Monday, 11 February 2019

A Little Bit o' Painting - Blackstone Traitor Guard

been busy, but not a lot of hobby stuff though. here's what i've been working on.

BSF - Traitor Guard Done

After finishing off the (required; imperial/marines) BF Gothic fleets the main thing left of the table (until i shuffle something else up there) is Blackstone models.

The traitor guard finally got some solid brush-time and ended up 'organically good'.  lots of base colours, then lots of washes, then lots of dry brushing. seemed to go to plan.

batch painting eeeeerg,  but anyway, done.

they are more or less based on the official painting guide - at least the major tones/blocks. substituted whatever paint i had that was more of less the same hue.
Above is one squad worth. they're on 15mm bases as they are base type small (same as ur-ghuls, spindle-bots etc). the base manufacturer only does metric rounded to nearest 10mm (sometimes 5mm) far as i can tell. does the job.

And this is all of them.

The only really 'modelling' changes were removing the ground debris - rocks etc attached to boots  and the two sergeants are now slightly different from each other - one has the 'back spikes' and the other has a skull next to his boot.

reasonably pleased with the result - read: as much effort as i could be bothered with.

[later: just occurred to me to add a small 'trim' colour to differentiate the squads more easily (red v blue etc).]

this leaves me with just the beastmen and psykers from the hostiles to do!! kind of exciting, really getting through them now.

and of course the explorers/characters. the elf is still on the table (getting there... slowly). i think they're taking longer as they're one-of pieces so more brush washes and changes to get just one model done. will get there eventually. looking forward to a game soon (maybe today [maybe not]), and no excuse now all the 'basic' level hostiles are done.

as an aside, there is a small thread of local interest in the game. a couple of people i know (in passing) are playing and i wouldn't mind getting a multi-person game in if possible.

Other - BFG - eldar fleet...
Continuing work on the eldar BFG ships. Am painting up all the cruisers as a batch. not 100% convinced on the colours but that's a recurring theme. slow progress. lots of dry brushing (which is slow work).
[later: sample model]

Other - BFG  - NC roadtrip...
Might head up to newcastle for Feb session. Looks like there might be some BFG happening so might be worth the trip.

Re Epic Factions
This is going to sound like a half-whine but it's not meant to be. More a contemplation of something (vaguely) humorous i thought about....

So epic has a number of different factions. This is a good thing IMO as it makes the armies/factions/models more representative of what they're meant to be like in the fluff (fiction).
It's actually a nice thing to be able to run 'hordes' or 'air assault' or 'armoured' or 'skimmers' or 'titans' yada yada...

I've mentioned before that one of my biggest hurdles with the game is that 4 our of 5 times i'm not going to know what the opponent's army does (and i've also heard this comment from other people too) so you're faced with 'tricks' that your army has no counter for etc. You're fighting blind.

I've been playing a lot of chess recently and while the static nature of the pieces is (or at least used to strike me as) a little dull, it does mean that everyone knows what everyone else is capable of doing. Therefore it's intrinsically more of a strategic endeavour, rather than a 'bag-o-tricks' game (which i hate... ask 'Infinity').
It could always be argued that you need to learn what the opponent has... which is not practical/feasible given;
a) so few games per annum, 
b) number of list in a tournament, 
c) the theoretical nature of such a study,
d) etc

Anyway i was contemplating what chess would be like if you could sub-in 'trick' pieces - and it might looks something like...

during setup...
opponent: "i'm swapping my queen for a dark cardinal."
me: "errrr ok."
opponent: "and i'm swapping my king's knight with an enchanted unicorn."
me: "hmmmmm."
opponent: "and you're running... standard from the looks of it?"
me: "yeah."

