Thursday, September 14, 2017

Tau Battlesuit

With the use of the Gamer's Grass, I was able to finally finish off my first Tau battlesuit, which was painted a while back, but lacked a finished base.  This is a conversion that I had planned when the Tau were new, but never got around to doing.  OK, so it has been a few years. I used one of the first model suits to build this guy, so it has limited posebility and weak ankles.

I added some rescue markings like on a fighter plane
Elongated head with rear antenna 

Gamer's Grass, sprue brick, and wrecked hardwood floor
You might be able to tell that I have cut off the jetpack and moved it in, as well as added the spinal antenna array. In addition I made a new head from bitz, and made the gun hand held rather than affixed to the forearm.

The original idea was to make over all of my battlesuits to this standard, but that still has not happened... so we will see what happens when I get there. (hopefully before I have owned them for 20 years)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Gamers Grass

Back in June (!), I got a few sheets of grass from Gamer's Grass, and yesterday I finally got around to using them.

Previously I had used a sheet of Army Painter 6mm Highland Tuft, which I got from Amazon, and was highly crushed when I got it.  I liked the look of it, but it was sort of a pain to cut pieces from, and the price was not great. So when it started to run low, I looked elsewhere.

Size comparison with a Abdul on a 30mm base (and terrible exposure)

Comparison between the Gamers Grass and the Army Painter Grass
Ordering from Gamer's Grass was very easy, and I even saved a few pennies by paying in GBP instead of USD, which was nice. The sheets came packed in a sturdy box, and were not folded or mashed in any way.  The tufts are perhaps a bit more regular than I would like, however, the colors are great, and they are very easy to use.  I certainly see the utility in having a number of colors on hand, and am already considering adding to my stash...

Friday, September 8, 2017

Inquisitorial Kill Team Sakhalin -Part 11

In our final installment of the Inquisitorial Kill Team Sakhalin, we have Brother Agerholm of the Deathwatch.

Bit of a photo dump for this one, as this figure is harder to photograph, and needed more comparison.

Bother Agerholm of the Deathwatch, seconded (some would say exiled from) the Invaders Space Marine Chapter.  Of late he has been often seen in concert with I.O. Sakhalin, to whom the Deathwatch owes a special allegiance.  In this pic, you will note that he is armed with a powerfist and a flexible magazine bolter. 

Another figure started seven years ago, this guy took a long time to build, and even longer to finish.  As you may be able to make out in the pictures, he is built from a standard space marine body, but I extended and widened the torso, created a new set of power cables, and also lengthened the legs and reposed the feet so that he was standing more upright. The head, bolter and shoulder pad are all from the metal Deathwatch set that came out when the concept of Deathwatch

And anticipating questions regarding size, here are some comparison pictures with I.O. Sakhalin and with the Chaos Space Marine I created a while back.

As you can see, he is a big fellow, but a bit more slender than the Stormcast and terminator based Chaos marine.

I have ideas for a further few deathwatch figures, and with the new Primaris marines, most of the true scale work is already done...

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Inquisitorial Kill Team Sakhalin -Part 10

Part Ten, near to the end of Inquisitorial Kill Team Sakhalin is the Arsonist, Serafima. 

For a man as conservative as I.O. Sakhalin, his long association with Pani Serafima is more than surprising, as her record of contempt for superiors and delight in immolation of evidence is well known.  Note also that she here seen holding a knife seemingly made of wraithbone, a most curious weapon indeed for someone working with an Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos...

Rather obviously comprised of a Copplestone back of beyond figure and some tacked on bitz, this was a figure that was kicking around my spares box for a while, and then was added at the last minute to this group.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Inquisitorial Kill Team Sakhalin -Part 9

Part 9 of Inquisitorial Kill Team Sakhalin is Pilot Yuri. 

Pilot-Officer Yuri had a rather unfortunate encounter with a lupine life form after an unfortunate mid-air collision with the cargo scull belonging to a xeno-trader outside of a backwater trading post.  As this collision also caused said trader to be captured by I.O. Sakhalin, Pilot-Officer Yuri was offered the opportunity to join his retinue, which given that the alternative was to bleed out on the forest floor, he accepted.  

