Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Steel Legion Infantry Squad Finished


I just finished this squad for my fledgling Steel Legion force. I've been playing with the camera again too to get some dramatic and dynamic photos. I've also taken some stock shots on a black background so you can get a clearer look at them. The black seems to make the yellow of the jackets look a bit too strong. I did want them to be a bit more vibrant than usual though so they would stand out on the battlefield.

This has been quite a fast scheme to paint, and I estimate that they've taken me about an hour each. I've tried to keep the scheme fast because I'll need to paint a lot of models to get to the end of the army, and it is a force that I'm intending to use for games, so speed was an important consideration.


I remember the Third War for Armageddon Campaign that was fought in White Dwarf and all the battle reports from the time, as well as the global campaign that was fought. It has directly led to this project, as it gave me a real love for Steel Legion and there's just something awesome about how nostalgic it all feels. I've used Death Korps models, as they are a bigger range and nicer than the older (and now a little dated) Steel Legion models, but I still want to keep as much of the original feel as possible. For this reason, I'm planning to use a lot of the older units on the field, and plenty of things that were in Epic, and I have the same nostalgic feeling about. For that reason, I've started working on a Basilisk and a Colossus to back these boys up.








I also painted up a unit from Anvil Industry's Regiments range for them; giving me a total of 20 painted Infantry and the Deathstrike. Not a bad start, but I'll need at least 40 men to really get them going, and I need to finish some other vehicles as the Deathstrike is a bit lacklustre rules-wise at the moment, so it'll need some backup to get the job done!

I actually painted these 10 men in the space of a single weekend, so here's hoping I can keep up this level of enthusiasm.



Monday, 11 June 2018

Anvil Industry, Heavy Weapons Review



I'm back with a fresh review for another excellent Anvil product.

This time, I'm looking at the modular Heavy Weapons sets. These sets are 28mm scale and are compatible with the full Regiments and Trench Fighters ranges. Like other Anvil products, they're scaled to fit any of the major 28mm scale companies, so they'd be right at home being manned by a few Cadians, or any other GW forces. You could probably make some great Ork Big Gunz with them too, with a few Gretchin crew to man them.

These miniatures were supplied by Anvil Industry free of charge in exchange for the review, and they even let me pick the parts this time. I wanted to use them in my Traitor Guard force when they were finished, so I picked a selection of cool bits. For some reason, I was really drawn to the idea of having some Mortar teams, so here's hoping they'll be reasonable on the field!



I also got some man portable RPG launchers, as I wanted to show both the larger set weapons and the smaller man portable types. Handily, I also have a Steel Legion force that I've been working on, so I put together a rather nice rocket team so I could show them in a different style. These weapons can be mounted as simple two man teams, or combined on a larger base to make a more dramatic display like mine, which I've based to match the ruined industrial look of the rest of the force.

Review - The Basics

Material

Like all of Anvils products these parts are made of resin. The resin is very clean and has incredibly fine detail. I always say it, but the crisp details are second to none, and really put a lot of other manufacturers to shame. Personally, I'm often a bit dubious of resin miniatures as they can be a really mixed bag, but as before, Anvil delivers a quality that most other companies can only aspire to. These parts were supplied for the review, but I've bought from them myself in separate orders and the quality is always excellent. I know a lot of other happy customers of theirs too, and I've never heard a bad thing about them.

Want to know how they'd look in a fully painted infantry squad? I've got you covered!


Casting

As with all of the Anvil products I've seen the casting is flawless. I didn't have a single fudged detail or imperfection in 3 complete heavy weapons teams or any of the Regiments squads that I've ordered from them before. There aren't a lot of mould lines either and the parts are very easy to clean up; with most just needing to be clipped off of the sprue and glued together.

Fitting

Everything fits well, and I didn't have anything that was bent or needed to be reheated and bent to fit. It you're not familiar with resin, this can sometimes be a problem, even with big manufacturers like Forgeworld. The upside is that it is usually fairly easy to fix by submerging parts in very hot water for a few seconds and then bending them back where they are supposed to be. I've never seen it with Anvil products, but it is worth knowing for future reference.

