Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Model of 2011...

My Christmas present to myself this year was a command barge bought not from eBay, but the local gaming store. As much as I'm against the usurious prices set by GW, the LGS has been struggling like everybody else, and now that I'm gainfully employed, I'm resolved to help out where I can. After all, we're all in this together. 

I realize now I probably should've taken snaps of it alongside a Tyranno, but I'm too lazy to go back and do it now. One barge and a few more Arks from now and the revised army will be ready to take to the battlefield again. When that happens I'll take some photos of them in all their metal glory. As you can see, the theme of the new millennia is the Weathered Penny, which is working out quite well. 

I'm a big fan of extras, so having another lord model (or in this case, an Overlord Phaeron) is never a bad thing. I rather liked the gold-headed fellow on the cover, so this is my stab at him. I cut away that awkward cable that ran from the scythe blade to the power matrix on his staff, though. A plug sticking into the blade just looked odd. He was modeled separately, of course, so he could jump out of the barge and assault the shit out of any survivors of his drive-by. 

Of course, you should never jump out of your barge  and leave the keys in. Anybody could take that thing for a ride, and will. 

Happy New Year, everybody! See you in 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Resurrecting the Necrons Part II: This and that...

From Von in the comments from the previous post: "Do you actually like it/the new Necrons or not? I experience confusion in this matter. I feel that you're pointing out issues well but I lack any sense that a conclusion has been reached..."

Well, lets look at some of the units: 

Its a skimmer! Really!

One thing the codex did was give the Necrons some much-needed anti-tank firepower. While arguably they had it already in the form of gauss tormenting, the bounty of Heat Rays, Death Rays, and other nasty guns in the codex mean the Space Egyptians can crack open tanks with greater reliability all day long. Annhilation Barges, Command Barges, Triarch Stalkers (where's my model, GW? Oh right, you're still working on Tyranid Harpies) , and so on. It's almost an embarrassment of riches where that stuff is concerned, and it can be pretty daunting to pick and chose. At this point, triple A-Barges and Crypteks with Lances seem like auto includes for just about every list, which might lead to sameness as things go on. I'll still be sorely tempted to use the old Gauss Torrent of Fire principle to blow up armor, but I fully intend to give all the new shiny guns a try. 

It's also good that Warriors are cheaper, but now they have terrible armor save, and WBB was inexplicably nerfed to 5+. That's bad. Your rank n' file are less survivable now, so you'd better hide them. On the other hand, Immortals are now troops, retain their good saves and can sling tesla weapons, which is excellent. I have about 20 of those metal fellows above, and, being different enough from Warriors, they'll be filling Immortal duty sometime soon. 

Even hunched over, this model is actually Marine height.
We don't model for advantage, here. (we model for looks.)

Grievous here predates Hive Tyrant Grievous by a good few years, and represents something the Necrons still lack: good CC capability. In the old system he was adequate, swinging a Warscythe around and being a nuisance along with his retinue of Scarabs (which was often) or Pariahs (which was once). Now everyone but the C'tan (excuse me, C'tan Shards; how awkward is that to say?) are slow as molasses, which is fine for shooting but rubbish if you need to rush a bunch of Orks who crashed their jalopy close to the objective you're parked on. Of course, you should be shooting at them instead of getting into CC, but sometimes you just can't avoid it. 

Everybody has a staff that does something nowadays, but they don't even double as power weapons any more, do they? At least the Necrons got some personality in the form of notable characters and weird dynasties, but I still get the feeling they dropped the ball here as well. The codex just doesn't feel finished. For that matter Why were Flayed ones made even more of a waste of points, and yet got new models? Give them a higher initiative, let them assault as soon as they deep strike... give them something to make them worthwhile. Now Scarabs are powerful? Really? AND WHY IS EVERYTHING OPEN-TOPPED? WHAT ARE WE, ORKS?

Sorry, lost my composure there. In my defense, I'm on antibiotics thanks a a semi-annual visit from my friend, Mr. Sinus Infection. 

