Monday, June 25, 2012

Modeling: The Garden of Morr

This weekend, I sat down and assembled the Garden of Morr. The kit is pretty simple, containing a lot of single-piece components, but I did make a few modifications, mostly with the basing.

The first step was to build the mausoleums. In my opinion, the gargoyles included in the set didn't really add anything, so I left them off. They'll probably find their way into a future terrain project. There was some minor putty work on the tower to cover the join between the two halves of the top. I also added a small bell from the old Skaven command sprue.

The mausoleum bases have a squared edge, and some wildly inconsistent ground texture.

To remedy this, I beveled the edges with my hobby knife, and roughed up the stones a bit.

The largest base had some of its detail running right to the edge, making it difficult to bevel the ground. I added a layer of styrene card underneath, to extend the sandy areas.

The ballast was super glued to the base, taking care not to obscure the embedded skulls and bones.

Here are the finished bases. The mausoleums are kept separate for painting, but will be glued on at the final stage. The large base will be left separate, so it and its mausoleum can be placed together, or as two separate elements.  

The uncovered crypt presented an opportunity for some articulation. By adding a brass pin, the coffin lid can be rotated to an opened or closed position without it being a loose part that would inevitably slide off onto the table.

Surprisingly, the wrought iron fences didn't require much mold line cleaning. The main issue was with the marks left by the ejector pins. This was easily fixed by scraping the surface with a rounded scalpel blade.

The walls received the same treatment as the other bases– sanding all the ground areas. I had given away the cross over the main gate, so the missing block needed to be filled in with putty and topped with a spike from one of the Chaos sprues.

To articulate the gate itself, I drilled through the hinges, and set them over "L" shaped pins in the wall. The original recesses for the hinges were filled with modeling putty.

The Garden or Morr (or as I like to call it– The Undead Barracks) is ready for priming. Watch for the painting tutorial to follow! 

'Til next time!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fast as Lightning!

Saturday, I played a game with my Skaven for the first time in years. I had forgotten how much fun they are! It's quite a change from my non-shooting, unbreakable Vampire Counts, to use an army that is full of shooting, and will panic and run at the first opportunity. It was a very close game, but in the end, Steve's Empire pulled out the victory. 

Towards the end of the game, one Warp Lightning Cannon misfred and exploded, which caused the other cannon next to it to run off the table. This got me thinking about alternatives to the cannons and the plastic Doom Wheel that's been sitting in my Island of Blood box for the past year.

My Skaven have always been a "fast and dirty" army– painted with lots of washes and drybrushing. I decided to challenge myself to complete the new Doom Wheel kit in an afternoon. Could I do it? Here's a photo-journal of how everything went down on Sunday:

1:00 PM– I set up my workstation:

1. The Doom Wheel sprues

2. Warp Lightning Cannon, for painting reference

3. Instructions

4. Chariot base

5. Styrene card

6. Super glue

7. Hobby tools

8. Paper towels

9. P3 bag, with paints 

10. Watch, to keep track of the time

11. Fruit salad

12. Coffee


1:35 PM– Main chassis and the two halves of the driver are cleaned. It took about a half an hour to clean the mold lines on just that one part! Already beginning to think I might not get this finished...

2:00 PM– Driver complete! There are two head options; went with the gas masked head to cut down on the amount of fur and flesh I'd have to paint later. Can hear the ice cream man outside. Have no time for ice cream (or personal pronouns).

2:35 PM– Assembling the lightning generator on the front. Not a fan of the flat, symmetrical cables on the warp stone mounts, so I'm trying to come up with a better solution. Right now, I'm considering using the spikes from the Ork Battle Wagon Track sprue.

3:20 PM– Settled on clipping the lightning icons off of the sides of the Doom Wheel, and using them to create some lightning-blades. Much better!

