to believe otherwise. 

Flip them the bird today, and honor the innocent victims by living, where they could not. 

Happy Saturday, people. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Forge World Rumors: Are Tyracrons catching on?

This mystery bug showed up in a post on Heresy Online.  BoLS picked up the rumor and is running with it, and it makes me wonder if the Necrons are FINALLY getting some attention from FW. For that matter, it makes me wonder if FW are fans of the Tyracrons. Maybe I should've gone to Games Day in Baltimore, even if the army was only half-finished?

As it seems they've turned from their All-IG/Ork-All-the-Time agenda, maybe there's hope? It does have a nice mecha-bug look to it. On the other hand, people are now saying it's a hoax, which would be sad if it was true. 

Still, I like what's going on with that head/carapace thing. Those dumb-looking antennae have to go, but otherwise? Hmmmm.....

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thanks b.smoove!

Recently b.smoove over at A Gentleman's Ones had a design contest for the masthead of his blog. While my entry didn't win, it did place among the finalists:

I debated whether to use stylized pics of his minis (which turned out to be the key to victory), and instead opted for a "gentleman's club" approach. There were a lot of nice entries, and everyone involved had some fun. Good sport that he is, b.smoove rewarded all of the entrants with swag, which was awfully nice of him to do. I got some Necron stuff and a nice t-shirt:

If any of you haven't (you both know who you are) check out his blog yet, head on over to A Gentleman's Ones. I especially recommend his painting tutorials and super-cool kill team campaign. I know I'm not the only one envious of those sweet custom Space Hulk room sections he's using. 

Thanks b.smoove. You're a class act. 

Monday, September 6, 2010


As gaming systems go, it's hard to beat the D&D parody Hackmaster. Their first edition rules set re-created the labyrinthine expanse of first/second edition Dungeons & Dragons, along with their own special flavor of brutality (armor with its own HP value, criticals tables, crippling physical/psychological defects) and managed to add in something new in the form of not one, but four levels of lackey: the sidekick, the henchman, the protege, and the hireling. So, in the course of playing, our party managed to accrue a number of these, not the least of which was my shieldbearer, pictured above. This little guy's function is to follow your character around, stay out of combat, and when a tower shield finally runs out of hit points, he hands you another. He doesn't accrue hit points and can't stand over your character's body to defend him/her to the death. He just hands you shields, and maybe drags you over to the party healer. Maybe. If you remembered to pay him.  Since he's a halfling, I built him using green stuff, skaven parts, extra shields, and the odd pouch. He also has a bell on his belt, so I can find him under whatever rock he's cowering under after hostilities have ceased.

I liked my skaven-halfling so much I decided to build another, more to watch my back and shoot at things, not to mention guard our followers and pack-ape. If he looks a bit burly for a halfling, that's because skaven have a more rigorous exercise regimen and as such, are beefier. The head is from the plastic flagellant sprue, and is technically a blindfold, although I thought it made a fine mask for a thiefy-looking rogue. 

The Pack-Ape is a hardy beast no adventuring party should be without, chiefly because he can carry heroic amounts of crap up and down the ladders, pits, stairwells, and shafts you inevitably encounter. Of course, you have to have a minder or two to keep him from getting attacked and going apeshit (yes, there is an actual rule for him going apeshit ). I made this sturdy fellow out of some orc bits and every extra bit of stowage and crap I had in my characters bin, including shovels, pickaxes, a bucket, and ale barrel, and a large sack with a blue-stockinged foot sticking out of it. I almost stuck a sheep on there, too, but I couldn't find a place to hang it, convincingly. Yes, he's wearing pants. No one wants to see an ape's ass when you're in a dungeon. There are worse things to worry about.

Camp guards (occasionally used as random brigands), made from some spare empire spearman legs I got as part of a bits lot, along with burly armored skaven torsos and flagellant heads/arms/bits. These guys are pretty much there to guard the base camp and die pretty quickly whenever we take a few into a dungeon as extra manpower. Their stats are never very good, and we arm them with spare mundane weapons from the party's stores. 

Lest you think lackeys are limited to the fantasy realm, I made these guys from spare parts round about the same time I was working on my Admech Arch-Magos. Sharp eyes will spot the genestealer hybrid, epic titan bits, and the arm cannon from a Jagermech. 

I think one of them even has the command section of an old epic Manticore tank in there somewhere, not to mention the necron heads cleverly hidden under those cowls. 

Happy Labor Day!