The long and the short of it is, Von, that on a scale of Tyranids to Blood Angels, the new 'Crons, for me, fall squarely in the middle. They changed the stuff I liked (not entirely for the bad or good), didn't do anything to the stuff I didn't like, and improved things I never thought they'd improve (Tomb Spiders? They're great now? really?). They did get rid of phase-out,  which is huge, but they also fucked up Destroyers (boo!). They got two transports, one of which is severely cool, but neither of which is phenomenal. 

If either the Night or Doom Scythe actually has a tail, it will look like this,
and I will instead mass-produce my insect Harpies in protest. I swear.
Also, I'm not really a fan of crescents and War of the Worlds scorpion tails, which some art director at GW apparently thinks are appropriate to stick on everything. Oh well, at least they're not spikes and skulls. 

So things are different, and sort of better, and sort of not. Game on!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oh Ghost Ark, You Complete Me.....

The Ghost Ark is not a kit.
The Ghost Ark is a curse. 
As models go, you have quick little jaunts like, say, the Rhino. It fits together quickly and simply, and is a solid little mid-afternoon jaunt in the hobby park. You see the leaves, you feel the wind on your face, and you’re done. A little too soon, perhaps, but it was pleasant. 

Then you have the Ghost Ark. The Ghost Ark is not there to remind you of life, putting the spring back into your step after spending hours in the dreary office of Other Models. The purpose of the Ghost Ark is to punish you for not buying enough Necron stuff in the first place. 

How dare you, Ghost Ark says. How dare you not buy flights of Destroyers and triads of Wraiths from the last codex. What was wrong with Pariahs, who did everything a single infantry unit could do, and better than everything else in our meager codex? How dare you reject them? 

But--but the only things that worked in the entire list were the Warriors, Immortals and Destroyers, Ghost Ark. What was I to do? I used Pariahs once or twice, but there wasn’t enough points left for everything else. And Wraiths, they just died too quickly. 
This chap is my new favorite Necron, ever. 
Shh, shh. That is all in the past. Ghost Ark says. I am here now. 
Yes, Ghost Ark is here. Make no mistake, cool and serpentine, this thing is the very best of the Cutting Room floor: 
Do not, repeat, DO NOT throw away concept sketches. EVER.
The art department at Lucasfilm knows this, and now GW does, too.
The pilot is in as many pieces as they could make a figure. I was was surprised that the legs were attached as an integrated piece, because they were separate from the pelvis, which is its own separate bit. There are the obligatory torso halves, but there are separate HEAD and NECK pieces, for pete’s sake. One arm is separated at the elbow for no apparent reason. Then you have a spinal column connecting him to command chair. 
What other infantry-sized miniature has a separate neck?
Still my favorite part of the entire model. 

Sorry, did you want quality out of your Necron vehicles? No one (with any common sense) bought flights of slab-sided, boring monoliths, so in retribution, here is your delicate plastic flower. That is our revenge, Necron player. Drown in the depths of our design. Choke on our cyclopean geometry. Ghost Ark is the other side of the diabolical eldritch coin. A pyramid with a big gay emerald on it was iceberg tip of the horrible writhing squid monster sleeping beneath the surface of a lackluster codex. Therein lies an underworld of poorly-written fluff 
and way too many open-topped vehicles.  

Like the well-engineered Rhino, this thing does fit together like a dream (well, a different sort of dream). But make no mistake, there are quite a few places to go wrong in this garden of earthly delights, and if your attention to detail wavers, Ghost Ark will not forgive you. Slovenliness will be met with disaster, so you’d better have your wits about while you’re working on this. 
You should most definitely not be writing a review. Ghost Ark will punish this most severely.  
Ghost Ark #2 of 4 turned out rather bendy. Maybe they flex in flight like a fish?
At any rate, this is a mold issue of some kind, and 100% not my fault.  
Necron players are going to be buying and assembling these things in spades, in their many hundreds. Why not? It’s an AV13 transport that restores warriors to their units, has banks of gauss weapons it can fire on the move, and is generally a good idea. Marines wish they had something as good as Ghost Ark. Imperial Guard... well, they have the Vendetta, which is arguably better. Not since we got that graceful bird have we been gifted so.
I will say it this but once, ever, GW, so you’d better  listen up: this makes up for the awful tragedy that is the Storm Raven.
The Cestus... well, you’ll have to give us a while for that one. 

