Well, it's not much to look at, but this right here is my first crack at creating a miniature diorama. It's not quite finished, obviously. A lot of painting still needs to go into it as well as some more landscape bits. Overall, though, I'm pleased with how it turned out. It may be rough around the edges (literally and figuratively) but it pretty much turned out the way I expected it to.
So, what is it? Essentially, it's the courtyard of a section of a bombed out Imperial city. The two wall pieces (made from foamboard) represent ruined buildings while the rectangular thing in the middle is a kiosk of sorts decorated with Imperial regalia and festooned with spotlights and speakers to blare out Imperial propaganda day and night. The plastic pieces come from a variety of kits - the piping along the walls and on the cobblestone floor are from the Stormblade superheavy kit and the Ork Stompa kit; the lamp post and the light fixtures are from the Manufactorum kit; the bits for the kiosk are from the Bastion kit; and the railing along the tops of the walls are from the Chaos Rhino and Land Raider kits.
The most interesting part about this diorama is the flooring. I was able to find 2 large rolls of textured plastic in gray cobblestone (which I used for the courtyard) and red brick (which I used for the sidewalks) styles at my Michael's craft store. The rolls were intended for miniature Christmas dioramas but they are the perfect scale for hobby miniatures as well. Best of all was the cost - I think I paid about $15 per roll, and when stretched out, each roll is almost 6' in length and 2' in width. Compared to the insanely overpriced textured plasticard I found in hobby-specific stores, the price was unbeatable.
Well, I won't be counting this particular diorama complete for TOEMP's 7th challenge just yet. I still have 1 more day to try to paint it up a bit. I very likely won't be able to make it in time for the bonus points, but I'm glad I made the effort. It was a lot of fun and a great learning experience. Next time I try to make scenery,though, it will most definitely be something I can use on a tabletop.
Please click here for more pics.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
The Stealth Team is done with about 3 or 4 days to spare. Depending on how busy my weekend turns out to be, I may have an opportunity to put together a scenery piece I've been mulling over in my head.
Well, these Tau models were fairly painless and quick to paint. Again, as I mentioned in the earlier post, there weren't that many colors in the overall scheme - lots of Black, lots of Purple. The only difficulty would be in the highlighting to make the subdued colors pop. And, let me tell you, highlighting is tough, for me at least. I still haven't developed a particular technique or level of comfort with it.
For instance, what looks like "battle damage" on these Tau Stealth units was actually my attempt at highlighting. But I couldn't get the lines on cleanly enough - too much twitchy hands syndrome. So, I kind of got frustrated and just started dry-brushing the highlights on. A lot messier, to be sure, but after looking over the results on the first Tau Stealth unit I tried it on, I kind of liked the unintended result. It did give the unit a war-torn, weathered look which, in my mind, fit the fluff behind the Stealth Teams (i.e., lone wolf units operating far ahead of the main army, having to live off the land and make due with whatever they had on hand).
Highlighting the Purple areas was a bit easier because of the large surfaces I had to work with. I probably should have given the Purple another, lighter highlight to make it stand out a bit more, but such is life. I also added a few touches of Red to the models to break up the color scheme a bit. After initially finishing the Purple on the models, I was a bit underwhelmed by how monochrome they all looked. I guess I'm from the school of miniature figure painting that believes every model must have at least 3 primary colors represented on it.
Here are the points breakdown for the Stealth Team:
Foot sloggers = 4 points
Lenses = 3 points
Beating Deadline by at Least 24 Hours = 2 points
For a total of 9 points. Now let's go work on that scenery piece, maybe...
Click here for more pics of the Stealth Team.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Seeing as it's been over a week since my last post, I thought I'd put up some WIP pictures of my Tau Stealth Team. At the moment, they've received 3 thin coats of a Purple basecoat, after which I then glued all of the various accessories on to the miniatures.
All of the Stealth Suits are equipped with Targeting Arrays (those antennae like things afixed atop their heads) while the two non-team leaders are armed with Burst Cannons. The Shas'vre is armed with a Fusion Blaster and also sports a Hard-Wired Drone Controller and a Markerlight (which is glued to the top of his Fusion Blaster).
The interesting thing about Tau models, for me at least, is how difficult it was to find reference pictures regarding which bit does what. For example, the things I'm calling Targeting Arrays could very well likely be something else entirely. I really have no idea. Googling "Tau targeting array" only gets me images of fully constructed Tau models without any specific pictures highlighting which part of the model is the targeting array. Same thing goes for the Markerlight and the Hard-Wired Drone Controller. For the Stealth Suit kit this isn't too much of a problem seeing as how the load-outs for the Stealth Team is fairly limited. But I can just imagine the difficulty (especially for the obsessive compulsive among us) of putting together a Crisis Battle Suit or a Broadside.
Well, overall I'm making good time on these figures. Honestly, the color scheme of the Stealth Team really lends itself to quick painting. The Black primer acts as a basecoat and aside from the Purple over roughly 50% of the figure, there aren't very many other colors represented. The only time intensive part I can see down the line is the highlighting. Due to the subdued and dark color scheme, these models are going to test my highlighting abilities in order to make them properly pop.
Maybe I'll be able to finish this team with enough time to spare to put together a scenery piece for them. We'll see...
