Sunday, September 23, 2012

Iron Kingdoms RPG Conversions

One of the projects I've been working on these past months is a series of articles for No Quarter Magazine featuring Iron Kingdoms RPG character archetype conversions. The first article is out this week in No Quarter #44, and features combinations of the Gun Mage character class. 

Now that the magazine is on the shelves, I can finally show off the miniatures. For the step-by-step assembly tutorials, check out No Quarter Magazine, issue 44.

Human Gun Mage/ Rifleman

This guy is armed with a magelock rifle, and wearing an armored great coat. The armor plates were sculpted around the base of the coat, and the figure was created with pretty basic head and weapon swaps.

Parts List:

Widowmaker Trooper #2

Kara Sloan Gun 

Gun Mage Captain Adept Left Hand

Hammerfall Highshield Gun Corps Head #2

Iosian Gun Mage/ Duelist

She's probably the most complex of the conversions. The holsters and shoulder cape are sculpted with modeling putty. The magelock pistols she's equipped with came from Epic Caine, cut at the elbow, and the upper arms are sculpted over a wire armature.

Parts List:

Mage Hunter Assassin Alternate Body

Mage Hunter Assassin Alternate Leg

Epic Caine's Left Arm

Epic Caine's Right Arm

Venators Sword

Rhulic Gunslinger/ Bounty Hunter

Very minimal sculpting on this one. The original head had a welder's mask that needed to be removed, and the goggles and hair were added instead.

Parts List:

Hammerfall Highshield Gun Corps Body #2

Hammerfall High Shield Gun Corps Right Arm #3

Thor Steinhammer Head 

Drake MacBain Gun Arm

Drake MacBain Sword Arm

Greylord Ternion Koldun Axe

Horgenhold Forge Guard Backpack

I'll have another batch of these when the next issue comes out.

'Til next time!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Space Marine Bikes

I got my 40K Dark Vengeance starter set earlier this month. I'm still reading over the rules, learning all of the changes from the previous editions. I played a lot of 3rd edition, a few games of 4th, and completely skipped over 5th edition, so this is a pretty significant change for me.

As for the models in the set, I traded away the Chaos miniatures for double space marines. The plan is to remove all of the Dark Angels iconography and replace it with Black Templars iconography. That leaves me with six Space Marine bikes to convert over.

This inspired me to take some photos of my current bike squads. The riders are converted with the metal Templars shoulder pad, and the smaller backpack from the special edition Emperor's Champion. These were build before the advent of the oval "bike base" so I modeled them popping wheelies and skidding through turns, which adds a lot of action to the models.

The windscreens on the bikes are modeled from plastic Empire shields. A windscreen is kind of unnecessary when the rider is wearing power armor, but it looks cool and adds a little more protection for the rider.

I also have a couple of attack bikes primed and ready to go. Once I get through the new rules and see what the new codex has in store, I'll get back to working on my Space Marines, and finish these off.

In the meantime, I've got a move coming up. The studio is in a state of disrepair as I pack everything. Once I get set up again, I'll need to take stock of my projects and re-prioritize everything.

'Til next time!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Modeling and Painting: Blood Bowl Skaven

With my Skaven team assembled, and the weekend-o'-gaming just around the corner, I needed to paint them fast as lightning. Good thing that's always been the mantra for my Skaven miniatures!

Painting the Skaven Team

To paint these models as fast as possible, I planned to use sprays, basecoats and shades. (I'll have a short review of the Citadel Shades at the end of the post.)

After priming the team black, I sprayed them with a dusting of Tamiya Dull Red, then sprayed a light dusting of Model Masters Light Earth from above. This gave them a reddish-brown basecoat similar to the old GW Vermin Brown.

Next I spent about ten minutes drybrushing them with a mix of GW Snakebire Leather and Bleached Bone.

I basecoated all of the leather straps with P3 Gun Corps Brown and the bandaged areas with GW Desert Yellow. While the Desert Yellow was out I also gave the wristbands a bit of an overbrushed highlight. This all took about 1/2 hour.

The fleshy bits (hands, feet, tails, and faces) were painted with P3 Midlund Flesh. Because the Rat Ogre had larger patches of exposed skin, I mixed in a little GW Bestial Brown to shade some of the recesses. The ball in the thrower's hands was painted with straight Bestial Brown. The teeth, claws and football laces were then basecoated with Bleached Bone.

With the main basecoats finished, I washed all the miniatures with Agrax Earthshade. All together, I'd spent just under 3 hours to get this far on the team.

When the shade had dried, I used GW Shadow Grey/ The Fang to coat the loincloths and armor, being careful to avoid the straps and ties.

Then GW Nuln Oil shade was painted over the armored areas.

The metal spikes and buckles were picked out with P3 Cold Steel, and the noses were painted with P3 Thamar Black.

The final step was to paint the bases with GW Catachan Green, and add the flock. The numbers and stripes on the bases were added with straight Bleached Bone.

The total time spent painting the team was about six hours.

Blood Bowl League

I got in three games this weekend, two with my Skaven, and one with my Khemri. I drew with the Khemri (1-1) and lost both of the games with the Skaven (3-1 and 4-1).

I think I hamstrung myself during team building by taking three Gutter Runners for my 11-man lineup. Early games tend to be slugfests, and strength 2 players can't hold their own. Having three of them meant my linemen were outnumbered, overpowered, and the Gutter Runners were quickly caught and dispatched. One was even killed in the second game!