On second thought, no, it's just too bloody ugly and stupid. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

An Xmas surprise (for Necrons)...

The Catacomb Command & Annhilation Barge (or Pwn Barge, as it has become known) is 90% the same footprint, in all three dimensions, as our good friend the venerable Tyrannofex. There had been much trepidation about this, as the length of their Necron Persuasiveness Enhancers had been of some concern, but apparently from nose to tail the length works out to about the same, which is excellent news, because I wasn't looking forward to purchasing 3-6 barges even at discount eBay prices. Looks Like my barges will be fewer, and for Overlord joyride purposes only. 

Now all they have to do is make Doom Scythes the exact size and shape of my Harpy models, and we'll be in business. I'd rather make three more of those things than see a bunch of blasted crescents flying around the table any day. There's just something sad very un-threatening about chasing my opponents around  with metallic doom pastries..

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

More so than Thanksgiving, Christmas is time when I feel truly grateful for all the blessings of the year, and this year has been exceptionally blessed, what with the new job and other developments in my life. You all have been a part of that, some of you more than you know.  So, to everyone out the big wide world, thanks for being there, and the best of the season to you and yours. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Resurrecting the Necrons, Part 1: Changes...

So, the Necrons finally got the codex update we've all been waiting for. It's made some units better, some unusable and some... are just different. While I never stopped using mine, really, they'd sort of taken a back seat to my Admech and Marine armies on the gaming table. With the all the new kit, it seems like high time they come to the fore again, but it's going to take some heavy reorganization....

I loved my Destroyer wing army. Three squads of them like big, multi-wound tanks zipping about and torrenting things to death. Now they're jump infantry with weaker 24" guns, and not much else going for them.  So, like everyone else under the sun, I'll be using the models as Tomb Blades. As they were, they would have competed with the Blades for a Fast Attack slot, but honestly, did the Necrons really need a new jet bike unit? Couldn't we just add tesla weapons as an option and left them as Jetbikes? For that matter, when you think of jump infantry, you think of a some sort of standing model with a jetpack, and these are... skimmers with flight bases. Oh well, both forms of Necron jump infantry blow anyway. If I ever buy any Triarch Praetorians, they'll be turned into Crypteks. Now the only viable Destroyers to have in an army are the heavy variety:

And even these are competing with things in other slots for points. At least Heavy Gauss Cannons didn't get nerfed that much. Still, it makes me want to re-jigger these into an Immortal with big stabilizer legs and jump wings of some kind. You'll see what I mean further below.

I barely ever used Tomb Spiders at all in my old army. They cost too much, did too little, and died rather pathetically. However, I loved the model so much I invested in a group of them when I found them on the cheap on e-bay. I bent the hell out of the parts to give them a more dynamic pose, and added extra arms from the old Wraiths to give them some surgical kit. How were they supposed to operate with those big clumsy tri-claws, anyway? 

I never understood why they decided to call them spiders when they're basically giant beetles. Oh well. Now their stats are great for the price, they fix vehicles, and they still shit scarabs like there's no tomorrow. Can you field nine of them in big crawly units? You probably shouldn't but who knows? From the book art, I'm betting there's going to be a plastic  kit that can either be a Spider or a Wraith, which means some nice leftovers either way. Speaking of Wraiths: 

They're slightly better now! Whee! Their options are.... different, and mostly not so good. I do like the particle caster and whips, but the transdimensional beamer, ilk ethe other characteristic test shenanigans in the codex, is shit. They should've written them to force the enemy unit to take their tests on 2D6, or just plain made it a different sort of weapon (like a flamer with entropic strike, or gauss, or something else). My Wraiths lost their surgical tools, and got whips to make them more creepy and ethereal as they flew around:

No, they won't be hiding behind any low terrain, either. I'm willing to put up with it to have them swimming through the air like those sentinels from the Matrix trilogy. Sadly, the new wraiths are constructs, so these may have to be beheaded. 