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Standard Bearer and Medic completed! That brings the Company Command Squad to 6 completed members. I've begun basecoating the Officer of the Fleet, but I'm not sure I'll be able to get him done before the 20th of October. I spent most of today finishing up the Standard Bearer and the Medic, so I'm pretty burnt out on painting - don't think I'll be doing any more on the Officer of the Fleet tonight. And due to my work days being extremely busy and taxing, I'm not sure I'll have the time or energy to get to him before next weekend.
I'm fairly satisfied with the Standard Bearer, although painting the flag was much more difficult than I anticipated. In all honesty, it's probably the most difficult thing I've painted since I started this hobby! Is that strange or what? I think the reason I found it so difficult, despite it's relative size compared to a 28mm miniature, is just the sheer amount of detail on the flag. Couple that with the folds in the flag, and trying to keep the paint from going out of bounds was like herding cats. Of course, painting a molded flag is still leaps and bounds easier than free-handing one, so I can't complain. Still, I marvel at some of the clean paintjobs I've seen of banners and flags.
The Medic was very straightforward. Pretty much a standard Cadian Shock Trooper but with the Medic backpack and arms. I couldn't find the special Imperial Guard Medic Head (you know, the one with the stylized caduceus on the front of the helmet instead of the Imperial Eagle), so I had to resort to a normal Cadian head. Kind of disappointing, that.
Well, if I don't get to finish the Officer of the Fleet by October 20th, then I'll just consider this my submission for TOEMP Challenge #6.
Click here for more pics.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Again, to keep myself motivated, I thought I'd post what I've managed to complete for Challenge #6 up to this point. From left to right, we have: the Bodyguard, the Vox-Caster, the Company Commander, and the Plasma Gunner.
The Bodyguard is essentially a Catachan model with a Cadian torso and painted Cadian colors. Fluff-wise, I figured it would make sense that the bodyguard for a commander would come from a more "elite" fighting force. And it just so happened that the bits of Catachan troopers I had in my bits box allowed me to configure the model with equipment that the Bodyguard read-out allowed - close combat weapon and frag grenade.
The Vox-Caster is pretty much standard Command Squad kit parts.
The Company Commander, as I mentioned in the previous post, sports arms and shoulder pads taken from the Hellhound Tank Commander. I like how he turned out, although the Badab Black wash I added to his greatcoat to give it some dimension was probably slathered on too thickly. I very likely will have to go back over it with another highlight.
The Melta Gunner has arms from a Catachan trooper (again, as mentioned in the previous post). He was actually the toughest model to put together because I was having a hell of a time trying to find the proper left-right arm combinations for him. I was trying desperately to avoid giving him a pointing right arm since not only is my Company Commander pointing at something, but so is my Officer of the Fleet (not yet painted). I don't think seeing 3 different members of your Command Squad pointing in 3 different directions while screaming their heads off would give your rank and file troops all that much confidence that your HQ knows just what the feck it's doing.
Okay, back to the painting station to muster the motivation to finish the last 3 (4, if I decide to paint up the converted Lord Commissar) members of the Company Command Squad by October 20th.
Click here for more pics.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Here's an update as to how my sixth TOEMP challenge is coming along. My GRE Subject Test was this Saturday, and now with it out of the way, I've allowed myself to relax a bit over the weekend by working on the hobby. For Challenge #6, I've chosen to do a full Company Command Squad for my Imperial Guard army. One of the extra requirements for Challenge #6 is to perform as many conversions as possible to your models, but as you can see from these pictures, I don't think I've fully embraced that particular requirement. You see, I'm still a wimp when it comes to green stuff. All I've yet used it for is to fill gaps in models and vehicles and while I hope to one day be able to fully sculpt detailed conversions with the stuff, that day is most certainly not now. But despite that, I tried to convert this Company Command Squad as much as possible by just swapping pieces here and there.
The picture to the upper left shows the 3 members of the Command Squad that are the farthest along. From left to right: the Plasma Gun Veteran, the Company Commander, and the Vox-Caster. I know it's hard to see, but the Plasma Gun Veteran has Catachan arms and a Space Marine Plasma Gun. I went with the Catachan arms to simulate how laborious it would be to actually operate one of these cumbersome special weapons; sleeves would either just get in the way or not offer enough ventilation from the heat. I had originally intended to make him a Meltagunner, but since meltaguns are at a premium these days (i.e., I had 1 meltagun to spare and I plan on using it with my Space Marines), I settled on a plasma gun. It works out, really, since with the Medic in the Command Squad, that gives me an additional layer of protection against overheating. The Vox-Caster is pretty much standard; I think the only change I made on him was to use a Heavy Weapons kneeling legs bit on him, but aside from that, everything else is straight out of the Command Squad kit.
The Commander pictured to the right is coming along rather swimmingly, I think. His head, torso and legs are from the Command Squad kit, but his arms (and molded shoulder pads) are from a Hellhound officer and the sword attached around his waist is from a WFB Bretonnian kit. I was actually a bit stumped as to what color to paint his greatcoat. I didn't want to go with Hunter Green because it seemed a bit "blah." I didn't want to keep it Black either or to paint it a brigher primary color like Blue. So I tried out Dolphin Gray and was pleasantly surprised with how well it turned out. He still needs another layer of basecoat, a wash, and some highlighting, but overall, I'm pretty pleased with him. (And he didn't take all that long to do either! The giant surface of the greatcoat really helped speed him along.)
