Friday, 18 August 2017

Pynamic Miniature Photography - Part 2

I wrote an article a little while ago extolling the virtues of taking dynamic photos of your miniatures. It was quite well received, and I've been doing a few more experiments with the technique lately.



These pictures aren't produced with any special wizardry; quite the opposite actually. All I use is a few bits of scenery with a backdrop and a light. In this instance, I was using a red backdrop to try and get a cool "evil dawn" kind of looking thing going on (if that is a thing...). It does add a nice bit of ambiance though. The camera is just the one off of my ipad, so nothing special, and a decent phone camera would do you just as proud.

 
One of the tings that I've particularly enjoyed is that taking photos like these can be a great excuse to throw good practice out the window. In the picture above I was only lighting the models from one side, which doesn't give you a great view of their paintwork; but it does give a great feel. I've done a little digital editing afterwards as well, but only to crop the pictures and darken them to make them more moody and realistic.


I've found that a slight upwards angle often helps the shots, as it takes the bases out of the picture a bit and really helps the miniatures look like they're part of the scenery. The picture above is tow of Anvil's Regiments range hanging out in some GW ruins, but you have to admit that they look a lot more exciting than the description sounds!



It can be fun to play around with your lights too. I got this interesting moody photo by moving the light so that the miniature I was taking a photo of was actually obscured. Sounds sill, but I think it looks like a still from Resident Evil or something. Those odd shapes in the red background are actually bits of what the background was leaning against (picture frames), but who cares. I'm not looking for perfection, so much as just interesting with these kind of photos anyway.

You might be wondering what use this could be. Well, for one thing, some exciting pictures never hurt the popularity of a blog! They also might help to keep people's attention who are reading (did you make it this far? because I know you wouldn't have without the pictures!). They could be great to include in a campaign though or just a write up of your army's background with some cool shots of units/characters thrown in. After all, we all like to think about the place our forces would have in the fictional worlds that they inhabit.



Anyway, that about sums the process up. I think the results are really cool though, and this zombie battle scene was fun to put together and photograph.

I'm in a bit of a hobby slump at the moment (well, actually distracted by other hobbies), so I hope you enjoyed this slightly random article.

Until next time...


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Gaming Memories - Dark Orion


Not so much a gaming memory as a hobby one; Dark Orion is a classic bit of Oldhammer goodness.
 
I'll cut straight to the point; my old armies were hideous. Yes, unsurprisingly I wasn't born a good painter, and back in the day even my best works passed for terrible mutilations in the right light. It wasn't until later when I started putting more thought into the hobby than trying to win the game that I started to actually get some decent results!
 
The reason that I still think back on this model so fondly is that he was the first miniature that I actually painted a proper highlight on. You can see in the pictures that his black skin has a layer of grey added to highlight some of the muscles. At the time it was really revolutionary as before that I was all about basecoats, washes and dry-brushing. He was also one of the first models that I actually based properly as well, as it was still the days when a coat of plain old Goblin Green was in style.
 
I still like the colour choices though, especially when you look at the old "Orion King in the Woods" models. I did a few treemen at the time that pushed the boat out too. Ironically though, they never really saw any action again after they were painted as it was in a time between when I was playing Fantasy as a kid and when I picked up 40k as a student at uni.

 
Looking back at this old model makes me want to slap him on a round base and head down to my local games store to challenge some kids to a game of AoS. They might even be impressed with my old style mad skills (or just horrified that he weighs so much - good old white metal!)
 
P.S. Does anyone else remember when White Metal came out and there were those "Now in White Metal" signs on all the boxes. I'll be honest, it was a better material than finecast by a long way! (notice how straight Orion's spear thing is!). If you remember that, you might even remember the original tutorial on how to pin a miniature from the Battle Book in the old Fantasy box set that used this very same model!

