Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sons of Horus Reaver Attack Squad

Horus for hope! Reaver squad for the XVI Legion

More painting from the lake, a group that I was very pleased to finally get under the paintbrush! This is a squad of Reavers from the XVI Legion, elite troops from the Sons of Horus.These figures were a Christmas present from Dallas...from some time ago...they have been primed and ready to go for over a year, but have waited in line throughout the various tics and flights of fancy which affect my painting direction.  As I departed for the cabin this summer, I vowed that this would finally be the year where I would get them done...

Hand flamer, useful for cooking those who deny the power of the Warmaster!

In 30k each Space Marine Legion has some fancy, specialized troops meant to represent their unique "character", their dispositional traits which set them apart among the 18 Legions and show their genetic ties to their founding Primarch lord.  The notions of Legion "character" make me chuckle, as they often end up similar despite the best efforts of the writers at Forge World. But it is kind of funny in the case of the XVI Legion, as their Primarch, Horus the Warmaster, comes across as a smooth-operating diplomat and thinker as much as he does a heroic warrior.  Yet the disposition of the XVI Legion, the Marines who bear his traits and are functionally his "sons" is rather different - brooding, bitter, short-fused and aggressive. They are basically Space Marine versions of the character "D-FENS" portrayed by Michael Douglas in the 1993 movie "Falling Down".

How about a hug for Horus? Reaver Chieftain ready to lead the squad.
These Reaver sculpts portray that side of the XVI Legion well! They are quite...pointy...sort of ominous.  The figures are equipped for short range work, sporting pistols, grenades, a hand flamer and an assortment of mean-looking axes. The leader has a power fist for the sort of punch-you-in-the-face work that often comes up in the 30k setting. I'm kinda worried about the longevity of those axes...resin is a terrible material for weapons like that on a wargame table...

Nice iconography on many of the figures, add to their specialized aura
Grenades and packs of extra ammo add to the rough, pointy-edge look of these troops
Like other infantry units in 30k, Reaver Squads can actually be a healthy size, up to 15 models strong. And while the kits come equipped with pistols and close combat weapons, the rules allow for a startling assortment of weapons to be equipped.  They can also take jump packs! How fun would that be?  Might be something to explore as I continue to collect 30k forces...

I painted the shoulder pauldrons red and gold to help them stand out more, and give them a bit of a look of elite status

For now this small band of five angry Legionnaires will take their place among my XVI Legion chaps and look to chip in here and there for various close action roles.  As newly painted figures I'm sure they will cover themselves in glory for the Warmaster at their first opportunity on the table!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Alpha Legion Command Elements

Alpharius' sons gather near Lake Superior...
Painting at the lake has been a little slower this year than last, as the summer distractions at the cabin have been getting the better of me - a nice "problem" to have.  Nonetheless, a few figures have been completed or, as in this particular case, mostly completed.

The "bling" checklist is filled in full by this commander. Cape? Check. Fancy pistol? Check. Silly sword? Check. Couple of parchment seals to certify general awesomeness? Check.

This is an assortment of command figures for the XX Legion forces.  There is a standard bearer, two body guards, an apothecary and a champion-type figure which I can use either as a Centurion or as one of the many different variants for "consuls", like a Legion Champion, Delegatus, Herald etc.

Better view of the gear on the apothecary, ready to provide top-notch "medical care" for fallen battle brothers...

Standard bearers are silly anachronisms for the gun, tank and artillery-filled battlefields of the 31st millennium, but I just love to have these crazy things for my Space Marine Legions.  In particular, I felt the senior commander I had painted for my Alpha Legion forces seemed like the sort of fellow who would have a standard following him around as he traveled about the war zone in style.

In the 30k lists the standard bearers are always accompanied by two "chosen" Legion Marines, presumably to protect the bearer on the battlefield etc.  You can give them spiffy guns, so I dug into the bits box and gave each of them a combi-weapon, basically a bolt gun with an added one-shot special weapon.  I think one of them has a plasma gun, and the other is a flamer - those will provide a nice extra jolt to anyone who gets too close to the standard carrier.

It's the Alpha Legion! We have a banner in case you forget!

These figures are a blend of plastic Mark IV kits, the plastic Space Marine Command Squad from the current 40k range (which will be cancelled as soon as GW finishes rolling out those appalling Primaris Marines) and Alpha Legion upgrade bits from Forge World.  I like that you can mix and match all the various plastic components and it was fun to put them together. I'm particularly fond of the upgrade bits for the Alphas, as the helmets are really quite cool, and many of them are "beakie" style.  I was sure to use "beakie" custom helmets for the officer - to match the pimped out cape, after all...