The final picture (to the bottom left) is of the 3 other Command Squad members I plan on painting up. From left to right: the Bodyguard, the Regimental Standard Bearer, and the Officer of the Fleet. The Bodyguard is essentially a Catachan guardsman while the Regimental Standard Bearer uses parts straight from the Command Squad kit. The Officer of the Fleet, however, is a full conversion. I'm pretty proud of him. His torso is from a Baneblade Tank Commander. I carefully cut the tank hatch surrounding the bottom of his greatcoat away, then attached Cadian legs I cut off at the knees. This part worked out more seamlessly than I expected. The rest of him is a mixture of Shock Troop, Command Squad, and Baneblade Tank Commander bits with another Bretonnian sword strapped to his waist. At first, I was about to make him the Master of Ordnance, but I actually have a Hellhound Tank Commander laying around that I plan to convert into the Master of Ordnance using the same technique I applied to turn the Baneblade Tank Commander into an Officer of the Fleet.
Not shown in the pics is the Medic (primarily because he's unchanged from the standard medic that comes in the Command Squad kit). I also desperately want to put together an Astropath but I'm having a hard time finding the proper bits to convert one. I have a Reaper Miniature that I think could work as an Astropath, but he's a tad too big, scale-wise, to fit with the rest of the Command Squad models.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
5 days past the deadline, 3 days past when I wanted to finish them by, but here they are - my Vampire Counts Skeleton Warriors command group. Almost zero highlighting done on them, but overall, I'm glad I took my time with them. Usually, I consider painting skellie models kind of a mindless activity - you know, just basecoat in White or Ivory depending on the look you're after, then wash in Devlan Mud or Badab Black and, voila!, you're done. But these 3 command group fellas (or at least the Champion and the Standard Bearer - the musician was kind of simple) had plenty of fun fiddly bits to fuss over.
All 3 Skeletons are, again, a mixture of Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings. The Musician, for instance, is basically a Tomb Kings Skeleton with a Vampire Counts shield; the Champion is a Vampire Counts torso, head, and swordarm on Tomb Kings legs; and the Standard Bearer is essentially a Vampire Counts Skeleton holding a Tomb Kings standard pole with a Vampire Counts banner affixed to it. Even though the primary reason for all this mixing and matching is one of necessity, I'm actually digging it. It gives the models a bit of a different look compared to if I had just used all Vampire Counts parts.
By the way - the piles of skulls and tombstones in the background are actually extremely cheap yet nicely detailed and pre-painted bits I found at my local Michael's craft store. They were selling them for Halloween dioramas, and they were exceptionally cheap - about $1.99 each for a pack of 6 skulls and 6 tombstones. They're also just the right size - well, the skulls are a bit big, but not strangely so. I also changed the background color for these pics, swapping out the powder blue for a light purple. Overall, these 2 minor changes to my usual light box set-up added nicely to the models, I think.
Okay, so TOEMP points wise, here's the rundown:
7 Foot Sloggers = 7 points (even though my previous rank and file Vampire Counts posting had 7 skellies, only 4 of them were newly painted)
Missing Deadline = -3 points
I wonder if the Standard counts as an Icon/ Symbol or Mark? Well, either way, it wouldn't really change my tally all that much. Grand total? 4 frikkin' points! Whoohoo! I'm livin' the high life now, baby!
Well, my GRE test is this Saturday, and after it's over and done with, I think I'll have time over the remainder of the weekend to start in on my TOEMP Challenge #6 committment. I'm going to paint up an Imperial Guard Company Squad, I think, composed of a Company Commander converted from the Baneblade Tank Commander, a Company Standard Bearer, a Vox-Caster, a Medic, and I really would like to put together a Meltagunner and a heavily converted Bodyguard, but I'll have to see if I have the parts and the inspiration and the time laying around somewhere this weekend.
Click here for more pics.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Since I've discovered that blogging does help me stay motivated, hobby-wise, I figured I might as well throw up a post showing how far I've gotten with TOEMP's Challenge #5. The main option for the fifth challenge was to paint up a heavy support unit, but since the only heavy support unit I have in my collection is a Land Raider which I've yet to muster the courage to tackle, I decided to go the alternate route and paint up 60 points of Troops. My initial plan was to paint 10 Vampire Counts Skeleton Warriors with a full command, but due to time constraints, I paired that back to 4 new rank and file Skeleton Warriors plus full command. (I already had 3 Skeleton Warriors painted up, so I figured painting up 7 more would give me 10 - halfway to my planned 20 man block of Skeletal Spearmen for my Vampire Counts army.) Well, even that proved a bit daunting because as of October 2 (the deadline), I've only managed to paint up the 4 rank and file skellies while the musician, the standard bearer and the champion languish at my painting station. Oh, well...the best laid plans and all that.
So, here they are. The four up front are my newly painted skellies while the ones in back were previously painted. The eagle-eyed among you will notice that I've mixed and matched Tomb Kings and Vampire Counts parts for my Skeletons. This is because prior to committing to a Vampire Counts army, I was toying around with the idea of a Tomb Kings army, going so far as to buy a box of Tomb Kings Skeleton Warriors and a box of Skeletal Horsemen. When I finally did decide to go Vampire Counts instead, I picked up some bits off of eBay and went about converting the Tomb Kings models into Vampire Counts models. I'm pretty satisfied with the results, although converting one type of skeletal footsoldier over to another isn't really all that difficult. I think the real challenge is going to come from converting the Tomb Kings Horsemen into Vampire Counts Black Knights.
