Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Genestealer Hybrid Step-by-Step

Yarg! Last time I listed out a bunch of projects I wanted to finish up before tackling a larger project like Burning of Prospero, and instead I've gotten sidetracked painting more Genestealer Hybrids for a small cult. The minions of the 4 Armed Emperor have insidiously woven their tendrils into my painting queue  and now my entire desk is over-run with them. Thankfully, I really REALLY like these models so the painting has gone quick, but I managed to take photos for a step-by-step of how I tackle doing so many so quickly.

These techniques are designed to paint ARMIES to high standards quickly. As much as I like seeing an individual model painted nicely, its legions of them that thrill me; ergo my painting style has evolved to reflect this. I don't come to the table with unpainted miniatures, and the ones I bring are nicely done with extra time spent on centerpiece models. For troops, I want something that gets them done quickly and to good standard. Quantity has a quality all its own.

The model is assembled and primed White with a spray.
Base colors are laid in:
Flesh - VGC Dwarf Flesh
Jump Suit - GW Trollslayer Orange
Gun/Gloves/Boots/Tubes - P3 Greatcoat Grey
Tongue - VGC Pink
Lights - GW Yriel Yellow and/or Lothern Blue
Metals - GW Leadbelcher
Neatness is helpful here but not 100% critical.
The whole model is washed with Army Painter Strong Tone Ink.
I use a brush to make sure that the ink is spread evenly, otherwise it can pool and dry
in big dark patches.
My technique is very similar to a "Dip Technique" except
that the shading isn't the final step. We'll be going back in and
working our color up so we don't have a muddy looking figure.
After the first ink wash has dried, I go back and apply
a wash of Army Painter Dark Tone ink over all the areas that were grey.
This will result in a dark, almost black, grey on these items later.
The features of the face and the tongue were also given a thin wash of GW Druchii Violet.

Step 4.
With all our washes dry, I use GW Trollslayer Orange to work the raised areas of
the jumpsuit back up in color. I also then use a thin amount of VGC Dead White to highlight the
edges and broad areas of the armor/respirator.
Step 5.
The skin is painted VGC Dwarf Flesh, leaving the recessed areas in as much shadow as possible.
The tip of the tongue is also painted VGC Pink again, leaving the area towards the mouth alone.
The metals are highlighted with GW Runefang Steel.
The cheekbones, eyebrows, nose, forehead ridges and cranium are all highlighted
with a 50/50 mix of VGC Dwarf Flesh and GW Ushabti Bone.
A stripe is added to the gun by painting a line of GW Trollslayer Orange and then another
over it in GW Yriel Yellow when the first stripe is dry.
After this, the model will be taken off its pedestal and pinned onto a resin base.

And that's it. I tend to paint models in batches of 3-5, working on one step on multiple models at a time. I know of people who work in larger batches, but the smaller number makes me feel like I'm making progress as I add finished models to existing units. Over 3 days off during my winter break, I managed to get 14 of these guys done with plenty of breaks for bad movies, trips to the dog park and visiting friends. The key here is remember that you are painting troops who will take a single hit and be off the table in no time. Reserve techniques like blending, picking out eyes, freehand designs, ect. for models like heroes or monsters or tanks that will stick around for most of the game.

I've got a handful of models to finish before calling the army done, and this arrived on my doorstep yesterday:

So I guess you can figure out what you'll see next on this blog.


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Genestealer Coven Limo

"Yo, Dawg! We heard you liked Genestealers, so we put a Genestealer in your… ALL HAIL THE HIVEMIND. GLORY
Back in November I posted some pictures of a taxi model I got from the crew over at Warex-minis. Having really enjoyed painting that kit and working on a burgeoning Genestealer Cult army, I decided to grab another of their sculpts - the Genetic Coven Limo. The model is based on the original limousines that Games Workshop made for the 'Stealer Covens but never made commercially available. The moment I saw it, I knew that I wanted this kit.

Pimp that ride. This vehicle is a hover variant. 
That's a helluva cow-catcher on the front of a luxury vehicle.
I really dig the whole 80's Batmobile-esque engine on the back.

