Thursday, December 31, 2015

Review of 2015

For me, 2015 became very focussed on Warhammer 30,000 and the Horus Heresy. Although I have not abandoned Warhammer 40,000 altogether, my personal view is that the Horus Heresy series that is being produced by Forge World is simply an order of magnitude better to the usual Warhammer 40,000 fare. 

Why Horus Heresy?
I wrote a full article earlier in the year on this exact subject. But in summary, I'm drawn to the Horus Heresy because I consider it to be simply a better constructed, balanced and more fun game. It also deals with THE part of the Warhammer timeline that has intrigued me the most for a long long time. In the distant future of 40k, we know that everything is at war with everything else. The story is not progressing and its all a bit grim-dark. In 30k, though, we see a time of optimism and expansion of the human empire through the Great Crusade. Humanity is unified (once conquered!) and its space marine legions sweep (or attempt to sweep) all xenos before them. This is, of course, broken by the betrayal of Horus and his allies, leading to inter-legionary warfare for (maybe?) the first time. (maybe, because it has been teasingly hinted that the Space Wolves were released against either Legio II or XI at some point in the past). The prospect of building an army that could take part in the Great Crusade, Isstvan, and the wider Heresy, plus ultimately still be playable in 40k strongly appealed to me. Plus, I get to read in a humongous amount of detail never presented before what happened during those dark days of the Heresy in 30k.

So what appeals to me about 30k rules and armies? Well, having been in both games since the "beginning", I think that 30k displays a much stronger tendency toward balance than 40k has ever done. That's not to say there are not strong and powerful rules in 30k, there most certainly are. Take for example the Iron Hands Legion rules -- they reduce the incoming "S" of any ranged weapon by 1. That's truly incredible as it makes them the 30k analogue of Plague Marines in terms of survivability due to the mechanics of comparing "S" to "T" of the weapons and miniatures involved. But in 30k, its balanced up. The Iron Hands must always stand and fight (Ferrus clearly didn't think much of his marines going to ground) and they have rigid tactics that severely limits the kinds of army that this legion can field (in a fluffy manner as well, I'd argue). This is not to say 40k does not possess some kinds of balance, it most certainly does (lower I for plague marines, and a higher points cost than basic marines to say the least).

Yet, I've personally found it hard to "break" the 30k army building rules to construct a win-at-all-costs army. Sure, I can think of a few Word Bearers legion lists that might combine with daemons and Be'Lakor / Fateweaver for some scary combinations with the likes of the Gal Vorbak, but that's the best I can do in terms of really fielding a uber army that is going to try to win with a death-star style unit. And that relies on 40k units and army codexes. There's also the Alpha Legion instant tank death combination too. I'm sure there probably exists other scary combinations without primarchs present, and I'd love to hear about them (leave a comment if you have something to equal or better Word Bearers + Be'Lakor / Fateweaver army lists!). But in 40k, we have all come across screamer-stars online or in person (or fielded them ourselves), and necron flying deathstar armies before that, leaf blower before that, etc. I just can't find too many 30k issues like that though. And it is for these reasons that I'm doubly attracted to 30k.

Top 10 Hits.
All this being true, I have focussed this blog on reviewing units from the Horus Heresy publications for the main part this year. I've trawled through all the first four books (Betrayal, Massacre, Extermination and Conquest). The fifth book (Tempest) is underway with the legion units at least complete (Ultramarines and Word Bearers). 

In terms of sheer hits to this blog, these reviews come out top. They have remained top of my hits for almost the entire year. In order, the most popular pages on this blog for the year 2015 are:

Indeed, to get to anything that is not directly related to the Horus Heresy, I have to plunge to approximately position number 40 for the Chaos Space Marine summary page. Then to 61st position for the Dark Angels. And then 69th position for the Daemon Name Generator.

Entertainingly, there was a noticeable upswing in hits to my blog following the publication of Betrayal at Calth board game. Seems like the Horus Heresy is gaining a lot of traction out there!

Hobby and Gaming.
Alongside the reviews of the Horus Heresy, I have also been working on assembling an Alpha Legion force. These articles can be found under the "Unbroken Chain" tag throughout the year. The goal with this army is to ensure that each model is at least a kit-bash, but preferably a conversion. Several examples include the Necron-armed sniper marines, and the chaos marine converted terminator weapon arms. Let alone the Contemptor Dreadnoughts

The paint scheme I have settled on for these guys is a dark metallic blue, spray-painted on to the miniatures using last year's Christmas present. I'm tempted to purchase a big bag of 32mm bases to ensure the rest of the army has somewhat larger bases as this seems to be the trend nowadays for 30k marines.

