Tuesday, 20 June 2017

40k 8th Edition - Thoughts After My First Game

Like a lot of people, I got my first proper game of 8th in this weekend. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect, but I found myself pleasantly surprised by the rules.

As this was my first game in the new edition, I thought it would be fun to kick it off with one of the most classic matchups around (well, for me anyway); Chaos Vs. Tyranids!

It might seem like an odd combo to some, but my brother and I have been playing these two armies since 4th Edition, so by now the battle is familiar ground. We both know the forces really well, and despite all of the edition changes, the armies are as valid as ever thanks to the fact that we've never been "power players". Lets just say that a lot of people laughed at my all autocannon Havoc squad, but not anymore as at S7 with a -1 armour modifier and 2 wounds a hit they are face-poundingly good. My noise marines had some improvements too, so all in all it is beginning to look like Chaos might finally make it out of the Codex Dog-House.

Rather than go through a full battle report, I'd just like to share a few pictures from the game and my thoughts on some of the new rules; as a few things surprised me. There were even some things that I thought I would hate, but that I actually thought were a lot more balanced than I originally suspected.

Power Levels
I don't know about you, but I was really dubious about this system. Essentially "Power Levels" are a very basic points system that simplifies the points values and includes the upgrade costs all in one number. A basic example is a unit of Chaos Cultists are now 3 "power levels" or my unit of Daemonetttes were 5. The Predator was 10. I thought this would be horribly unbalanced, and I'm still sure that you could abuse it, but I was willing to give it a go. We played 50 power levels, which seemed to be roughly equivalent to about 1000 points, or maybe a bit less.

Interestingly, we put the armies on the field and they looked balanced. The balance stayed all of the way through and it was a very close game that ended in an equal 5 points each from the new objectives. I just about sneaked the victory as I had more units left, and we called it quits before the last few Tyranid Warriors were killed. It was also nice to play absolutely WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) without feeling like I was taking it in the pants for having picked some non-optimal options.

While I'm still sure that you could abuse the power levels to squeeze out some power, for friendly games I think it could be a winner, and it certainly was simpler. As most of us have been playing for some time and have a lot of odd options that we've built over the years, it is nice to be able to get them back on the field again without worrying too much about the cost.

Full points costs are still included at the end of the Index, so that is still an option, and I think for tournaments it would be necessary, but I think a lot of less competitive games will benefit from the "pick up and play" style that power levels provide.

Opposed Ability Checks for Weapon Skill and The Combat Phase
Yep, the ability chart is gone, so hitting in combat is the same as shooting now; with just one flat roll. I really wasn't sure about this one, so I was relieved to find that it didn't make much difference in game. Things that are good in combat are still good in combat, and maybe a bit more reliably so.

I was more concerned about the removal of initiative; especially as a Slaanesh player. Handily my Daemonettes had a rule that basically gave them "always strikes first" like the old days. I do wonder how this will pan out for other armies though; particularly Dark Eldar and others that relied a lot on initiative to make the effective in close combat. I guess we'll see as I doubt they'll keep handing out strike first rules to everything.

On the upside, challenges are gone, which to me is a great thing, as I never saw them used once when it wasn't a foregone conclusion, or just a way to circumvent a dangerous weapon (If you don't know what I mean, then you haven't had your power-fist wielding sergeant challenged by a hive tyrant just to get rid of the only weapon in the squad that could feasibly give you a chance of fighting back). Good riddance I say!

Faction Keywords and Formations
Formations are gone, praise Jesus for that one. They were a good idea, but in practice were so broken and confusing that the game was mostly ruined. I also never liked the push to include "more" of everything all the time and go bigger constantly, as it was a bit much for the kind of games that I enjoy. In their place we have standardised constructions from the rulebook that still allow you to do some interesting things (like load up on Fast Attack or HQ choices). They don't give massive bonuses though, so they seem fairly balanced and more aimed towards being thematic.

The Keywords system seems to be lifted entirely from Age of Sigmar. Handily, for my purposes it seemed to work really well, and I finally got the chance to add some Slaanesh Daemons to my list without bothering with the old rules for Allies. I knew that working on those would be a good idea eventually.

Overall Impression
Well, I have to say that my first game was a very positive experience. It seems that things are back on track, with decisive combat and good in-game balance. The new miniatures that they've released are really nice too, so although I didn't buy one, the box set is probably a good place to start if you are new to 40k, or just like the minis.