during game play - first move...
opponent: "my dark cardinal takes your queen."
me: "what ?!  how ?!"
opponent: "dark cardinal can jump over any other pieces of lesser points value at any time."
me: "what?"
opponent: [scrambles briefly through army list pages]
me: "fine. then my king takes your dark cardinal."
opponent: "no, you can't take a dark cardinal by moving horizontally after it's just taken a piece horizontally. or diagonally if it's just taken diagonally. so you can only take it by moving diagonal now."
me: "what ?!"
opponent: "it's in the army list."
me: "fine. so nothing can take it where it is at the moment. how is this not checkmate ?"
[eyes start glazing over]
opponent: "the dark cardinal alternates..." [looks up army sheet, and taps on page] "...moving horizontally and diagonally to take pieces. so next time it can only take a piece by moving diagonally."
[annoyed pause]
"here, i'll put down a token so you can see which one it has just done."
me: [rolls eyes]

a little later...
opponent: "now my enchanted unicorn takes your rook. and also your other rook."
me: [eye roll]
"uhhuh... why?"
opponent: "a unicorn can make two consecutive moves, which gets him across the board here and here. and because it's also enchanted it removes any pieces from the square on the mirror side of the board if it's also occupied."
me: [flips board in disgust and vows never to play this stupid game again]

Until next time...

Sunday, 3 February 2019


in summary:  eldar. imperials done. marine foam tray. 

eldar - how i used up all my hobby luck for the year

australia day long weekend. went to canberra as per standard MO.
didn't play cancon but did pop in a couple of times. kind of miss it. kind of don't.

last year i picked up a box of original/metal ork ships. basically a very worthwhile starter fleet. haven't done anything with them just yet but they're in the queue to do.

anyway, got there close to opening time, and the place i got them from (a stall in the main section, not the bring-n-buy) had a box of eldar ships as well (which i saw last year and decided not to get). STILL THERE!

as i grabbed the case, i cheered (internally of course - in case there were other bits i'd overlooked previously. no point gathering attention). i cheered a lot.

all original models, all complete, painted even.

given the renewed interest i'd have thought they might have hit ebay by now but i'm guessing the seller didn't know what they had, didn't realise what they were for, didn't know about the resurgence, or didn't care and 2nd had stuff can take care of itself.
anyway they're now mine. woohoo!

think i've used up all my hobby luck for the year so i'll be rolling 1s for everything except leadership tests (bring on the double 6's, i love it!!). 

i've started stripping the paint off the models. first time doing this and opted for dettol bath (the cup in the zip-lock bag to reduce smell).

seems to work ok. am getting a bit of sticky residue here and there - apparently caused by water. avoid.

started with the small ships as tests and then continued because they're fiddly. all the big ships to go. might need a bigger cup.

am going to go a screaming skull base. some kind of wash to add texture. then highlights of a light (apple/teal) green and possibly black (maybe a super-dark orange). haven't seen a colour scheme like this before but i'm hoping it'll work.

am not going to have enough x-wing sticks for all of these. am putting off getting more until the ships are further along.

paint stripping (round 1) is done. have chucked all the smaller ships and bits back in the pint (graduated from little glass tumble to pint glass) of dettol for another parse.

there is a bit much sticky residue for my liking and hopeful another dunk will shift it. am hoping not to need turps. 

all the cruisers with some base coat happening...
these now have x-wing sticks. definitely not going to have enough.  

imperials done - new battleship

the final imperial ship is done... the ironically named majestic-class battleship. 

this will most likely be my flag ship for the (already started) campaign we have going on.

the majestic-class is basically a emperor-class with the left/right weapons batteries swapped out for lances instead.
anyway, she's done.

i'm very unlikely to have enough room on one tray for all of these...

marines foam tray

had a note in the door saying something arrived. had enough time to pop out to pick it up. hot wire cutter!

results are not overly pretty but should do the job. pretty much as planned.

Theoretically i'll be doing up an imperial one (and for the other fleets too). i'm not sure there will be enough space for everything.

For the eldar fleet there are a loooooot of little ships, and the big ones are big vertically as well.