3:45 PM– Rear wheel assembly is finished. Noticing a lack of "battle damage" on the metal parts. For a piece of Skaven equipment, the parts are very cleanly machined and assembled. Adding cuts and nicks wherever I can. Time for more coffee.

4:15 PM– Assembling the wheels. Decided to clip off the spikes ringing the interior of each wheel. This will make the rats inside the wheels much easier to paint, and I won't have to pick out 100 individual spikes with metal after painting the wood. What keeps the rats from jumping out of the wheel? Their loyalty to Clan Skryre, of course! Also, time to put more food in my face!

4:40 PM–  Wheels are assembled. The directions aren't very explicit about the fact that the inner ring and outer ring need to be aligned in a specific way so that they will attach to the body properly. Good thing I dry fit the parts first! Tried work out a conversion using some of the larger rats from the old metal Doom Wheel. Regrettably, they just won't fit inside the wheel.

5:05 PM– Wheel blades are attached. Clipping out the small lightning generators for the sides. At this point I have a pretty good idea of how I'll separate the parts for painting.

5:40 PM– Blades are attached to the front of the chassis. I've got a popsicle stick with some of the smaller parts glued to it for painting. Clipping the spikes off of the bellows operator. Not a fan of spikey rats, and he will paint up more quickly without them.

6:10 PM– Assembly is just about finished. Just cleaning the flag, and the wheels and other parts are already primed.

6:35 PM– Working on the base. Glued a thick strip of styrene card under the chariot base to keep it from curling when I glue the ballast on. There will be a couple rats running along side, as well.

7:00 PM– Assembly is finished, and the Doom Wheel is ready to paint! At least 75% of the assembly time was spent cleaning mold lines. Seemed like every part had its line running right along the center, rather than on the corners of the squared-off edges where they could have been largely ignored.

7:30 PM– Drybrushing on the wood is nearly complete. P3 Battlefield Brown, GW Snakeite Leather, and then GW Bleached Bone.

8:00 PM– The wood is finished. Working on the rats. Their fur is Battlefield Brown, overbrushed with GW Vermin Brown. For the fleshy areas (faces, hands and tails) I use a mix of GW Bestial Brown and Bleached Bone, with successively lighter highlights.

8:40 PM– Rats are finished. Adding more Snakebite to the sand so it matches the army's basing scheme.

9:00 PM– Basecoating the metal on the wheels with straight P3 Pig Iron. Brass parts are painted with P3 Molten Bronze.

9:40 PM– Metal parts all get a wash of GW Brown Ink, as does the wood. I mask some of the metal areas and spatter brown ink onto them to create a speckled, dirty effect.  (Apologies; my hand is obscuring the action, but that's what's happening, I promise!)

10:15 PM– Bascoating the metal on the chassis.

10:35 PM– Basecoating the brass. Cheese and Cracker Combos, my favorite!

11:15 PM– Metal is finished, and spattered. Here's a close-up of the detail.

12:00 AM– Alright, technically, it's not Sunday anymore. But for me it's not "tomorrow" until you go to bed and wake up, or the sun actually comes up. Working on the characters. Robes are layered with P3 Thamar Black and GW Shadow Grey. For the final highlights, I mix in a little P3 Frostbite.

12:20 AM– Drybrushing the warpstone. P3 Iosian Green, P3 Necrotite Green, P3 Cygnus Yellow. Blades have also been highlighted with GW Mithril Silver.

1:30 AM– Painting complete. Banner has been highlighted the same as the robes, and the pipes have been basecoated with Shadow Grey, and shaded with P3 Armor Wash. The rim of the base was painted with GW Catachan Green.

I finished the assembly at 2:00 AM, and then spent about an hour painting the runes on the flag. They are a simple layer of Bleached Bone, highlighted with white. This is easily the most complex Skaven kit I've assembled so far (I haven't tried the Screaming Bell, yet). The total time clocks in at 14 hours!

I used to pride myself on my ability to churn through models. It's nice to know that I've still got it. Maybe next week I'll tackle that Garden of Morr...

