Sunday, July 3, 2016

Prep for Age of Sigmar Summer Campaign

O.k. I know it's been a year since one of us posted something, but here you go.

I've been eagerly anticipating the new Age of Sigmar Summer Campaign (kicks off July 14th) and I have been frantically modeling and painting up my Stormcast Eternals force. I just finished up painting my first 1000pts. (going by the soon to be released Generals Handbook)

But I've got a few simple tricks to easily convert some models so you don't have to shell out tons of hard-earned dough.

The first and most obvious tip is to buy the AoS starter box if you're interested in playing either Stormcast or Chaos. You can find them online for around $80 at the moment and if you have a friend who's interested in going in on it with you, perfect! $40 will get you a 900 point Stormcast out a bit more for a 100 point hero and there's a nice even 1000 point "Vanguard" force. I added a Knight Azyros for my 1000 point list.

I played in a small local tournament (and incredibly ended up winng it!) that offered lots of AoS prize support. As a prize I got a box of Paladins. This kit is amazing as it contains enough extra bits to kit out of convert tons of other models. Retail is normally around $58, but honestly, for the extra bits you get and the amount of money you'll save by converting, makes this kit totally worth it.
I chose to build most of mine as Protectors ( with glaives). This freed up tons of hammers (Retributors) and axes (Decimators). I spent some time snooping around eBay and scored a few more Retributors from the starter box. I snipped off the hammer heads to make quick and easy Decimators by gluing on the spare axe head.

Original starter box Retributors on the left, Decimator conversions on the right...simple!

Next, I scored several Celestant on Dracoth (Vandus Hammerhand) models from the starter set. If you're cheap like me and don't mind several of the same model in a unit, then this will save you loads. I also bought a 4 pack of Prosecutor shields, also from eBay.

I decided convert two celestant models to Extremis Concussors and two to Extremis Desolators using spare heads, hammers and axe head bits from the Paladin box plus the shields.

This conversion requires a bit more clipping and filling in gaps with greenstuff, but the conversions are simple and quite easy.

Cutting off the head and axe are easy, but you'll have to fill in the gap on the shoulder pad.

Next up was to convert a starter box prosecutor prime into a Knight Azyros. Originally, I used a spare 40k Grey Knights sword in place of the hammer in the right hand and a lantern bit from an old Empire or Mordheim sprue for the left. It looked ok, but I ended up getting the 4 pack Warhammer Quest expansion and building the Knight Venator which has the sword and lantern to make an Azyros. I swapped out the grey knight sword and empire lantern for the proper bitz and this is what I ended up with.

Again, not bad, and it saves a bit of money.
I have a few more conversion ideas, such as converting a Retributor to a Knight Vexilor using the spare banners that I cut off from the Celestant on Dracoth models as well as converting a Lord Relictor into a Lord Celestant on foot.

I hope that I've helped to inspire you!!!
Ciao for now, 
SC Glenn

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Santa Cruz Fury Road!

The Santa Cruz Warhammer group in Santa Cruz, California has been gripped by a really fun, new project: playing games with little cars and modeling them in the style of Mad Max. The cars, mostly Hot Wheels and Matchbox, are cheap, mostly around 99 cents each and the modeling can be pretty daunting, at least if you want to make something good. You can also find actual cars used in the movies, like the Ford Falcon or the Chrysler Valiant, but those are out of print and only to be found on Ebay, for 5-10 bucks each.

There are few different road games you can play with these cars, like Car Wars or Road Wolf (which is what we play in Santa Cruz and is free online ), and there are plenty more, (if you know of some good ones, share them in the comments). The game does need a gaming surface, mostly roads and some buildings. The scale is smaller then 40K so you can't use any of those terrain pieces. The game rules are pretty much free and online and there is NO company support for it; it's a true grassroots movement!

Being a modeler first and a Gamer second, I loved the idea of buying models for a dollar and spending a joyful week on them, cutting them up and kitbashing them (and not having to spend 40-50 dollars). Before I saw Fury Road I bought two random good looking Hot Wheels and kitbashed them; here's one of them:
and the finished model:

You can see that with a bit of inventiveness and good size bitz box, you can really have a lot of fun!

Here are some more builds from our group:
(Chris Wolfe)

(Jordan Nichols, not painted yet)


Then I saw Dave Taylor, whom we all admire, work on his Mad Max models; they are amazing! Dave really shows what's possible with good modeling skills and great vision. Here are three of Dave's cars for his Fury Road project, he uses them with his group in Car Wars and on his blog he shows wonderful how-to's.

Dave is also part of our Facebook page Santa Cruz Fury Road and it's been really fun sharing ideas and showing of builds with him.

I tried my hand on copying Dave's Hedgehog conversion you see above and I am still working on it, but you can see how much fun it is to mess around with all this.