The joints don't need a lot of gap fill either; only if you're converting, and getting a good pose for your miniatures is easy to achieve.

The teams themselves come with two bases as standard; with a larger one for the weapon and a separate crewman. It is quite good if you need to count the number of wounds remaining or anything, as you can remove the additional man from the field! They also have the option for a 60mm base that will fit both models, so the choice is yours.



Heavy Weapons
With the basics out of the way, lets take a closer look at the actual Heavy Weapons.

The sets are modular in that they come with a choice of weapon and a choice of stand/mount.  Currently there are several options for both, and I'll include a few stock photos below to give you a overview of some of the range. You can also get optional extras like ballistic shields as well as items for the crew.

Notice the different tracked units and bases available for the weapons too. This Phase Cannon looks pretty intimidating!



For my part, I chose to go with some rather nice mortars and tracked units. I have a sort of traitor tech guard force, so I wanted them to match the look I had on my other units. The tracked bits are really cool, and the detail on the small inner wheels are really crisp.

I haven't finished painting them all yet, but this shot should give you a decent idea of what a squad of these could look like.

For the rocket launcher team, I built a scenic base with a bit of wall for them to hide behind. I had a bit of a play with the parts that I got to make them look like they were on the move and receiving orders or something. You can made a variety of poses with the parts offered in the set; including aiming and firing poses. They combine quite well with the crouching legs as well to really make that classic shooting pose for a shoulder mounted weapon.

For those interested in the exact bits on show in this review, here's the list of everything I received:

Regiments Custom Heavy Weapons Squad (6 Figures)
  - Regiments Head Style: Stahlhelm Gasmask
  - Regiments Torso Style: Gothic Void Torso
  - Regiments Legs: Long Greatcoat
  - Regiments Leg posing: 2x Kneeling, 1x Sitting
  - Regiments Arms: Fatigues
  - Regiments Infantry Weapon: Tesla Disintegrator
  - Regiments Shoulder Pads (optional): Double Curve
  - Regiments Heavy Weapon: Mortar
  - Regiments Gun Mount: Tractor
  - Optional Gun Shield: Tech

  - Regiments Arms: Fatigues
  - RPG Launchers (three launchers with arms)
As with the other sets that Anvil make, the pieces have a huge amount of customisability; with a number of different torsos, legs, arms and heads on offer. Combined in with the heavy weapon teams, you really can make almost anything you can dream up. They've even done a range of dress uniforms and Private Military Contractor style parts lately, so the range is bigger than ever. A quick search on the internet, and you'll be able to pull up plenty of images of some of the other looks you can create, or even better, you can go to their online store and have a dig through the parts on offer.



Conclusion:

I've said it before, but you really can't beat Anvil in terms of resin quality and casting. After that, it only really comes down to style choices and preferences. Handily, They've got you covered there with a huge range of parts available in all kinds of styles that allow you to create an infantry regiment of almost any type you can imagine. The heavy weapons are just another facet in this great range, and Anvil offer enough bits for you to really go to town and build something cool and unique. For me, a great bonus is the ease of build. Resin can be hard to work with, and the idea of putting together a whole platoon from some sellers would be more than a little daunting, but with Anvil it really is easy; with no more time needed than putting together a unit of plastic figures.


For most people, these kits are going to go straight into an Imperial Guard/Astra Militarum force, and this is where the heavy weapons kits can really shine. There are enough parts on offer to match all of the older regiments; like Mordian Iron Guard, Catachan, Valhalla, Pratorian, Tallarns or my own Steel Legion. This is really great, as it offers you a chance to get modern quality parts for your force that may never have been made, or be very scarce now when the original models were released back in the 90s. Equally, they're suitable for a range of conversions, and would be right at home in a range of other games and systems that use a 28mm scale. That's before you start considering things like Scions or Veteran Squads, which are perfect excuses to pick up some Anvil parts.

I guess the biggest endorsement I can give them is that I'm planning on ordering some more parts soon, so I can build another unit of men, and another rocket team!