Of the previously painted skeletons in the back of the pictures, I had to make some minor alterations to them in order to better fit them into my army list. I originally had assembled them with hand weapons, but I then decided that I wanted my Skeleton Warriors to have spears. So, I tore the weapon arms off of 2 of the Skeletons, trimmed the area around their shoulder joint, then glued spear arms onto them and re-painted the area.
Well, I very likely won't make the deadline again. I very much want to take my time with the command portion of this Skeleton mob, but who knows? I do have a day off tomorrow...
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Well, how long has it been since my last post involving miniatures? Over 3 weeks, you say? Sorry about that, friends. Real life has utterly and completely ambushed me since the start of September. Not only has work begun in earnest after the end of summer break but I'm also knee-deep in the application process for Doctoral English Literature programs. If accepted to any of the 4 programs I am applying to, then I will begin my doctoral studies in the Fall of 2010. But in the meantime, I've got academic recommendations to lock down, Statements of Purpose to write, and (the biggie) a GRE Subject Test in English Literature to prepare for in early October. In other words...swamped.
I'd really like to apologize to the rest of my fellow bloggers who are involved in the TOEMP challenges. Sorry for being incognito these past 2 challenges and for not being very responsive during the email chats. I can't promise that real life is going to let up anytime soon, but I'll definitely try to regain a routine in regards to my miniature hobby. We'll see.
So, with that out of the way, here are the 3 Imperial Guard Cadian Heavy Weapons Teams I promised to complete for Challenge #3. Interestingly enough, the first 2 teams (a lascannon and a heavy bolter) were both done 2 or so days before the Challenge #3 deadline and the final team (the 2nd lascannon) was about half-way done. I was actually pretty certain I'd make the deadline. And then...real life. Well, I can't quite remember the deadline for Challenge #3, but I think I'm about 2 weeks past due. The picture to the upper left of the post is of the 1st lascannon team. If any of you have seen a very early post I put up of the lascannon team for my Veterans Squad, then you'll recognize that I've repeated the mixing and matching of Cadian and Catachan parts for the crewmen. There are 2 reasons why I do this: 1) I just don't have enough dedicated Cadian Heavy Weapons kits to make the quantity of Heavy Weapons I need for my planned army, and 2) I kind of imagine Heavy Weapons Teams being a bit more loosey-goosey with dress regulations due to the labor-intensive nature of operating the weapons.
The second picture to the right is of the heavy bolter team. The gun shield wouldn't fit properly, so I just left it off. Personally, I think it looks better that way, more like a Vietnam era M60 general purpose machine gun. The final picture to the bottom left is of the 2nd lascannon team.
Total Points earned for this challenge:
3 Heavy Weapons Teams + 6 points (I'm trying to push for including these models in the cavalry/ bikes category rather than the foot sloggers seeing as how each model consists of 2 crewmen plus a heavy weapon)
Eyes/ Lenses + 6 points
Missing Deadline - 3 points
Total: 9 points
For the 5th Challenge, I'm going to try to get 10 Vampire Counts Skeleton Spearmen painted up. Again, I very likely won't make the deadline, but I'm going to keep keepin' on.
Friday, September 11, 2009
As a life-long New Yorker, I'd just like to take the time today to remember September 11, 2001. No politics in this post; this is neither the time nor the place for that sort of thing. Just a moment to remember what the city was like when the Twin Towers still stood. Being a life-long New Yorker, I think I'd only actually been to the Towers once or twice, usually to accompany relatives visiting from other states or countries. You see, as a New Yorker, you live with these great monuments on a daily basis, so they kind of recede into the background of your mind. It's not that you don't love them or treasure them or aren't in awe of them. You are. It's just that you're more like the proud parent in regards to places like the Twin Towers or the Empire State building or the Statue of Liberty - you want to show them off to friends, family, and strangers, but when the hubbub dies down and the pictures have all been snapped, they return to being those silent, comforting presences that remind you of where you are, who you are.
Note: comments are welcome, but please make them non-political. Thanks.
Monday, September 7, 2009
The TOEMP Bloggers have received their latest assignment! For Challenge #4, we are given free reign to paint up 60+ Codex/ Army Book points worth of any models we choose. Afterwards, we are then required to write up a short piece explaining why we chose said models (e.g., to work towards finishing an army, because said models have been sitting on our workshelves giving us a guilt trip for oh so many months, because we were particularly intrigued by the look and character of said models, etc.). Perfect challenge to not only keep us all painting but also to give us something to write about on our blogs!
I've decided to continue chipping away at my Imperial Guard army by painting up a Heavy Weapons Squad (2 lascannons and a heavy bolter). Working on the Sentinel kind of got me in the mood for working on characterful and evocative bases that told little stories, so that's what I'm going to try to do with these 3 Heavy Weapons Teams. I'll probably continue with the tale I began with the Sentinel by sprinkling Chaos Space Marines (or at least their body parts, all hail the Emperor! mwahahaha!) throughout the 60mm bases.
The deadline for Challenge #4 is September 16. Plenty of time!
