Friday, January 30, 2015

Taghmata Procrastinarium coming online

Well it's been a while since my last post but I haven't forgotten my humble blog! This time around I thought I'd chance gears a bit and talk about some Horus Heresy. I've been working to build the last few models that I need for the Adepticon 30k Zone Mortalis event. Perhaps first then, my list:

Magos Dominus
Rad/Irad Cleanser, Volkite Serpenta
90 points

Myrmidon Secutors x3
2 Graviton, 2 Maxim bolters, 2 Phased Plasma-fusils
210 points

Thallax Cohort x3
Lightning Gun, 2x Chainblades
170 points

Fast Attack (HAH!)
Tarantula Sentry gun battery
Heavy Bolters
30 points

So that's it. Eight models total for 500 points. A marine army at that size can usually fit one HQ, 1 Tac squad, and a dreadnaught, with maybe 5 specialist troops or so. I'm hoping the Secutors can do some decent damage and let the Thallax sit back and win the game for me, but 500 points is SO SMALL for HH games that I'm just not sure who could possibly bring enough units for objective games.

All of the modles in my list are Forge World, with the exception of the Tarantula Turret. I'm hoping they'll let me use the bottom of a Thunderfire Cannon with a Razorback turret on top. Otherwise I'll be playing down 30 points.

As far as assembly goes I have to admit that I'm having trouble, which has led to frustration, which has lead to procrastination. For starters though, I began by soaking all of the pieces in soapy (dish detergent) water. Then I go over them with more soap and a toothbrush. Then of course I rinse. I specifically bought a metal strainer so that parts wouldn't fall down the drain, and it's been quite handy to have. Once rinsed I let everything dry on paper towels for at least a night (usually a week because I get distracted).

A word here about working with resin: it is toxic, but not as much as we have made it out to be in the distant past of The Independent Characters. I do use a simple dust mask when I'm doing a lot of filing. Usually this is when cleaning up around the feet or base.

The Thallax Cohort has been one of the most frustrating hobby experieces I've ever had. Since I glued the arms without testing the power cables, I was left to bend them after the fact. I used both the hair dryer and hot water techniques to do this. Both have their drawbacks. The hair dryer was tough to manage due to not having enough hands and arms to move things around quickly. The hot water meant that I have to dry the pieces before I could glue them. In the end, a fair amount of shaving, fudging, and swearing were all required to achieve an "acceptable" result that I can live with.

The other discouraging part so far has been gluing the shoulder pads onto the Secutors. The pads themselves don't have any slotted areas, despite the shoulders having a small raised square. One model also has a hose that prevents the shoulder pad from fitting into place. I'll have to trim the pad a bit, which makes me nervous and therefore more likely to stall.

Hopefully I can pick up some momentum soon. March 21st will be here before you know it!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ranger progress & WIP pics

Got a little quiet for the blog, as I wanted to get some progress in before my next post. I also wanted to make sure that I had plenty of pictures to go along with the post.

Before I begin, I'd like to strongly encourage those inclined to do so to please leave comments at the bottom. As a beginner to the blogosphere and painting I'm open to constructive criticism and tips. If people would prefer to interact on Facebook, I can set up a blog page so that you can get updates and comment there instead. Let me know what you think!

Ok on to the meaty goodness. I wanted to show my progress through a squad of British Rangers. In this case they are the North Star metal figures and I am painting them as FIW Roger's Rangers. I'm SURE I'll be using these guys in my AWI games as well. Try not to let the mocassins and facing colors bother you too much. ;)

To start, I have cleaned the figures as best I can (you always notice extra flash after priming!). I should note that I have very few complaints about these figs, but one is that the ramrods didn't cast completely on most of the models. I bought brass rod to fix them, but the results aren't worth the effort in my opinion.

Once the models are clean, I prime them grey. If I have some black primer left (oh the humanity!) I'd start with that and do a basic zenithal prime with the grey. The dudes come out looking like so:
I regret that in my haste I glued them to their bases AFTER priming, but it won't ultimately make that much of a difference.

Now I'm ready to begin basecoating. On these fine chaps I began with their coats and trousers (perhaps breeches?). A very basic basecoat of a single color straight out of the pot (gasp!).
From here I worked from the inside out. This means I worked on their shirts, skin, moccasins, and so on. The last bit are the straps and details such as the wampum belt.
They don't really look like much at this point. Very cartoony and toy-like. I tried to keep the pallet consistent across these figures and the Native Americans I had already completed.
Now for the magic. Those in the audience with delicate sensibilities should look away, as the next step comes perilously close to the dreaded "Dip" method. Won't someone please think of the children?! I know some might consider this a lazy approach, but I've been REALLY happy with the results and plan to continue using Army Painter shades until such time as I start painting like a big boy. In the meantime, here's what our woodsmen look like after being completely drenched in Strong Tone:

Already these fellows look a million times better, and wouldn't be TOO ashamed to put them on the table (after some basing). However, I've found that with just a bit more work we can achieve so much more for our troops, and I intend to do just that. After I wait a million years for the wash to dry that is....