In terms of gaming, I've only got a few games in. This is largely a product of moving away from my gaming group in Melbourne and returning to the UK (in 2014) where I don't have a regular group any longer. Plus my children have had to come first, naturally (did I mention that one of them has started a Tau army? A Tau army! What am I to do!). That said, I did manage a few games. Most memorable was an Apocalypse game in the middle of the year. I have a few images from that one, but perhaps the best moment was when Typhus repelled an Ork charge single-handedly

Role-Playing Games.
Following the publication of Astulae, my very old roleplaying group got back together earlier in the year for a number of Skype sessions to test it out. Very enjoyable overall! If you happen to play Astulae as well, do let me know and jot me a message! I'd love to hear about it. 

Although I have not yet finished my reviews of the old Dungeons and Dragons Dark Sun campaign setting, they have progressed a little bit from where I was at the beginning of the year. I am just about up to the second campaign setting review and hope to continue these next year - regardless of whether these are less popular than the 30k reviews or not!

Happy New Year to you all. I hope you've continued to enjoy (or perhaps even discovered?) my humble little corner of the internet this year. Best wishes, and I hope 2016 will be as good as this one!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Dear Readers,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!
Cheers from Warpstone Flux for all the interaction and more to follow after Christmas is over!

Names for Titans

When reading the Horus Heresy and Warhammer 40,000 novels, there are a large range of names employed for every culture and sect imaginable therein. The Legio Titanicus are no exceptions.

The names for titans appear to be sourced from one of several linguistic origins. Firstly are the mostly English names; e.g., Iron Hunger (source: Horus Heresy Massacre). These generally appear more in the latter day Warhammer 40,000 books. There are hints of name from cultures such as the ancient Celts; Sidhe being one such example that I stumbled across (source: Helreach).

Most names for titans appear to be sourced from Latin, or pseudo-latin words that have been cobbled together though. And it is these names that I want to concentrate on in today's post.

Below, I have assembled a non-grammatically correct list of nouns and adjectives in the latin and pseudo-latin word-use common in Warhammer 30,000 and 40,000 for Titans of all allegiances. Their very approximate English equivalents are listed by their sides (please comment if any are awry, or if there are further bona fide examples please!). I hope this list might, ultimately, prove useful to those people thinking about how to name their engines, or even vehicles.

Abominatus - Abomination
Aeternem - Eternal
Amadeus - Love of god
Annihilus - Annhilation
Anthrop - Human
Apocalyptus - Apocalypse
Aquila - Eagle
Arcadia - Perfection / Utopia (particularly in a pastoral sense)
Aristeas - the best / the best that there is
Arma - Arms (i.e. weaponry)
Ascerbus -  searching (?)
Ashima - protector (this one is not quote latin to be honest)
Astramos - Fearless (? - probably Greek rather than Latin).
Astrus - Baffling (this one is the Welsh translation though).
Atrox - Frightful / Fierce
Augmenautus - augmented?
Augustus - Majestic
Bane - Bane
Bellum - War
Calvara - Scalp
Calvis - Topped / Top / arguably Bald?
Canarius - Dog-like
Canis - Dog
Canus - Aging
Carnophage - a compound and invented name: Carno meaning Meat, Phage meaning eater
Castigatus - Castigate / Reprimand / Severe
Causa - Cause / the reason
Celestus - Celestial
Conquist - probably referred to subjugation?
Consecratus - Consecrated
Corporalis - Bodily / Physical
Credo - (I) Believe
Crusadus - Crusade
Defensor - Defender
Deus - god
Dies - Days
Diligens - Love / Diligent
Divinitus - Divine
Dominatus - Mastery / Lord
Dominus - Lord
Domitus - Tamed
Enervatus - Enervate
Eruditus - to Teach / Educate
Evocatus - Summoned / Volunteer
Excelsus - High (lofty)
Exemplis - Examples
Ferrus - (corruption of Ferrous) Iron
Ferus - Wild / Fierce
Fidei - Faith
Fortis - Strong
Guis - Blood
Gyrfalcon - A type of very large falcon
Honoris - Honour
Ignis - Fire
Impassionata - Impassioned? (not latin really!)
Imperious - Imperious
Indomitus - Untamed / Savage
Inferno - Hell
Invidiosa - probably a corruption of Invidious (meaning: likely to incur anger or resentment)
Ionicus - Grouse?
Irae - Anger
Juvat - Help
Kollidus - corruption of Collidus meaning Collider (?)
Lux - Light
Majesti - (corruption) Majestic
Makabre - (corruption) Macabre meaning Gruesome / Grim
Martial - Martial (relating to fighting / war)
Monstrum - Monster
Mori - Die
Mortis - Death
Nox - Night
Odio - Hate
Pater - Father
Pax - Peace
Phobos - Fear
Pugnus - Fist
Regni - Kingdom
Rex - King
Sacrum - Sacred
Stratus - Saddle
Tempestus - weather / tempest
Tempus - Time
Terminatus - Terminator / The End
Terribilis - Terrible / Fearful
Thrysus - a type of Staff (tipped with a cone)
Titanus - Titan
Ultra - Beyond
Venataris - (possible corruption of Hunter??)
Vertex - Top
Victrix - Victorious
Volant - Flying