The imperials just squeezed on to the preliminary layout but once there's a bit of padding around the ship i'm pretty sure they're just not going to fit.

am considering a couple of things (mainly re imperial fleet at the moment);
i) i could go a bigger box. i have plenty of the larger boxes around.
ii) i could make the trays specific. as in they would hold 1 battleship, 3-5 cruisers + escorts... so enough for a specific list for a game but possibly not all the ships all the time. 
iii) tray for capital ships, tray for escorts. they should/might be able to sit 2 high in the box. 

marines - campaign 

worth mentioning that last thursday we had a game at north ryde. marines first run on the table and managed to secure a victory.

we're playing a campaign so more going on than just blasting away. scenarios are fun. 

marines had to step up as the imperials weren't quite table-worthy. 

Until next time...

Monday, 21 January 2019

Like Old School Traditional

[original draft 2019-01-17]

Wanted to take the opportunity to post up some excellent work from a friend of mine. Too good not to show-and-tell.

At the end of last year i got into my head to get an oversized chess set for my partner as a birthday present (which turned into an xmas present, which turned into a joyous-back-to-work-tidings present). Whenever we (infrequently) go away and stay at hotels there's often chess boards around and we end up having a game. 

After a brief look around i only found one place that does 'large' sets locally but none of their stock had that 'it' factor. Obviously, online search followed and there were some (but not a whole lot of) intriguing works.

So talked to a mate of mine who does art-level woodworking (...that's high btw) about perhaps having one made.
Plans were set and i whipped up a concept in sketechup, which received a counter sketch, and some design discussions.
BTW, this is based on an existing set from someone on... etsy (...possibly... maybe). There are several modifications, similarities as well, but IMO enough to make it not flat-out plagiarism.

This turned into objects over the subsequent weeks...

Resulting in a (currently) unique work of art.

In situ...
The blonde colour palette was chosen to make the set stand-out better against the rest of the red/brown woods of the floors and furniture (of which this table is not a great example, whoops).

We have played several games, and i'm yet to lose a game, but suffice to say that we're both getting used to how chess works again.

Game 1; didn't last long...

Game 2; was a brutal bloodbath...

About Chess...
While i'm here... historically i've never really been a huge chess fan. Possibly the abstract aspect of the game engine lacks the fluffy flavour that stimulates my imagination in the way that tabletop war games do.

That said i've played more chess in the last few weeks than the prior two or three decades and have very much enjoyed the experience.

My biggest gripe with Epic is irreconcilable imbalances between various factions - this is entirely absent with chess (equal pieces, equal abilities).

Previously i'd found the chess environment restrictive, but treating the game as more of a logic puzzle rather than a battle narrative is making it quite enjoyable.

Additionally the absence of dice (which i inevitably roll poorly) is actually a nice change. If a gambit fails it's due to poor decisions and placement rather than shitty luck... which rates in as a big thumbs up.

Until next time...

A Few Models Here and There

Just sort of finishing a few little things off here and there.

Battlefleet Gothic

Pretty much done with a starter imperial fleet for a game buddy.

Had a great deal of difficulty working out colours but opted for strong gold features. Haven't seen something like this done before and not disappointed with the result.
Looks a bit washed out in the picture... poor lights for a change.
Was originally going with burnt orange features but it looked not so good. 
Hopefully this will be satisfactory.

Also re BFG: 
- finished the dictator cruiser, just awaiting the x-wing sticks. 
- got some foam for the insert fleet trays. awaiting assembly.
- still need to finish printing the bits for the majestic. 

Blackstone Fortress

Finished off the Negavolt cultists for BSF. These have been progressing over the last few days and finished off last night.
Was in the mood for a game yesterday but got sidetracked, but at least prompted the completion of these guys.

This is my collected progress for BSF so far. still plenty to go but at least i'm almost done with the 'beginner' hostiles and getting there with the commonly used characters.

Still working on the eldar ranger; entirely different colour set to the negavoltists so they didn't progress simultaneously. 

