Saturday, August 29, 2009

Taboo on using non GW models?

Last week a reader left a comment on a post about using Max Mini Models for ork conversions. He said: "I am on the fence really (about using those bitz), I am such a GW fanboy so my opinion is biased".
His comment got me thinking. Are there a lot of people out there that are fiercely loyal to Games Workshop and their models so they might feel bad using other companies as a source for their creativity? I know I am not, but John is definitely more focused on the GW line. Of course there are lots of shades of grey: some modelers will never use non-GW stuff, I am at the other side of the spectrum; it's pretty much my goal to find great models from different companies that can infiltrate our games and become part of the hobby.

Part of my urge to find other models is that other companies simply do a better job: less expensive and visually more arresting sculpts. I am often disappointed with new GW model lines. Enough has been said about IG, my greatest bane I have with the plastic Dwarfs, those releases were just without any character. They look nothing like their metal predecessors and other companies like Avatars of War do so much better....why? why? GW has all the talent do do a great job on any new model but doesn't seem to have the will to go all the way.
Mind you, once in a while some great stuff comes out, the 40 Ork characters are splendid. But my feeling is they simply seem to have different plans for the hobby. Thank goodness there are little, creative companies that fill in the gap, first mostly for fantasy and now also for 40K.

Starting today I will show you 3 models that look splendid, are cheaper and are easily importable into 40K as long as you keep an open mind. Today I want to show you a French resin sculpt of a Chaos Demon, made by Fenryll

This model is hard to get online but possible right here. I purchased my model at GameKastle in San Jose. It cost me 14 dollars...and look at the detail and quality of the resin model.

My plan was to make a replacement for a GW Nurgle Demon Prince, which actually looks super cool but is hard to find and kind of expensive. The Fenryll model needed a little work: I had to convert the arms and give it a close combat weapon. I liked a scythe and made one from plastic card.

I always imagined it on a big base and decided on it chopping down a bronze statue of Emperor's finest as an ultimate sign of disrespect for Space Marines.

Here's it is painted:
look at the detail on it's back, a lot of fun to paint..

Then I figured that base was a little big for transport and games and made another one, purely for gaming. Some magnets were inserted and voila: it's all done.

Of course I respect everyones opinion on this matter, it's all up to you. But for me it's clear: I only want to use models that I like and respect and definitely don't want to give a company my money, simply because. They have to deserve it; for that I ask only for quality and creativity.

On the photography: used a BW background from the Apocalypse book which seemed like a nice contrast between the fore-and background.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Comments or no comments, that's the question...

I have never been able to predict the amount of response to any of our posts. Sometimes I work my ass off to produce a stunner, painstakingly model, paint and photograph it, post it and then sit back and hear ...nothing. Other times, in a mad rush, I throw something together and throw it on and it gets 12 or 15 comments. I don't get it.
Mind you, none of this is you, the reader's fault, nor is this a worry of anyone but me. It has to do with me and what I expect from this blog. I guess my wife would say that I have changed....that I don't do it for the love of the hobby anymore but for the numbers, the visits and the amount of comments ...etc.
Maybe this is true. I DO love modeling, painting and thinking about how to incorporate the rules into my next kitbash or scratch built. I am busy with it ALL the time, really all the time. I love all this stuff. It's just those comments that bug me, maybe my feelings are hurt or something. To give you an example:
in the last 30 days we had 12740 visits with an average of 1.57 minutes of visiting time. We had 12 posts, our average comment per post was 4.5 (not counting the Give Aways), while the amount of visits per post was over a 1000. So people like what they read, but don't feel like commenting. What gives?
To be honest, I am just like that. I usually comment to my screen, like"wow that's cool" and move on. Only once in a while do I comment on a blog, to really support the blogger. So while writing this and pondering over this stuff I have kind of answered my own question....comments are not very useful on our blog. I am not trying to say that I don't value people's opinion, I do, but I don't want to get into this circle of expectation about it either. Maybe amount of time on the blog spent is a better indicator of how readers appreciate the stuff we do.

On a side note: John did find me this great Nurgle Champion for 8 bucks in a sale bin somewhere.
Such a nice model! I only gave it a powerclaw, put it on a nice base and give it some paint. The background in the photo worked out really nicely.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What I'm working on.

Well, with Mike out of town I figured I would throw up a post of what's new with me in my Warhammer hobby.

I just built up a Broodlord, changing his pose around as I didn't like the original pose of the model much , so I rotated the body into more of a forward lean and lowered the arms as well.