[The image in this post is of a Warlord Titan, snapped at Warhammer World's Forge World shop]

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

More Gaming Tables at Warhammer World

In the post earlier today, I showed a few examples of the gaming boards available to use in the events hall of Warhammer World. In this post, I'm going to show a few further examples, just for inspiration!

Khemri might be just a memory, but in Warhammer World, the scenery lives on! I really liked this eroded temple on one of the Age of Sigmar boards that was available.

More cities of death in Warhammer 40,000 provides examples of a blasted landscape filled with arcane technology buildings.

Got to love the tall towers that are on display in both fantasy and 40k settings.

And just for variation, an large Zone Mortalis (or Space Hulk?) board available to play on as well. Awesome!

Warhammer World Events Hall

The interior of Warhammer World features a large cavernous space that hosts a plethora of gaming tables able to host large games and small; Age of Sigmar, Warhammer 40,000 and everything in-between.

The walls of the gaming hall feature a castle design that is almost as stunning as some of the gaming tables themselves.

In the pictures below are a small selection of the tables available. I'll show more table examples in a later post.

A large Age of Sigmar board with extensive chaos walls and portals.

Warhammer 40,000 here with a large variety of City of Death scenery, nice and densely packed in places as well.

More later.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Poll Results: Buying a Titan

Just over a week ago, we asked would you consider purchasing a titan from Forge World, under the assumption that money was not an issue. 

Thank you for all of the votes - the poll has now closed. The results were as follows:
11% said no: they would never use it.
3% also said no: nowhere to store it.
30% said yes: but just for hobby and painting or collecting purposes.
54% said yes: for gaming and hobby purposes.

I must say that I was pretty impressed that so many people were totally in favour of purchasing one and playing one on the battlefield, in addition to the painting and hobby aspect. Perhaps this reflects my readership though, where many people come here these days for 30k goodness? 

Impressively, one third said they would collect it for painting and hobby purposes. This is also an impressively high tally. 

For myself, I'm probably in-between those two options. Much like my earlier Shadow Sword super-heavy tank, it would be a piece that I would take my time assembling and creating and perhaps only game with once in a while. The Shadow Sword makes an appearance about once or twice per year on a battlefield -- usually an Apocalypse level game to be honest. Or simply as scenery!

Since I'm not wanting to scratch build one (hat tip to you guys who did, and messaged me / commented about it! very impressive stuff), perhaps I should write to Santa. Its not too late, right? ;-)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Anakatis Kul Blade-Slaves

The blade slaves were created by Zardu Layak of the Word Bearers Legion. In effect, he provided weak-willed individuals with the Anakatis Blades. Unable to keep out the sinister whispers and effectively master what can only be described as chaos weapons (in the traditional Realm of Chaos hardback book style, that is), the wielders of these blades became bound to their will. And in turn, bound to Layak himself.

With 3 wounds each, a pair of Blade-Slaves forming a unit with Layak is truly powerful. To be clear, their rules mark them out to be close combat exponents and really good ones too. Sure, they're no Sigismund, but they're good regardless.