Friday, 21 July 2017

Bungo the Barbarian, Chapter 19 - The Windy City




Turdmundaz was a castle-city like no other. In form, it resembled a colossal termite hive. Its spires soared high into the clouds; coiling away and back upon themselves into one massive tangled structure formed of a strange resinous secretion of its stygian inhabitants. It was said that on a warm day, the fetid stench that emanated from the towering dung-heap could reach to over 50 leagues away, and that was probably a conservative estimate. In fact, close proximity had been known to cause potentially fatal spontaneous nasal combustion is all but the hardiest of races.

 

Buttfuldore was surveying the sea from his lofty perch among the summit peaks of Turdmundaz. He enjoyed the view on balmy days when the warm salty breeze would add a certain delicate spice to the excreta. His normal lazy demeanour was broken when he saw a glint amongst the waves below.

 

“A ship?” His shrill cry cut the stagnant air like a knife.

 

Buttfuldore excitedly hurried over to the alarm trumpet. Pressing the sound piece between his cheeks; his buttocks erupted noisily down the tumorous instrument, eliciting a booming sound that reverberated and spattered through the catacombs below.

 

Running back to the window, he grabbed a spy glass and peered hungrily at the vessel below. The ship looked to be stricken; easy prey for the butt-goblin hordes. More odd than that, was that even from the lofty height he was viewing from, he could make out a large muscled figure on the prow of the ship, who appeared to be practicing some kind of martial arts movements with great speed and skill.

 

Buttfuldore’s excitement stuck in his sphincter like a half digested Hero Sausage.
 
“By the grace of the sewage lord… it couldn’t be…”
 

 

“Such a foul smell!” Bungo’s manly exclamation woke the whole ship as he bounded headlong from the cabin and landed firmly on deck.

 

“We must be surrounded by invisible enemies! Really stinky enemies!” Bungo delivered a brutal kick to nothing in particular, before back flipping across the ruined main sail and chopping the air with a grunt of exertion.

 

“Invisible butt-balls of Inferocropolis feel my wrath!” Bungo swirled his arms like a tornado; ducking and diving across the floor in a storm of roiling muscle.

 

“I’ll teach you to befoul the air around Donglore, Lord of the Underworld”. With this exclamation, Bungo appeared to deliver the coup d’grace, and he set to stomping his invisible adversaries with a rapid series of heavy boots.

 

By this point, the Excelsior’s crew had gathered in dumfounded silence; watching the bizarre spectacle unfold. It wasn’t until a large harpoon lanced through the deck that their attention was adverted from the delusional demi-god.

 

Sallica spun towards the new threat groggily; just in time to see a swarm of small shanty-ships speeding towards them. Like a shoal of hungry sharks, their filthy hulls were encircling the Excelsior. She could clearly see the profile of large harpoon guns mounted on the prows of several of the hulks.

 

Shallica barely had time to take cover as the sky blackened with a fresh barrage of harpoons. The oversized arrows sped through the air like hungry dragons in flight; before mercilessly slamming into the stricken Excelsior.

 

Seemingly oblivious to the assault, Bungo was standing his ground defiantly with his hands on his hips. He was just in the middle of gyrating his hips and slapping his crotch mockingly, when one of the spears found its mark. Like a thunderbolt from heaven, the oversized projectile pinged off of his chamber-pot helm and clattered to the ground. A moment later, the mighty Helmet of Donglore followed it; revealing a fierce case of helmet hair that Bungo had apparently been suffering with. He swayed unsteadily; staggering back towards the guard rail before toppling from the ship. He plunged into the murky depths moments later; swallowed into the filthy seas.

 

Without a word, Shallica followed after the stricken hero; diving wildly from the back of the ship. As she disappeared beneath the waves, she caught a final glimpse of the floundering Excelsior being boarded by swarms of dark goblinoid figures.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Chaos Lord with Daemon Weapon Part II

Well, this was a post that was a long time in the making. I published the first images of this guy literally years ago, during my last Chaos kick. The mini was then left unfinished as I went onto other projects.