Will probably start on the traitor guard next. Looots of models (comparatively). batch painting. boring.

Until next time...

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Space Meanies

[original draft 2019-01-16]

Marine Fleet
The "Angel Spear" Space Marines fleet is now done...

Did pretty much all the detailing beyond leadbelcher undercoat last night, and sticked them up too (all but one, as i was missing - you guessed it - one stick. Have ordered another batch today).

Reasonably pleased with the result. Like most of these projects they're nicer viewed at arms length and in quantity, where the (hopefully) massed uniformity gives them a bit more gravitas. Solo you (well... i) tend to notice the flaws of the individual ships.

Anyway... ships on the table and all that.

The 'x-wing bases' are proving (no great surprise) happily utilitarian.

On the way to stickiness...

I had difficulty selecting highlight colours (as usual) and opted for screaming bell which is a metallic, almost rusty red. Traditionally i've used this colour as a 'gold alternative' for my chaos armies, but i really like the colour.... so that's what these guys got. Picked out a few panels here and there (probably most noticeable on the front of the strike cruiser).
Had originally considered the warplock bronze which is another fantastic colour (more a bronze/brown metallic, and kind of makes the eye see a tinge of green sometimes... eerie). But before i could find it the screaming bell caught my eye.

A couple of progress shots just cos i had them.

From black to yellow (averland sunset, followed by a wash of agrax).

And before that everything gets a coat of black...

So that's the build complete. yhay!

I still need to do the engine glow (thought of it last night and forgot it again - just 15 minutes of dry brushing to resolve that).... [ed: done.]
...and then find a suitable box for them.

At the moment the ships have no names, can work on that at leisure with no games currently on the immediate calendar.

The Battle Barge (biggest ship) has a name; 'Maximus' and has an 'IV' marking as well, implying perhaps it is the 4th Battle Barge in the Chapter's fleet.

So now onto the cerebral fun stuff... make a chapter and fill in some fluff details. Far more invigorating than splashing paint about ('specially in a hot box).

Imperial Fleet
In other news i cut out some cardboard for a mock up tray to work out fleet arrangement.
Why? adding two new ships. 
Had the space on the tray and thought 'what could i use?' and decided on;
i)   a 'dictator' class cruiser - which will be sitting on the back line launching streams of ordinance and torpedoes up the board
ii)  a 'majestic' class battleship which has a bunch of lances and launch bays which will probably become the new 'go to' flag ship - making the 'retribution' a bit redundant. Should be a fairly aggressive ship which should be fun.

Anyway, need to shuffle everything around to fit it all in now... should work.
Probably need to go to clarks rubber to pick up some foam. May end up making a similar tray for the marines so probably worth the trip even if it's only < 1m2 of foam.

Other Imperial Fleet
I've done a bit of work on an imperial fleet i'm making for a friend.  Having colour indecision issues, but starting to achieve a colour scheme i'm not loathing. Grounds for confidence?

Fleet Transport
Literal, real-world transport.

As much as i like the aldi art boxes, i'm considering just sticking to the one box. Don't really want another stack of boxes... pretty as they are. Especially since the fleet actually takes up maybe a quarter of the volume.

Each fleet will have an 'insert tray' with the foam and stick holes and whatnot.

Then the top tray (probably a brush section) of the art box will have the centre cut out so the fleet tray can slot in when it's going to be taken somewhere.

Something like this...
[ed 2019-01-22: this happened as planned. still need to put the stick holes and foam carving.]

Other Stuff Entirely - Coffee
I noticed on the weekend that the plants were getting a bit of yellow-leaf. Research suggests this could be 'water trauma'.
Given i'm watering frequently (especially when there's a heatwave, but also when it's not) i'm finding this curious. Perhaps the heatwave interspersed with relative cold spells is contributing as well. Mainly affecting the 'right' (smaller) plant.

