Saturday, April 15, 2017

Keep On Trukking!

Honk! Honk!
I put the final touches on my first Ork Trukk kit and I think its ready to hit the tabletop. I really like the look of this model, but I found the build to be really odd. A lot of the model stays together through tension and it feels super fragile for a gaming piece. My army needs a second Trukk transport at least, and I'm giving thought to looking for some other kit to construct it. That'd tie nicely into the feel of the Ork's non-standard nature and solve my issues with not really looking forward to building a second one of these. Maybe a converted Taurox kit would be in order? I'll have to look around.

Sans Boyz
I love the ramshackle look- just not the engineering!
Plenty of room for the kids and groceries!
Detail of the ram plate.
Love the Car-Toons feel of the driver's head. But he was kinda a bitch to fit into the cab. Again, weird fragile build.
Look, of course the Big Shoota gunner needs a chainsword - what if he runs out of bullets?!


Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Way Back Machine

The very first models I can ever remember painting, I picked up in the misty past of 1981. I was 8 years old and due to my older brother, I was obsessed with Dungeons & Dragons. Armed with a few dollars and an endless supply of begging, I got a set of D&D models at my local hobby shop - Air Hobbies & Crafts in Lumberton New Jersey. I picked up a set by Grenadier Models - #2004 Henchmen and Hirelings.


There were 9 models of varying types - torch bearers, treasure carriers, lantern bearers and more. I was super excited and totally clueless about how to paint them. I ended up using a children's plastic watercolor set on bare metal. The results were horrific. I'm sure I was very proud. 

Recently, I found the set on Ebay and decided to dip my toes back into my childhood and take another shot at painting them up. The models I got were already painted (by a 10 year old with enamels it looked like) so I threw them into a bath of Pinesol to strip them down. I've cleaned and repainted about half at this point. I still need to clean up the last four guys and get paint on them.

The first half of the set. These are some old skool sculpts. I wouldn't be surprised to learn they were made with
solder or some similar material.
Halfling torch bearer. Such a cute lil fella!
Pack bearer. He doesn't seem very happy with his
life choices.
When I was 8 I had NO IDEA what was going on with this model.
Now that I'm older I realize he's carrying his wounded buddy and I
have less questions about my sexuality.
What I love about all these sculpts is that while they might be technically wanting,
they absolutely ooze character. 

What I love the most about these models is how quintessentially they capture Gygaxian D&D to me. In Gary's version of the game, you weren't just 4-5 people delving into a dungeon. Each player had hangers-on and specialists they could hire to do jobs and take risks they might deem too dangerous to do themselves. Its why Charisma shouldn't have been your dump stat and why many of Gary's modules, like Tomb of Horrors, were so dangerous. He was banking on the idea that one of your many minions would stick their head into the Sphere of Annihilation in the gargoyle's mouth, NOT YOU! By the time you'd chewed your way to the Big Boss of the module, you should have left a trail of bodies of scrubs and favorite retainers. Its a great example of how a game designer's intent is usually not how the end users turn out playing the game. Ha!

I also managed to finish up 9 more grotz to bring my Gretchin mob up to 20 models overall. This feels much more correct to me than an 11 strong unit. 

We make holes in teeth!


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Grots! And The Future Of Warhammer 40.000

After missing a week where I didn't get to do much hobby stuff, I got back on the horse and finished up a unit Grots for my Ork army. I need to expand the unit because 10 grots isn't a functional unit, so I've got another box on the way. In the meantime, I really loved this kit - the sculpts drip with character and most are generally 2 pieces. 

"'Ere we go! 'Ere we go! 'Ere we go!"
"Ey yoose gitz! Stay outta mah yard!"
Grots are always some of the most characterful sculpts in the Ork line.

I also might use these guys as a Gretchin Revolution squad in skirmish games.

In addition to painting these guys up, like many online, I watched with great interest Game Workshop's presentation at Adepticon detailing some of the ideas surrounding the new edition Warhammer 40,000. I adore 40k in terms of storytelling and models, but the game has become overly complex for my tastes and some of the armies have serious balance issues. I eagerly look forward to the new edition embracing the learnings from Age of Sigmar, and I hope they carry a lot of the design philosophy over to the new edition.

One of the things I hope they port over from Age of Sigmar to Warhammer 40,000 is the idea that every unit is capable of hurting every other unit in the game. By ditching the traditional "to wound" chart and eliminating fixed saves, AoS has made almost every unit viable in the game (this isn't to say equal, but there is very little in the game that is unusable), so players have a greater amount of freedom in designing armies based on what they enjoy painting and building rather than what is competitive in a local meta or what is game-breaking. This allows players to engage in match ups where they are both having fun and one player isn't dominating the game based on purchasing power. It'll be possible for you bring super heavies and not be considered a jerk, and for me to bring an army of grots and not be considered an idiot. The ability for everything to hurt everything else allows both players to bring what they like without ruining their opponent's good time.

I'm also hoping for generally a more unified game - over many years of playing 40k I've always felt like each type of model was its own separate rule system all jammed together into one game. It was fun for the rules to go radical places in the older editions, but now it just feels like too much to keep up with. The AoS core rules are simple enough to "fall away" into the background during a game, which I feel lets me focus on tactics and having fun. I really want that for Warhammer 40,000 because I feel more justified buying the absolutely outstanding models GW keeps releasing.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Chaos Cultists of Dan-A-Thos

This week sees me finishing up another small 40K skirmish force. This time its the nomadic Dan-A-Thos cult who wander the ash wastes in search of victims. They are reinforced by the presence of one of Lorgar's faithful, a traitor marine of the Word Bearers. Now the whole crew is ready to spread the good news about the Gods of Chaos door-to-door.