Another view of the apothecary and one of the "chosen"; I just love the specialist accent bits from Forge World, they add a ton of character to the figures, and are pretty addictive...at least on the apothecary and the standard bearer you can really see the customized chest plate.

These had been sitting primed for some time in my huge "pending pile", as I had sort of run out of momentum after finishing a big chunk of my initial Alpha Legion forces in the winter and spring.  It was fun, however, to finish these off and have them ready for a game this fall. 

I say these are "mostly" complete as I managed to forget a bunch of my Alpha Legion decals back in Winnipeg.  I applied the larger ones I had on hand, but the spots for the smaller ones will wait until I return to the prairies.  So for now you can see the gloss-coat base I have put under the decal areas (or areas intended for decals) and I will apply the matte varnish after I get back to Winnipeg and finish off the final few decals.

Just a few more decals and a coat of matte spray and these fellows will be ready for action!
This little assortment of troops will just about "round out" the infantry forces I have for my Alpha Legion collection - it works out to about 45 figures in all at this point. They now require some vehicles to help them get around. That is something I'll try to get to later this summer or into the fall.

Old Goulais Bay as seen from my kayak - Lake Superior was nice and calm that afternoon!

Up next are some more troops for the XVI Legion, the Warmaster's own! But in the meantime, as you can see above, more relaxation at the cabin too.  All the best from Northern Ontario

Friday, August 11, 2017

Battle of Hudson's Bay - 1697


Every year I spend one month in Winnipeg and I always look forward to it because it gives me a chance to play a few games with the Conscripts. Last Thursday, KevinH, DaveV and ByronM were kind enough to come to my suite downtown to push some sail ships miniatures.

I offered a choice of two scenarii: Battle of Cape Ortegal -1805, or Battle of Hudson’s Bay - 1697.  The guests chose the latter, which was fitting given that it’s Canada’s 150th birthday. The battle happened on September 5. A British squadron’s primary mission was to replenish Fort Nelson and to get out of the Bay as it was already late in the season. The Hampshire was a military vessel and her mission was to escort the merchantmen. The Dering and the Hudson’s Bay were merchant vessels property of the Hudson’s Bay Company. It could be assumed that it was difficult to repair a ship in the Hudson Bay and, in September, there is not much time left to get out of the bay before the sea freezes. The British merchant ships probably wanted to avoid any damage to make sure they could get out of the Bay before being caught in the icepack. On the French side, the Pélican was under the command or Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville, a warrior who led a very adventurous life. I encourage you to read his bio on wikipedia. A recreation of the battle was done by Radio-Canada (in French) back in 1967-68. I remember watching this show as a wee little kid and it might have sparked my interest for sail ships.

There is also a diorama displaying the four ships involved in the battle at the Royal Canadian Artillery Museum in Shilo. Unfortuntely, these cool ships can not be played with.





We had time to play the scenario twice and d’Iberville’s ship was sunk in both cases, proving that he was either an outstanding sailor or a lucky bastard. I would argue for the former.


The Pélican, coming strong on the British squadron. "Men, we'll bag those Brits before our second coffee of the morning." Alas, it was not to be. All models are from GHQ.


Here is a shot at sea level. Everything seems calm and quiet, but not for long...


The Pélican, in the upper right corner, shot by all the British ships in the same turn. Aouch!



Blub! Blub! Blub! D'Iberville probably would not survive having to swim to the shore in freezing water, while avoiding polar bears. All in all, it was fun to watch.

In any case, it was great to visit with the Conscripts again and I'm grateful to them for taking an evening to share my passion for sail ships.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Imperial Fists 1st Squad Done

Finally finished my first squad of Imperial Fists. It took me a while to figure out the best technique and color combo. The key was a final wash of Casandora Yellow. You can't tell from the photo, but they really don't look that bright a yellow...I don't think. The longest part of the process is layering the yriel yellow. Hopefully the next batch go quicker. The other pain is using the transfers instead of special shoulder pads. I had some dark moments where I though an emergency order to Forgeworld or their Chinese wholesaler ;) was needed. Luckily, after applying vast amounts of microset and microsol, they're mostly smooth. I may need to trim the next batch of transfers a bit closer.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Imperial Fists for Iannick

Defenders of the cabin! VII Legion Veteran Tactical Squad
There are some fantastic people out there in this hobby, and Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge has afforded me the opportunity to connect with a number of them over the years.  Iannick M is one such person. During this most recent edition of the Painting Challenge he provided me with a great deal of information, guidance and some figures for a project I have simmering in my vast "pending pile" - an Oldhammer project I hope to get started on more fulsomely in the fall.