Over the weekend, I finally completed the rest of the conversion work and the greenstuff. I really love the way that the mini has come out, and I hope that when Chaos get a full codex, they'll put the rules for Daemon Weapons back in! For the moment he might have to slug things out with his chain-fist, that I had originally added just for coolness.





As far as the build is concerned, he is mostly one of the Forgeworld Word Bearers Blade Slaves. I took the base model and combined it with some parts from my bits box, as well as the Slaanesh head from a Chaos Warrior Chariot, which I purchased online. I finished him off by blending in some of the converted bits with a little greenstuff work, and I'm happy with the way his mask/helmet came out with it being pulled away from his face.

Needless to day, he is destined to join my Emperor's Children in battle, so he'll be getting the purple and gold treatment as soon as I can get a few more models finished and ready for undercoat (with all of these projects on the go, it seems wasteful to paint just one at a time, but it will take me a bit longer to get the rest of the conversions ready!)


Well, that rounds out another Week of Chaos! Check back later to see if I can get some more painting done next time!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Converted Slaanesh Obliterator

Continuing onwards, I picked up a Lord of Contagion from the Dark Imperium box.

It is a really nice model, but I don't play Nurgle. A bit of a conundrum really, as I sure do like nice minis. Luckily, the dark gods of conversion have always favoured me, and I once again beseeched them for some evil gifts of naughty knowledge.



Miniature wise, there was one part of the figure that just had to go if I was to un-Nurgle the thing; his massive bile belly. It was a painstaking procedure, but I cut away the stomach area and then swapped it out directly with some of the abs from a Kairic Acolyte. It was harder than that sentence made it sound. I then had to build up and reconnect his legs. From there it was a lot of fun, as all I had to do was choose some weapons and his head and well as the other details. Interestingly, I had a Horus Heresy Rotor Cannon to spare, and it seemed to fit pretty well. Part of the fun of Obliterators is that there are no real rules about what they have to have, so you can go a bit crazy with the armament.

Scale wise, he turned out pretty big too; at about twice the height of a guardsman and a good deal larger than a regular Terminator. He is mounted on a 50mm base.




Now all I need to do is build 2 more to make a unit...

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Slaanesh Female Raptor Squad



Keeping the Chaos posts going, I'm sharing this rather buxom unit today. I picked these up just over a year ago at Salute 2016 from a lesser known manufacturer; Prodos Games. If you've heard the name before, it is probably in relation to their highly successful AvP table-top game. These models are part of a game called "Space Crusaders" that they released a little while ago, and a unit of 5 of them is a reasonable £20. A pretty decent price for such well-sculpted resin miniatures.





I'll probably do a full review in the future when I get more of them painted up, and a chance to take some more interesting pictures. That said, one of the things that I really like about them is the variety of poses. They're nice and dynamic.

I had originally planned to paint them up differently from my Emperor's Children as a separate force of Daemons, but why have two smaller forces when you could have one massive one with tons of options? Tough decision.

I've really enjoyed painting them so far too. The little skulls and bone details are great, and I've been using the same style on their skin as  I did with my Daemonettes which has worked out well. The details on their faces are also really cool, and I've been very impressed with how their expressions have come to life as I've worked on them. I've said it before, but when you're painting female faces, it's really important to keep the highlight fairly smooth and not too harsh, otherwise they look all craggy (which works great on rugged marines, but looks terrible on women). Just something to keep in mind if you're thinking about picking up a box of them.



So much gold filigree to paint....




Style wise, they might not be everyone's cup of tea, as lets be honest, that armour ain't covering much, or protecting from much either! I like them though, as part of the fun of Slaanesh is always keeping it bodacious and ostentatious!

I've finished 2 of them so far, with another two most of the way there. I'd love to get the squad done, so wish me luck on the last leg of the journey.

More Chaos again tomorrow, keeping the conversions coming...


 

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Converting Dark Imperium Plague Marines

Nurgle seems to be getting some love these days, but what about everyone else? If there's one thing that a decade of collecting Chaos has taught me, it's that if you sit back and wait for nice new models to come out for your faction, you might be waiting a while.