I think this gives him the look of advancing and he will blend in with the genestealers a bit more. I have been thinking of painting the Nids with a black and brown cockroach color scheme I never really understood the bright pinks and purples, most bugs I have seen seem to be muted colors to try and blend in, so I will be trying something in that manor.

next up is my skeleton horses,

I am trying to use bretonian horse drapery, but I am not sure it will work, I might have to sculpt it with greenstuff.

I have been trying to keep the addictive craigslist buying down to a minimum, but this box of Orcs was too good of a deal to pass up, over 70 boys, 30 wolf boys, a bunch of arrow boys, savage boys, savage boar riders and regular boar riders, plus lots more stuff, a nice army all for $50.

Sometimes you just have to say yes.

I don't know what to make of Spacehulk, if the Termies were generic I would do it but, but I will never play the game, so I will most likely save the $ for something else.

The last bit of happy news is that I have finally followed Mikes advice and bought a real camera, a Canon 20D Digital SLR.

While not the brand newest pro rig, it is more than I will ever need and the price was right, so now I have to learn how to use a real camera, and try not to go broke buying neat stuff for it, as if Warhammer wasn't enough of a hole to throw money into.

I guess thats it for now, stay tuned as we will be giving away some great stuff from MaxMini soon.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A million dollar Nob for a few bucks...

What we love best at Santa Cruz Warhammer is finding just the right bitz to make already great models look splendid. Sometimes we find stuff that's so good, that a modest looking model becomes suddenly really, really good. This happened to me this week. As I said in earlier posts, John and I got some Max Mini bitz and have been playing around with them. Mind you, we don't get paid by these companies, if we don't like it, we won't use it and in the end will give EVERYTHING away that we will not use, stay tuned because it will be quite a lot.

Anyway, I chose a Nob head and a giant gun to add to a Assault on Black Reach Nob which you can find a dime a dozen. Below are the WIP images. I did some work to the hands, changing the position and felt the gun was so big it needed support from the other hand. A bit of sprue worked nicely.
The resin pieces did have a little flash, but overall the quality and detail was superb.
Here is the painted version. I added the close combat weapon later, I think it looks cool and makes this model playable. You can make this a twinlinked shoota, a Flashgitz gun etc.
Tried to make this guy look above and beyond, but keeping the color scheme sober. The head and the teeth demanded extra attention and were I a better painter, I could do this sculpt much more justice. Love the big, square corner tooth, as opposed to the GW pointy corner tooth.
The base is from Back 2 Base-ix.
My point is (again) that if you like the modeling aspect, check out some of these great companies. Max Mini ships all over the place, is safe to deal with, makes great stuff and is totally affordable. And they really care about their models. This is not a sales pitch, these are just guys and girls like us, except they went all the way with their hobby while we slave away in a normal day job.
Good stuff!
Comments are welcome... or am I the only one excited about all this?

Monday, August 17, 2009

MaxMini Headswaps, Orc Pirate and Blood Pact Traitor Guard

After receiving a pack of sample bits from Przemek Jeske from MaxMini, I used one of theirFallen Legionnaire heads on a Catachan to make a Blood Pact traitor guardsman. Mike used one of Maxmini's jet packs in this post.

This was a simple build I just removed the eagle from the lasgun, and used putty to hide the arm seams. This is an easy way to make some convincing traitor guard models.

the skin was based in a light grey, highlighted with rotting flesh and washed with blue.

Next up is a new release from MaxMini; the Orc Pirate Boys head set, these great heads are sculpted by Wojtek Flis. I added one of the heads to a Fantasy Orc. There is also a pack of larger command style heads for bigger Orcs, these would also be great for some 40k Ork Freebooters.

I have found the quality of MaxMinis conversion bits to be very high, with very nice sculpting and clean castings with good quality resin.

Stay tuned for a MaxMini give away of these orc pirate heads, and some of their other bits.


Friday, August 14, 2009

This Ork flies with a brand spankin' new jetpack!

Allright he doesn't really fly, but it looks like it...right? Anyway I picked up some bitz from Max Mini and played around for an evening or so building a Rokkit Boy with base. Here's what I did.