Iannick was kind enough to send along a number of figures to help this project along, and agreed that we would figure out the payment later. Figures now, with consequences later - the wargamer's dream! To thank Iannick, I offered to paint him some figures if he liked.  He thought it over, and we settled on a squad of 28mm Horus Heresy-era Marines in Mark IV armour.  He gave me a choice between four different loyalist legions - the Blood Angels, the White Scars, the Salamanders and the Imperial Fists.  He asked that I make a choice, but he wanted to be surprised - sounded like fun to me!

Veteran Sergeant ready for battle

I used the new "urban" bases from GW as an experiment - they were kind of neat, I might try this out with some of my own figures.

So here are the figures that I painted for Iannick. As you can see, they are from the VII Legion, the Imperial Fists.

There were a few reasons I chose this Legion from the options Iannick requested.  The Imperial Fists are one of the coolest Legions (you know, for loyalists). Where the Ultramarines run around getting trapped and ambushed and dreaming up committees and flat tax proposals, the Imperial Fists do real fighting, get real results, and don't need daily affirmation. Story-wise, they were present for the Siege of Terra, which to my mind is THE penultimate setting for 30k.

Love the custom helmets Forge World did for the VII Legion

Holstered bolt pistols on the right hips, backup weapons for close action.
Plus, that yellow looks really cool! I have painted many Imperial Fists for my Epic 30k forces, but the few 28mm test models I have attempted over the years were less-than-inspiring. As such, I went elsewhere to try some loyalists, opting for Raven Guard.  But Iannick's little challenge got me wondering if just one more attempt might find success, so I went for the Imperial Fists to see if I could pull off the yellow without using witchcraft (i.e. white base coats or airbrushes). The VII Legion it would be...

The "shark fin" missile launcher - a brilliant touch from GW
A useful and flexible weapon, particularly in the 8th edition of the rules
This is a 10-man Veteran Tactical Squad with a missile launcher and melta gun.  The Sergeant has a plasma pistol and lightning claws.  The figures are plastic multi part plastic from GW Mark IV Space Marine kits, but the squad has some enhancements from Forge World, namely custom shoulder pauldrons and heads, and a fancy torso for the officer. I also tried out some new bases from GW - these are the "urban" bases.  I'm generally skeptical of "terrained" bases, but these look pretty sharp.  I might look to try these on some of my own figures. 

Melta gun to assist with "home cooking"...

A couple more of the regular veteran grunts.

I finished these fellows at our cabin near Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, and shipped them off last week. I was pleased with the results, but more importantly, Iannick likes them, which is what matters, so I'm glad it all worked out! 

VII Legion units mustering near Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior before boarding a drop pod that would take them further east...

Part of the fun of this for me is spreading the passion for Horus Heresy gaming to new folks (Byron might call this "corrupting" but I like to take a more optimistic angle).  Hopefully Iannick will tilt ever further down the slippery slope of 28mm Heresy gaming...right now he's at the "just a small force stage"...let's see how long that holds...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Some Random Painting Projects

It's been a while since I have posted, so I figured it was time to put up something.  Over the last few weeks I have been working away on a number of completely different painting projects in a couple of completely different styles.  Just trying to learn and improve on some of my painting skills.   Hope you like.


Kingdom Death Dung Beetle Knight


This was a piece I have wanted to paint for a long while but wasn't quiet sure how to go about it.  I wanted it to have an iridescent look like some insects have, but wasn't sure how to do it.  I decided to give the Forge World transparent airbrush paints a shot and am pretty happy with the results.
I painted the whole model silver, then clear coated it and did a pin wash with black oil paint to get all the crevasses black, then wiped up the model with white spirits so that there was no black outside the recesses and clear coated it again.  I then airbrushed on some clear green over the silver and then yellow at the highest points.  I then hit the wings with some purples and greens to give a shimmer to them. 



The "fur" type areas and everything else were done with my normal painting methods as this piece was just to play with that clear metallic look, which I think came out pretty well, especially in person.


Arena Rex Beast Master


This model is another great Arena Rex figure that has so much character.  Not really much new tried here other than some blending to get the transition on the hyena right.  I had a lot of fun with this one though.  Same NMM as on the other Arena Rex gladiator I did previously.




His tartan was fun to do, but not super clean, the lines are not all completely even.  Freehand is something I will have to work on sometime soon as well.