With that in mind, I picked up some of the new Plague Marines on eBay (from Troll Trader). For those who don't know, I have a very themed force of Emperor's Children, with only Slaanesh units. Needless to say, I wasn't interested in using them as Plague Marines, but mostly in putting together a new unit of standard Chaos Space Marines that would be cooler than the ones that you buy off the shelf.



There were a few things that worked in my favour; namely that there are some similarities in the Nurgle and Slaanesh aesthetic. Mostly in the form of gribbly tentacles, and a few bells doesn't hurt on your Slaanesh either (although you have to be a bit careful). The main part that obviously had to be changed was the Nurgle icons and a few of the puss-ier details. The other obvious choice was to change their heads to some more standard Chaosy ones. Handily, eBay has a wide selection of bits up for grabs, and I picked up some Raptor and Warp Talon Helms, which are excellent parts to use in Chaos conversions like these. I also had a few parts from one of the Silver Tower kits (Karric Acolytes?) in my bits box, and they were also a good source of parts.

The other thing that concerned me was the scale. I'd seen some pictures of the plague marines that made them look pretty big compared to regular marines. It was a relief when they turned up, and they were almost exactly the same scale as the Dark Vengeance Chosen minis, as I knew that they would work with what I had.

With the talking part done, here are some pictures of the miniatures that I've come up with so far. In the end, I had to swap out a few shoulder pads and bits too, as well as combat weapons. I still need to greenstuff them, but I think that the squad is looking great. They're really nice minis to work with and handily, they weren't too difficult to convert if you're willing to put in a bit of extra time and effort.




The Lascannon guy is still in need of quite a bit of work, but he looks pretty badass so far, so I'm looking forward to adding the finishing touches to him.

Well, that rounds out day 2. I've got more painting on the table next, so check back tomorrow to see what I've been working on.


Monday, 10 July 2017

Chaos Posts All Week - the 2nd Wave

About a month ago, I ran a week featuring some of my old chaos conversions; with fresh miniatures every day. It made sense at the time, as with 8th almost out, everyone including myself was locked into a bit of a hobby holding pattern of sorts that didn't seem to be going anywhere fast.

With the new edition out, I've been on a building and painting spree. Just for fun, I thought it would be cool to do a second week of posts, but this time to feature new miniatures every day. I've got plenty of great new conversions to share with you all, as well as some new painted miniatures, and all manner of delights.



With that announcement out of the way, welcome to the first day of my new Chaos Posts. I recently finally finished this Aspiring Champion. The model is slightly converted, as I swapped his Power Axe out for a raptor Chainsword. It's a great model though, and will look extra great standing out the front of the unit in this edition! ( I was never much of a fan of those realistic casualty rules as it was just a bit convoluted and involved). He is pictured with my converted shirtless marine and a chosen with a beaky head swap. Let it never be said that I don't have an eclectic collection!



I've been hard at work converting the rest of his squad and getting them ready for some paint, so check back tomorrow to see what I managed with a set of the new Plague Marines and a whole lot of elbow grease!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

GK Contest 2017 - I'm the Winner! (2nd place, figure category)



I woke up to some exciting news today. While I was asleep last night, it seems that I was also busy being judged for my painting abilities somewhere in China.

To cut a long story short, my figure placed second in the main figure category (narrowly squeezing past hundreds of other entries). The best part? probably the $200 prize, although really just finally getting a win somewhere was well worth it, after a few dismal showings at Salute!

I'll add a link to the main gallery http://www.e2046.com/contest/2017/, which now features all of the winners at the top. The first place position in my category was well deserved, and I don't even want to know how many hours they spent on that massive dragon and all the figures and bits.

In other news I have plenty of 40k stuff coming up soon. I'm planning to run another full week of Chaos posts next week showcasing all of the things that I've been working on since 8th Edition came out, so stay tuned for that one.

Cheers

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?