They're helped along the way with rules like daemons, rage, it will not die. With the Anakatis Kul Blades, they gain access to a severing cut that can (one-third of the time with to-wound rolls) result in AP2 and two wounds caused (that have to be saved separately). But given they're already at AP3, this might not always be needed but could be essential if they get caught up with terminators. But two wound terminators need to look out for these guys. The plasma pistol is just the icing on the proverbial cake really.

These guys need to get in to close combat. And fast. Therefore they, and Layak, need a transport option.

Sadly, their armour is only standard marine fare. This is fluffy given that the blades are given to "typical" fellows, but the lack of artificer armour (or better) is a drawback here, even with the daemon rule in play.

Worse, they will become "mindless killers" if Layak is removed from play. They will just head toward the nearest infantry or monster that they can and try to hack at it. Friend or Foe. Equally, by the time this happens in a game, there's probably going to be plenty of enemy choice around them I would imagine.

Take in a transport with Layak.
Keep Layak alive.
Kill stuff.
Simple really. Have fun!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Warhammer World: Betrayal at Calth

In the special exhibit room of Warhammer World is currently dedicated to the Horus Heresy. One of the main exhibits and diorama's is that of Calth. This diorama in particular featured heavily in the art work for the 5th Horus Heresy rulebook: Tempest. It contains iconic images of the broken railway train, as well as dockland cranes being the backdrop as a deadly confrontation plays out between the Ultramarines and the Word Bearers Legions.

This diorama was smashing to see in real life, and my photographs probably don't quite do it enough justice. Equally, I think a generous smattering of dry ice and post-photography touch up was applied for the photos that appear in Tempest, so they're never going to be totally identical! Hope you like them!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Hol Beloth

A Captain in the ranks of the Word Bearers, Beloth was a rising star at the time of the Heresy and the Betrayal at Calth. Ambitious, capable, and ruthless, Beloth was already known for a string of bloody victories and encouraged his men to go up the middle and come through by sheer force of faith.

In terms of equipment, Beloth is armed and armoured as would befit a Master of the Legion. Naturally, this includes artificer armour, and as one might imagine for the Word Bearers, a tainted weapon to boot as well.

His stat line is that of a praetor, but having read the abilities, I might think (at a marginal level) that a custom build praetor might be better. That said, Beloth technically has more wounds than might ordinarily be the case. This is because he has had his flesh inscribed with Hexaglyphic Wards which mean he ignores the first wound he takes in a game. This is strong as it means he can even survive an instant death attack.

His main ability is an odd one. Once per game he grants WS=5 to the unit he is attached to.  I'm not sure its a weakness so much, but needs to be thought about crystal clearly. How will Beloth and his unit get in to combat? Which unit (of Word Bearers) should he be associated with (tactical squads with extra weapons, or something else?). There are a lot of possibilities here, but merits planning.

His warlord trait is nothing unique (like some other characters) -- fixed as bloody-handed. To be clear: fear causing is an amazing trait in 30k since there is no "And They Shall Know No Fear". This can be exploited, but it needs a good amount of thought about how a Word Bearer army might benefit from this.

Beloth is a cheap praetor level character that is fluffy for Betray at Calth. How to best exploit his combination of effects is the clincher question. Which squad to marry him up with? How to get him in to combat with that squad? What support is necessary? Its a tough conundrum for me, but I'm sure there's exploitable facets in here that I'm not quite seeing. Perhaps with Night Lord allies? I'm not sure.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Warhammer World: Space Hulk Classic

I'm sure I remember seeing this many, many years ago. It stirred something in the back of my mind at any rate and I certainly enjoyed seeing it on the shelves in the initial sections of Warhammer World.

This is a classic Space Hulk shot, with original miniatures of both terminators and genestealers, coupled with a custom, scratch built diorama set. The painting is good quality as well! Very impressed!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Zardu Layak, The Crimson Apostle

Although his real name is now lost, Layak is widely known in the Word Bearers Legion for his burning of many worlds and being the de factor chapter master of the Unspeaking - a cancerous heart at the centre of a chapter now being all but transformed by the power of the Primordial Truth.

Layak is a diabolist master of the Legion is able to bring daemons as allies to any army - without having to take the legion's rite of war (i.e. a Word Bearer army with daemons is possible with Orbital assault! Wow!). Better than that is the bonus he confers to dark channelling - something that is mandatory if he is used as the "unlock" for Ashen Circle being troops that he enables.