Ultramarine Space Marine

This figure was done to play more with glazes.  He was painted with a black base colour and then zenithal highlighted with grey and white with an airbrush.  Then the blue on him is a single shade of blue glazed over in thin coats, then glazed over again with an off-white mixed in for the highlights.


While I have glazed before, I wanted to do a test piece with the simplest colour to do (blue) to play around with what results I could get.

Since I was spending some time on him, I also decided to do NMM for the shoulder pad and chest, but used normal metallic paint for his shoulder pad trim and the teeth on his sword.

I then weathered him up with chipping and scratches and then attached him to the base.


Looking at him now, I may need to go back and transition the caution stripes to fit the rest of the transitions, but you don't really notice that in person it's only the camera that catches it.


Death Guard Knight


Last up is a piece I have wanted to do for a long time and just never have gotten around to. It was another chance to work even more on my weathering and rust effects, this time adding the cool new AK Oilbrushers product to the mix.
I wasn't really sure how to go about painting or converting this model as ideally I wanted it usable in both my 30k and 40k Death Guard armies.  I decided in the end that since Knights would generally be by house and not legion that I could get away with a lot, so went with a look similar to my 30k force which is old and weathered, since I am going for a look of the guys that followed Garro and had to weather the bombardment of Istavan IV.


I started by painting the whole model black, but leaving all the armour plates off.  I then painted the armour plates in various shades or brown, red, and oranges with the airbrush.  I kept the paint thick and the air pressure super low so that it splattered on in random patches, and kept layering in colours.  Once that was done I put on AK chipping and scratch solutions in various areas, and then painted on the bone and green colours.  Once that was all done the magic begins.  I spray the paint with water and then start brushing it, and it just starts pealing off randomly, revealing the under colour.




Once all the chipping was done, it was time to break our the AK Oilbrushers (pre-thinned oil paints in mascara type bottles) and use them to apply dots of colour to the chips.  I then used white spirits to pull that down into smooth rust and dirt streaks.

The entire mechanical skeletal parts were done black, then shaded up with 3 silver colours, and then treated to the same Oilbrusher treatment.  I put browns, oranges, and even yellows in to get the blends looking like rust.  I may go back and add even more.





Last up was "blueing" the barrels which I did mainly with the Forge World transparent airbrush paints I got for the Dung Beetle Knight from earlier.  I started with doing 1/2 the barrel copper (Vallejo) and then did purple over most of that, then blue over part of the purple, and then black over the very end.  I think it came out ok and looks close to realistic.


Onto other projects now...


So there you have it, 4 recent painting projects with 4 fairly different styles.  I am now moving onto a few new projects including even more different looks.  Currently on the painting table are some heavily converted Death Guard vehicles (with even more spikes, tentacles, pus, and skulls, because I know how Greg loves all that stuff on GW models), some alternate Sisters of Battle figures, another Arena Rex figure or two, and some modern stuff from Spectre. 

OH, and a pile of terrain that I need to paint up as demo pieces now that I am producing that again as well!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

An Old Beakie With A Big Gun

Rogue-Trader era heavy weapon marine with lascannon

We will be playing another game of Warhammer 40k's new 8th edition this week, and my dusty old Crimson Fists will be putting in another appearance on the gaming table.  The setting will shift somewhat, from the familiar nostalgia of Rynn's World and the "Battle At the Farm" to the world of Toxo IV, our sort of go-to setting for general 40k mayhem. I don't recall exactly when our use of this name started - seems to go back to at least 2009 - but we thought the name was kind whacky and did its own bit to convey the warped darkness of GW's far future.

So Toxo IV will be the setting of an encounter between Dallas' foul Chaos renegades, backed by some even fouler Nurgle types, against an Imperial task force that will feature Crimson Fist Space Marines and some Imperial Army types - this is a set-up we have used previously and it has always been fun.  We are going to scale the game up a bit more this week, and bring out some vehicles. 

The studded shoulder pauldron, a classic emblem of old Space Marine figures from Citadel/GW
The presence of tanks, and even worse, Nurgle, means my Marines will need a little bit more punch. A lascannon would sure come in handy...and then I see this guy, who has been sitting, primed, in the pending pile for like four or five years! I rushed him through the painting table late last night, as the weather has finally been nice, and the days in Winnipeg are very, very long right now, and I find myself staying up very late anyway, so it was easy to finish off.