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Thank goodness for holiday weekends! Starting the night before, I basically embarked on a marathon session to finish up the Khorne Bezerker and the base elements. Finally, I managed to put it all together around 4 PM Saturday.
The Bezerker is extremely rough, but since the Sentinel is supposed to be the focus for this piece, I'm okay with it. My strategy for painting the Bezerker was to basically make sure the Opaque Red basecoat was applied as smoothly as possible, and then to use the Antique Gold to quickly pick out some details here and there. I relied very heavily on Citadel washes to cover mistakes and provide some depth and shading on the Bezerker.
For the base, I decided against using the dozer blade from the Chaos Rhino as a fence due to its size. Instead, I replaced it with two smaller spikey bits from the Chaos Rhino sprue. The smaller one of the two I kept upright, but the larger one I placed laying down on the ground to simulate the violent onslaught of the Sentinel. Also scattered about the base are two hound head statues also from the Chaos Rhino kit, some moss, talus, and broken off cork bits.
So, scoring-wise, here are the points breakdown for completing this 3rd TOEMP challenge:
Foot Slogger - 1 pt.
Walker - 5 pts.
Walker Details (Hunter-Killer Missile, Plasma Cannon) - 5 pts.; not sure if this is what is meant by "accessories"
Meeting Deadline - 2 pts.
Beating Deadline by More Than 24 Hours - 2 pts.
Adding Extra Detail to Base - 5 pts.
For a total of 20 pts.
Overall, this particular challenge was a lot of fun. Obviously, real life interruptions forced me to rush a bit near the end, but I still feel the end result was acceptable. I eagerly await the next challenge in the Tale of Even More Painters!
Please click here for more pics.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Unfortunately, real life over the past couple of days interfered with my painting schedule. I had originally intended to finish the Sentinel a day or two ago, but it's taken me until today to finally get it done. It's still not 100% complete though. I still need to thoroughly highlight it and get more coverage on the Hunter-Killer Missile before I'd officially call it done.
Overall, though, I like it. It was much harder to paint than I expected, but I think I slowed myself down by making some first-time mistakes that I hopefully will not duplicate. Some things I learned:
1) Prime a vehicle in the predominant color of the basecoat. In this instance, I should've primed the sentinel in Hunter Green instead of Black. I could've then gone over the parts I planned on painting in another color in Black, if I wished. Priming it in Black, on the other hand, forced me to spend way too much time applying the Hunter Green basecoat.
2) Don't bother painting the interior of a vehicle that will not ever see the light of day. With this Sentinel, since I glued the top of the cabin down, the few hours I spent painting the interior and the pilot kind of went to waste. I mean, yes, you can sort of see the pilot through the viewing hatches in front, but the rest of the interior of the cabin is basically invisible. At most, I'd paint the pilot and leave it at that. However, for vehicles where the interior can be seen by opening a hatch or a door, then I'll still go ahead and paint it up.
3) Make sure to use the right pieces when putting the vehicle together! This was just me being distracted and unobservant. For the cabin of the Sentinel, before I knew it, I had glued the open-topped side panels onto the cabin frame instead of the armored side panels. As a result, the top hatch wouldn't fit neatly onto the cabin. I had to resort to doing some cutting with my hobby knife and then filling in the gaps along the sides with greenstuff. I'm actually pretty happy with the greenstuffing (on top of this being my first attempt at putting together a vehicle, it was also my first attempt at using greenstuff to fill gaps and make corrections). Up close, it looks obvious I greenstuffed, but from a reasonable distance, the greenstuff appears pretty seamless.
All of these 3 mistakes cost me a lot of time and motivation. While I enjoyed working around these issues, they also tested my patience with the model, and that's not a good way to maintain interest in something.
Well, I've got roughly 2 more days to finish the rest of the base (the Khorne Bezerker and some sort of barrier to simulate a defensive position) if I want to complete this challenge 24 hours before the Sunday deadline. It's Labor Day weekend in America, and my wife and I don't have anything planned (except possibly watching "Inglourious Basterds" on Saturday or Sunday), so I should have plenty of time.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
So, the third challenge in A Tale of Even More Painters is to either paint up a Special Character (plus retinue, if applicable) while writing up a data sheet for him/ her, or alternatively, to paint up a Fast Attack/ Special Unit with extra points being awarded for creative basing.
I decided to go with an Imperial Guard Cadian Armored Sentinel. I could've chosen to paint up a Space Marine Captain with Command Squad, but at this point, I'm so sick of basecoating red that I thought, for sanity's sake, it was best to move on to another color scheme for the time being. The Sentinel is going to be exciting to do for a couple of reasons:
1) It's the first vehicle I'll ever be assembling and painting.
2) I love decorative bases, so this challenge is right up my alley.
3) It's been almost 2 months since I've added anything to my Imperial Guard army.
I've included some work in progress pics of what I have in mind for the Sentinel. Basically, it's a mini-diorama depicting the Sentinel about to crash through the front lines of a Chaos Space Marine defensive position. At the moment, only the Sentinel has been glued to the base. I'll be painting it up first before I add the fence and the Khorne Bezerker. The fence comes from a Chaos Rhino, I believe. I think it's part of the Rhino's dozer blade. I'll very likely also be adding rocks and rubble and shrubbery and such stuff as finishing touches.