The panoply of flame is an interesting item that can shoot as a heavy flamer once per game, as well as providing a bonus to assault resolution. Therefore this is a HQ selection that begs to be getting in to close combat as early and frequently as possible (remember the cut them down special rule for this legion as well!).  Since he is a level 2 psyker / sorcerer, he also has a force weapon - but this one is at +2S which makes it very attractive.

The fact that Layak only has 2 wounds is an ongoing concern for any army that has him as his warlord. I would suggest a transport option to get him around and in to combat (land raiders, or aerial beasts like Caestus assault rams preferably). Take some bodyguard with him and boost them psychically if possible.

This is an assault HQ, and one that it very viable at low points cost levels - a great alternative to the likes of Kor Phaeron and Erebus.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Poll: Would you buy a Titan (if money were not an issue)?

I'm curious!:-

If money were not an issue, would you purchase / own a Forge World style TITAN (Warhound, Reaver, Warlord, or Eldar / other equivalent)?

Is it a case of you're just not interested? Or that you have nowhere to store it? Or you just couldn't see yourself using it? Or painting and assembling is simply too daunting?

Or would you own it just for painting / assembling / hobby purposes? Or maybe you're just a collector and it would round out your forces nicely?

Or would you actually play it, in addition to assembling and painting one up? Would your fellow gamers like or hate you for it?

I've put a poll at the top of the column and it'll be open for a week. I'd very much like to hear your views on this, as I'm tempted to get one myself one of these days.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Mhara Gal Tainted Dreadnought

What happens when you stuff a dying possessed chaos space marine (ahem) Word Bearer Gal Vorbak in to a contemptor dreadnought chassis? This does. A meld of metal, daemon, space marine and raw warp power that not even its creators fully anticipated or understood perhaps.

Starting with the obvious, this thing (if that is the right noun) is a daemon with "It Will Not Die", adamantium will and takes all incoming heat and energy based weapon hits at -1 S. This provides the dreadnought with an incredible degree of survivability, in addition to its solid AV, and 4 hull points.

In assault, if anything is less than S7 or even AV13 suffers a -1 to hit as this creation has a shroud of dark fate on it.

Being an accursed thing, it causes fear tests to be at a significant penalty (as if the Night Lords had a monopoly on this - move over guys!). As well, being accursed gives a lot of pain to nearby psykers and daemons -- a huge reason to keep many components of a Word Bearers force away from it (since they're probably going to be just behind the Thousand Sons in terms of number of psykers / sorcerers on the table).

The next rule is one that I really like. The Earth Recoils means that the Mhara Gal can literally walk through walls as if they are not there. Forget dangerous and difficult terrain. It just goes THROUGH it (so long as its not too thick). This suggests we should be setting this guy not only apart from the main force, but also in cover and ready to walk right through it ready to assault and shoot enemies.

With the available weapons except for the lascannon, they're very notable for forcing an enemy to take morale tests every single time a model dies (per shooting phase). This is great! I must admit to liking the warp fire plasma cannon myself for the S8 AP2 blast it can provide. The tainted power claw is also amazing for forcing re-rolls of invulnerable saves -- very few other units can do this in the game.

This contemptor dreadnought has lost its atomantic shielding in comparison to regular contemptor dreadnoughts. This is not a huge loss considering the boons above to be honest.

When this creation explodes, it does not explode as per a regular vehicle. It creates a massive blast with soul blaze associated with it - ouch! Keep it away from your friends -- even if you're not running psykers or daemons or Gal Vorbak.

The only other drawback is trying to get this thing to where it needs to be. Without a drop pod, its tough. Even so, this is an amazing model and set of rules. And worthy of being stolen by the Alpha Legion to boot.

Mhara Gal, Warpfire plasma cannon, tainted claw (305 points)
Costing more than a land raider, and needing to be kept away from the rest of the force, this is a pricey unit, but one that is very powerful. Treat it well and it should do well.

Mhara Gal, 2 x tainted power claws (305 points)
A dedicated close combat build that needs something like a drop pod to get where it needs to be.

Mhara Gal, 2 x warpfire plasma cannon (320 points)
A long range build for taking out terminators and the like. This one also poses a threat to other characters at range.

