Saturday, January 21, 2017

Seventh Challenge Entry - Warhammer Fantasy Empire Engineers

Two Engineers of the Empire from GW's now-defunct Warhammer Fantasy Battle
My submissions to this edition of Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge have been rather focused in their theme - ll 30k, all the time. The means I have been able to get a fair bit of 30k stuff completed.  This level of focus is rare for me, bordering on unhealthy, but I do genuinely love that setting and the Challenge is always a great spur to get models finished.  The side duel helps as well! Two of my fellow side-duellists in the 30k race, however, have taken a more varied approach to the Challenge, submitting some fantasy models as well - Iannick with some neat halflings, and Jamie with some menacing dark elves as a couple of examples. 
Trying to set up that perfect shot...
This figure was a ton of fun to paint...

One great aspect of the Challenge is the opportunity to connect with fellow painters and hobby folk elsewhere, and to be inspired by their work.  The fantasy submissions from Iannick and Jamie got me to thinking back to when we used to play Warhammer Fantasy ourselves around here - quite a bit in fact - but not so much recently.  I have an Empire army stored away somewhere in my place (not even out on display, for shame!), and the last record I could find of it seeing any action is the summer of 2014...which is just like...almost four years ago? Wow.

Handy instruction book on hand - engineers are always prepared...

I'm not sure exactly what happened to the interest in Warhammer Fantasy in our group. The rules got more difficult (or seemed to be so), the sculpts were getting goofier, and then "Age of Sigmar" happened...we haven't tried it yet.  Some folks seem to really enjoy it, so maybe we will give it a go at some point.

Also, Dallas manages to fill our Fantasy interest with very cool dungeon crawls and his excellent Otherworld Miniatures

Love this poor little guy "assisting" with the firing process - what a fun sculpt!

Bottom line, though, is that Fantasy was a lot of fun, and no reason it still can't be!  The fantasy stuff from Iannick and Jamie inspired me to turn my brushes to some GW fantasy figures and take a bit of a respite from my mad 30k painting tear.  I went rooting through my hobby horde and found these two figures - Empire Engineers, the subject of this submission.

Loved this model - has a bit of an "explorer" look to him!
These figures don't seem quite so old to me, but they are proper metal figures, so are probably older than I want to admit!  The Engineers are fun figures to have in an Empire army, injecting some unique character to the force, helping with artillery, and using some funky-looking firearms.  The long rifle, with the hapless little assistant "helping" to support the gun looks particularly fun.  I hope to use the model one day to pick off some obnoxious elf wizard or evil skaven...I always had a particular, immature joy in seeing powerful magic users and game-owning monsters crushed by Empire artillery or shot apart by Empire firearms...and then crushed under the hooves of Reiksgaurd Knights!

Nice multi-barrel firearm on the back - love some of the goofy firearms circulating in the Empire...
A fine-looking mustache to bring it all together!
These two 28mm figures netted me ten more points towards my goal of 1000 points in the Challenge. A special thanks to Iannick and Jamie for inspiring a fun diversion - because these two figures were not the only GW fantasy bits I found in the horde...stay tuned for more fantasy fun!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Byron's first few Painting Challenge Entries

Unlike Greg, I have not been very good about cross posting entries from the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, but have been participating in it as well.  So, rather than cross post 4 different entries each separately now, I am just going to post some highlights from each and a link to the original if anyone wants to see some more detail. I will try to remember to cross post more regularly as we move forward.

On the plus side, I have painted over 400 points in the first month of the challenge, so have already hit 40% of my goal this year!  Not that I am staying on my planned items at all, but that's a whole different story.

First Entry - Kingdom Death Survivors

Day 1 and I started out with five 35mm scale Kingdom Death survivors.  These are bare bones starting survivors so all they have are lanterns and founding stones (sharpened stones as makeshift knives).
The survivors all have a very basic attempt at OSL (Object Source Lighting) for the lanterns on them, but only very basic.  They are after all basic survivors and game pieces, which both of my sons (and all their friends) will handle while playing Kingdom Death as they just can't get enough of the game.