I'll be interested to play a few more games, but I get the feeling that the fun factor will be higher and that at least for the moment things will be a lot more balanced. We'll see whether any rules gaps emerge, but for the moment, I think this could be the best edition yet.

I'd be interested to know how other people are finding it though, so leave a comment below with your thoughts.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

E2046 GK Competition 2017

Remember that Anime figure that I painted up a couple of months ago? No? Well, I'll add some pictures to jog your memory.

Anyway, I liked her so much, that I decided that I'd put some pictures into a massive online competition being run by the Chinese resin cast figure company E2046. The competition is a pretty big deal for enthusiasts of these kinds of figures, and literally hundreds of hours have gone into some of the entries. It's all done with photos too, which was a bit of a novelty, but I guess that the main drive is to promote the hobby and their business. There are some big prizes too, with a $500 USD prize for the winner and over $2500 up for grabs in total. It is all in store credit though, but still it certainly puts Golden Demon to shame!

The competition is run in 3 categories. Figure, is for single resin anime style figures. The second category is "Mecha", which is pretty much the Gundam category or giant robots to most people. The third is the always impressive, but obviously insane Diorama category. The reason that I say it is mad, is because the smallest figures they make are about 1/8 scale, so painting up more than one is literally several months of work.

Anyway, my entry is now in the gallery and all I have to do is wait till the 14th, when the initial cut will be made and the finalists will be selected. Here's hoping for a good result!

My Gallery

On a side note, I painted this thing a few months back , and I submitted the gallery about 6 weeks ago, so the competition feels a bit distant, which is something I've actually really enjoyed as it has been nice and relaxing.

Sometimes looking back to the beginning, I wonder where I found the energy to finish it!

An angle that didn't make it into the final gallery. I like it though, she looks kind of annoyed from down here.

The Competition, main gallery

Friday, 9 June 2017

Slaanesh Chaos Lord on Bike

I promised Chaos every day this week, and I'm sticking to it. Today, I have another converted chaos lord. This time on a bike. This is a newer model than a lot of the ones that I've been posting, but still dates back a bit. I think I built him somewhere in 6th Edition.

The bike is actually a standard Chaos bike, with a lot of extra parts added and sculpted in. The demonic hood part is made from the underside of a Forgefiend's head combined with some spares from a Defiler and a Terminator's torso. The rider is built from one of the Dark Vengeance Chosen, grafted onto a standard biker's legs. Getting the snap-fit parts to work was a struggle, but it was well worth it. In particular fitting the cape was rather difficult.

The power maul has had its ups and downs as far as rules are concerned. It gives the model a great stat line though with T5 and S6. I guess that will all change shortly though, so I'll be interested to see whether it will be an effective combination in the new edition. Speaking of the new edition, I pre-ordered a copy of Index Chaos the other day, so I should be all set to try these guys out with the new rules.

Anyway, that about rounds it out. I'm calling Friday the end of the week, so this is the last of the chaos posts for the moment. Leave a comment below, or follow the blog if you've enjoyed this rather Chaotic week.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Converted Chaos Obliterator

It's no secret that Obliterators are some pretty ugly minis. With that in mind, I decided to convert my own Slaanesh Obliterator. The model is based off of a Chaos Terminator. I cut out the front of the armour to build a custom torso to match the Female Chaos Space a marines that I had in the force (see my post from a few days ago for more on those).

The model has a lot sculpted detail again, as it also dates from that period a few years ago when I was really going for it with the conversions. I had the idea that rather than having lots of guns, they would have one massive gun with different firing modes, which is how it ended up with one big gun!
Anyone remember the Tyrant from Resident Evil?

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Emperor's Children Chaos Space Marines

Today, I'm keeping the conversions coming with this old school style squad converted with Khorne Berserker parts and a whole lotta love. There is a huge quantity of hand sculpted detail on these, from the loin cloths to the additional filigree and custom heads.

Again, these guys date back several years, but other than the slightly lackluster bases, there're still as hot as ever. They have seen the battlefield quite a lot too over the years, but haven't been too competitive for a while. I'm hoping that with the change to 8th, they might be a bit more effective. There is a full set of 10 of them too, so there should be plenty to check out in the pictures.

What do you think? Should Games Workshop be releasing a Slaanesh plastic kit like this?