The sculpting and casting was really crisp and the whole thing arrived very quickly from across the globe to my house in Seattle. I can't recommend this company and its models enough. Even if I don't use the model in-game, it makes and awesome addition to my scenery collection. I can just imagine using it in an under-Hive scenario in Necromunda. Awesome stuff.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Crimson Fists Complete!

Stand proud, noble Sons of Dorn!
When I made the decision to paint the Orks for the Assualt on Blackreach set and step back into the universe of Warhammer 40.000, I knew I'd eventually get around to painting the Space Marines in the box. Space Marines are like potato chips - you can never have just one. I've owned several armies of the big armored lunks over the years, but my last was a force of Crimson Fists that is sitting  in cases somewhere back in New Jersey. I did bring a couple of the tanks with me to the West Coast, so I figured I'd just add some models to them and BLAMMO! - new army. Working on these guys made me nostalgic for my college days, when I and my roommates would cobble together stray Space Marines into a new army to spring on one another over the course of a week. Fun times.

Force Commander Hektor Ibanez
Squad Koteas - Terminators of the 1st Company
Squad Matias
Squad Alejandro

I've always liked the Crimson Fists. From their appearance on the cover of the original Rogue Trader rulebook, to their penchant for doomed defenses of lost causes, to the simplicity of their color scheme: they are what I think of when I hear the words "Space Marines". The Spanish naming conventions of the Crimson Fists also drew me in - it added a little more dimension to 40k than just everything thing being fake space-Latin. 

The Land Raider is always a centerpiece for a Marine army.
I added a bunch of freehand work on this guy back in the day. 
I didn't do the interior on this one for reasons I can't remember now.
Always loved the AdMech insignia on the engine cowl.

I don't think I'll add much more to the force. Right now its a nice little army to introduce friends who want to try 40k out or to play games in an evening with. I don't foresee adding Drop-pods, Assault Marines, Attack Bikes, et all to these guys anytime soon in the future. It does feel really good to have these models finished and not just languishing on sprues taking up space in my cabinet. Now they can take up space elsewhere, I guess. :)

Man, that's an old Rhino chassis; huh? And with a metal turret and extra armor bits, it weighs a ton.
Ancient Brother Rodrigo rounds out the army.

I'm also making some progress on my new 15mm Scifi army, I'll post some shots of those soon.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Mixed Bag 5 - Zakus and Napoleonic Naval Ships

Lately, my hobby projects have been pretty scattershot - I feel like I'm cleaning up several small projects while trying to prep for a couple bigger ones in the future. At the moment I'm working on a new 15mm scifi army, finishing up a Space Marine force from Assault on Blackreach, expanding my Genestealer forces from Deathwatch: Overkill into a full army, and trying to find the time to start assembling my copy of Burning of Prospero. And that's just what I can think of off the top of my head. My desk is boiling over with a myriad of other little projects that I want to get around to. I thought I'd share two today.

A pair of Zeon mobile suits ready to cause trouble for Earth.
First up is a pair of Zakus from the Mobile Suit Gundam universe. While I've always like the Gundam aesthetic and I've started several of the model kits in the past, I've never finished one. I find them way too intricate and tedious to build. My enjoyment comes primarily from the painting of models, and the longer this is delayed, the less interested I am. These Zaku kits solve that problem for me by coming pre-built and pre-painted. Technically, they are 1/200 scale toys (they stand about 4" tall)  and come fully articulated with multiple weapon load outs. All I really need to do is grime them up with some weathering and then attach them to a gaming base.

A basic Zaku II carrying a machine-gun and a pair of missile pods.
These models were given a shot of Dullcote to provide some "tooth" for
washes and dry-brushing to adhere to before adding paint.
The idea of a giant robit carrying bazooka strikes me as such
overkill that I end up loving this guy most of all.
I opted for mounting them on clear acrylic bases from Litko so that I could use them
in ground or space battles with no work.
I've got one more Zaku to do (the infamous Red Comet piloted by MSG villain extraordinaire Char Anazable) and a few Earth Force mobile suits on the way. I plan on creating some quick and simple rules to use for a multiplayer game. Hopefully that should be a lot of fun.

