27 May 2009

Paint-fu Stormtrooper

Through my considerable (hah!) talent with MSPaint, I give you a preview of what my Stormtroopers should look like...

I like the look of it (allowing for the innacuracies inherent in resizing the head and superimposing it upon a model whose original head might not have been at the same angle anyway...

In other news: Didn't get anything done on the section last night - was watching Saw with the Dearest. Like Fight club, it just isn't as good after the first time.

Also ordered 5 rebel kolony models and 5 of the new ferals to combine as my Penal Legion squad, so just got to wait for them to arrive and I'll have three troop choices! I would have bought the models required for my company command this month, but had to reduce my budget due to scratchbuilding supplies being purchased, as well as other overheads imposed by Real Life.

I'm also looking at aquiring a tripod for the digicam so that I don't have to take three to five photos just to get a decent one... Anybody have a preferred model for this, or will a dirt cheap one do the job just as well?

26 May 2009

Helghast Planning: Stormtroopers

Morning all, and welcome to another planning session. Today, the subject is the often denigrated glory-boys: Storm Troopers. While seemingly quite expensive, these guys should make a nice addition to my forces. They will of course be airdropped in most of the time, either via Deep Strike or Valkyrie. My goal, once I get the first squad and decide whether I like it enough, will be to have three of these, all mounted in Valkyries, thanks to Wayland Games. I doubt I'll use them all in a normal game, but they'll certainly look more impressive. So, piccies, the idea is simple enough, I'll be using trooper from Pig Irons older range who don't have greatcoats, but have the same, if heavier, armour type:

They also have bigger guns than the standard infantry, which fits perfectly.
These are the heads that I'm looking at using:

They look nice and heavy - for the whole carapace armour thing. I'm still on the fence as to whether to add grieves and gauntlets though.

There is an interesting pack that they do which includes a support weapon:

The problem is, I've already used that weapon with my standard boys as a heavy bolter, so it would seem unviable to be used as a plasma gun in anything but the friendliest games, so I'll just keep them with no upgrades, and if I need to remove a tank, I'll just have to use krak grenades... :D

In other news:
Bit of an update on the Assault! section:


The shot isn't too clear - it's the only one of a mediocre series of shots I took that was presentable, and sadly my camera died before I could take any more. Luckily I get paid before the end of the contest so will be able to grab some batteries before then. I've changed the eyes, and I have to say, while up close, they do look a bit silly, the effect from a foot or so away is very striking, I like it. So much so, that I've already redone the forst section in that style, as well as all the other primed models (some of which you can see in the background). The idea was to set them up on the one piece of assembled terrain I have with the painted squads at the front and primered squads at the back with just the eyes glowing. Hopefully it will work once I get the snapper back up and running.

I finished doing the bases this morning before work, and will be doing the red armbands and metal bits and pieces soon, so there aren't likely to be anymore photos of these guys until they go up on Equinox.

In other news, I've gotten round to drawing out the Leman Russ and Hellhound grav tanks enough to get a good idea of how I'm going to build them, though I'm still working on the chimeras.

Also, as a general appeal, has anyone played the original Ground Control game on PC, and do you happen to have a better screenshot of the Crayven "Hog" Artillery Terradyne:


I would be most grateful if you could send it over to me - I want to use it as a basis for all the artillery units. My email is: adalpheus - at - hotmail.com. Thanks in advance!
Anyway, back to work!

22 May 2009

NEWS: Pig Iron Range Expanding

Just had a quick look-see on Pig Iron's website and found some new additions, the Kolony Ferals:


And their heads:


These look damn good, and all sorts of Mechanicum ideas sprang to mind as soon as I saw them, head over and check them out: Pig Iron Productions

21 May 2009

Helghast Planning: Tanks (Pt1)

Right, guess we'll start planning what many a guard player would consider the "bread and butter" of the army: tanks!

I had a look at the new price list on Warseer earlier, and noticed the prices for tanks. I don't know what these are like compared to the current prices, but they're certainly above my "worth it" threshold (especially considering I find the Chimera and Russ chassis to be slightly on the ugly side). So it seems I'm going to be scratch-building/kitbashing, which is cool as it presents a challenge that will hopefully broaden my "modelling horizons", so to speak.