Second Entry -  Kingdom Death Monsters

Ok, another day another entry!  Sticking with the Kingdom Death theme I worked on the first and second monster that most players with fight, the White Lion and the Screaming Antelope.  However, in typical KD style there is nothing normal about these seemingly normally named creatures.  The Lion has strangely human hands and the Antelope has a mouth where its gut should be.
The 28mm WW1 figure is just included to show the scale of these figures,
there is nothing small about Kingdom Death!
(including the game itself which weighs in at 17lbs for the core set alone!)

All of my Kingdom Death figures are going to be played with and I want them to be very visual, so a lot of the highlights and shadows are a lot more pronounced than most of my painting.  This is being done on purpose to show up and emphasis the details from tabletop.  While not as clean looking in these close up pictures as some of my figures, they do really pop at tabletop distance better than a lot of things that I shade in using more subtle colour variations. 






 Third Entry - Epic 30k Death Guard Army (Part 1)
 
tried doing everything to match my current 28mm Death Guard 30k army.  I figured out early on though that I can not do the same weathering as on my 28mm models as in 6mm the models just become sepia / rust coloured blobs. So I went with a much harder light / dark look.



The infantry and rhinos are the old school original plastics, but I think they still hold up just fine (and I have a ton of them still on sprue) so I am just using them for most infantry, instead of the real 30k metal ones.



Now onto some of the figures that I have really wanted to paint for a long while!  A squad of three Sicarans and Sicaran Venators!  These are amazing models in 28mm and the 6mm versions are just as clean, every single panel line and cable from the full size version is there on the 6mm version. 


These two versions of the Sicaran are my favourite tanks in 30k as I feel they are one of the best looking sci-fi tank hulls out there in any game or fiction.  They have huge guns, an aggressive sloped stance that just scream speed and aggression, what more could you want.

Lastly, 3 super heavy tanks, because why just kill something when you can kill it, then vaporize it, then annihilate any dust left from it.  When you want something dead, overkill is the only way to go.  Besides, all 3 of these vehicles are just stunning.



The whole force was painted very quickly (as you can tell from the images) but I think came out very well for anything 6mm and have a suitable dirty used look for me, but not too dirty that you can't tell what they are. 

Fourth Entry - I HATE Horses! 28mm French Napoleonic Dragoons

This entry has been 2+ years is the making as I keep trying to get to them and keep leaving them, because I hate painting horses.  In miniature, painting horses intimidates me as they are much like painting human flesh, just a lot more of it.  It is really hard to get right, insanely easy to screw up, and everyone will notice and point out when it isn't right.  Therefore I really try to avoid painting horses if at all possible.

I have however needed to get a unit of cavalry done for my (very slowly) growing 28mm French Napoleonic force for a while now, and this unit got primed for last years challenge and then set aside as I just didn't want to deal with them.  This year I decided I better get to them sooner rather than later or they would once again roll over to the next years challenge.



Minor issues aside, while I disliked painting the project, I am actually OK with the results close up, and I am very happy with how they look on the tabletop.  Which is what Napoleonics are all about, tabletop effect, and that they have. 



Theses are all the plastic 28mm Perry Miniatures Dragoons with a Flag Dude banner.  Knowing that I disliked the horses, I started with them.  Having read that the Dragoons were the bottom of the Cavalry types (having started as infantry being trained as cavalry) and therefore very often had to deal with any mounts they obtain rather than being able to count on standard or uniform mounts for a regiment, I decided to make the unit up of as many different types of horses as I could.  Not knowing anything about horses though I had to go looking to find out what kinds and colours they did have.


 After finding out about Bays, Palominos, Chestnuts, Greys, and more, I got to work.  Then I found out about facial markings and socks.  Did I mention, I hate horses?  Anyway, after far too long on the painting table, I came out with the following which I am actually OK with.  Which is fairly uncommon for me, as I tend to think of 80% of the stuff I paint as crap, but despite my dislike for the animals and painting them, I am actually OK with how these look.