Other builds are possible, but I think a multi melta is a bit of a waste here. The auto cannons and lascannons options are more viable, but perhaps a Mortis might be a better (cheaper?!) option. Stick with the warp fire plasma cannons I think.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Warhammer World: Horus vs Emperor

At the end game of the Horus Heresy, Horus Lupercal lowered the shields to his flagship and allowed the Emperor, his immediate body guards, Rogal Dorn and Sanguinius teleport aboard. Sanguinius found Horus first. Horus offered him a seat at the right hand of the gods. He refused. And Horus slew him. The Emperor found Horus next, towering over the broken body of Sanguinius. And the rest is known.

This scene is a very, very old one that I recall from the earliest days in 40k. It features models of both Horus and the Emperor (plus poor Sanguinius as well) facing off against each other on board the transformed and warped control deck of Vengeful Spirit. Although its age is really showing and obvious to the trained eye, the diorama is one that is both iconic and unique. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Dear Alpharius (vol. IV)

Dear Alpharius,

Is it true that you have only ever lost one war? And that war -- with the Nurthene -- was only "lost" due to a mere technicality?

Best regards,

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Warhammer World: Rynn's World Battle

The home world of the Crimson Fists chapter is Rynn's World. It was invaded by the Ork warlord Snagrod, the Arch-Arsonist of Charadon and the Crimson Fists defended it, ultimately defending and saving New Rynn City from being over-run.

More famously, this battle is noted for being the original front cover of Rogue Trader itself. And within the halls of Warhammer World, this very scene has been reproduced.

The diorama is compact, but very detailed. The core of the Crimson Fists are set up so that when viewed from the side, it replicates the front cover of Rogue Trader very nicely. The wider fields of view show the wider battle scene with wrecked vehicles and Orks and their contraptions moving in for the kill.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Warhammer World: Unpublished Legions Descriptions

EDIT: I can't help but notice that many people are posting my images WITHOUT CREDIT elsewhere. 

Do the right thing, and cite MY WORK through saying where the images are from and by linking directly back to WARPSTONE FLUX.  


As some of my readers may already be aware, I recently visited Warhammer World in Nottingham, UK.

Deep within Warhammer World, we discovered the writing was literally on the wall. At least in terms of descriptions for the (as yet) unpublished legion: Dark Angels, Space Wolves, Thousand Sons, White Scars and the Blood Angels. These images were taken from information panels within exhibition room 5 where from Nov 14th 2015 to Feb 10th 2016, a special exhibit on the Horus Heresy is located.

Hope you like reading them! (for reference, all the other legions had similar images featuring text that has already appeared in Betrayal, Massacre, Extermination, etc.).

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Painting Alpha Legion Snipers 5. Fine Details

To finish off my Alpha Legion sniper squad, I added a number of finer details. These included painting the edges of the armour in a sky blue colour, as well as adding a number of features to the armour. The image below shows the tabletop ready squad.

In the next image, there's a close up of a hand-painted chain on the forearm of one of the snipers that I painted up just for fun (and following the pattern established by "Extermination").

Although they're now mostly finished, there are a few jobs left to do. The most obvious is to add the shoulder pads. Yet, there's other things I'm going to do, including adding some paint chipping, tidying up some of the paint issues and errors I've made along the way and working a little bit more on the faces under the hoods. Otherwise, they're pretty much ready to deploy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Painting Alpha Legion Snipers 4. Macro Details

With every major surface done to at least the base layer stage, the next few steps in painting my Alpha Legion snipers was to start on the details. Following a wash of Nuln Oil on the silver trim parts, I turned my attention to the gauss weapons and the capes -- the macro details that need attention on the miniature.

For the gauss death mark, I went over the dark forest green base coat with a much brighter (scorpion green) outline of the edges -- relatively thickly in this case to emphasise the spreading of the energies contained within. Another layer of very fine edging was then applied in an off-white colour (white mixed with a very tiny amount of green in this case) to give the final appearance of an alien powered sniper weapon.

And then I turned to the capes. I wanted something that suggested camouflage without being criss-crossed in the traditional greens and browns fatigues that regular soldiers might wear. Instead, I wanted to suggest something a bit more technological. Perhaps some kind of "cloaking" circuitry built in to the capes. 