I don't think they're waterlogged, the under plates do have water in them constantly but there's no reason that is shouldn't be able to drain out... and the pot would need to be REALLY full of water to reach up to the root ball (should only be about 15-20cm deep by this stage).
am vaguely considering ditching the under plates to ensure it's not blocking the drainage...

That aside... there is actually lots of new shoots and new growth at the tops and these are 'burn' free. Will be another case of wait-and-see.
I've also nipped out the central lead sprouts to try to encourage lateral growth.

Hopefully the heatwaves (predicted for next several days) won't cook them entirely.

Until next time...

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Side Projects - Starter Fleets and Marines... and Bugs (oh my)

[original draft 2019-01-02  -  merry new year]
This post may end up becoming a bit of an accumulated build log until certain projects stop looking like the original pics...

Imperial Navy Starter Fleet
Have started printing a BFG starter fleet for a game buddy. Will just be a mix of some of the more utilitarian/common imperial ships for starters.

2 Lunars, 2 Dauntless, 4 Swords... all guns and lances, a few torpedoes to get a taste of ordinance.
The Swords are still awaiting bases. Am recycling the bases from the Blackstone Fortress models, as those're all getting clear bases... eventually.

Aside - Name Tags
I'm strongly considering not continuing with the name badges for the Imperial ships. Am instead considering using the number tokens out of the x-wing box. 'Ship 1' can be any of the ships and it's easy to reference on the list and for the other player(s). Time to raid the x-wing box again methinks.

[later: something exactly like this...]

Marines Fleet
I have started constructing a space marine fleet. Apparently they're good with ordinance and boarding.
After my experiences with (IMO lacklustre) marines in Epic i was a bit hesitant about investing time and effort in a marines fleet for BFG. Yet here i am...
5 Strike Cruisers, 2 Gladius, 4 Nova, 4 Hunter, 12 sets of Thunderhawks (boarding craft - still to print their bases).
The Gladius and Nova are my own model. These are being printed at 78% as they're out of proportion at 100% with the Nova looking too much like a Strike Cruiser.
The 2 Gladius i had done previously will be used on a new - and inglorious - project (*).
I will be using the 'strike cruiser' i made previously as a battle barge. It's about as large as a battleship model. May end up adding some extra widgets and gubbins to the model. May not.
The 5 strike cruisers are someone elses model (not the one i'm using as the battle barge).

* as a future project i'm going to take some mis-sized prints, might even have to print a couple of extra bits and pieces. i will then glue them together and make a (ork) space hulk. should be cool. looking forward to that project. Glue a number of ships together, fill in some gaps with wall plaster to make is asteroidy, bit of texture... one space hulk.

The temperature here is crazy hot so my paint area is unusable for more than 10 minutes at a time unless i feel like a therapeutic sweat. So not much painting. Conversely the printer is adhering to the base plate well.

[later: battle barge]

The marines Battle Barge is (as far as fluff goes) predominantly about launching assault/boarding craft either at a planet or at enemy ships. 
Sure, there bombardment cannons and batteries and so on but it's effectively about close combat.

Based on research pics i decided to modify the existing model a bit.
For starters, i've added on some turrets (same size as used on the retribution battleship) so give an impresison of larger. yes, the cannon on the front is a big bastard.... that's the left/right/front dorsal bombardment cannon (as per rule book).
The overall shape is not exactly on par with those of the rule book but i'm pushing the 'xyz class represents a scale or function of a ship, not a specific model'... and i almost buy it. 

The prow previous had a big gun poking out which has been snip-tucked into flight decks. superglue some off-cuts into a new prow launch bay and should look fine once painted up.
Some pics also have some antenna form the front of the ship, not sure what for but i've added some token 'poke'.

Will potentially be adding on some more off-cut bumps and shapes to break up the larger plains [ed: i did, not a heap but a bit here and there]. This is more an 'arts' project than a (3d) modelling one now.

