Alpha Legion Storm Wing

Alpha Legion Storm Wing formation (Storm Raven + two Storm Talons), painted back in February. Painted using an airbrush with Scale 75, Vallejo, and Forgeworld paints.

Apologies for the weird cropping on the Storm Raven – it barely fit in my light box! I’m kinda sad I couldn’t show it off on the base.

Games Day 2013 Write-Up

Those of you who follow me on Twitter probably know I was a Games Day 2013 in Birmingham, yesterday. There’s a photo gallery coming later with the many pictures I took through the day, but I’m still waiting on those to transfer off my iPad and upload to the server. In this post I’ll give a a bit of an overview of the day, and recount my experiences.

I’ll mention up front that this was my first Games Day in a long time. The last time I attended, I was still young enough to enter the Young Bloods painting competition, so it’s been 18-19 years at least!

This entry is very long, so it’s behind a “Read More” link. Photos will be in a separate gallery post. Continue with reading

Warhammer 40,000 – Codex: Space Marines Updated

Force Requisition Screenshot

Just a small Public Service Announcement for this morning: last night Games Workshop released an updated version of Codex: Space Marines that included the missing audio and Force Requisition feature, the recent FAQ/Errata, plus some additional content by way of an apology.

First impressions of Force Requisition are that it’ll be handy, but it’s not yet complete, and it’s a little fiddly in places. The data for the Elites and Fast Attack slots is missing (it states this before launching), and the “View Collection” button doesn’t do anything. So not exactly ideal! I can only hope this gets addressed ASAP, and that the partial upload is only to get something released quickly while further problems are being fixed.

Warhammer 40,000 – Thoughts on the Space Marine Releases

2013-09-01 14.07.56

This weekend was the official announcement of the 6th edition update to Space Marines in Warhammer 40,000; White Dwarf was released yesterday, to show off all the new stuff hitting the shelves next week. Pre-orders also went up on the Games Workshop site, and internet retailers across the web (although the popularity and anticipation of the release meant I couldn’t get onto the GW website until 9pm!). This is a big release: Space Marines are the most iconic of Games Workshop’s lines, and by far their biggest selling. The Codex is larger than any they’ve done before, and we got a heap of miniature releases. It’s mostly these releases I’ll be giving my thoughts on, but I might drop one or two others in there!

It gets quite long, so I’ve taken the unusual step of putting it all behind a “read more” link

Continue with reading

A Call To Arms: January Round-up

Flesh Tearers

I didn’t manage to post to the blog nearly as much as I wanted to in January, but if you were following along on Twitter, you will have seen plenty of work-in-progress shots. Many of these have been added to the gallery at the bottom of this post. Sadly, I didn’t have time to get “proper” photos of the completed squad before delivering them to my local Games Workshop store for display/entry into the contest.

So, where did I get to?

I finished my goal of completing an Assault Squad. While this doesn’t seem like a lot, to some, it’s quite good for me… especially as January turned out to be a lot busier than I expected! It was also my first time using my airbrush for a whole squad, and also my first time using many new tools and techniques. To say I learned a lot on this squad would be a big understatement!

So what did I learn?

Number 1, was my original choice of base colour for the red wasn’t quite as effective as I’d hoped, and that my pre-shading skills suck. I’d planned to use Vallejo Model Air: Hull Red as the main colour, using some pre-shading with the same colour to provide a deeper colour in the shadows and some white highlights over the grey primer to provide natural highlights to the red. It didn’t work… the shadows got lost when the next layer went on, and once the paint “cured” it went more towards a brown than I was looking for. In the end I sprayed a thin layer of VMA: Fire Red over everything, which brought it closer to what I want. In future I will pre-shade with Hull Red, then base coat with Fire Red.

Secondly, MicroSol and MicroSet make decals not suck!

  1. Prepare your surface with gloss varnish
  2. apply some MicroSet to the target area
  3. apply the decal in the normal manner, carefully dabbing away excess water
  4. apply a little more MicroSet
  5. carefully dab down the decal with a cotton bud, to shape it to the surface, and remove excess liquid
  6. allow to dry, then apply MicroSol over the decal – do not touch after this, for 24h!
  7. (optional) seal with your varnish of choice

I used this process on my squad’s pauldrons, and it turned out looking like the decal was printed directly on the surface.

Anything else?

I tried oil washes for the first time. while they’re pretty good at “lining” details on a model, they can make a hell of a mess if not careful when preparing/cleaning up after you paint session. The ability to erase mistakes using a cotton bud and thinner is really nice.

Cork is awesome as a basing material.

Pigment powders are pretty hard to get right. At first, I mixed some with isopropanol, and applied to the model like paint. It didn’t turn out correct, so I used a cotton bud to apply some powder directly. That looked awesome, but when I applied a final coat of matte varnish, to seal/protect the model, all of the pigment virtually disappeared – even the sealed on stuff.