Minor issues aside, while I disliked painting the project, I am actually OK with the results close up, and I am very happy with how they look on the tabletop.  Which is what Napoleonics are all about, tabletop effect, and that they have. 


Fifth Entry - 28mm Modern Militia and Terrorists


A small submission to keep my progress going this week. The entry is an amalgamation of some left over African Militia from Spectre miniatures and some Islamic Terrorists from Spectre as well (Sorry Curt, those words probably just got this blog flagged by the CIA, FBI, and more).  The figures themselves are awesome as usual from Spectre, lots of detail on them and accurate (if thin) weapons.
Total there are 18 figures here, all done to a very basic table top level.  Essentially a base colour, wash, highlight, some very small details.  Since all of these miniatures will be on, and then off the table so quickly, I just couldn't justify a whole lot of time on them (as is evident in the pictures).



To play the games I want with them, I need about 40-50 Terrorists or Militia facing 4-8 special forces troopers, so I tend to spend time on the spec ops guys as they will be the focus of any game as they stick around for the whole time (normally). 


Up to date 

So, there we are, my five regular entries so far in the challenge. I will try to keep up better cross posting so that the posts don't get so long in the future.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sixth Challenge Submission - More Alpha Legion for 30k

More lads from the 20th Legion

My Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge submissions are getting repetitive, but here is (surprise, surprise) more 30k.  This is a second tactical squad for the 20th Legion, known as the Alpha Legion.  There are ten fellows wearing Mark IV power armour, plastic kits from the "Betrayal at Calth" box set, and a pair of Forge World "beakie" marines wearing Mark VI Corvus Armour.


I painted a white knee plate on this crew to help tell them apart from the first bunch
The beakies are carrying special weapons, and can be swapped into the squad to create a unit of legion veteran troops as opposed to a vanilla tactical squad.

Comms trooper on the left and vexillary on the right
Some examples of the custom Alpha Legion heads from Forge World - nice dabs of character

The embossed shoulder pauldrons, transfers and a few of the helmets are upgrade packs from Forge World.  The helmets are available in packs of 10, and you can sprinkle the heads from one package across several units to add a bit of additional character to the overall force.  With the Alpha Legion, a lot of the custom heads have a beakie, or modified modified beakie look as well.  The looks-cool-factor is high with this bunch.


Mark VI armoured troops from Forge World, probably my favourite models...

Love the "shark fin" style missile launcher.!
As I said previously, while the plastic Mark IV armour kits are very nice and fun to work with, the Mark VI armour sets from Forge World are a pure joy, a hidden gem for Space Marine junkies like me.  No skullz...great proportions...beakie helmets...and they mix perfectly with any plastic or resin spares or accessories.  It is everything you get from the old RTB 01 plastic box, but with better proportions and full compatibility with all of the bits out there.  I have a small and declining stash of these models, and I expect I will sprinkle them around the different forces in my collection so each one has a dash of "beakie" look to them.
\
When I contemplate how much fun the "beakie" models are, I'm surprised Forge World was ever allowed to release the Mark VI armour kits.  After all, they are connected to the heritage and original inspiration of the game, and Space Marine players and collectors love them - in my experience, both of those seem to be deal breakers with GW.  I imagine it all played out as some kind of dysfunctional corporate situation, where the Forge World guys had to sneak the designs online...


GW corporate tool: "You are not selling those old 'beakie' Space Marines are you? You KNOW we are not 'in' to that anymore..."


FW designer: "Of course not, Liege - we would never stoop to releasing anything that popular, connected to the collective positive experiences we all shared when we got into this hobby. That is fully against..."


GW corporate tool: "...against the business plan! As it is, this whole 'Horus Hesresy' thing seems dangerously popular, and we may have to give it the ol' 'specialist games treatment' at any minute, before more players start to enjoy it..." [makes throat-slashing gesture]


FW designer: "Not to worry, Liege - ensuring the best priced Horus Heresy models are only found in box games few people are actually interested in playing is doing a trick to ensure it is still harder for a gamer to get into the Horus Heresy than it otherwise might be..."