To achieve this look, I have used my airbrush, some green paint, and a stencil. The stencil in this case is from Anarchy Models - a UK based firm that sells many such stencils and designs specifically for usage with airbrushes. Here, I'm using mini hex stencils to give the suggestion of something technologically based that is sewn in to the cape. A chameleon circuit perhaps? I think it does the job, but it needed a bit of touching up with black paint and a steady hand to ensure that the hexagons came out right in the end. 

Also pictured in the image are several other additions, including edging details as well as the starts of an "Omega" symbol in the centre of the back pack. I've got a bit more tidying up to do yet on these miniatures and more fine details yet to be added. But its progressing very nicely at the moment and I'm liking the results I'm getting!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Painting Alpha Legion Snipers 3. Washing and Trims

Following a base coat in rune fang silver from Citadel, and a layer or two of gunmetal blue from Vallejo, the next few steps to painting my Alpha Legion snipers follow a process that will be familiar to many readers: washing and doing the base colours for the trim and other regions.

The washes used a watered down blue and green colour. The first step was to take a pure blue wash and apply it to the lower halves of the plates of every marine. Using a mixture of blue and green (weighted more so toward the blue than the green), a wash was then applied to the upper portions of each power armour panel and blended with the lower halves to create a smooth transition. This leaves the overall colour still very much a metallic blue, but ensures that there is some subtle variation on the greaves, shoulder pads and elsewhere. This was accomplished using a traditional paintbrush rather than the airbrush at this stage as I felt it gave me a bit more control over what I wanted in terms of the desired outcome. 

At this stage, I then went on to paint the trims of the armour -- mostly the outer trim of the shoulder pads, but also the central portion of the back pack on the power armour. The trim colour is a combination of lead belcher and rune fang silver.

On the death mark rifles, I've painted a dark forest green along the powered parts of the rifle, and left the silver from the base coat showing through in key locations. You can see that I've also done a little bit more work on the sergeant by painting a stripe on his helmet and had a play with his eyes. The hoods from the Dark Angels on these miniatures have been painted almost pure black -- going over the stray gunmetal blue from the earlier zenith airbrush stage. 

The next few stages will be to wash down the trims (probably with Nuln Oil) and do some detailing - particularly on the capes. But first, I'm going to let all the washing and trims dry out thoroughly.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Painting Alpha Legion Snipers 2. Metallic Blue

When "Extermination" came out, a lot of people were impressed with the rich azure blue and metallic blues that were seen for the Alpha Legion marines contained therein. The colours of the Alpha Legion have traditionally been many and varied - ranging from purples to blues, to silver, and even green and red in some very old publications! I personally liked the painting of Forge World's contemptor dreadnought for the Alpha Legion and initially wanted to emulate what they had done - but perhaps a bit more moodier or darker.

To achieve this, I tried out a VAST number of recipes, including even using nail polish / nail varnish to try to achieve the tone and level of sparkle that I desired. Let me say for the record that working with nail polish was very tough indeed -- it dries far too fast to be useful and the brushes that they come with are simply no good for detail. So don't do what I did and ruin a paint brush trying it out.

In the end, what I turned to was Vallejo paints. And one in particular: Gunmetal Blue (pictured). 

Using my airbrush, I went over the rune fang silver base layer with a thinned down gunmetal blue layer. Note the words: thinned down. In order for the silver layer to (literally) shine through, it needs to be relatively thin. One way to consider this is that its always better to be too thin as then one can apply extra layers on top to thicken it up. But if a thick layer is placed on top, it is impossible to thin it down without starting over again. Hence the advice here is to go thin and do multiple coats if needed. 

For the snipers, I applied a thin coat and then doubled up on the lower regions to give a richer colour (darker and a bit less silvered) on the legs compared to the zenith direction. The photo does not quite do it justice, but there is a certain twinkle there that can be seen in the paint.

Whilst I was at it, I also did an Alpha Legion Tartaros terminator (below) to get a better feel for zenith-applied gunmetal blue. The shine on this with the lights is terrific. I really like how they all look, but will now wait until they are all fully dried before proceeding to the next level of detail application.

Painting Alpha Legion Snipers 1. Airbrushed Basecoat

The next few posts from me will be featuring a (semi-) live blog series of how I'm going to go about painting my Alpha Legion Snipers. For a very long time, I have been experimenting off-and-on about how to get the paint scheme that I want for my growing Alpha Legion forces and I'll be sharing it in this series of posts, step by step.