What’s Next?

February should be interesting… It’s a shorter month, but I have a week off for my birthday, and will (hopefully) be less busy. As a pie-in-the-sky, I’m going to try for an Assault Squad, and 2 Land Speeders. It probably won’t happen, but it’ll be fun to try!

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What the New Dark Angel Prices Really Mean

The sky is not falling. Unless you count the incoming Ravenwing fliers – in a narrative sense – that is. Reaction to the new Dark Angels kits has been… polarising to say the least. Love or hate the new models (personally I like them all except Asmodai – yes, even the Landspeeder, but that’s a rant for another day).

One criticism a lot of people have been most vocal about are the new prices. The Dark Angel kits are generally several pounds more expensive than their “vanilla” conterparts. I guess people are worried this is a sign of an incoming price rise. It’s not. Yes, there will be a price rise in the future, but the Dark Angels are not the harbingers of it. They represent something different. Something I think is a logical and sensible move for Games Workshop.

What the new Dark Angel kits represent is a final end to the “Chapter Upgrade kit”.

Until now, if you wanted to make your Dark Angels look like… well… Dark Angels, you likely would have bought the Dark Angels Veterans set and likely some of the upgrade sprue’s from GW Direct. Ravenwing players would have bought the Ravenwing upgrade sprue’s  This is on top of the cost of the standard kits you were customising.

With the new Dark Angels kits you no longer have to do this. Instead, you buy some of the key units for your army – which you’re likely to buy anyway if you’re actually a collector of the army – and you’ll get enough spare bits to spread through several other units. Lets break it down from the perspective of the new Ravenwing Black Knights/Command dual purpose kit:

Ravenwing Command/Black Knights:

  • 3x Space Marine Bikes
  • Biker Command Squad Parts
  • Black Knight Squad Parts
  • Ravenwing iconography
  • multitudes of extra DA parts (shoulders, icons, weapons, helmets…)

Total: £30 (OMGWTFBBQ!!1!!)

Now lets build as close as we can with the “cheaper” vanilla sets:

  • 3x Space Marine Bikes – £24
  • Ravenwing Upgrade kit – £9 (we could just stop here as a minimum, and still be more expensive)
  • Space Marine Command Squad – £15.50
  • Dark Angels Upgrade kit – £12

Total: £60.50

Your honour, the defence rests.

I’m surprised more people don’t recognise this move towards including Chapter upgrade parts in key kits. It started a long time ago, at least as far back as the Blood Angels. Ask your nearest BA player how many extra Death Company kits he’s bought to give his army a more “flavourful” feel. But no, instead we got a knee-jerk reaction, that frankly, was embarrassing to watch.

Maybe it’s my old-timer/non-competitive gamer view of things clouding my judgement, but I just don’t get it. If you stop and think about it logically, these kits are great value to a Dark Angels collector and/or hobbyist. I can only assume those complaining the loudest were looking to jump on Dark Angels as the latest flavour of the month but have been put off by “sticker shock”. If that’s the case then my advice would be to follow the alternative option you always had: don’t buy the new kits.

A Call to Arms: Starting the Flesh Tearers

 

So I’ve got my inspiration, and I’ve got my list – time to get cracking on these Flesh Tearers then!

There’s going to be a lot of kit-bashing going on, to give me a unique, visually interesting army, so I pick up some Death Company, and 2 Assault Squad boxes to begin with. I’ll also raid my bitz-box for more parts. This brings me over the £50 budget we’re supposed to have, but somehow I don’t think the store will mind someone spending extra…

After diving into my bitz-box I have the following pile of sprues stacked on my desk:

SPRUES!

That’s for one Assault Squad…

I decided I’d make the Melta Assault Squad first, as I found a Combi-Melta for the Sanguinary Priest. I started with the priest, building him from a set of Death Company legs, and salvaged parts from the Command Squad kit, Sanguinary Guard, and Grey Knight Terminators.

Sanguinary Priest Parts

I wanted the squad to look like they were charging into the thick of it, so nearly every model is posed to look like he’s running forward. The exceptions are the two Meltagunners, who are laying down supporting fire.

Flesh Tearers Batch 1

I’ve liberally sprinkled Death Company parts throughout – legs and arms mainly.

Flesh Tearers Batch 2

As everything is going to be at least base-coated using my airbrush, I’ve kept the heads, jump packs, and shoulder pads off of the miniatures for now (truth be told, at this point I haven’t assembled the jump packs).

Here’s the main parts ready for priming:

IMG_0120

 

A Call to Arms: My Flesh Tearers Army List

For my “A Call to Arms” army I had many many ideas floating around in my head, all of them with at least some merit to them. They would all have been something I could have enjoyed collecting and painting. More often than not, it’s a story from Black Library (or another suitable bit of narrative) which provides the catalyst for an army.