GW corporate tool: "Right then - get back to designing that new special character, Skully Bonerz McSkullz, King of Kaos Kookiness - he will be a special release, front page of a White Dwarf, etc."


Anyway, I digress...but the Mark VI Corvus Power Armour suits ARE getting harder and harder to find on Forge World's byzantine web site, and I'm sure it is only a matter of time until word reaches GW leadership that these beautiful models are available for sale, and the sculpts are withdrawn from the web store all together...


Putting the "me" in team - the Alpha Legion...
So a total of 12 models in 28mm, good for another 60 points or so. The completion of this unit provides the absolute bare bones of a force for the tabletop - two troop choices (tactical squads) and an HQ (the chaplain).  This is next to nothing under the current iteration of the 30k/40k rules, but would be plenty for a game of Rogue Trader, or even just enough to wreck things for someone as some "allies" - and with friends like the Alpha Legion, who needs enemies?


This bunch is ready for action, but will require some reinforcements before they have any impact on the table...
Up next? Well, no prize for guessing the setting, but hopefully I might change up the scale...or not...whatever it is.  Be sure to check out the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge page to see all of the great submissions from folks all over the world!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Painting Challenge Theme Entry - "Armour"

Urban re-development vehicle from the XII Legion

A feature of Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge is a series of theme entries.  Every two weeks or so the Challengers are encouraged to make a submission tied to a given theme, and you can score some extra bonus points (and even some hobby schwag from the sponsors).  The themes can be interpreted quite liberally (the "spider precedent" lives on in the minds of many Challenge veterans :) but that is very helpful when you are looking to make a theme entry line up with a project you are trying to focus on.

Some WIP photos...so...much...white
The nearly-finished stage...
My focus so far in the Painting Challenge has been 30k, and the first theme, "Armour" did not require any generous interpretations on my part to stick with this focus.  The 30k setting is full of tanks, so I painted up a tank.

My starting-to-sprawl 30k collection features troops from four different legions at this point, but since I started into this several years ago, the Sons of Horus have somehow been the only ones to get any vehicles :) So even though I have about 50 World Eaters, they have to make every effort on the table so far without any armoured assistance. I doubt the chaps in the XVI Legion really care about that, but I felt it was time to give the World Eaters some armoured assistance...

Love the bonkers shovel blade on the front of the tank

What better vehicle for the hard fighting bunch in the XII Legion than a Vindicator? Heavily armoured, armed and equipped to support fighting amid fortifications and built-up areas with a brutally massive and short-ranged cannon? Angron is more about axes-to-the-face than tanks, but I expect this tank would find favour with him. 

Decals from Forge World's sheet were very useful
The tank commander is popped out for a look-see...probably enjoys seeing the effects of the direct hits from that cannon fist-hand...
While Forge World does a very nice "30k version" of this tank, I opted for the standard plastic "40k version" as I quite like the look of the model - particularly the huge shovel on the front, which adds a combat engineering aspect to the vehicle. Besides, while the 30k vehicles are very, very nice, there is no prohibition on models for the 30k setting.  This vehicle was relatively straightforward to put together - I only had to shave a few of the stupid skulls off where I could, and it was ready. Toss on the decals, a lot of weathering to reflect hard use in some challenging combat conditions, and this thing is good to go!

Horus for hope!
Be sure to check out the Painting Challenge site, as new submissions appear all the time, from some incredible painters around the world, but several from Winnipeg.  Byron has some awesome stuff in particular (apparently he LOVES horses), so be sure to check it out! And be sure to visit the theme entry page, and vote your favourites!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Fifth Challenge Submission - The Alpha Legion

The Alpha Legion arrives on my painting table
My fifth submission to the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge features a new Legion for my 30k collection - the 20th Legion, known as the Alpha Legion.  The Alphas have one of the more entertaining back stories among the numerous legions featured in GW's "Horus Heresy" setting.  The other Legions have elaborate histories - some noble, some bloody, nearly all grim, and all with long service in the endless wars which abetted the rise of the Emperor and the establishment of the Imperium.