Another figure which languished for some time, as I was unsure what to do with the robotic arm.  In the end I left it as a servo cable jutting from his torso, which I imagine makes it somewhat useful for interfacing with imperial machinery, and rather less so for reloading his bolt pistol.

Hazard striping is certainly not my best work here, and I may go back and retouch it.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

September White Dwarf

This Saturday I managed to make it to the FLGS to pick up the September issue of White Dwarf.  This issue is centered on the 30th Anniversary of Warhammer 40k, and rather unusually came in an over-sized card envelope. This allowed for two posters to be included, one of which is the cover art, and the other an advertisement for Total War: Warhammer II, and also allowed for the actual magazine cover to be fairly spare, with just the White Dwarf and Warhammer 40k/30 logos.


Magazine and contents

Quite large poster of the cover image
You may also notice that I bought a Bones figure.  With the Reaper Bones IV kickstarter closing on Saturday, I was in a Bones sort of mood, and picked this guy up to add to my stockpile... not exactly sensible, but he should turn out nicely.  As for the kickstarter, it ended up breaking $3 million.  I have only put in $1 so far, but expect to add quite a bit before the pledge manager closes (in July!).

Inquisitorial Kill Team Sakhalin -Part 8

Part 8 of the exquisitely drawn out Inquisitorial Kill Team Sakhalin is Trooper Okhlopkov.

One who watches over the others of a battle team can be called 'the Angel' of the group, although if that is true, then Trooper Okhlopkov is a murderous reaper of an angel, bringing to many a terminal flash of the Emperor's light.  Of note here is his custom long-las, which has been carefully treated to remove all of its original celebratory enamel, and refinished in the matte black seen in this pict. 

This figure actually is around eight years old, as I built it in my original flurry of INQ28 mania.  It was, as one might expect, unpainted until needed for a game.  I love the face of this figure, another stellar one from the Perry sculpted Huntsmen box, which as you will have noted formed the bulk of the heads used in this group. (the bodies were long ago allocated to a Necromunda gang, sadly unfinished)

Monday, September 4, 2017

Inquisitorial Kill Team Sakhalin -Part 7

Part 7 of our Inquisitorial Kill Team Sakhalin is Trooper Sova.

It is said by no less an authority than St. Chrisber, that every team put together for the purposes of combat will need a scout, someone or something that proceeds the main force and draws fire, while noting the positions of the enemy.  Trooper Sova fills the position for I.O. Sakhalin, as did his forebears before him.  While there are rumors that he is a psyker, and is thus linked to his owl, I.O. Sakhalin is far too orthodox to employ an unsanctioned psyker. - Marginalia from the Conclave notes of Lord Inquisitor Botteith, lost mysteriously on mission.

Another figure I had planned for a long time, and then put together in a rush of bitz building.  The "bird" aspect of this figure varied for a long time between a Bretonnian falcon and something more exotic, before I settled on this owl. (it was $1 cheaper)

Friday, September 1, 2017

Inquisitorial Kill Team Sakhalin -Part 6

Part 6 of our review of the Inquisitional kill team of I.O. Sakhalin is the enigmatic death cultist Smert-5.

Smert-5 is a member of the blood cult, whose low Gothic name translates to something close to the "Emperor's pointy knives".  Founded by an ex-imperial guard sergeant, the cult has a high emphasis on obeying superiors, and consequently cult members are in high demand as body guards for Inquisitors, Rogue Traders, and others that recruit retinue members.  The cult is aware of this, and uses its popularity as a producer of guards for the galacticaly important to remain in favor with the local authorities. 

This conversion is one that I have thought about the longest, but conversely the one I find most disappointing in actuality. The body is obviously from a vindicare assassin, and the left arm is from the old metal dire avenger upgrade arms. The mask is sculpted, but unfortunately the mask is just not very good, and the crude kabuki paint did not help any. I may go back and paint a layer of gloss over the mask, but I probably will not bother.  (if you view the pictures on "small" they do look significantly better, although that is true of most of my work!)