I honestly can't wait to start painting this sucker up. Hopefully, under the deadline (Sept. 6th) as well.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Here I present to you my official Challenge #2 submission. Not a big difference from the original entry in post 56, but a bit more characterful, in my opinion.
Since I had 2 days or so until the end of the official deadline (August 27), I decided to revisit my Blood Ravens Terminators. I was always disappointed with how uniform the Black Reach Terminators looked - pretty much every Termie was armed in exactly the same way and posed in exactly the same position. Due to this, the painting process for these 4 models was a bit boring. (Add in the sheer drudgery of trying to achieve a decent level of coverage of red paint over black primer, and the monotony became almost intolerable.) So, I rummaged through my bits boxes and stumbled upon some Chaos Terminator doodads that I thought might just do the trick of personalizing my Terminators just a little bit. I also took the time to go over some rough spots with more paint (primarily the helmets to achieve a brighter white than I had earlier) as well as give the heraldic shields near their left shoulder pads a Devlan Mud wash to add a little bit of depth. (Thanks, Gregory, for the catch and the tip on that one!)
Some might say that adding Chaos bits to Loyalist Marines goes against the fluff, and I can understand that point of view. However, if one reads the Blood Ravens fluff closely, one will notice that this particular Chapter of Space Marines has very close and ominous ties to the forces of Chaos. For instance, out of all of the Space Marine Chapters, the Blood Ravens are the ones most at ease with employing psykers - they have a higher percentage of Librarians within their ranks than other Chapters. There is also the 5th Company of the Blood Ravens (known as the "Fated Fifth") which disappeared into the Warp, the rumor being that they were corrupted by a renegade Librarian within their midsts. Now, the current members of the 5th Company wear badges of penitence and shame upon their armor, although the reasons for doing so are never spoken of. Finally, there are many hinted at connections between the Blood Ravens and corrupted legions such as the Word Bearers and the Thousand Sons. Thus, I think it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for the Blood Ravens to festoon their armor with "Chaos-y" regalia - not out of an attempt at becoming Chaos, but more due to the Chapter's willingness to dance with the dark side. Plus, at the end of the day, the spikes I added to the Terminators are just spikes, right? I purposefully avoided anything that might be too Chaos-influenced (like symbols of the Four Powers or the Chaos Undivided star or trophies that used actual Space Marine heads or body parts, etc.). Why would it be considered beyond the pale for elite fighters such as these to decorate themselves with icons that might strike fear into the hearts of their enemies?
Because of this new submission, my Points Total for Challenge #2 is now:
Foot Sloggers - 10 points
Lenses/ Eyes - 5 Points
Meet Deadline - 2 points
For a total of 17 points.
As usual, click here for more pics.
UPDATE: I was just informed by 73rd that models on 40mm bases count as 2 pts. per model, so the total points for my Blood Ravens Terminators just went up by 5! Woot! The original post was edited to reflect this change.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
5 Blood Ravens Terminators coming right atcha! Some definite problems with them, but overall, I'm satisfied, not least because I managed to beat the deadline by about 2 days. In all honesty, I have to admit that I started to lose interest in painting up these Terminators about a day ago and was kind of just rushing through the finishing touches. Thus, they have plenty of issues I'm unhappy with - for instance, some of their helmets aren't as uniformly white as I'd like; I didn't really feel like properly bringing the Opaque Red basecoat back up after the wash step; and I hardly did any highlighting at all.
The most glaring things missing from the models are the freehand Chapter symbols and heraldic markings I originally wanted to paint onto the right shoulder pads and the small shields near the left shoulder pads. I did try to freehand the Blood Ravens symbol onto one shoulder pad, but again, the result was so horrifying, I had to get rid of it. I had to admit to myself that at this point in my hobby-life, I have zero ability to freehand. I can barely draw a circle with pencil on a blank piece of paper as it is. I'm going to have to practice freehanding more before giving it another go; in the meantime, I'm going to buy me some water transfer paper and just go with decals.
One more thing - I keep telling myself that when I'm painting a model that's primarily red, I will not prime it in Black. Unfortunately, I forgot my own reminder with these terminators. I think part of the loss of interest I experienced with these models was how frustrating it was getting proper coverage with red acrylic paint over a black undercoat. I think 75% of my time painting these models involved layer after layer of red basecoating. Very boring. Very monotonous. I probably won't prime in white when painting Blood Ravens since their red is more on the dark end of the spectrum. I think I'll experiment with just priming them red from the get-go and see how that works.
Okay, let's tally up the points for these fellows:
5 Foot Sloggers = 5 points
5 Lenses/ Eyes = 5 points
Meeting Deadline = 1 point
Beating Deadline by at least 24 hours = 2 points
So 13 total points (unless I give the freehanding another try hehe). Can't wait for Challenge #3!