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Slaanesh Chaos Lord with Lightning Claws

Following on from yesterday's female Chaos Marines, I've got a converted Chaos Lord for your viewing pleasure today. He is actually converted using a metal Space Marine veteran as the base with a lot of added details and a new head. He also has a lot of sculpted details like the ornamental swirls on his armour and a lot of the backpack setup. Fairly obviously, the tentacle dreadlocks were also converted using individual strands of rolled milliput that were painstakingly added one by one.

The body on his back is actually from the Nurgle banner from the Chaos Space Marine set. It was inspired from the way that Emperor's Children create combat drugs by rendering down corpses. I figured he would have one rendering down as he fought!

He has seen quite a lot of battlefield time too, and was pretty much my go-to choice fora long time, but that was back in 5th edition (which by now is sounding pretty damn old!).

That about finishes it for today, as ever, leave a comment below and don't forget to check back tomorrow for more chaos conversions.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Female Chaos Space Marines!

With everyone sitting around waiting for 8th Edition, I thought it was the perfect time to have a look through some of my old conversions from a time long before I had this blog. I'm planning to bring you a tantalizing glimpse of something Chaotic every day this week; with the hope that by the time that the new edition is out, people might be inspired to actually build something!

Now that the intro is done, today I have these finely crafted morsels for you. These conversions date back about 5 years, and use plastic Daemonettes combined with Chaos Space Marine parts and plenty of Milliput (they're so old, I didn't have access to green stuff back then!).

Who says a girl can't wear pink on the battlefield?

I hand sculpted all of the robe bits. Let's just say it was traumatic and leave it there.

I also sculpted a second breast onto every single one. It sounds like a small thing, but I'm sure most of my readers will be aware that symmetry is very important there!

To be honest, these minis had been a bit forgotten recently, but now that I have them out, I think they actually look pretty great. I think it's high time they saw the battlefield once more.

I particularly like the champion with the powerfist. It's strange to think that she was actually the first model I built and painted for my Emperor's Children. They did become more conventional over time as the conversions were so extreme in the beginning that I just couldn't keep making them, as it was literally killing me.

Background wise I kind of envisaged them as Daemonically possessed marines who had been changed by the warp over thousands of years.

Anyway, leave a comment below with what you think, and check back tomorrow to smell what the Rock is cookin'... Or something...

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Infinity - Aleph Alternate Colour Scheme

I think it is probably no exaggeration to say that this might be the strangest colour scheme that I've ever done.

For those who don't know, Aleph is an artificial intelligence. This miniature is a proxy (basically a synthetic body that can be inhabited by a digital consciousness). With that in mind, I really wanted to get an inhuman and alien look going on.

I had the idea of taking their regular colours (beige and purple) and strengthening them. I also thought of combining them into one color, which led to the yellow blended through purple shade. After that, I still had to choose the other colours, and as I was going for a synthetic look I went for a pale white on the skin. The paints were applied with an airbrush, and it was a bit nail biting to say the least; one misaligned blast and it would've been easy to spoil the effect completely. If anyone is looking to do something similar, I'd say that the secret is to angle the model and apply the shades from below and the highlights from the top to try and protect the dual-tone effect.

After laying down a few colours, I suddenly had a moment of nostalgia. Did anyone else play Grandia 2 on the PS2? I did, and there was an android girl called Tio who actually looked quite similar to what I had. For the sake of it, as I was searching for a color for my proxy's hair, I just went
with it.


I'm still a bit unsure of the base though. For the moment, I'm sticking with it though, and was quite happy with the overall effect. I started these Aleph as a bit of a side project and for the fun of experimenting with their paint work, as I'm not planning to field them anytime soon. I'll be interested to paint up a few more though and see how they turn out.

Friday, 26 May 2017

A Satirical Look at Eighth Edition

There comes a time when every man has to throw in his two cents on a topic that is as ground-breaking in the hobby world as a new edition of 40k. Unfortunately for my poor readers, I decided to consult the dark gods directly and obtained a vision from another dimension. A dimension where the biggest Chaos Marine around struggles to come to terms with his place in the new edition...

Chapter 1 - State of Contusion


Bignimuus rapped the slide of his big gun with an even bigger hand.


"8th Edition eh?" he rumbled. His oversized lips grinding together; turning the sentence into the distant rumble of an oversized ogre. His beady eyes glared down at the new starter set in front of him.


"These supposedly extra big marines look a little small to me..." he pressed down on one Primaris marine with a gargantuan thumb; reducing the plastic plaything to a slagged heap of contorted crappola with little effort.