Unique venting system, no backpack on this fellow! Makes it much easier to pose the heavy weapons.
This figure is old school, a pewter Space Marine heavy weapon trooper of the Rogue Trader era.  There is no finer Space Marine figure than the originals with the "beakie" helmets, and metal figures are always the best, so man, was it fun to crank out one of these classic gems. I don't have many of these left in my collection to paint, and they are getting harder to find online, so it was a real treat to relax, put on old music and put the brush to this old, old casting.

You can see the size of the contemporary decals vs. the size of these old castings...looks kind a funny, but I'll take it for now
These old figures had so much character.  One thing that stands out for me with this guy is how he has a unique venting system on his armour, so he does not wear the ubiquitous power armour backpack, leaving more room to swing that big gun around.

Ready for gaming action with his Crimson Fist battle brothers!
I tried to use some decals to mark him out, but of course the scale creep on the decal side has far outgrown the original Rogue Trader era figures - and this is particularly pronounced with Space Marines, as GW's Marine decals have always been too large, even for the later plastic figures (although I suppose they would fit nicely on those hideous Primaris Marines).  I have attempted the odd freehand Crimson Fist symbol, but wasn't up for this time. So I went a bit wacky using the decals, and put the chapter symbol on the leg greaves instead.  He's got a big cannon anyway, so he can do what he wants, right?

Lascannons always come in handy, so hopefully this fellow will be able to blast a renegade tank or Plague Marine with it! 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Silent Sisters Finished

Sisters of Silence, ready to adjust a few attitudes on Propsero

Our gaming group is (mostly) pretty excited about the 8th edition of Warhammer 40k, but my 30k painting continues after a short diversion last week.  Here is another group of figures completed from GW's "Burning of Prospero" box game - this is the "Sisters of Silence" unit, part of the loyalist force contingent in the box game.  I had already painted the Sister Superior a couple of weeks ago, and I  finished the balance of the unit over the recent long weekend.

The cloaks on the figures are very nice, very ornate - and are a pain in the ass to paint!
In the background of the 30k setting the Sisters of Silence are a specialized order of militant anti-psyker witch-hunters, with an innate physical/genetic trait that impairs the use of psyker powers. Obviously the warp-talented troops of the Thousand Sons would hate that! These figures are pretty important for the Space Wolf player in the "Burning of Prospero" game, as the Sisters hold out hope of resistance while the warlocks of the XV Legion rain all manner of terrifying psyker powers down upon your lone infantry squad...

Another view of the cloaks...lots of variety, each one is unique, and the most elaborate one (with the scrolls) belongs, as you might expect, to the Sister Superior
The Sisters can be armed with swords, bolt guns or flamers. I didn't care for the idea of the swords over the whole unit, so I left it with the Sister Superior.  I opted to model them as a small squad, with the Sister Superior wielding the sword, another sister armed with the flamer, and the balance equipped with bolt guns.  The variety will add some flavour for games of "Prospero" as well as 30k. 

I have already mentioned the scale creep on these figures, but otherwise the sculpting of these miniatures is quite incredible, even if the cloaks make them much harder to paint than they otherwise would/should be, with both the back of the leg armour and the inset of the cloaks being close-to-impossible to paint properly.  The armour is very, very ornate and there are a lot of small details that skilled brush-masters out there can go totally nuts with!

Flamer on the left, and one of the bolt-gun-armed Sisters on the right...ready to purge some witches
For my part, I opted for mostly washes dry-brushing to get the job done, with some targeted highlighting here and there.  I think the figures turned out fine, although one challenge I encountered was the softening of the detail on the plastic due to the paint-on primer. I hate priming so, so much...but it also reminds me of how much I miss proper metal figures. Sigh.

The Sisters of Silence can be used in standard 30k and 40k games as well, fielding large squads mounted in Rhino APCs etc.  These figures don't really interest me as a large force - I see them much more as a specialized sort of group for narrative games of 30k and 40k, so that is likely the only use they will find outside of the occasional games of  "Burning of Propsero".

Armour, cloaks and faith in the Emperor...let those who dabble in the forbidden arts tremble! Or at least prepare to pay a really big fine...

"Burning of Prospero" comes with a total of 47 miniatures, and I have now managed to finish 42 of them so far - not bad! I have saved the most challenging ones to paint for last - the Custodian Guard, the Emperor's own bodyguard troops! A unit of Custodians made the trip to Prospero along with the Space Wolves, and while they were relatively few in number they certainly packed quite the punch. The game comes with five Custodian models, more multi-part plastic figures. The figures are extremely ornate and look to be pretty difficult to paint...hope I will be able to share some painted examples soon...