I though I'd give out a couple of really good links when it comes to scratchbuilding (and casting, but we'll get on to that in a bit):

http://ultrawerke.blogspot.com/: great guy, he hasn't updated his blog in a while, but if you have any questions, e-mail him, he is still around.
http://www.starshipmodeler.com/tech/techmain.htm: stumbled upon this the other day, great resource, though not quite the type of models I'm looking at for the moment.

Feel free (as in, please do) to stick your favorite links or advice on this subject in the comments... (looking at you, Klaus) :D

Anyhow, here's some pictures of vehicles I like (with what they would count as in paranthesis):

Killzone 2:

Armoured APC(BS3 Land Raider):
Armoured APC

Tank(not sure, but I would like to use the turret design):


Killzone: Liberation/Killzone 1:
Heavy Gravtank (Leman Russ chassis):

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Video link:
Light Gravtank (Hellhound-type vehicles):
Light Hover Tank
Grav APC (Chimeras):
Hover APC
Jet Bike:
Jet Bike

I've decided to go with the hover variants, for two main reasons: 1. They look cool and 2. I don't have to build/allow for track links (Win).

It's very hard to find three-dimensional pictures, or footage of all these vehicles so I'll be taking the basic concepts and modifying them to my own designs. This will also help to make them easier to build.
Of course, I don't just want one of each, so shall be plunging into the adventure of casting the basic components myself using RTV moulds. Hopefully this will work out, though it is a long way off. Luckily, Chris (who appeared in one of my original posts), is taking a model-making course at University, and so has some experience with moulds and such. If worse comes to worse, I can try and get him to do the moulds on campus.
I'm also fortunate enough in that Chris has access to the campus supplies shop, so will be getting three A1-sized sheets of plasticard (styrene) for a tenner at the end of the month, which should hopefully sort me out for a while and allow me to start construction.

I knocked up a small sketch of the turret for the heavy tank the other day, while the Dearest was watching Hollyoaks. It ended up almost as big as a Chimera, so should be suitably impressive.


I'll be producing some proper schematics as soon as I get hold of some graph paper, just so I can get a definite plan down and know exactly what I'm doing at every stage of the construction process. I'm going to start with the tank, as it's the one that inspires me the most (it just looks really good), then probably move on to the APC and lastly the Light Tank. I'll also need to plan something for artillery pieces (maybe a different turret for the heavy tank). Sometime in the future, I may end up doing the AAPC (as a Land Raider), but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Ooh, I also found a very nice concept, by a guy called Dethelmm on the Playstation forums, for a stalker-type tank. Though interesting, I think I prefer the tank that Colonel Cobar pilots in Killzone Liberation, and may try my hand at that (link underneath the picture).

Stalker Fan Art by Dethelmm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80WFvVlG1kc

Coming Soon: Planning: Special Characters, Veterans and Storm Troopers!

Cheers!

18 May 2009

Section Taking Shape

A little update on the Attention! section - and the rest of the first platoon. I've found it quite useful to have other models around waiting to be painted. If you finish a batch, but still have some wet paint on the palette that won't be used for that run of models, just extend the batch, do as much as you can with that colour on the other models waiting to be started. The way it's shaping up, by the time I've finished this competition section, I'll have most of the 2nd infantry section, 4 heavy weapon teams and the command section for 1st platoon done - bonus!
Anyhow, onto the bit you're actually interested in, visuals:

The whole section:

Sergeant, Flamer and Vox-caster:


The rest of the guys:


Please note that I having been playing around with the histogram in GIMP (especially the last two pictures), so the colours are a bit off. This is the best representation of what they actually look like (all the other photos were done with the curtains open, so suffered from glare):
I wasn't sure about the colour of the fatigues to start with, but they've grown on me. Maybe not the most realistic of colours, but I like the style, and they are simple to paint - Codex Grey basecoat, Wash Badab Black, heavy C. Grey drybrush and light Skull white drybrush then 4 or 5 of the washes again to tone them down and make them darker.