Click here for more pics of the Terminators.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Since we received our details for the second challenge 3 days ago, I've progressed rather nicely on my Terminator Squad. The pic on the left shows 2 Terminators from the 5 man squad practically nearing completion. The Termie on the far left is more advanced than the Termie on the right, but both are almost done. A few more basecoats, washes, highlights, and then fancying up the bases a bit are all that's left, really. I have to say, the Terminators have been a bit monotonous. I dunno. Their poses aren't all that different, their battlegear are almost identical, etc. etc. Even standard Space Marines have more customizability. Of course, these are the Termies from the Black Reach set, so lack of customization should be expected. And, yes, I could've performed a few conversions on them myself (such as cut a Termie or two in half and pose their torsos in a different direction), but I was being lazy. I do want to try freehanding the Blood Ravens Chapter logo onto their left shoulder pads and some heraldry onto the small shields near their right shoulders, so that will hopefully boost up the interest level a bit. Or boost up the frustration level considering how abominable my last attempt at freehanding (the banner on the Sternguard conversion) turned out.
The pic to the right presents the 3 remaining Terminators I have left to paint - 2 standard shooty Termies with the Terminator Sergeant in the center. The Terminator Sergeant looks fun, if a bit intimidating. I think I'll either do him next (just to break up the monotony) or save him for last. I'm afraid that if I save him for last, I'll end up rushing to make the deadline, but the advantages of doing him last is that I'll be able to commit all of my painting mistakes on the standard Termies and thus apply the hard-earned wisdom on doing the best job on the Sergeant.
So, 6 days left to essentially paint 3 Terminators. No sweat!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
My submission for the TOEMP Challenge #2 is coming along nicely. I've decided to paint up a 5 man squad of Blood Ravens Terminators (the shooty kind that came in the Black Reach set). I would've liked to continue building on my Ork army, but it turns out I don't have any Ork Elite or Heavy choices in my current collection! (I've decided to use the 5 Nobz - at least 2 of them - which came with the Black Reach set as leaders for my Ork Boyz mobs, plus 5 Nobz doesn't quite reach the 125 pts. minimum for challenge #2.) Since I've also committed myself to building up a Blood Ravens army, painting up the Terminators works just as well. As an aside - the intended purpose of the TOEMP to get the participating bloggers up and working on their backlogs has been a splendid success, at least for me. I don't think I've ever painted this many models in such a short time before. Before I know it, I'll be able to buy new models again! (Don't think I've forgotten about my committment to the Painting Points system either!)
Since posting will be a bit sporadic due to my focusing on meeting the deadline for Challenge #2 (August 27), I'm going to put up a few army lists over the next week or so just to keep the blog active. So, without further ado, in honor of the 8 Orks I painted up for Challenge #1, here's my Ork army list.
Snakebite Clan Army List - 2,505 Points
Work In Progress
HQ - 200 pts.
Warboss attached to Nobz (Elite choice) mounted in a Battlewagon
- power klaw, shoota/ skorcha, boss pole, 'eavy armor
- kustom force field, cybork body, boss pole
Elites - 745 pts.
- stikk bombz, 4 big choppas, power klaw, 'eavy armor, Waaagh! banner, Painboy
- 2 burnas, Boss Snikrot
Troops - 990 pts.
Ork Boyz (20) x 3
- big shoota, rokkit launcha, Nob w/ big choppa, 'eavy armor, bosspole
- stikkbombz, 4 big choppas, power klaw, 'eavy armor, Waaagh! banner, Painboy
- Trukk w/ red paint job, reinforced ram
- close combat weapon, kustom mega-blasta, armor plates
Fast Attack - 365 pts.
Warbikers (3) x 2
- Nob w/ power klaw, boss pole
Deff Koptas (3)
- 3 twin-linked rokkit launchas
Heavy Support - 200 pts.
- killkannon, 'ard case, grot riggers, armor plates, wreckin'ball, 2 big shootas
To get to 2,000 pts., minus:
- Deff Koptas
- Deff Dread
- 1 Warbikers Mob
- 5 Kommandos
- wreckin' ball, grot riggers from Battlewagon
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Well, I really tried to get this challenge in under the deadline. I had the final 4 Ork models fully basecoated and sitting on my painting table, waiting for me to get home from work. All I had left to do was shading, highlighting, and basing. After dinner and spending some time watching the teevee with the missus, I headed on over to my painting table and got started on finishing the first TOEMP challenge. I thought I'd be able to get these last 3 stages done on each of the remaining 4 models that night because in my experience, the basecoating was the most time/ labor intensive part of the whole process. The shading, highlighting, basing stages were more just polishing up techniques. What I totally forgot to factor in was the time I had to spend waiting for the ink wash or the glue to dry! Because of that, I missed the first deadline by 1 day. I had all of the models washed and based last night, but finished up the highlighting and the photography this morning.
So, here they are - 8 Snakebite Clan Orkz in about 4 days time (for a total of roughly 8-10 hours of actual painting). We have a Nob with a big choppa and 'eavy armor (I didn't have time to put the bosspole on his back), a Big Shoota Boy, and 6 rank and file Boyz all armed with sluggas and choppas. The stage I really skimped on doing was the highlighting stage. At most, I gave each Ork a drybrush across the upraised textures of their skin with Christmas Green lightened with a mix of White. Had I not been under the pressure of a deadline, I probably would have taken the time to highlight more bits and bobs (like their weapons and pants and buckles). Overall, though, I'm pretty happy with them. Putting the last touches on the 4 Orks this morning felt really good. Taking photos of the 8 of them together felt even better. I now officially have a 10 Ork mob at my disposal (counting the first 2 Ork Boyz I painted months ago)!