3 French Frigates on the prowl. I still need to add rigging to the models, but for now
they are certainly game ready.
I've also been working on some 1:1200 Napoleonic sailing ships for use of Osprey Publishing's Fighting Sail rules. While I've always wanted to play naval games set in the period, most of the rule systems are hobbies unto themselves and I really just want to dip my toes into the water, so to speak. Fighting Sail seems simple and abstract enough that even a land-lubber like me can grasp them and have a fun afternoon of quoting "Master & Commander: Far Side of the World" in my best Russel Crowe impression.

The first two ships are metal castings from GHQ. The last frigate is a plastic pre-painted model that
I shaded and highlighted from the Sails of Glory game. Both manufacturers mix pretty well.
I've still got two more French Ships of the Line to paint before working on some scenery. My buddy Ron is going to squeeze a British naval force into his painting queue so we should be able to try the game out eventually.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Muskets & Tomahawks, Oh My!

This past weekend; I got to play a big multiplayer game of Muskets & Tomahawks, a set of rules that cover the North American portion of the Seven Years War (or the French and Indian War as we Yanks call it) by Studio Tomahawk - the first game by makers of the popular Dark Age game SAGA. Muskets & Tomahawks has become one of my favorite games in the last couple years and I try to play it any chance I get, which is kinda funny because I remember when my friends were talking me into playing it I wasn't super excited.

My two units of French Regulars and their Officer in the center
Three units of Huron Native American Allies and their war-chief
And finally, some Canadian fur trappers act as a militia to bolster my forces.

I grew up in the North Eastern United States. Places like Valley Forge, Jockey Hollow, and Bunker Hill were regular field trips as a child. "Last of the Mohicans" was practically required reading in my household. While I had a reasonable knowledge of the time period, I just didn't have much of an interest in wargaming it. I was more interested in later or earlier periods, usually taking place on the opposite side of the world. I guess my familiarity with the Colonial period of American history just bred some contempt for it. Thankfully, I bend pretty easily to peer-pressure when it comes to trying out skirmish level games (30 or so models a side) and I decided to give it a try.

My French column advances towards a small village in this game. It is also the first time I made a mat made from
teddy bear fur.
Muskets & Tomahawks uses a card-driven unit activation system which also creates the turn order of the game. Each player contributes a number of cards to a shared deck depending on the types of units they are bringing to the battle. During a turn, the deck is shuffled and then each card is turned over in order. Each card allows a certain number of actions to be taken by a specific type of unit per player. Once all cards have been run through, the turn is over and the deck reshuffled. The system provides a lot of command and control "friction", and players have to come up with general battle plans that they need to adjust as events unfold. The system also ties into army building, as taking a less diverse force means contributing less cards to the deck and this adds an interesting dimension to the game.

My buddy Ron has a fantastic array of scenery for the game.
The other place the game really shines is in its support of narrative-style play. Each side randomly determines its mission and the game ends when one side achieves its objective. Additionally, every player receives a side-plot which acts as a second objective in the game and achieving this can turn a loss into a tie or minor victory into a major one. There is enough variety in these missions and side-plots to really keep the game fresh. I can honestly say that I have yet to play two games of Muskets & Tomahawks that have felt the same.

British Rangers advance through a field to be a pain in the rear.
Like I said, its become one of my favorite games to play and it goes to show that you've got little to lose by trying out a set of rules that you may not be interested in on the surface.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Half the Size and All the Fun

Its been a while since I've unpacked my 15mm scifi models and I've been itching to game with them again lately. A while back, some friends and I got the bug and we ended up building armies for the GRUNTZ game system but got burnt out on the system after some hard core play. Which is a shame, because I really enjoy 15mm as a scale to paint and play in. 15mm does vehicles really well and on the whole armies can be put together for a song compared to 28mm.

15mm is perfect for maximizing your gaming space as well.