'Til next time!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Terrorgheists, Templars, and Tanks

The Dire Wolf Dilemma

Those of you that follow me on Facebook, or who have come here from VampireCounts.net, will know that I'm gathering 40K Thunderwolf mounts to use as Doom Wolves. I'm still looking to trade one of my "B" Thunderwolfs for a new, unasembled "C" wolf. If anyone can help out in that regard, it would be most appreciated.

Otherwise, the wolves are creeping forward in my work queue. I've got about 20 that are still only halfway painted from GW's Iron Painter all-night painting blitz back in '04. They've been bouncing back and forth between my painting table and the "to-do" shelf in my cabinet for 8 years, so I'm anxious to finally put these puppies to rest (or unrest).

In the meantime, I couldn't resist the lure of the Terrorgheist. For all the model's complexity, it goes together very easily. I've got mine just about ready to paint, but first I need to figure out a way to magnetize the wings for removal if I ever hope to transport it in anything smaller than a 10-inch cube. Yeesh!

The First Crusader Squad

This was the first squad I built for my Black Templars, along with their transport. I was still learning, and so the shoulder pads with the chapter icons are on the wrong side (something I would correct in future squads.) Even still, I strove for accuracy when representing wargear and weapons; every Marine Initiate has his purity seals and frag grenades represented on the model.

Neophyte Scouts aside, I don't have any unhelmeted marines in the army. I wanted my crusade to have a faceless, rankless appearance, similar to how Imperial Stormtroopers are completely indistinguishable from one another and bear no unit markings. As the army grew, however, I needed a way to differentiate between squads, and so I added a small roman numeral on the top of each marine's backpack.

One of my next squads was a small fire team armed with a lascannon and plasma gun, which usually took to the field mounted in a Razorback. I'm in the process of expanding the unit with more bolter-armed marines and a "proper" veteran sergeant for when I field them as codex marines.

I had painted a handful of Neophytes (Scouts) to bulk up the squads as necessary. These three are the old metal scouts.

When I began gearing up for Kill Team games, I used a standard codex marine list that focused around small Space Marine Scout squads, each equipped with bolters and one heavy bolter. The idea was to get a lot of cheap troops and throw out as much lead as possible, knowing that the enemy can't possibly make all of those armor saves. I've got four such squads, nearing completion.

Axalon Crusade's Tanks

First Squad's Rhino is one of the old MK 1B plastic kits, onto which I modeled some removable armor in the form of sandbags. Those are plastic sandbags from a Tamiya kit, glued together to fit around the storm bolters and hatches.

The Razorback and Whirlwind have been modified with plastic parts from an Epic Mega Gargant in order to raise their weapon platforms and give the vehicle a little more mass. I've dubbed these modifications The Axalon Pattern, being as they are unique to the older vehicles of the Axalon Crusade.

The Black Templars Gallery has been updated with detail shots of all four tanks. The vehicles are all named after angels. I was a big fan of the Neon Genesis Evangelion series back in the day, which was the inspiration for the names (Neon Genesis having, of course, named its angels after actual biblical angels.) The Whirlwind and Vindicator were named for the angels of rain and thunder, respectively.

The undersides of my tanks are modeled as wrecks, so when the vehicle is destroyed, I can flip it over, revealing the damaged portion. This is something I've carried over into the new tanks, but whereas the MK I Rhino has hatches on the bottom that are easy to bust up, the newer MK II kit has a smooth underside, and requires a little more "creative shredding."

0-3 Heavy Support choices, eh? Funny story, on this: Playing in a map campaign, I had secured a territory that allowed my army to field a fourth Heavy selection. My recurring opponent was an Iron Warriors player who would just rain death all over my army every game with his heavy artillery. I went for the counter artillery, and maxed out my force with four Vindicators. Our last game was template hell, but I still couldn't quite crack the Iron Warriors...

'Til next time!