"Fight back you cowards!" he roared, unloading a whole magazine from his engorged bolter into the gaming table. Time seemed to go into slow motion as devastated cardboard mixed with erupting wood and dismembered miniatures.


The stricken pieces fell to the ground in a shower of tinkling remnants. Bignimuus eyed his bolter excitedly; seeming to notice on some level that it was now capable of blasting through a Dreadnought's front armour. Perhaps there was more to this edition stuff than he had given it credit for.


Before long, the grim scene was disturbed by the graunching sound of active power armour as Titanicoor loomed through the doorway. His legs were so huge and over-muscled that he could barely walk, and his thigh plates ground together in a shower of unnecessary sparks as he entered the room. He was holding one of the new Death Guard miniatures cradled in his arms.


"Mighty brothers, you have been shrunken and frozen by some foul sorcery!". Titanicoor blubbered big stinky tears; looking down lovingly at the tiny bare plastic Plague Marine.


"By the dark gods!" Boomed Bignimuus "What has happened to our once proud brother!?".


Titanicoor's only reply was to hold out a freshly printed rulebook. The glossy paperback was dwarfed by Titanicoor's mailed hand. Bignimus snatched the proffered item hungrily; eyeing it with incredulity.


"This?!" he raged; flipping thought the pages.


"We'll see about that!"


Chapter 2 - Tabletop Tantrum

Bignimuus' narrowed eyes glared coldly into his opponent's sweaty visage. His hand moved slowly to his holster; and then carried on towards the tabletop. He shunted the blight drone forwards  a few inches and then ended his turn.



His opponent threw a hand full of dice, nervously joking about the quantity of plasma he was wielding and then declared victory. He then had the audacity to reach out tentatively to remove the Blight Drone from the table.


Bignimuus didn't like this game. With a spittle flinging roar, he ground the table underfoot and punched his opponent's head clean off his shoulders with a looping lariat. The poor man's headless body swung in the breeze for an agonising moment while the massive marauder took a bite out of the rulebook like it was a club-sandwich.


Titanicoor looked on miserably from the side-lines lamenting the loss of the once proud morale phase that they had previously used to cause lesser men turn tail and run, but that now apparently beamed terrified guardsmen off of the battlefield without spilling a drop of blood. It seemed too clean somehow.


"Would you stop blubbering!" Bignimuus screamed unnecessarily; sending a spray of half-digested paper into the air. Titanicoor was blowing his nose into an oversized hankie that just about managed to stop the seemingly never-ending stream of snot flowing from his front-grill.


"But the dreadnought can be killed by bolter fire now..." he whined in the deepest and most manly way possible.


"I will avenge your pain" Bignimuus rumbled; soon following up his declaration by making a ship-wide announcement.


"Warrior Brothers prepare for landfall; target, GW HQ Nottingham!"


Chapter 3 - Apocalypse How?


“Commandeer that Rhino!” Boomed Bignimuus, whilst whirling his chainsword above his head like some grim helicopter with roid rage.


Despite its seemingly traitorous colouring, this “Warhammer World” place seemed to be sporting a veritable arsenal of Imperial weaponry. Bignimuus climbed on board the unmanned vehicle; before promptly falling straight through the badly-finished MDF panelling up to his waist.


“By the dark gods!” he declared frothily, “They’ve been changing the rules again. Are Rhinos truly made of such flimsy-material in Eighth Edition?”


With no way to activate the replica transport, Bignimuus was left with only one option that made sense to his swollen mind.


“Brother Enormotank! Push me closer, I want to hit them with my sword!”


“Yeauuh, Bruutha!” the reply came across the vox network as a throaty growl, and within moments the bizarre battle group were underway; gouging huge ravines into the floor with the faux tank’s un-turning tracks.


Unexpectedly, but inevitably, their path was soon blocked by a banged up Ford Cortina.


“Super-King Blokk, I have some information.” The treaty voxed straight to Bignimuus’ ear-bead. He recognised Titanicoor’s voice immediately despite the distortion and the whistling of the wind. Titanicoor continued “It seems that in this new edition, vehicles have been given a Weapons Skill Value and will be able to fight in close combat…”


“Whaaatt!” Bignimuus screeched to a halt in direct base-to-base contact with the cowering Cortina. What happened next would one day come to be a point of contention amongst historians, but most agree that the resulting explosion was what led to the destruction of the entire world.