I ran out of whip arms, and as a result their commander made do with all the extra claws from the others. The new multi-eye heads, providing they aren't too big, will make them more insect/cephalod like as a whole. I don't think I'll have the heart to behead the poor buggers win the time comes, though. I only ever ran them as two units alongside with my Destroyer Lord, General Vhespid:

He was also engineered never to get cover, sadly, but being a jet bike, he never needed it. Just zipped right in with a cloud of scarabs or wraiths and axed things to death. This configuration, with legs, is closer to what destroyers are now, or should be. Honestly, all GW had to do was relabel the old Destroyers as Tomb Blades and give them different arms, and go from there. What the hell use does Preferred Enemy have for shooting units? 

Ooooh wait, 6th edition is coming. Maybe it'll make all shooting twin-linked or something? Who knows? I prefer to expect the worst; that way I'm pleasantly surprised when good things manage to happen, like Ghost Arks and Annihilation Barges. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

WIP: A new whip for an old army.....

Just a quick WIP of Ghost Ark #1 today. I'm still trying to decide whether or not I like the "old penny" paint scheme; it doesn't quite have that "fresh out of the sand" thing going for it. I may need to use some actual sand.....

Friday, November 4, 2011

=][= MVNDA

Tears of Envy has been showing off some of the brilliant design work that has gone into this project on her excellent blog, which I highly recommend all of you go check out. Apparently there's an affiliated website coming, along with other lovely gothic things.  

While you're at it, follow her, too. She's quite possibly one of the most talented designers I've ever had the privilege to sort of know, and always, always interesting. 

Happy Friday, people. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hell Is Other Resins...

The good news is that Anubis is nearing completion. All the brush work on the main model is done, which means I get to go back over it with an airbrush and do some weathering soon. Well, as soon as I get my ancient airbrush cleaned and up to par. The bad news is, while I was priming his wings, the wind picked up the box and, well....

Snap! went the sensitive spar on two of them. This brings us to the title of today's blog. Anubis was crafted from a clear resin that is the most infuriating shit I've ever had to work with. It has a measure of elasticity, yet it shatters. It's rock-hard and doesn't sand well at all. About the only thing it takes to is drilling, but you have to do it by hand, because a Dremel running at the slowest speed will, in fact, melt the resin, giving you a drill bit coated in black, translucent crap. The only thing it didn't do in the mold, apparently, was air-bubble, but there are enough crevices and weird imperfection on the thing that I had fits sanding it down. Oh, and did I mention that the clear resin is EXTREMELY PAINT RETARDENT. Thank heavens I had some Tamiya Mr. Surfacer on hand, because other primers just slid right off. The Anubis kit was a great deal at the price, but in retrospect, I should've passed on it completely.  Once the model is finished, I may even sell it and console myself with the Revoltech (despite the heinous paint job)  or Kotobukiya versions being released eventually. 

Then there's this:

A General Grievous Tyracron commissioned by a client. Overall, the project went well and I'm very satisfied with it, but I wish I'd been able to use a metal Hive Tyrant instead of a Finecast one. Finecast, while being light and fluffy, is also crumbly and incredibly brittle. It has a small measure of elasticity and there were no glaring problems the sculpt, however, it's not much harder than, say, very brittle chalk, and I was nervous every time I had to cut or drill into the thing. Unlike my half-metal version, this thing is not at all top-heavy (a plus) and can stand without the larger base (the client wanted to be able to use it as a Nemesis DK) but man, is the FInecast resin ever flimsy. I can't imagine trying to work with some of the smaller models. 

Now, it drilled well, took to CYA glue and paint like a champ, and generally held the detail from its casting pretty well too. Thankfully, some of the horror stories I've been reading here and there didn't apply to this kit, but nonetheless, there was some chipping of the parts right out of the box. If I'd been assembling it as a stock Tyrant, the whips and swords would have eventually just snapped right off from continued use. Luckily, those sexy serpentine lightsabers are themselves quite sturdy. I have a hunch he'll be primarily a shelf piece, but the client has a working Star Wars army, so who knows? Transport him carefully!

Some hot Grievous vs Grievous action for you. 

Every Jedi's worst nightmare. For that matter, Space Marines wouldn't like two Swarmlords coming at them, either. 