Have you heard the Good Word about the Powers of Chaos?
These models are all primarily from the Dark Vengeance starter kit and most are simple plug-and-play models with a few that had their heads chopped off and swapped with a buddy. I think the most complex assembly was the Chaos Marine, who was easy to put together but had a lot of noodley bits to paint.

Kurzaad Clav of the Word Bearers.
Cult Leader
I gave the heavy weapon guy a new head - I just wasn't feeling
the original.
The melee component of the cult.
The vast majority of the cult are equipped for long range fighting.
The two crews ready to rumble!
Again, I really like the idea of exploring the smaller side of 40k, where one Chaos Space Marine is a highly dangerous foe and capable of influencing a whole uprising. In a similar vein, I'm super excited by the upcoming release of Shadow War: Armageddon. I hope its as much fun as I remember!


Monday, March 6, 2017

Hive Ganger Deep Space Crew Finished.

Last week was a really slow hobby week for me, at least the Monday thru Friday part. I'd just come home and flop on the couch instead of picking up a paint brush. Good for recharging, but bad for keeping hobby momentum! Thankfully, Saturday was super productive and I finished my Hive Ganger conversions.

The whole crew. Ready to rumble in the deepest Hive pit or the loneliest space dock.
I've been calling these guys Hive Gangers, but really I've been more imagining them as a rag-tag group of deep space miners/scrappers. Maybe they prospect for ore on rogue asteroids or hunt for archeotech aboard derelict starships in an interstellar Sargasso Sea. In any case, the ship's locker has plenty of weapons and they are more than ready to duke it out with anyone who gets in the way of earning a living!

This is The Foreman. He heads up any missions and gets the choicest of gear.
Bubba is the grenadier. For when things need to go "BOOM!"
Stubs is the heavy weapon operator.
Sarge is the chief of security.
Spud is the other security officer. He just joined to meet girls.
The real muscle is the mining servitor. I imagine it to be a lower tech Dreadnought - no where near as mobile but just
as crushey.

This was a fun little project that I spent waaaay too much time on. I'll be glad to not be painting Genestealer Neophyte bodies for a while, I think. Next on deck is to work on some Chaos cultists for these guys to fight.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

More Like Necro-FUN-da, Amirite?

Hive gangers battle it out with a Genestealer Cult
Necromunda is one of those iconic Games Workshop products that takes me back to my college years and always brings a grin to my face. Its not to say the game doesn't have a lot of warts, but by its very nature it created great stories and a real sense of immersion and attachment. Its been 22 years since the game was released and I can still remember those games vividly - my roommate planning a death-from-above attack with a grav-chute equipped ganger, getting so many Juves from Settlements that I could field 21 guys in my gang, so many memories.  

I wasn't aiming to exactly recreate the original buildings that came with Necromunda - more just the feeling of them.
The catwalks are just plasticard with plastic mesh glued on top. The plastic mesh is used for lining
the bottom of flower pots.
I finished up a small set of scenery that I built using some of the original plastic bulkheads that had come into my possession. The buildings and catwalks are made from scrap plasticard and were painted with lots of staining and dry-brushing. With some of the other 40k buildings I've made, I can cover most of a 4'x4' table. I'm looking forward to trying out some skirmish gaming on it. 

Adding some of my scatter terrain really ties it all together.
One thing I'd suggest to anyone is to vary up the colors on buildings. All grey or gunmetal
cityscapes are boring and un-realistic.

Next on deck is finishing up some my Hive gangers and then a small coven of Chaos cultists.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Mixed Bag 6 - Hivomunda Edition

This has been a weird week for me hobby-wise. I've been "cleaning up" little projects on my desk while creating more stuff in my backlog. Every step forward seems to put me two steps back. First up, I finished 3 more Hive Scum for some 40k-themed skirmish gaming I plan to do soon. That plan has side-tracked a lot of my other projects lately.

Hive gangers, criminal scum, maybe a deep space mining crew? 

To add some muscle to my gangers, I'm adding a dude in power armor. I'll end up arming him with a bolt pistol and a mining pick from the Neophyte sprue.

The torso and legs are an extra Iron Hands Deathwatch marine,
the pack is from a Dark Angels marine, and the head
is from Puppetswar.

I've also started building some quick terrain from a load of Necromunda plastic bulkheads I acquired and some scrap plasticard. I still need to build some gantries and walkways to connect everything and get some paint on it all.

Added to my collection of buildings made from electrical boxes and this should make a fine Underhive.
Some elevated firing platforms.

Next up, I built some plastic Chaos cultists for more skirmish fun. This is a really nice kit that uses the two piece models from the 40K starter Dark Vengeance. I like quick to build models and they were easy to carve up and convert a bit with head swaps. I really like the idea of a single Traitor Marine leading a rag-tag group of degenerates in battles beneath a hive.

Still a few more guys to build and add.

Finally, after nattering on 40k stuff all week, I got around to finishing the last two Stormcast Retributor models that I needed to make the squad game legal. These guys are intentionally painted up simple - I just wanted a second force to throw down when playing Age of Sigmar. I used to do this a lot - making fast armies that friends can borrow or that I can play to keep games fresh. I really should get them all together and take some photos. Eventually.

Stop! Hammer time.