Well, that's all folks. I bet you feel really enlightened about the new edition now! For those who stuck around to the end, I can only commend your good taste and impeccable sense of humour. Until next time.
On the off chance that anyone actually enjoyed this article, don't forget to read Bungo the Barbarian, as there are plenty of hilarious chapters available to read now!


Friday, 19 May 2017

Airbrushing and Masking Miniatures - Plus Blue Steel NMM Technique

Masking, is there anything worse? It just never seems to go quite right, and no matter what fancy product you use it can be a bit of a battleground. Most of the time, it tends to go two ways; you either mask so well that you end up peeling the paint off when you take the tape away, or you do it too tentatively and end up with overspray and a bad finish.

Despite these concerns, I've been working on a technique that gives good coverage and protection, whilst not doing any damage. I managed to try it out this weekend on my Infinity Guijia, and it worked wonders.

I started by painting the orange armour sections with the airbrush (as orange is the main colour I didn't do any masking). I completely finished these by adding in edge highlights with the standard brush, and when I was happy, I gave them a coat of Vallejo Satin Varnish. This has the same lustre as the regular paint, but helps protect it from the next steps (It is also very important for my secret overspray defence technique, but more on that later). I painted in the areas that I wanted to do in Steel NMM in black with a regular brush as I was going to add a blend with various greys to them.

At this point, I usually find that something strange will happen. I'll be sitting there at my painting table and the airbrush will start to talk. It'll eye up the masking tape and say "Hey buddy, I thought you were a real man ... you don't need to mask anything, I wouldn't overspray on you". Try not to listen though - it's a trick. Even when it brings up all the progress you've made, and how nice your last mini was...

I find that Tamiya make good masking tape. It's pretty much as simple as that. I've used a few different brands, but it's the only one I trust not to weld itself on and come off with all of my hard work stuck to it. I have the varnish too for protection and I try not to leave it on there too long (an hour or so should be enough time to get what I need done). It does take a bit of time to get the tape on there and get coverage that you're happy with, but you really can't cut any corners. If you only need to mask the model to paint one thing that sticks out, I recommend using some plastic wrap like you used to have for your sandwiches, as the coverage is good and fast and I've never had any problems with peeling it off.

Blue-Steel NMM (Non Metallic Metal)

Top tip for mixing paint for the airbrush - mix it separately, not in the airbrush's cup and the consistency is right when it runs freely.

For the blue steel effect, I painted 4 layers over the black with the airbrush:

  1. A general highlight with a mix of black, Vallejo Dark Prussian Blue and white. This is a pretty dark mix, and the blue seems to help get some interest into it as well as aids the non metallic metal appearance.
  2. I followed up with another highlight, mixing in a greater quantity of white this time, and focusing on the upper areas and places that seemed like they should be reflective.
  3. I finished up with 2 highlight layers of pure white. The reason for the second coat was to try to intensify the "shine" that I was going for.
This was the colour that I used for the original mix (although this picture is from when I was painting it with the normal brush later)

After that, I painted his sword in blue, and then it was time for the moment of truth; peeling the tape. Luckily, thanks to all that preparation, it went rather well.

Even with all of that masking, I still had a little overspray on some of the orange parts to contend with. This was quite noticeable on the pilot's arm, where the end had got speckled with white unintentionally. Luckily though, I was prepared to deal with it, and that varnish was a real time saver.

Dealing with Overspray

Remember that varnish? If you're looking to make this work, I hope you applied it!

Like I said, this only works if you added varnish during the earlier step. This is because it protects the paint from what I'm about to do. Working quickly, I grab my airbrush cleaning fluid. This stuff is designed to break down paint in the mechanism, so it'll eat the paint right off. I take a fairly soft old brush, dip it into the fluid and then apply it directly to the overspray. I rub it for about 10 seconds, or until I see it dissolve and then wash the whole area out with a lot of clean water. I want to make sure that there won't be any cleaning solution left as I have no idea what it would do, so I recommend a lot of water (so obviously only do this once the paint you were applying is dry!).

Finishing Up

After a delicate scrubbing, the few little bits of overspray were gone and the mini was ready for the final steps. In this instance, that meant painting in some of the steel bits that I couldn't reach with the airbrush and then finishing up the steel with a final shade in the recesses and sharp highlight to get a bit more shine on it. For these steps, I used pure black and pure white respectively.