Remaining things to do are (a lot of) cleaning up the highlights for the black[Note: If you have consumed most of a bottle of port, do not attempt to paint, especially not extreme highlights...], giving them a couple more black washes then redoing the uppermost edges with Codex Grey again, highlights on the brown pouches, the bases and, of course, the eyepieces.

I want to try out a different approach to the glowing eyes with these guys. If it works out, I'll redo the previous squad too. The first time around, I wasn't too keen on adding orange and yellow to the model - I hate those colours. The problem is, I went back to look at the first section the other day and thought "meh" about the faces in general - instead of piercing bright red eyes, with glow spilling out, it just looks like they've painted their faceplated a really really dark red... It seems literally impossible to get a really bright light-source type red.

I also had a look around at various articles on OSL techniques and got a bit more grounded in the rules you should follow. So the new plan is the basecoat of Red Gore (what's in the picture), which should only be visible in the extreme corners, the Blood Red a bit further in, then yellow (not sure which colour - I hate it that much...), and a tiny dot of white. This will probably be just as long a process as painting the rest of the model in it's entirety, but hopefully, it should pay off. The glow will be toned down as well - that's why the facemasks have been highlighted in grey. There will be a line on the edge of the helmet - the only real place, when you look at the heads properly, where the light will fall - as well as some of the weapons, where the head is close enough to them. Hopefully this will look better.

On a functional/display note, I'm looking into getting myself a three-column template. Hopefully, this won't mess with the existing (few) features of the blog, but if it does, these should be back up and running soon enough (this will likely happen at the weekend).

Cheers!

11 May 2009

I Hate Painting Cadians!

Small update - I've done most of the cloth on the cadian-pig-iron hybrids and some of the extreme highlighting on the armour and I'd forgotten this since last time I did a unit of these models. I find cadians to be an absolute pain to paint. I'm not sure what it is about them - maybe the ridiculous number of folds in their trousers, their jacket "skirts", their weapons or the whole arms-getting-in-the-way deal... Probably a combination of them all. I'll be glad to get back to the Pig Iron minis, once this squad is done.

Am I just an isolated case, or do others share my dislike?

7 May 2009

Product Review: KR Multicase

I've had a real problem with GW cases, ever since I bought my one when I first started. For one, the slots are 9 by 4. It is a rare person who consistently has only nine troopers in a squad. It always irked me to have to stick the sergeant/specialist in another section of the case. There's also the foam itself. I'm not sure if I'm the only one here, but I hate the scratchiness of it - inserting and removing models feels like your sanding them down to me, plus it feels unkind to my lovely soft hands (ok, I'm kidding...).

So I started looking into alternatives, going through battlefoam and sable - gawking at the price for the former and finding the layout for the latter such that I quickly resumed browsing blogs. Then I found KR Multicase, a UK-based company (Win), who do foam trays and cases for them (double Win) and, best of all, the prices they display on the website include shipping (Sold).

So I had a look around their website, got a feel for the different sized trays they do, as well as their carrying options. They have lots of options, and it can get a bit overwhelming at first, you just have to stay focused on what you want. I found a tray that holds 40 models in compartments just slightly smaller than the GW ones. Perfect for Guard.

In the end I ordered the original Card Case with 4 of those trays inside (Product code: KRMN4) - storage for 160 men at the nice price of £22. That's about a third off the price of a GW case for about a third extra storage capacity. Nice.

The case came within two working days (though, as usual, I had to pick it up from the sorting office), so nice and prompt.

It came in a simple package envelope, which I wasn't so pleased about - but then, it bore up well to the general manhandling that Royal Fail tend to give any of your items.

Here's what it looks like:

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The contents (there's a top sheet which I managed to hide under one of the trays):
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Compared to a standard GW case:

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With models inside:

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The compartments, as you can see, are perfect for Imperial Guard, but slightly cramped for Space Marines, especially with dynamic poses. That's ok though, they do another type of tray with larger compartments.