One of the fun parts of 15mm scifi is that its so generic that you have the opportunity to create your own stories. I decided to base my army on an oppressive mega-corportation called Zark Industries. Zark Industries makes everything from diapers to death rays and its interests span the galaxy. On worlds that populate the Fringe, Zark Industries uses its power like a club - standing in for local government and militaries. Zark Industries brokers no interference from local populations who may oppose their plans and routinely pacify rebel groups that take up arms against them.

The primary troops are Genetically Optimized Occupation/Neutralization Squads - or G.O.O.N Squads. These clone grown troops obey without question and fight to the end without the burden of a conscience. 

Heavily armored and wielding state-of-the-art weaponry, GOON Squads form the backbone of the army.
The Army is commanded by a local Chairman. Her support unit is even more heavily
armored than the rest of the army.
The heaviest weapons are incorporated into drone units.
15mm also allows you to grab models from a variety of ranges. These AT-43 troops in power armor become huge crowd-suppression mechs in 15mm. Larger vehicle kits become immense dreadnoughts with very little work or cost.

Mobile Suppression Walkers allow for crowd control in built up cities.
I used several pieces from the AT-43 range to make heavy weapon variants.
Polecat Patrol Vehicles lead rapid response teams.
A Mammoth Class Command Truck acts a mobile headquarters from which to
coordinate Zark Industries nefarious plans.
The final unit in the army is the Ajax Class Control Ark. Its built off the chassis of an AT-43 Karman buggy and is meant to be center-piece for the army. The Control Ark was super ridiculous when stat-ed out in GRUNTZ and I probably would only end up using it as an objective in a game nowadays.

The Control Ark is meant to crush all resistance with little regard to the consequences.

I think my next project in 15mm is going to be a rebel group to fight the evil corporate interests of Zark Industries. I've already got a bunch of troops for it, and 15mm scifi paints up so quickly. I know a lot of people are daunted by the scale, but if you aren't painting troops that have to reference historical units then you can really crank stuff out. Most of what I've done here with the infantry is just basecoats with an ink wash for shading. Plus, 15mm is so cheap that there really isn't an excuse to try it out yourself.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Taxis, Limos and 'Stealers!

Anybody call for a cab?

Who has exact change? Quick, or the Magus will be mad we're late!
Not so long ago I ordered the "Imperial City Car MK-IX" from a company called Warex Minis on Ebay. I was really intrigued by these models and thought it would make a great bit of terrain for the Grim Future of the 41st Millennium. At $30 the price was right so I took the plunge. Shortly thereafter, the model arrived via certified mail.

"Look, lady - I only speak two languages: English and Bad English!"
The city car was cast in resin and came in two pieces - a front and a back half. The casting was pretty nice with only a few imperfections - it had a few air bubbles and some minor mould-shift - but nothing that couldn't be cleaned and filled with very little work. There was some minor cracking in the resin on one side, but again a little filling and a careful paint job has hidden most of that. Scale-wise, they are slightly small - especially when placed next to a model on a thicker base, but I can live with that.

Love the design of the grill. Its functional and Gothic all at once.
This side had some cracks in the resin (towards the rear fender) but a
grimy paint-job hides most of that.
I guess the skull is used for backing up? I wonder if the Arbites
pull you over if its out?
From the moment I saw the sculpt, it screamed to be painted like the taxi from "The Fifth Element". I was so jazzed to paint this model that I cranked it out in less than a day. Most of the heavy lifting was done with a coat of Rustoleum "Sun Yellow" spray paint which was then shaded with an orange wash and then a layer of Army Painter Strong Tone ink. The rest was just about dirtying the vehicle up and picking out details. Upon finishing, I decided to order another, a "Genetic Coven Limousine" for my burgeoning Genestealer Cult army I'll be building (I was given another set of Deathwatch:Overkill and I really don't have a good excuse to NOT paint up at least a 1000pts of the little critters).

The Genetic Coven Limo. Look for me to paint this bad boy up in the future.

These are really fun sculpts and very nice castings too boot. Even just used as scenic bits to jazz up a table to make it feel more like an Underhive, these kits were a good buy. I'm looking forward to seeing what scenes I can make on my boards involving them.