We played with the current ruleset (Version 5.0), and I have to say that I'm a little disappointed compared to the last version I played (3.0). Somehow, an elegantly streamlined game has become overcomplicated with the addition of rules like FAME.

FAME, in particular, seems to vastly skew a lot of game elements in favor of whoever rolled higher for the Gate (attending fans). Kickoff results of Cheering Fans, Pitch Invasion, Brilliant Coaching, and Throw a Rock, will always benefit whoever has more attending fans. This can be mitigated by having cheerleaders and extra coaches, but those are rare on starting teams.

The attending fans and winnings have also been reduced, meaning more games are required before you can start adding players to your roster. After my second game I realized that I'd have been better off firing my Gutter Runners and replacing them with the free Journeymen linemen (another new rule).

All the changes aside, I still had a great weekend. (Thanks again for hosting, Brian!) Blood Bowl is always a blast and I'm looking forward to the next league and maybe building my own "home team" pitches.

Citadel Shades: A Short Review

I first used the new shades on the miniatures for the Wrath of Kings diorama, and again here on the Skaven team. I might be a little late to the party with this review, but in using them I noticed a few things that I hadn't seen anyone else discuss.

The shades need to be used straight out of the pot. Whereas inks and paint can be thinned with a touch of water to your brush, adding any water to the shades will cause them to pull out of the recesses, forming the dreaded "bathtub ring."

They also dry completely matte– as flat as Testors Dull Cote, which is a good thing, as inks tend to be shiny after they dry, requiring a matte spray to level everything out. This makes me wonder if the new GW Lahmian Medium dries with the same matte finish. If so, it would be perfect as a brush-on version of Dull Cote. I'll have to look into that.

On that note, Dull Cote can sometimes frost if the conditions are right (or rather, wrong). Too much humidity, bringing the sprayed model into an air-conditioned room, or putting it in the case right away can cause frosting in the recesses. 

I noticed that a few of the Skaven players had a bit of white in their deep creases after the Agrax Earthshade had dried (without spraying Dull Cote on the figures). Not a problem, because I covered it up when I added the Nuln Oil shade, but it makes me think that the Citadel Shades use a "dulling" medium similar to what's in Testors Dull Cote, and therefore may require similar working conditions. I don't foresee this being a serious issue, just something to be aware of.

In all, I think the shades work very well for what they are– a quick way to shade a basecoated model. Adding a couple highlights overtop will really benefit the paint job. I still prefer the old GW inks (Brown Ink in particular) because they had a little more pigment and could work as a glaze or shade, providing a wider range of tone and opacity. But it did require a little more finesse to work with the inks, while these shades are basically fool-proof. 

I can't see myself using the shades on really high-end units or character models where I'm willing to spend the time on a top-notch paint job, but I'd definitely recommend them for speed painting armies and cannon fodder troops. Like every tool, the shades have their roll, and have found their spot in my painting toolbox. 

'Til next time!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Are You Ready For Some Blood Bowl?

Blood Bowl was the first miniatures game I ever played, before I really even knew what a "miniatures" game was. To me it was just a fun little board game with cool figures. Years later, after being introduced to Warhammer, I got back into Blood Bowl and was able to appreciate the hobby aspects of the game.

In 2004, While working at GW HQ in Glen Burnie, I participated in a staff-run Blood Bowl league. My Khemri team, The Baltizzar Embalmbers was assembled using a mix of skeleton and zombie parts, combined with metal Khemri bits.

My giant Mummies were converted from Tomb Kings Ushabtis topped 40K Ork heads.

The crocodile and falcon heads, removed from the original Ushabti models went into making the Blitzers and Throwers (called "Blitz-Ras" and "Throw-Ras," respectively).

The team has a few Cheerleaders, and other scenic pieces. Even a skeleton referee and Sphinx mascot in the works!

Suffice to say, the entire Khemri team is less than agile, making it difficult to pass or catch the ball and dodge around the opposing players. I would watch as the Skaven and Dark Elf teams scored fantastic one-turn touchdowns and racked up point after point while I took a full 8 turns (half the game!) to slog the ball into the end zone. 

Looking back over my record sheet (I still have it!) I never scored more than 2 points in a single game. That's fine. My Blood Bowl motto has always been "If you can't win, kill." And, after 17 games, the team had racked up close to 40 casualties.

For my buddy's league this weekend, I'm putting together a second team (with only a few participants, we'll likely bring two teams each to vary the field a bit).  

I scavenged my Warhammer Skaven Army to put together a team with a decidedly different (but hopefully still dirty) play style. The Under-Burg Bolts will take to the pitch to win glory and honor for the Under-Empire, and maybe I'll finally get to see what it's like to throw passes and score more than twice a match!

I put the team together in an evening, mostly with parts from my bits box, including a Mordheim Rat Ogre that I never assembled for my Skaven army. The shoulder pads were made using a simple press mold and modeling putty, and I did a little sculpting on the Rat Ogre's shoulder gear:

The Gutter Runners and Throwers are pretty much Skaven Clanrats in light armor with their weapons removed. I like to imaging the Thrower with the knife getting ready to toss an "interception."

The Linemen use the armored Clanrat torso with the broader shoulder pads. To make the Blitzers, I used a pair of Stormvermin standard bearers that I had purchased in 1999 simply to get their banner tops to use in my Undead army. After 14 years I finally found a use for the leftover "core" models. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Never throw anything away!

Now, if it would just stop raining long enough for me to go outside and prime them...

'Til next time! (We'll see just how quickly I can get this team painted and I'll let you know how the league went.)