AND now I want to see someone tackle this one (Dave Taylor...)

Here's our game board built by Sc John, founder and driving force in the Santa Cruz Fury Road Project:
and after finishing it up:

So far we have played one group game with our cars and we are still getting used to the rules. The dice rolling for Road Wolf is different, but makes for a lot of fun. After playing for a bit, you quickly learn how fragile bikes can be and how important the roads movement phase can be. In our game the road and it's hazards claimed almost as many cars as the fighting did, but to be fair we were driving a little on the reckless side. 

Lots of local friends have started looking around everywhere for models.... SC John  found this little gem at the flea market for 50 cents: '73 Falcon, the original Mad Max Interceptor and it will get the treatment soon.

Cars can be found for pocket change at yard sales, second hand stores and flea markets, or new for about a buck at discount stores.

Scale can be a bit tricky for semi trucks and motor bikes to keep them in the scale range of the 1/64 scale Hotwheels and Matchbox cars, and dirt bikes are proving to be the hardest thing to find so far.

SC John started the group TWO weeks ago and so much has been done already! It's really been a long time since I felt this surge of inspiration going through our gaming community and you can do that as well! Start a group and start looking for little cars....

SC Mike

Friday, February 27, 2015

Painting With Washes!

I recently purchased a few of the James Wappel painting pyramid videos and was really surprised by James' unique approach to painting models.  Essentially, James applies a very fast basecoat of colors to the entire model using shades of color that are slightly lighter than where he wants the finished model to end up.  From that point on, he primarily paints with only washes and glazes.  Essentially, he goes over the model in a series of thin layers of dark colors adding shadows and color variety all over the model.

I decided to give this technique a try on my copy of Enigma Miniatures Driatram  I'll be using this model as a Wight King in my Vampire Counts Army.  In the two pictures below you can see the pallet of washes (mostly Secret Weapon here, but the GW ones work quite nicely as well) I decided to use and the basecoat I put on the model. I kept the colors on the basecoat very light, possibly too light.  Notice the huge difference between the color values on the basecoat (very light) and the washes (mostly darker).

You can see in the photo below just how quickly the washes darken the model and begin to create distinction among the various shapes.  One of the principles of painting in this way is that you cannot just slop on a wash all over the place.  These are single thin layers of color.  In most cases, a single brush stroke of the wash was more than enough.  I kept a paper towel handy throughout the process to dab away extra moisture and washes.  That said, you are working with very thin washes on the entire model at once, so inevitably, the colors will run and bleed together a little.  However, if you're not over applying the wash, this should be manageable. and in most cases create a desirable effect. Once the model was washed all over, I dried the paint with the hair dryer after each step.

Below, you can see my 3rd and 4th passes over the model with the same washes.  I tried to focus my blue colors into the armor and the yellow greens into the robes and clothes.  I also realized I would need to add some more warmth to his skin to keep the model from looking washed out so I applied some of the red (Secret Weapon Drying Blood) to his face and hands.  Also, I realized that I had gone a little too far in some areas with the wash and things really looked quite muddy... I applied too much wash.  So, I went back with some traditional, opaque paints and highlighted the bottom of the robe, the armor, and the bandages on his arms.  These highlights were all applied quite quickly with little more than a drybrush.  As you can see at this point, I was simply making minor adjustments as there is very little change in appearance of the model between the steps.

With the final steps, we return to traditional opaque paints and pick out a few highlights and details.  I added  a flame effect (still working on getting that OSL right) to the sword, and added some edge highlights to his face, armor, and small details.  Overall, this technique is really quite easy to use and allows for a lot of very subtle blending and color variation without spending hours and hours working with super thin traditional paints.  Total time spent painting between the first wash and the picture you see below was about an hour and a half (30 minutes of which was spent on the OSL).  Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, this technique does have a steep learning curve, as it will feel odd to most people to allow their paints to ooze and mingle all over the model, but with a little bravery the effects can be quite nice indeed.
  As always, thanks for reading, and if you have other techniques you'd like to see me cover please don't hesitate to request.



Monday, January 5, 2015

Space Wolf Contemptor Dreadnought; finished.

Over the last month I have slowly picked away at painting the first of two Contemptor Dreadnoughts that I will add to my budding Space Wolf army. Here's the finished model, equipped with a Twinlinked Melta Gun.

I had big plans for this little guy, when I started. Here's a building shot that accentuates his pose. I really wanted to make use of the flexibility of the design, being able to bend his legs. The Contemptor Dreadnoughts are so much more interesting to work with then the conventional dreads, because they can be positioned so well.

I really wanted him whole body turned, and paying attention to something on his left side.

After finishing the build I got inspired to create some decals for him, based on some old nordic Viking artwork. Here's the decalsheet that I created, and of course anyone can use it.