If you're interested in getting some bits for yourself, I'll add a link to their website:

https://anvilindustry.co.uk/





Friday, 1 June 2018

E2046 GK Competition 2018 - Anime Figure Complete!

With about a month to go till the big competition, I decided it was time to defend my second place title from last year's event. It turned into a bit of a rush a week or two before the deadline (which passed yesterday), but I made it in the end. Here are the final results:




If you missed my efforts last year, you're looking at the Champ! The best man here, the best man there, and the best man anywhere.... well that sure is the plan for this year anyway. I actually took second place last year, and I figure I have to at least turn out for this year's event.

So yeah, rewind a year, and I was entering the E2046 GK competition for the first time. They're a Chinese company that make resin "Garage Kits", which is basically code for resin anime girls you build and paint. There are also robots and stuff too. I got the second place prize with my Rage of Bahamut figure that I painted in an uncharacteristically marble effect based weathered style that I think won me a lot of interest as it is very different from the style that most of the figures are usually painted in.


Last year's entry. She is a big figure at about 8" tall.


I wanted to do something equally interesting and different this year, so I opted to base my scheme around the idea of creating a strong OSL look from two light sources (OSL is Object Source Lighting, and basically means replicating the look of a light source hitting a model using paint).

Handily, I have quite a few of these figures to chose from. I had bought a few when I first entered, and the number is now out of control, as the win bought me $250 worth of the resin ladies in store credit. Yes, I have a few spare now to work on...

I have to admit that I wasn't sure what to do until I got the idea fro the OSL. Handily, I had another figure from the same series as last year's entry that was really cool and would be perfect for the job. Getting these models ready for paint is half the battle, but I cleaned her up and built her into sub-assemblies. This is something you always have to do. A lot of people work on all the parts individually and then glue them all together at the end, but I prefer to get them into about half a dozen chunks. I normally divide them up this way based entirely on what I want to airbrush and what I think will make it easy. Never build them fully and then paint them thought as they're very big and delicate and you'd just never be able to reach to get the details.

Anyway, for the first two parts, I painted the base and the legs. I put a pin though the bottom of the foot to hold the model together and it's nice and strong now. Basically what I was going for is for it to look like the crystals are glowing, and I think it has come out well. I've tried to keep most of the model quite dark so the effects will really jump out, but this is new ground for me.

The basic technique was that I assembled the model completely using pins. I then undercoated it in black and then went in with white on the airbrush and highlighted just where the lights would be. Then, when I disassembled the model for painting I had a guide of the rough area where I wanted the lighting effects to be... in theory.

The basic areas where the light would be hitting were defined early on with the undercoat.


After the legs, I worked on the torso, head, hair, arms and wings in that rough order. The whole time, I tried to keep the highlights going in one direction; straight towards that orb. To complicate matters, I ended up doing the yellow gold parts Non Metallic style as it gave me better control of the reflections and the lighting effects.

I've done some glow effects and things like that before, but these were just after-effects added onto a model that I had painted as usual. For this figure, I angled all of the highlighting on every piece specifically to crate the lighting effect, so for example the handle of the sword is a much darker colour than some of the other gold details as it would be less illuminated by the light from the orb.

Overall, I'm happy with how she came out. It was new ground for me, and there are a few things I will try to improve on when I try this technique again later. One thing that is really important is actually the background (literally the backdrop behind her) as if it isn't black the effect doesn't come across as well as other light sources tend to interfere. It's worth bearing in mind if you're planning a diorama or something.

No camera trickery, I just painted a blend all the way from black to light grey across her body! (thank God for airbrushes!)

Anyway, wish me luck for the competition. We'll see if I get de-throned this year or if I'll be taking another title home in a few weeks once the judging is completed!