Just before Christmas I went on a bit of a reading splurge, which gave me plenty of inspiration. At one point I was leaning towards a Pre-Heresy Salamanders or Pre-Heresy Alpha Legion army. My heart was never truly in it though. My mind kept coming back to Blood Angels, who were always my “first love” in Warhammer 40000. They were the first army I collected, and I’ve always held an attachment to the Sons of Baal.

I couldn’t commit to Blood Angels, as although they are near and dear to me, I don’t like painting them. This left me at an impasse. In the end, my mind was made for me once I read the excellent Flesh Tearers stories by Andy Smillie. I could have the best of both worlds – Blood Angels-esque iconography with a colour scheme I can work with.

But what type of list would I choose? Personally, I pick my lists with a mix of fluff and fun in mind first, then add in some elements to make it perform OK on the tabletop. A Flesh Tearers army list should hit hard and fast, leaving little more than a brutalized, bloody smear where the enemy used to stand. Shooting is something a Flesh Tearer does only when they’re not close enough to rip out someone’s throat.

So a fast moving, assault-based army list it is then! The list would be weighted towards getting up close to the enemy as quickly as possible, so jump-pack equipped troops were a must. For fire support, some Land Speeders would fit well. Finally, my sister got me a Stormraven Gunship for Christmas so I had to include that too.

After a bit of jigging around, here’s what I’ve come up with:

Flesh Tearers Army List (1550pts)

HQ

  • Reclusiarch* – 165pts
    • Jump Pack
    • Hand Flamer

Elites

  • 3x Sanguinary Priests** – 245pts
    • Combi-Melta
    • 2x Combi-Flamer
    • Jump Packs

Troops

  • 10-Man Assault Squad – 250pts
    • Sergeant – Inferno Pistol + Storm Shield, Melta Bombs
    • 2x Meltagun
  • 10-Man Assault Squad – 230pts
    • Sergeant – Hand Flamer + Storm Shield
    • 2x Flamer
  • 10-Man Assault Squad*** – 230pts
    • Sergeant – Hand Flamer + Storm Shield
    • 2x Flamer

Fast Attack

  • Land Speeder Squadron (2) – 120pts
    • 2x Heavy Flamer
    • 2x Heavy Flamer
  • Land Speeder Squadron (1) – 80pts
    • 2x Multimelta

Heavy Support

  • Stormraven Gunship – 230pts
    • Hurricane Bolter sponsons

* I could happily swap this guy for a Librarian, but I happened to have a Jump Pack Chaplain model unopened which I could reuse. Plus the CC buffs from the Reclusiarch could make the unit he accompanies quite nasty.

** Each of the Priests accompanies one of the Assault Squads, and is armed to match that squad.

** This squad was originally equipped with all melta’s, like the first squad, but I’m leaning towards taking the extra templates, to try force as many saves as possible before charging in to melee. I could be persuaded otherwise, if someone can make a compelling case in the comments! Alternatively, an all-Plasma squad?

 

A Call to Arms: Starting Your New Collection

If you have an iPad, and have browsed Games Workshop’s digital product line in the iBookstore, then you may have read (or be aware of) the A Call to Arms series. If not, the quick summary is: each month we follow the progress of four gamers as they collect and paint an entirely new Warhammer 40000 army. They each have a fixed monthly budget which they use to expand their forces.

Personally, I’ve always found this sort of article fascinating. I love getting insight into how others go about their hobby – the mental process behind how they choose, model, paint, and game with their collections. I also love seeing “real” armies – not the bog-standard GW Studio armies on display in the Codexes and White Dwarf battle reports. A look at other hobbyist’s collections are always my favourite articles in White Dwarf, and the reason I read many hobbyist forums and blogs.

Call to Arms - Flesh Tearers
One of the Armies we follow in GW’s A Call to Arms book is Stefano Carlini’s Flesh Tearers.

So what has this got to do with me? For one, I think it’s an inspirational and fun way to approach a new army. Secondly, my Local, Friendly, GW Store is running their own version of Call to Arms to kick off the New Year.

Each month until April, participants aim to paint up around £50 worth of miniatures for their new army (any GW game system). Every month the entries will be judged by the store manager, and there will be a prize for the overall winner. The competitive element is a great motivator, and the whole thing should be  sociable and well-spirited. No doubt there will be plenty of games as our armies grow in size, so it will be win-win for me – I’ll get my new army started, and I’ll get to play more games than I’ve managed so far!

I’ve already planned out my army. More details will be posted in the blog over the next few days, so keep an eye out! I’m always looking for feedback, so once I’ve posted the details feel free to give your opinion!

What do you think? Would you take part in a similar challenge? Are you already? Leave a comment below!