More commission stuff on the way, plus some Necron action (ooooh I can't wait, can you?) Yes, I did order some Ghost Arks. I may magnetize them to work as Doomsday Arks, but if the size factor is equivalent enough, then my Tyrannofexes will simply step (or hover?) into a new gunship role in my Necron army. I'm not entranced with the Annihilation Barge design, so that role may go to my Harpies. Again, it'll depend on the form factor. It looks like one or two of the things I ruminated about waaaaaay back during the Codex: Royal Necrons post are coming true, too.

Happy Monday, people.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I wish they'd hurry up and....

... cast Daniel Craig as Ibram Gaunt already. Defiance was fucking brilliant and he's not getting any younger. Also with the new Necron models and whatnot. 

Speaking models coming soon, we forge on with Anubis. I'm busy resurrection my ancient airbrush so I can shade his bronzed frame properly.  Also, there's a clone of General Grievous coming and a bunch of other things from commission-land. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Oh, come ON...

My version isn't even done yet, and they go and come out with this.

It's just so well made, too. 

Man.... I really need to get a move on and finish that model.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


This is what should have arisen again as a monument to the slain. 

Personally, I hate the current memorial. While I get the symbolism, leaving two holes in the ground is an insult. It feels like handing the slime who did this a trophy to hang on their cave wall. After all, they didn't leave a notch in the Pentagon, did they? Hell no. 


RIP, Donna Hegelmeyer. Your kids are doing fine, but they sure miss you. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

State of (my) Hobby....

Been a turbulent summer so far, what with changing jobs and all, so I've been busily doing life things and sort of neglecting my hobby bench, and more's the pity. So, this is going to be a "what's next" article. Short answer: that ebon chap is ready to be worked on, so a finished Anubis will be the every next model you'll see. Other revisions to my To-Do list include things that are on....

The Back Burner: 
• All Tyracron Projects: I know, I'm sad about it too, but this Fall is set to bring about a Necron Renaissance where (hopefully) our favorite robots won't suck, and that means a (hopefully)  a slew of new parts and inspiration to work from. Plus, let's be honest, the Nid codex sorta got nerfed and that screwed things from a playing standpoint. I will say that I've had nothing but good battles with the Tyracrons, although none of those have been against adversaries with AV 14. 

• Fantasy Projects: At some point, I'll be painting some suitably Japanese-looking cannons to make my Dwarf Samurai army a more fully-filled out one, and then putting it on the auction block. I need the space, and one of these armies need to go. Sorry, Samurai Dwarves, you were my first WHF army, and my first large-scale army project ever, but you have to go. If anyone is interested in a unique, character WHF army, please contact me. Otherwise, off to eBay they'll go. In their day, the did a lot of pounding on goblins and undead alike. Sad Panda. :(

Coming up after Anubis:
• To show you I'm not full of shit I'm standing by my word from a previous column and converting up a Storm Raven. It'll be looking more like our friend the Helghast Dropship:

You remember him, don't you? I'll be splicing his genes with our other buddy, the better Storm Raven design that uses the actual kit:

See all those redeeming features? It's a lovely design and not at all the kind of visual punch in the face that thing you can buy off the shelves is. Remember the pledge also that it's going to be able to swallow a Dreadnaught. Ooooh that'll be a pain in the ass, won't it? But I will not have my Dread frying off all of his expensive Autocannon ammo on re-entry. No sir. 

Also, my Vendettas are getting wheeled landing gear like their modern equivalents, the Black Hawk and the Osprey. (Not the Valkyrie, which shall remain stock) Now that I'm working at an aerospace-associated non-profit, I get to stare at really, really nice photos of planes and rockets ALL FUCKING DAY (so awesome!) and it hit me that the IG need to wheel things into hangars and such. You need to pull them around when they're not powered up, and to do that you're going to have to hitch your Centaur up and pull the thing around. Yes, in the 40k universe you have repulserlift technology and servitors with forklifts for tits and all that, but it'll look so damn cool, so I'm doing it. 

There is also another Orbital Frame kit, this one of the Vic Vyper, which is getting joints put in as we speak, but is a long way from being finished. This one may preempt other 40k models, because it's really, really, really cool. I may even resurrect my airbrush for it, it's such a nice model. 