Testors decalsheets come only in 5.5 x 8.5 so that's what the file is sized to.
I followed the instructions, and the the shoulderpad decal went on pretty well, using a decal softener. But after weathering and washing, the inks started drooping anyway. In the end, I repainted some of the viking ship in the artwork. I still looks cool, but not as crisp as i wanted. The roman numeral 7 was added later.

On the decal sheet you can also see the rune decals, but unfortunately, they really should be printed on clear decal paper and I only had white. So I couldn't use them. I perused my many decalsheets and added a name to his other shoulder, sorry a bit blurry.
I spent quite a bit of time weathering this old dread and make him fit into a barren, cold and lifeless landscape.
I mix a lot of washes and overlap them as well, often painting 2 or 3 times over the same area in different shades of the same color. I feel that in this way, the armour really ages well. It's not a clean paintjob, but it is effective.

I added a bit of writing on his breast scrolls, some runes with archival brown ink.

All in all a fun project! I will build and paint one more, but this one will be in blue!

SC Mike

Monday, December 8, 2014

Using alternate barrels for a Kheres Assault Cannon

Recently I was able to own two Contemptor Dreadnoughts, unbuilt and fresh in the bag. One of them was a Relic Contemptor and I built him in a standard mode with the powerfist and a Meltacannon. He is being painted in white right now, as one of two Space Wolf contemptors.

But the other one, which will be painted blue, I wanted to build with the 'cheese cannons', the Mortis Contemptor with the double Kheres Assault Cannons.

image: Forgeworld

When I opened up the package, I wasn't too happy with the quality of the 6 barrels of the guns. Here's a shot of all the parts (not my parts - found it on google), and you can see that the barrels are not straight.

On my set it was similar - I tried working with it, but wasn't happy.

That's when I dug out some Evergreen Plastic rod of an appropriate diameter and cut off six equal lengths. Then I got to work, slowly but surely.

After twenty minutes of quiet and patient work, my alternative barrels were built and the gun looked great:, straight, tight and the barrels were just a tad fatter, which makes the cannon look more formidable.

Give it a try!

SC Mike

Monday, December 1, 2014

Ahh, the ongoing projects....

I think I can speak for many of you when I say that I feel overstretched, distracted and without enough time to finish all the modeling projects that I am so excited about. I keep telling myself it's OK, "you still have a lifetime of modeling ahead of you", but when your buddies start putting some ultimatums on you, it makes you think. So today I am taking stock.

1. 1000 point mirror list
Every heard of this insane idea? Everyone in your modeling group agrees on building the exact (i mean exact) same Space Marine list. Can be any army, but no army specific weapons or rules. For some reason, all my friends put this together in a matter of weeks, but I have completely imploded on it.

I received this entire army from SC John in a ziplock bag, all battered old models with crazy amounts of paints on them. I figured it would be interesting to NOT strip but instead paint over all of them and see if they could look decent. While John handed over the bag, he threatened: "better get started on this...", then in a friendly, wishing voice: "I just want to play games with my would be so great if you could also be there..."
 Ah, I know I am such a turtle when it comes to painting. The armor is almost done and I am happy with it, but repainting old space marines takes me forever.

BUT it will have to get done and I might just start a series with all our 1000 point armies to give myself a kick in the butt. I need deadlines! 

2. Bolt Action British Eight Army
This past week I finally finished all the 15 models I put together 8 months ago along with a tank.It felt great and I really enjoyed putting the group together for a family picture. 
Of course the box set from Perry Miniatures has 38 models in it, so that leaves 23 models unbuilt, unpainted.....but finishing this group was a personal victory for me!

3. Spacewolves
With the new rule set my Wolfwing went out the door and I am faced with retooling the Wolves. First I modeled this guy, a psyker Inquisitor, Lord Coteaz!
Then the wolves:
and now a few Contemptor Dreadnoughts, one of which I put together as a relic dreadnought over the past few days. Here's an artsy shot of that guy:
Here is another Landraider that also fits in this army, but the one on the right is not ready yet, and I haven't touched him in 6 months or so....but it should be there when I am ready!

4. Bolt Action US Army Northern Italy
This is the army I feel most satisfied about right now. I love playing Bolt Action and the army is painted up, so each time I get a model for it, I can finish it and feel that the army is complete. Over the last three weeks I worked on this little jeep and I enjoyed creating a small family shot as well. I will do a post on the jeep this coming month.

5. What else is there? Well these guys:

So in sum, there are so many models still to build and paint. I generally don't get to play much so the deadlines of having units ready before a game don't really happen often. So it all boils down to a good feeling about a project; it can happy suddenly one morning. I FEEL like painting some goblins and BAM, I manage to paint one or two. And then they go back to sleep. 

Does anyone else recognize the behavior in this post? If so share some stories, and links.

SC Mike