I printed off some bases for the thunderhawk and did a test batch. The ships (133% scale) shuck soooo much easier than the original size ones.
with the base i'm cutting off the 'stands' which print ridiculously poorly (and i can't find the original stl to modify them) and then using cut filament as the new stick. gluing pla is surprisingly frustrating, but seems to work eventually.
am probably more happy with the test batch than the original size. might be a tiny, tiny, tiny bit too big.... how much do i want to reprint them all though??

[later] obviously i did reprint them, at 125%. and i'm even reconsidering that too, maybe even 120% or 115% would be ideal... however i have already started constructing the 125% version and i'm not doing it twice which makes the decision far easier. 
The battlebarge, strike cruisers and gladius frigates have made it to the paint desk (top section). The nova and hunters are awaiting paint sticks and a final cleanup (bottom section), and the thawks are still being assembled (bottom of the bottom section) - 5 (of 12) stands to go.

[later] Bugs
With the printer basically operational and idle i started churning out some Tyranid ships.
Completed so far: the first of two hive ships, 5 cruisers, and the first of many escorts. Each of the larger ships took 3+ hours to complete but that's the majority of them done. mainly just escorts to go.

The prints ran end-to-end successfully - lots of despruing - and this is before any fixes/carving (due to poor SLA printing on a 'high detail' model).  so yeah lots of work to go on these. i'm thinking of them more as a basic shape from which i'll need to arts-and-crafts something vaguely respectable.

Until next time...

Birth of a Battlefleet

[original draft 2018-12-28]

Over the last couple of weeks and in line with the addition of the Sword and Dauntless reinforcements, the whole fleet got a quick make over in regards to their paint job.
To date, the paintwork was intentionally neutral; shades of grey and little else, but the fleet's new livery has now been deployed.
Kinda greeny-yellow with a wash of null oil to dirty it down...

The faster, smaller ships (dauntless displacement and less) got yellow prows, while the less-jovial ships just got splashes of yellow here and there to break up the grey.
It's a reasonably unified look, which was the goal, with enough variety to add a little more visual interest.

The new ships got their names and box slots.

The fleet has played a few games now, and has enough 'experience' to warrant granting them (collectively) a name...

Segmentum: Pacificus
Sector: Dorsala
Battlefleet Raphael

More games gives them more history, which gives them more personality which makes them more fun to play... repeat.

Not sure how far the fluff will develop for them. More likely they'll be 'in passing' with other project.

Had a session last night. Something different, was actually a 2 to 1 battle using a (non-cruiser clash) scenario.

Tom fielded a massive (2000pt) fleet of orks (plus transports) aiming ominously down-board...

Towards the hapless Planet where Declan's eldar fleet and my Imperials await... somewhat nervously.

Fair to say that it took a little while for the fleets to manoeuvre into range, aside from the occasional nova cannon shot and Declan's eldar zipping up the side.

The fleets did inevitable clash however, the ork capital ships largely protected by a line of sacrificial escort ships. Not to say they didn't take a few casualties but... that's a loooooot of orks!

Although we didn't strictly follow the scenario (cut short due to time and a bit of rules misreading), we finished up when a number of ork ships successfully reached the planet.

From my understanding the scenario can continue on another smaller board, with the orks needing to reach 30cm from the new board edge (representing low planet orbit zone).
We did also misuse some planetary defence equipment, lances and ordinance that probably should only have been used on the smaller board.
With the orks on the 'small board' (planetary orbit) the main board was fairly clear and potentially the imperial and eldar ships might have been able to chase them toward the planet.
There were not a whole lot of casualties on the imperial/eldar side; a few escorts, but generally the capital ships were still quite functional.

Suffice to say that even with haphazard utilisation of the rules it was an interesting, suspenseful and entertaining game.
The battle can definitely be added to Battlefleet Raphael's chronicles.

Sadly the inhabitants of the planet are now due for a bit of a ground war.
Epic Anyone?