The foam is nice and soft, but still rigid enough to support the models, which is great. The card the case is made of is indeed (as claimed on the website) top quality stuff - thick, rigid and durable - to a point. The cases also stack beautifully. Once I get rid of all but one of my GW cases, my place will be much neater with a stack of cases in the corner/in the wardrobe, easily accessible, and not hidden in every cranny I can find that will fit a GW one.

So I would say these card cases are not so much for army transport as for army storage. Though the card is good quality, it is still card, so will wear a lot more than your plastic case, especially if you're in to the whole tournament scene, etc...

That's where the rest of KR's range comes in - they have a series of bags and aluminium cases that fir the card cases themselves inside, making them ideal for transport to and from your gaming location of choice.

One thing I do think I'll be doing, is taking some electrical tape to apply to the corners and edges of the card to hopefully reinforce and protect them. It should also make getting the handle out, which doubles as a locking mechanism, much easier.

So, in summary:
I like:
- the quality of the trays
- the speed of service
- the price
- the ease of storage
- they do GW case-sized trays as well

I dislike:
- that the card needs reinforcing
- the handle can be a pain when you're trying to get it out (you feel like you're risking damage to the case itself)

Which gives it:

4/5 Sackboys! - Definitely recommended for the right person!

6 May 2009

The Host Starts to Take Shape

Evening all, nice big update for you guys tonight (aren't you lucky!). Finally wrested the camera from The Dearest(tm), and got a few snaps. So, let's jump straight in!

First up, we have 1st Platoon's Command Section

From left to right: Vox-caster (missing backpack, which I'm going to have to get hold of at the end of the month), Plasma Gunner, Lieutenant, 2nd Plasma Gunner and Medic.

1st Platoon's 2nd Section
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Same set-up as the first section - Vox-caster and Flamer.

2nd Platoon, 1st Section:
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These are the guys for the Attention! contest - though you'll notice I've switched out the grenade launcher for another flamer (that is, if you decided to go to the trouble of squinting at the last post while trying to avoid the shocking camo-pattern sported by my furniture...).

2nd Platoon, 2nd Section:
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These guys are sourced mainly from the one squad of cadians that I managed to half paint up. Notice the absolutely naff flamer conversion. Luckily it gets pretty lost in the crowd when they're all grouped up, so it's fine.

You may be wondering about the flamer spam, to which I need only say one thing (ok, maybe two): Orks and Tyranids. My main opponnent has an enormous army of the former and is starting up an army of the latter, so it's a no-brainer, really...

2nd Platoon, Command Section (WIP):
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These guys have 2 grenade launchers, medic and vox-caster.

Close-up of the lieutenant who is a mish-mash of pig-iron and, as all you treadheads out there will know, tank commander parts:
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Still have to do the second half of his trenchcoat, find another arm for him, and also, probably, ass larger cuffs to his wrists.

Next we have my first four heavy weapon teams:

Missile Launchers
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Heavy Bolters
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The loader on all of them is magnetised to the base for wound-counting purposes (not that that will matter, the amount of S6 I expect will be flung at them...

A couple of meltagunners:
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These guys aren't assigned to squads yet, but will be used as extra options in the meantime. I'm sort of planning on having three standard squads of infantry per platoon then whatever extras I can fit in, but we'll see how that bears up after some playtesting. I would prefer to keep the command section:normal squad ratio quite low if possible to maximise on orders.

And, as a reward for getting this far (bear with it, it's nearly over), here's a look at my first Advisor: the Master of Ordnance.
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The body was originally going to be used as the command squad vox-caster, but I thought that it would detract from the advisor's uniqueness if he was the same as a different model in the same squad, just with a different head.

And the group shot:
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Finally, we have this guy:
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What do you guys (and gals) think I should do with him?

So, that wraps up the progress. Next step is to undercoat them all. I'll be doing the compo boys first as I get the feeling I'm getting to the end of the can, then it's on to painting them all.

I also bought a case from KR Multicase this month, which I'll be reviewing in an upcoming post.

Boy, am I glad that's over - it took half an hour just to upload the damn pics!

See ya soon guys!