The challenge was really fun, despite coming during my busiest work week in the summer. By Monday, I had just finished 10 straight days of teaching summer entrance test preparation workshops at a local community college. Still, the painting challenge allowed me to unwind every night in between grading practice tests. So, bring on the next challenge! Keep me motivated!
BTW, this is just a quick post to get my results up. I'll edit this post with a link to my Picasa gallery later in the day after I snap more individual pictures of the Orks.
EDIT: Here's the link to the Ork gallery with more pictures of the Ork Boyz from the TOEMP Challenge #1.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Just a quick update on the status of my TOEMP challenge #1. The 4 Ork Boyz I posted about yesterday have officially been completed - shaded with washes, highlighted (although not as much as I've recently been doing, solely due to time constraints), and based.
I believe I will take Kuffeh's suggestion in my previous TOEMP Update post and try to extend the choppa on my Black Reach Nob. With that minor conversion, I'll be able to reach the 75+ point threshhold for challenge #1 while shaving 2 models off my to-paint requirement. Now, this little strategery honestly has nothing to do with trying to "win" the challenge or anything quite so unseemly. The Ork army lists I've drawn up have always had the Nobs who lead my Ork Boyz mobs wielding big choppas - due to being a noob, however, I had assumed the Black Reach Nob models were already equipped with big choppas because their close combat weapons looked different (more elaborate) than your typical Ork Boy choppa, but after reading the Ork Codex more closely and searching the web a bit, it turns out big choppas are universally two-handed weapons.
Of course, at this point in the challenge - with 2 days left on the clock - I'm not going to complain too loudly about not having to paint an extra 2 Ork Boyz models hehe.
So, I've got the Nob, the Big Shoota Boy, and 2 remaining rank and file Ork Boyz left. They are primed and I will attempt to put down some basecoats tonight (at the very least, get the skin done). I'm wondering - is there a deadline on Monday for TOEMP submissions, 73rd (of Unforgiven Angels)?
Friday, August 14, 2009
Well, the August 17th deadline is right around the corner, and I've been trying to fit in as much painting time as I can in between work and various social obligations. While it's definitely been a challenge, it has also been a great learning experience. For one, I realized just what a friggin' slow painter I am! I'm about ready to move into the shading, highlighting, and basing stage on the 4 Ork Boyz I started 4 days ago. All told, I've probably put in about 4-6 hours total on these 4 models, a much faster pace than I've managed before. Consequently, the paintjob is a little bit "messier" as well, but I'm pretty satisfied overall with the results.
Up next are the remaining 4 rank and file Ork Boyz. I'm hoping that they'll go much faster since I've learned a few things about speed from these first 4 Ork Boyz. Regardless, even if I manage to finish them in a day or so, that'll leave me with another day or so to finish up the Nob and the Big Shoota - highly unlikely, I'm afraid at this point. I've been toying with the idea of just doing 6 rank and file Boyz plus the Nob and Big Shoota for a combined 73 points (since I already have 2 painted Ork Boyz from earlier to round out this 10 model unit), but that leaves me 2 points short of the stated challenge of 75+ points. I guess I could consider the Choppa the Black Reach Nob I'm painting a counts-as Big Choppa, but I dunno if that would be kosher for this challenge? Better yet, does anyone know if the choppa the Assault on Black Reach Nob model is carrying can legally be considered a Big Choppa under the WYSIWYG rule?
Monday, August 10, 2009
I've decided to participate in Unforgiven Angels "Tale of Even More Painters" (TOEMP) painting challenge. In a nutshell, it's a group of bloggers coming together to support and motivate each other to accomplish various painting goals within established deadlines. The deadlines are about 10 days apart (with the first one coming on August 17), and the challenges, I expect, will get progressively more difficult as things go along. While there are nominally "prizes" (e.g. digital trophies to be displayed on your blog for best all-around job done for a given challenge), I'm mostly interested in participating in TOEMP as a motivational tool. I've got quite a hefty backlog of miniatures sitting forlornly on their sprues, and I've promised myself, my wife, and my wallet that I'd forge my way through that backlog before purchasing any more miniatures. So, for all of you out there who have blogs and are looking for a motivational way to help you work through Miniature Backlog Syndrome, then I heartily suggest you join us in TOEMP! Together, we will conquer this mountain of textured and shaped plastic!
Now, let me give you a quick peek at what Challenge #1 entails for TOEMP:
Due August 17th, the bloggers committed to TOEMP must paint up at least 75 points worth of Warhammer 40k or Warhammer FB miniatures. (Epic 40k miniature painters must paint up at least 150 points worth.) The points are determined by the point cost of the models in their respective army books (i.e., not based on painting points). Thus, I've decided to make a dent in the Ork army I've been planning by painting up 85 points worth of Ork Boyz. In the most general language possible, this means 9 rank and file Ork Boyz with 1 big shoota between them and 1 Nob with 'eavy armor and a bosspole. (Hopefully that's vague enough to not get me into trouble.) For a more in-depth look at the rules and guidelines for Unforgiven Angels' TOEMP challenge, just click the link all the way at the beginning of this post and follow the instructions on that page.
Wish me luck! I've got 8 days to paint up 10 models - a faster pace than I've ever managed. I obviously still want to maintain some level of quality but I really do want to try my best at meeting this deadline. I already have 4 Ork Boyz lined up at my workstation, and tonight, I will start basecoating their skin and maybe more.