Veteran Sergeant on the left, Chaplain on the right
Back view of the officers
The history of the Alphas, on the other hand, is not well known, and this was on purpose.  They started off as a black ops, special forces-type organization, used by the Emperor and his senior officials for specialized activities of the sort that archivists were not meant to record. Eventually the demands of the "great crusade" were such that this force was elevated to the status of a Legion itself, and they became the 20th - and final - of the Space Marine Legions. One of many decisions the Emperor would likely come to regret...

Vexillary on the left, and a communications trooper on the right

Rear detail on the communication and vexillary models
The last Legion established, but taking the name "Alpha", is a contradiction action that fits well with how the Alpha Legion rolls.  Where the other Legions strive in the shadow of their elaborate histories to pursue greater causes and honour their ponderous histories, the Alphas just seem to be trolling the galaxy.  The Alpha Legion is all about wheels-within-wheels, schemes, plotting, subversion, spying...like a Space Marine Legion-sized version of the CIA, complete with its own military industrial complex to sustain its machinations. They can do all of the standard, scary, appear-in-orbit-and-destroy-your-world Space Marine stuff.  But before they would bother, they will probably have wrecked on the pension funds, crashed the property markets, illegally seized the leases for resource extraction and rigged the elections.  If all that wasn't enough fun, then fine - orbital assault.

The Alphas built a galaxy-spanning network of informers, agents and contacts, even infiltrating the other Space Marine legions.  They spun endless webs of information and misinformation, mixing freely and spreading them widely. As such, they were disliked and distrusted by their brother Legions.

In particular, they had problems with the Iron Warriors (or just seemed to provoke the worst in them).  I know Dallas is toying with doing an Iron Warriors force, so I hope this bunch might spur his project along at some point...

Some Alphas in Mark IV armour

The embossed shoulder plates are from Forge World...an expensive addiction, but I love how they look
The outbreak of the Horus Heresy was almost a happy coincidence for the Alphas - I suspect they were planning to just run around a blow sh!t up, whatever the Emperor and then Horus ordered.  Although they sided with Horus in the Heresy, the Warmaster had difficulty controlling them.  The Alphas would interpret orders as liberally as they liked, and had so many schemes going they were just as likely to fight the rebels as the loyalists.  Their main operational motto is "no witnesses".  With a bunch like this, there are a lot of possibilities for fun scenarios!

Mark VI "Corvus" power armoured figures from Forge World - the Alphas are often portrayed employing these classic "beakie" armour suits, much more so it seems than the other Legions

As an aside, if you are a Space Marine dork like me, you will fine no models to be more fun to build than these Mark VI suits from Forge World - the price is eye watering, but these are faithful to the original RTB01 plastics - you will love them

The other reason I wanted to collect this force had to do with their colour scheme. They are often seen in a blue, or blue green, with a metallic sheen, the colour of a sports car.  The downside to this cool look is that it almost always seems to involve an airbrush, a general deal-breaker for me. I tried for a couple months before the Challenge started to find a way to come up with that cool metallic blue without an airbrush, but just couldn't make it work.  So I came up with a different blue-green approach - it's not a cool, metallic-looking finish, but I'm still pretty pleased with how it is turning out and there is no airbrush involved.

Chaplain for the Alpha Legion...given their approach to the universe, I expect this guy would be into irony more than anything else
This model will do as a command figure for the Alphas until I can get some more command troops
Can you feel the "faith"?

These models were a ton of fun to paint.  They are a mix of plastics from the "Betrayal at Calth" box set, with some upgraded bits from Forge World, and some resin Mark VI power armour marines from Forge World.  The Chaplain is the "Kurtha Sedd" plastic figure from the "Betrayal at Calth" box set, painted to be an officer/command figure for the Alpha Legion.

This submission has 11 28mm infantry models, but two of the models were test paints from before the Challenge so they don't count, so this netter another 45 points.  Almost at 200 points now, and still planning to bend the brushes with more 30k stuff...