Again, please feel free to leave comments at the bottom (duh). Remember, this isn't necessarily a "How To" guide so much as a "How I Did It" guide. Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Wargames Factory AWI kits

People don't tend to believe me when I talk about the quality of the newest line of Wargames Factor plastic kits: the American War for Independence (AWI). I can understand why. I bought a box of Shock Troops years ago, and while the price was amazing for what you get there is certainly no doubt that the quality does not match something like the GW Cadian kits. I also own boxes of both Vikings and Samurai by WGF. Both of these lines have their own issues as well. Some of the Viking weapons are small, the samurai in general are a bit dinky, and both of them need the weapons to be glued into their hands. While this certainly gives a lot of flexibility it can be a total pain and often doesn't look quite right. So believe me when I say that while happy with WGF, I am no fanboy. Now with that preface I must declare that the AWI range are some of the nicest plastic models I have ever seen!

There are a number of reasons I believe this to be the case:
1. The detail is sharp, crisp, and plentiful. We're talking raised buttons, smooth cloth waves and folds, and plenty of differentiation between peices. There are some exceptions (around the cartridge boxes and boyonet scabbards), but in general the raised details are obvious and therefore easy for even a beginning painter like myself to pick out.

2. Head options galore! Each kit comes with a ton of heads. The British have options for tricorns, left side cocked, jockey caps, and grenadiers. The Continentals get tricorns, jockey caps, "Tarleton" helmets (for making Washington's Life Guard), and uncocked felt. It looks like the Militia box (which I don't yet own) also has several options including knit stocking caps. by mixing and matching these options you can create a HUGE number of combinations between all of the kits.

3. Variety of poses. Now this can be seen as both a pro and a con depending on your gaming system. For a game like Black Powder, it probably looks better to have most of your figures at the same point in their drill (militia excepted of course!). You wouldn't be able to pull that off with just one of these kits. For a game like Muskets and Tomahawks though, the variety of poses works perfectly for the skirmish scale and flavor of the game.

All of these bulds were created with just the Continentals kit!

4. Color instruction sheets. Each kit comes with a color coded sheet that shows you which pieces are used for every pose. For instance the drummer might be all of the "M" bits on the sprue, and the picture would show them all as, let's say green. That makes it simple to find them on the sprue and to make sure I'm not missing anything. Oh yeah, and the bits are labeled on the sprue as well. ;)

I obviously think these kits are amazing, but I also feel that they're perfect for someone who is interesting in playing Muskets and Tomahawks. The continental kit alone can make over 300 points of an American force. Throw in a militia box for not only militia but also riflemen and you have a diverse and LARGE force that is quick to assemble (for plastics) and quick to paint.

Here's a few more WIP Brits just so you can get an idea of the variety from each box. Remember there's only a single box of British troops out, but you can build so many units!

 Also, here's a quick pic of my North Star metal Rangers. I'm still getting a handle on the photography end of things, so bear with me.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

3.. 2.. 1.. Let's jam!

Well folks, it's time to get this show on the road! I promised myself I'd start posting as soon as I had a keyboard and here we are. I'd really like to use this blog as a way to keep myself productive (if not focussed HA!). This will also be my way of sharing what I'm up to with friends across the country (world?). So to start off with, I'd like to show some of the progress I've made on some minis since moving back to the East Coast:

I also have 6 Rangers fully completed, but have yet to grab some pics of them. For now, I'm trying to finish a decent sized force for both British and Americans to do a demo game for a friend at Adepticon. I know I can get everything assembled by then, but painted may be a different story....

Also in the queue for Adepticon is my Mechanicum army for the Zone Mortalis event. Being only 500 points means that my force is actually 7 models: 1 Magos, 3 Thallax, and 3 Secutors. Still, I'd like to have these guys looking nice, so I'll be building the Magos and Secutors so that I can paint them all at once. I will need to find a new source of primer though. I've come to rely on the OSH primer pretty heavily and have run out of black. Hopefully my newfound enthusiasm for Android: Netrunner won't keep me from getting my minis projects completed on time!