Lastly, the Emperor's Tarot poker deck is going really, really slowly because I keep drawing an erasing various cards, so barely half of them are done. Producing a sheet of number cards is the easy part, it's the major arcana that are really, really hard. I'm sure John Blanche, the God of Weird Dark Future Imagery, could fire a bunch of them off in no time, but I'm not as prolific as I used to be, because now I am employed and have a third of the free time I used to. 

So that's about it. Things are picking up, and we are again looking flush and getting our life on track. Maybe I'll take that vacation to England I've always been meaning to, and visit you all across the pond, too. Ah, to be able to plan things again.....

Friday, July 15, 2011

Vincent Villafranca

I have seen the next level, and it is this guy

Okay, the design of his page is horrifying, but his robot chess pieces? 

Fucking amazing. Click the link and check him out. You won't be disappointed. 

Well, except by the layout/graphics/etc of his website, which is awful. His work is excellent, but man, you'd think the guy could design a better looking website. Of course, maybe he's too busy turning out masterpieces like this to give a flying shit about web design:

In which case, more power to him. 

Happy Friday, people. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What the crap is going on with Dreadnoughts these days?

By now, everybody's seen this ungainly monster. I'm still on the fence about whether I like it or not, since it's not exactly a new design:

Yeah, that's right. Instead of grabbing a movie design to repurpose (go see Terminator 5 to see where the Dreadknight came from), FW went back several generations to the old Epic scale game and up-sized that thing. Someone loved that ugly little thing so much, they went back and made it the de-facto "old dreadnought, instead of the one we all knew and loved from the early days. You all remember Chuck, don't you? from the 40k Compendium? 

There he is, the poor lil' roly-poly guy. Look at him. Gonna go stomp some Chaos Squats with those two twin-linked bolters of his. Who's the big man? Not you. Sorry, Chuck. 

We're supposed to believe that during the 40k timeline,  Lee Iacocca took over Mars and started cranking out the K-Car of mecha:

Go research K-car, kids. It's a real term. 

There's more than one entendre at work, here. 

Get it? 


Personally, I'm glad GW didn't slink away to the movies again. It wrecks the consistency of their design quality--- ooooh right:

C'mon guys. A Glaug from Macross? What were you thinking back then? Even FASA learned that lesson the hard way with the Marauder. You're all over the place with rules, all over the place with design.


That brings us back to Monstroso, there:

There are some things I like about this model. I feel that it's generally a step in the right direction, I really do. In fact, you can shut down all the current model production lines now, from Rhinos to Stormravens, and art direct everything around the curved, riveted lines of this model. For consistency. 

However, there is a another shade of consistency at work here.  

This design is consistent not with rest of the angular, slab-sided, reasonably well art-directed army. It is consistent with the brand new, hero-focused, special-characters-grant-special-rules bent of the current codexes. There is one message you can take away from this, and it is:

"We envy Warmachine."

Think about that. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Played Necrons vs Vulkan Marines today, and this was the highlight of the match. They took a round to devour his Thunderhammer Termie bodyguard, and ate Vulkan the round after this pic. 

Game ongoing. 2 combat squads, one Assault Squad, and one Dread left to go (that LR is immobilized and weaponless). Updates to follow. 


After swallowing Vulkan, the Daleks engaged a combat squad and proceeded to pummel them to death with their doom plungers. A full assault squad nearly deep struck in, but hit a building. The subsequent mishap roll resulted in them dropping in dangerous terrain across the board instead. Destroyers disposed of that Rhino in the foreground, and the Warrior squad behind them held firm against that Tac squad you can see on the left. 

To make a long story short, a round or so later my opponent conceded. As he was short on units, he was unable to effectively contest control enough objectives. Had we continued, he could've squeaked out a draw, but I think the death of his rock unit (and the delay of his assaulters) dismayed him a bit. I put on my teacher hat and pointed out some  things he did well (covering his Rhinos long enough to make it across the board, targeting/downing my Destroyers with his Rifleman dreads) and some things he did poorly (choosing to assault Warriors in a ruin with his Termies instead of sending them at some Destroyers in the open who were 7" from the LRR).