The models I'm going to be using for this are my Reconnaissance Squad -- a squad of five Alpha Legion snipers armed with prohibited necron weapons that I've kit-based and converted from a variety of sources. What makes these models stand out even before any paint has been applied to them is their load out: a series of necron death mark gauss-based weapons coupled with Dark Angels hooded heads. Perfect for what I'm envisioning here.

Links to several of these models can be found here: [ One | Two | Three ]

Although I thought about painting these guys in dark / blend-in or camouflage colours, in the end I decided to opt for core Alpha Legion colours and let the capes do the job for "blending in" or "camouflage". I have a particular plan for the camo that will be coming later on in the series.

Here, the first two steps are done using an air brush. They're relatively simple in essence:
(1) undercoat using black;
(2) base coat using silver.

I use an airbrush as it provides a nicely thin layer that preserves the details of the miniature's sculpt very nicely and allows me to control the paint being dispersed much more accurately. If you've never used an airbrush for painting miniatures before (and I hadn't until 2014), then I thoroughly recommend it.

For the under coat, there are multiple options available of course. I've seen many people use grey spray cans and the like, but I still prefer black these days since as long as it gets in to all the recesses the job is done. Moreover, it also means that the next coat need not be 100% perfect or 100% coverage - the black in the recesses will serve a shading purpose if nothing else.

For the base coat, there are lots of different options in sliver these days. Here, I've used a combination of rune fang and lead belcher from citadel paints. The first base coat was simply a combination of these two paints all over the model. The second part of the base coat featured using pure rune fang steel (a very bright and vibrant silver) over the upper parts of the models. This effectively provides an azimuthally bright region for the next coat to go on top on and is something that I feel is essential to pulling off a metallic looking Alpha Legion layer in the next step. The image below shows the models at this stage. More later!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Alpha Legion Assault Squad Sergeant

This is a wide-scale kit-bash, featuring parts from all over the place and is intended to be an Assault Squad Sergeant for a Pre-Heresy Alpha Legion force. The components are as follows:

Head: Chaos Space Marines troops;
Torso: Resin Mk.II power armour from Forge World;
Legs: Chaos Space Marines raptors (I removed the spikier bits to de-chaotify it a little bit);
Arms: Space Marine troops;
Thunder Hammer: Dark Angels (Raven Wing);
Plasma Pistol: Space Wolves Grey Hunters;
Shoulder Pads: Space Marines;
Jet Pack: MaxMini Iron Pattern.

What I'm ultimately gunning for here is a unique looking miniature which could double up as (e.g.) a Chaplain or alternative Legion Consul. Hope you like it!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Wargames Gallery: Age of Sigmar Portals

This is a picture that I took whilst at Games Workshop Manchester, but omitted to put in the said post. It features the Age of Sigmar starting set with eight portals all in a circle on a realms of battle board. I was very impressed with all the colourful portals and the set up it had. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Games Workshop Manchester (Central)

In the heart of Manchester (UK) lies the Arndale Centre. Boasting some 41million visitors per annum, the Arndale Centre is the third largest shopping mall in all of Europe, located in the extensive retail district of the city. 

As you can imagine, such a mall sees a large amount of footfall. The Games Workshop store is located inside the mall, but near one of the outer edges on the first floor, next to Boots (a British chemist chainstore) and a bridal store. The first picture below shows the store front. 

The store itself is very spacious inside (depth wise) and has a lot of room for gaming tables and more besides. The next image below shows one of the displays in the window (on the right from the above image):

Yes. Its a TITAN. A large dakka-ing titan. In the window of GW Manchester. Hats off ladies and gentlemen, you stunned me with that before I even went in to the store.

And then I went in to the store and was greeted by not only very enthusiastic staff, but also some seriously good displays:

Seriously -- check out that second one -- totally worthy of a display in Nottingham itself I'd think!

More than that, check out the Apocalypse sized gaming table toward the back of the store as well:

Blown Away. 

So totally impressed with you Games Workshop Manchester! Congratulations not only on your staff who were polite, friendly, talkative (but not pressuring like other localities), but your displays were amazing. 

I hope to get to Nottingham one day, but you guys rocked the Games Workshop high street retail store experience for me. 
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