The Jetpack is the one from Max Mini. It not too cheap but it looks really, really cool. At first I was going to use it for a Chaos Raptor or Iron Snake Space Marine, but the pack is too big for that. Then I figured a Rokkit Boy should work out better size wise, and it did! I really like the way the Jet Pack looks Orky and at the same time not too outragously defunct, it's a really fun design.
I built him up using a plain old Ork from the introductory battleset. I modified his arms a little and did use a Black Orc axe arm.
Here is another picture.
But by the time I was painting I wanted him to really fly, not lean. It was too passive and I couldn't make that work with the flames from his Jet Pack. So I used guitar string and made him fly, taking my time to balance him so he wouldn't fall over.
Painting was straightforward, except for one thing: the jet flames. The Jetpack from Max Mini comes with those flames, which is fun. I went online to view some real life jet flames and based my color scheme on that.
Photography wise: as a background I used Frank Millers 300 hardcover comic album. The first 2 and last 2 pages have incredible backgrounds that worked out well for this guy. And yes I bounced the flash to the ceiling to create separation from the background.
Hope this inspires!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

We have a WINNER

We did it again! Using we generated a winner for our 5th Give Away! It is commenter number 45 which is:

King's Standard Bearer said...

the bases are excellent and the golden deamon entry was awesome

So your job it is to email: with your address so you can collect your awesome prize.

Thanks to Dragon Forge for the support! Most importantly though, Dragon Forge and all the other little companies around need your support in these tough economic times! Order some stuff for a few bucks and get some great product in return!

Free Gift at Dragon Forge
If you order within the next 5 days AND in your PayPal comments mention Santa Cruz Warhammer, you get a free gift from the vaults of Dragon Forge, which is a very cool thing!

Keep reading, be inspired and share ideas!

John and Mike

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Our Fifth Give Away! More Free Dragon Forge Bases!

A while ago we gave away a beautiful set of Dragon Forge Urban Rubble Bases. It was so succesful that we asked Jeff, the mad sculptor from Dragon Forge (and recent Golden Daemon winner) to send us more stuff...and he did!

Based on the comments, a lot of readers were interested in the Parched Earth Series and that is what we will be giving away this time! Here are the goodies:

10 bases like this
one base like this
and here is the big one..60mm
Two rules to enter this Give Away:
1. become a follower
2. leave a comment. The companies that support us with the Give Away really like these to touch base with their customers..

2 EXTRA Prizes:
-if you order something at Dragon Forge in the next 7 days and you mention Santa Cruz Warhammer in your PayPal comment section, you will get a free gift from the vaults of Dragon Forge
-if the winner has Santa Cruz Warhammer added to their blogroll, John and I will send a free gift from our OWN collection, which is vast and numbers thousands of models!

SO let's have at it. We will draw the lucky winner in 3 days.

Have fun and support small, creative, independent companies. Jeff also has a blog, in which he updates his work on a regular basis. If you start following him , you can stay up to date!

John and Mike

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Better model photography on a new Nurgle Chaos Lord

OK, this post will be about two things: better model photos AND my new Nurgle Chaos Lord-on-a-Daemonic Steed-conversion.

Photos first. I figured I finally should make the pictures look a bit more fun. Not better, just more fun then the age old white background.
So I did this:
1. sat in front of an open window, let the natural light fall on the model
2. put the Apocalypse spread behind the model
3. attach a flash to the camera and bounce the light straight UP, not at the model. Ceiling is white, so the light bounces down on the model and it gives it a little 'hairline' which separates the model from the background.
You should try it, it's very easy.

Anyway, on the the 2nd part of the post: the model. I wanted to create a Nurgle Lord and had always loved the fantasy Khorne Lord on a Juggernaut. I know the codex says the Nurgle Lord should be carried around or something, but I did want to use the Juggernaut anyway.
here's the before:
The head is from the Micro Arts servitor driving the little tank that we have used many times before as Mechanized Rough Riders. The two arms are from some old Terminators. And then is is lots of green stuff.
Here he is painted:
a view from the back:
and a close up of our hero
I worked hard on the terminator backpack, having it break at the side with all the festering sores bulging out through the armour
The Juggernaut's muscles and tissue have starting to eek out as well and somehow the skulls got entangled in it. It was really fun making that, although it doesn't make too much sense..

Two things left:
-the rules for this guy are insane at this point: terminator armour, plus one attack, plus one toughness, plus one wound, move 12 inches, powerfist, twinlinked bolter, it pretty brutal, which was exactly the idea. It's kind of fun using the rules as a starting point for a model. My idea is to have him ride with bikes or raptors so they can soak up some hits in close combat, since this lord will go last.
-the templar base is from Micro Arts
Hope it inspired!