Monday, 28 May 2018

How to Paint Steel Legion Tanks (Astra Militarum Painting/Weathering Guide)





Today, I'm presenting my step-by-step guide to painting a Steel Legion tank (a Deathstrike missile). I created this scheme for a new army I'm working on and I've kept it as succinct as possible. There are a lot of layers in here, but I've maximised the impact to time spent ratio to create a scheme that packs a punch fast. I have used an airbrush, but all of this could be done with a brush, it would just take more time. Speaking of time, the total painting time from start to finish for this tank was only 4 hours and 30 minutes. I've spent longer than that on single infantrymen for some armies! 

Even if you're not interested in painting steel legion, it'll probably still be an interesting article, as I'm going to really hammer through a lot of techniques that you may have never used before. With that out of the way, let's get started.


1) I gave the whole model a basecoat with Vllejo German Grey using the airbrush. It covers well, but some placed needed 2 coats to really get it good. I should mention that I started first with a Chaos Black undercoat to make sure that the paint would adhere.

 2) I applied a highlight to the whole model with the airbrush focussing on the upper areas. For this stage, I used a 50/50 mix of German Grey and Dark Sea Grey (which despite the name looks a lot like codex grey).
 3) A final highlight was applied using pure Dark Sea Grey. I was quite sparing with this paint as it is quite light (despite the misleading name).
 4) Time for some cammo. It looks a bit green at first, but don't worry we're just using this mix as a basecoat. Speaking of the mix, I used a 50/50 mix of Orange Brown and Scrofulous Brown for this stage. These are still all Vallejo paints applied with the airbrush.
 5) Looking a lot better after this one. I applied a highlight of Ice Yellow (A paint that looks suspiciously like bleached bone) to the cammo stripes; basically covering the first layer I had put down except for the very edges. It looks almost battle ready (Did someone just say Tabletop Standard, as this would definitely do).
 6) This stage is optional, and if you don't want Retro stripes on your tank then skip to stage 10. I used Tamiya masking tape to mask off an area on the front of the tank. I only really trust the Tamiya stuff not to take the paint off when you peel it off later.
 7) I applied a few coats of Scarlet Blood towards the front of the tank using the masking tape as a barrier. When it was completely dry, I peeled the tape off (no damage, thank god).
 8) In order to create more stripes, I waited for the paint to dry completely before applying another strip of masking tape; this time closer to the front of the tank. I also used some plastic wrap to mask the missile off for painting.
 9) I applied a few coats of Dead White to the front of the tank to create a white stripe. I then peeled off the tape and admired my handiwork. I also used this  stage to paint the missile in white.
 10) With the basic colours down, I decided that it was time to add some weathering to the tank. For this, I used a mix of 50/50 Cavalry Brown and Black. I applied this to the lower areas of the hull around the tracks. I was fairly sparing with this colour, as I will be weathering more later on.
 11) I also used my mix from stage 10 to make some mud splashes. For this, I just dipped my paint brush in the colour, wiped of the excess and then held it up about 3 inches away from the model. Then I used the airbrush to blast my paintbrush with air; dislodgeing the paint from the bristles and spattering my tank's hull for a good dirty look. If you're going to try this, test it a few times first to make sure you don't just drown your tank with brown when you pull the trigger, as results vary a lot if you try it with too much paint on the brush!
 12) Probably my favourite part is the final step with the airbrush. I used pure black to go in and shade the brown weathering that I had put on. I also shaded some of the panels. I was vary sparing in this stage, as you just want to make the thing look worn and sooty, but not actually black.

I've added two pictures below that show how things are going so far. At this point, I was only an hour and a half into the tank and things were really looking good. It would be even faster without the red and white stripes as that stage took about 20 minutes.

A closer shot of the side, so you can get an idea of how the weathering has gone. Interestingly, pure black works great for blending the white and red into the hull adds a lot of depth to them.
 13) With the airbrushing stage out of the way, I took my tank indoors to work on the bodywork. The first port of call was to add definition to the panels. For this, I applied a directed wash using Agrax Earthshade. Essentially this meant that I used a small brush wash round all the rivets, and down the panel lines of the tank. It's important not to just wash the whole tank or it will ruin all of the careful. If you want to see this stage in more detail, Warhammer TV did a video tutorial of a more basic Steel Legion scheme that has this exact same stage (see this video at about 1.10 to see how this is done: Warhammer TV Steel Legion Tank Tutorial).