On the plus side, I did get to test a technique mentioned to me by Tears of Envy, whereby you pre-highlight the figure grey and then paint with a heavy layer of black paint/ink mix and it takes virtually no time at all. I think the body suit came out quite well, considering that again, it took about two minutes to highlight and then ink. (naturally her results are much better!)

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Inquisitorial Kill Team Sakhalin -Part 5

Part 5 of our review of the Inquisitional kill team of I.O. Sakhalin is his lovely killer-consort Lesya.

Among the more unusual aspects of the retinue of Inquisitor Ordinary Sakhalin is his use of a killer-consort. Shown here in a traditionally effeminate kimono gown, and armed merely with two sharp blades.  This picture must have been taken after the incident with the orkiod slavers in 430.M49, as Lesya's head has been replaced with a sensoward helmet.  Those who knew her, say her beauty was only increased by the removal of her face, and her grace increased by the heavy metal replacement. 

Probably the best color representation
A simple conversion of a Hasslefree figure. I agonized a bit on this paint job, painting a number of layers on the kimono and obi, that are, alas, not visible here.  I thought about various servoskull or other options, but went with the simplest.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Inquisitorial Kill Team Sakhalin -Part 4

Part four of Kill Team Sakhalin is his Allied Associate Explorator Priest Mechnikov XII.

A Métoikos-Priest from Simferopol-28, Mechnikov XII is currently traveling the sector as an Explorator.  As pictured here, Mechnikov XII still retains a primarily human frame, and is currently using a servo lumen to assist in exploring abandoned factorums.  Also equipped with an arc-pistol of ancient design (note the lack of dorsal capacitor bank) and a shock prod suitable for biological specimen collection. 

Built from a Empire wizard body and bitz, this guy took surprisingly long to come together. It was not until I had the arms from the Skittari box that it suddenly clicked and all came together.  Hard to tell from the blurry photography, but I feel like his base needs a bit more work, probably with some pigment chalks to enhance the "dirt" portion.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Inquisitorial Kill Team Sakhalin -Part 3

Second in our review of Inquisitorial Kill Team Sakhalin is his loyal (and young) acolyte Pasha.

Unusually for an Inquisitor, I.O. Sakhalin tends to recruit his associates from his home world, as seen here with his young apprentice acolyte Pasha.  Not more than a boy in this picture, he is shown wearing a light brigantine vest, and carrying a bolter rifle of local sector manufacture. 

Apologies for the slightly fuzzy picture, but then there is not all that much to make out on this guy anyway, as befitting an understudy. This bolter rifle I imagine to use bolt pistol ammunition, but with a better range and higher fire rate, and unusually for a converted weapon, I have another built the same way in another warband. This figure was built around 7 years ago. and completed only as part of this project.  It also looks like I need to reglue the base.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Inquisitorial Kill Team Sakhalin - Part 2

First up in our review of Inquisitorial Kill Team Sakhalin is the man himself, Inquisitor Ordinary Kazimir Sakhalin, Destroyer of Peace, of the Ordo Xenos.

I.O. Sakhalin is a simple man of conservative belief, and works tirelessly to rid his sector of alien influence. He is shown here in his customary dress, with a heavy dueling las lock pistol, augmentic carapace armor, and traditional wear of his home world.  Note the bionic right leg, which was fitted after it was flayed away by a Harhk sonic blaster in 431.M39.  The second picture shows clearly the psyker-hood, which I.O. Sakhalin has used to protect himself from alien witches on many occasions. 

Not the best pictures, due to taking them with the weak light of dawn, but with some photo manipulation the colors are fairly close to where they ought to be in the first picture, which is to say mostly dark blue and steel. The figure itself was mostly built around eight years ago, and then finished a few years later when I filled in the chest plate and sculpted (poorly!) the obi and geta straps.  The figure is constructed from bitz from a number of sources, as well as a scratch built bionic leg.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Inquisitorial Kill Team Sakhalin

Inquisitor Ordinary Kazimir Sakhalin, of the Ordo Xenos, shown here with his usual associates.