After that, I used a really big square ended brush that was about 1 inch across to very lightly drybrush Ice Yellow over the top of the whole tank (except for that white missile). This picked up the very edges of the armour plates and the rivets and brought the whole look together.
For painting tanks, I like my brush the way I like my like my Martinis; dry … and almost unnecessarily large.

You can see the impact the Agrax wash has had from all of those rivets. I've added some little grease trails here and there to them to give the impression of age. It's got the patina!
14) To finish the hull off, I went to another painting technique. I used some German Grey on a dry sponge to add some paint chipping and weathering to the edges. I then followed this up doing the same thing with Leadbelcher. I have to admit that I don't usually watch painting videos, but I did some research planning this scheme out and I lifted this technique directly from Warhammer TV as well. As it's already been described in great detail in their video, I'll add a like. The part you want is at about 3 minutes in. Link to Weathering Video.



15) With all of that work out of the way, I finally entered the end game for this model. By this point about 2 and a quarter hours had elapsed. So time wise, I was about half way there. The next steps would be a bit more long winded and finnicky as there really is no way to cut down on the hard work after a certain point and you just have to stick with it. I didn't continue taking pictures of every step as all the next steps are quite basic and just the same kind of things you'd do to paint an ordinary infantryman. I am going to list the methods and colours that I used though, as I'll want to know when I come back to paint another tank for the army (hopefully a basilisk will be coming up next!). Ok, so the remaining colours go something like this:

  • Silver areas (including Tracks): Basecoat Leadbelcher, wash with Dryad Bark, Highlight with Army Painter Plate Mail Metal, wash with Nuln Oil.
  • White Areas (Banners): Basecoat Rakarth Flesh, Highlight 50/50 Rakarth Flesh and White, Wash with Agrax Earthshade, Highlight with White.
  • Blue Areas (Lenses): Basecoat Dark Prussian Blue, Highlight successively with White. Gloss Varnish lenses when complete.
  • Black Areas (Gun Bodies): Basecoat with Abaddon Black. Edge Highlight with Dark Sea Grey.
16) With all of the colours down and ready to go, the last stage was to apply the decals and add a final light stippled weathering with Dryad Bark just to blend in the transfers a bit and to unify anything that it looking just a little bit too clean.

The weathering as it appears on the finished model.





Well, that's it. The tank is complete. I hope somebody actually bothers to read to the end of this article! Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions or if you want to know anything about the painting methods that I've used. 

If you found this article interesting, don't forget to follow the blog or check back later to see how the rest of the Steel Legion come out. I might even write out a tutorial for the infantry!

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Stormcast Eternals - Weathered Marble Paint Scheme


So far, I'm really happy with how this scheme is coming out. I posted some pictures earlier, a week or so ago that were taken on my phone (so much lower quality). I've finished another model from the Vanguard Hunters unit as well, so hopefully, these should give a much better impression of where things are going.



I saw that a new edition of Age of Sigmar is coming out soon (they teased some info at Warhammer Fest over the weekend). I don't actually play Age of Sigmar, and I started this force just as a fun project, but I'll be interested to see where they take the game. I did play one or two games when the game was first released a few years ago, but I found the rules a bit oversimplified for my tastes. I'd really like to see it settle somewhere similar to the most recent edition of 40k; not too complex, but with a strength/toughness system added in to give it a bit more tactical depth. I'm sure it has been refined as a game since the original release, but If I had a wishlist of things to be added, that'd be number one.

The "army" so far. The new model is the Champion for the unit with the bare head. Also a Gryph Hound!
 My progress on the force has been somewhat stunted by the fact that I've been working on something for the anime figure competition again at E2046. I had planned out a series of work in progress posts to do about it, but the deadline for entry is the end of the month, and I'm doing all I can just to get her finished. Hopefully, I'll be posting the finished figure here soon!

Also stay tuned for more eternals once that's out of the way.