A bit of a teaser for some actual painted figures.  These have been a long time coming, both in terms of construction (nearly eight years for Inq Sakhalin!) and in terms of getting these finished and posted to the blog, since I used them back in early June for SW:A.  You can also see the finished cut paper bases too, which I think turned out rather well, considering the rush paint job they were subjected to. (indeed the whole kill team was painted in about a week, which for ten characters is lightning fast for me)

More to come as we explore each character a bit.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Summer Vacation

Last week we took a much needed vacation, and went to the beach for a few days, and then to the mountains to visit my wife's cousins for a few days.  Very relaxing, although I was also reminded that shoveling sand for a day is not great for my back. 
The "warm" California Sun
The cousins have a large outdoor chess board, and we got the kids to play a game during our languid Saturday morning.  Both players performed pretty well, although they did not finish the game.  Maybe next time. 
 I also got the chance to teach the older kids how to play X-wing, which we played using the Force Awakens starter.  We played on a whiteboard table created by one of my wife's cousins, and I marked out all the moves the kids made, and then at the end we reviewed what they did and why.  Being kids, they rolled pretty hot, with at least two instances of all hits on four dice.  I had all my X-wing stuff along, including a new Millennium Falcon that I got as a birthday present, but it never made it out of the box.
A bit blurry as it was dark inside
When I got back, I got a small bitz package from France, and it inspired me to actually put a figure together, and I also took a few pictures of miniatures previously painted, so hopefully this blogging lark will get back on track soon.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin

My favorite piece of art from the whole series 
Over the last couple years I have been slowly reading Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, a manga retelling of the popular animé show.  Set in the Universal Century year 0079, the story follows a now standard trope of inexperienced youths thrust into military conflict by circumstance, and then growing to excel in various roles as the war progresses (itself a type of Bildungsroman).

The animé was first broadcast in 1979, and this manga was started in 2002 and is written and drawn by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, who was the original character designer for the TV series. Rather than being a strict retelling of the TV show, The Origin adds considerable material and restructures some of the TV show events into a more plausible order.

In 2013 Vertical started releasing the books here in the US in a hardback format.  These are amazing books made in the aizōban style, which means that they are thick hardbacks, super high end paper, numerous color pages, and generally a limited release.  Each volume also has accompanying essays about the importance of Mobile Suit Gundam in Japanese culture or in the anime/manga industry.  Ending with 12 volumes, the work is quite spectacular. Really recommend this series.

Zenon forces at the battle of Odessa

The Blackstars

The two main characters at Gibraltar

Gundam at rest

Battle Scene from book XII
War in the Gundam universe is mainly fought by small warbands of mechs, 60 feet tall, with short range automatic tank caliber guns and close combat weapons, which are prevalent due to the hand-wavium of "Minovsky particles" which prevents such things as radar from working at all, and degrades higher frequency sensors as well.

Gaming the Gundam universe is probably best suited by a set of rules that allows for detailed skirmishes between the warbands, where each Gundam is perhaps treated more like a fighter plane with pilots of different skill rather than using detailed mech rules.  Since ranged fire is only for eliminating mooks and large targets, some sort of dueling skill would be needed to dice off the close combat.  Tanks and infantry and so on are prevalent, but then are often mere annoyances to be swept aside with a single hit.

In terms of figures "Gunpla" is a huge source that can not be ignored.  The term refers to the hobby of building scale models of Gundam (and other robots), and there is such a huge market in Japan (and elsewhere) for these figures that they are available for all configurations of Gundam seen on screen or page, and probably more that never were.  Kits range from your standard plastic model from the early 80's to the totally poseable HG (High Grade) kits with internal skeletons, replaceable hands, and pieces molded in multiple correct colors to minimize or eliminate the need for painting.  The majority of the kits are 1/144 scale, which roughly equates to N/12mm, which is a bonus given the popularity of that scale for model railroad buildings.  Happily this also works well with the boom in 10mm scifi gaming, at least for terrain and civilian vehicles, if one is a purist about military vehicles.