Eldar Work In Progress

I’ve been inspired to revive an old, old, old love of mine.  The first minis I ever collected in any meaningful way were GW Eldar for 40k.  Recently I’ve been playing the occasional game of 6th ed, and was pretty excited about the new releases for the Eldar range, so I’ve been doing some 40k painting!  Another recent event in Xenland was the acquisition of a new airbrush.  I had my doubts about these devices, but they make painting groups of miniatures much faster!  I am expecially excited to use it to make some progress on vehicles for Bolt Action and Flames of War.  I digress…

This is a slight evolution of an Eldar paint scheme from years ago.  I am exited to bring it back to life.  The base coat is Vallejo ‘buff’ and then washed with the GW camo green wash (I forget what it’s actual name is).  Here are some shots of the work I accomplished this weekend on these minis:

Guardian Weapons

 

Guardian Squad work in progress

 

Guardian close up work in progress

 

 

Some painted minis…

I recently learned a bit more about how to use my camera, editing RAW photos, and purchased a new set of lights. This has inspired me to take some photos of my recent miniature work to get a bit better at taking photos. Check ’em out!

Not much of my Warmachine stuff is painted. I did manage to paint these deliverers and one of the heavy jacks for my Menoth army. These guys were a lot of fun to paint, and I hope I can get into the rest of the army some day.

Here are a bunch of units for my US 3rd Armor army for Flames of War. At the moment I am focusing on Germans for my practice, and tournaments, but I will always have a soft spot for the G.I.s!

Flames of War Sherman tank

Stuart tanks for Flames of WarStuarts! These tanks rock in the game, and these were fun to paint. They are a bit of a conversion job. I rebuilt their barrels out of wire, and greenstuff, as well as added some bits of detail in putty to give them a more well used look. The decals on all of these vehicles really look great if you use some green to make them look chipped up, and slightly covered with dirt.

US 105mm Artillery Cannon

US 105mm BatteryThis is one of my two artillery batteries that I have for my US Flames of War army. I also have a 155mm battery to accompany these boys!

Base marking in Flames of War

Anyone who has played a handful of games of Flames of War has probably noticed that it is easy to mix up teams between platoons.  The problem is that when you are looking down at your infantry teams, gun teams, and in some cases even tank teams, everything tends to look the same (they are wearing something called a uniform after all).  This can cause issues in the game when you need to remove teams as casualties, determining which platoon has what weapon attachment, or how many teams are in a platoon when it can take it’s defensive fire shots against an assaulting platoon.  Most of these issues come up with infantry companies which have platoons which are deployed interwoven, or simply next door to another platoon.  It can be very easy to mix up which team is with what platoon.

There are loads of ways to mark your units to help alleviate the problems above, and here I am going to show you some of my favorite methods.  The easiest thing to do, and what I tend to do with each of my armies in Flames of War is to come up with a simple marking system for the edges of your bases.  I have seen some people put little dots on the edges of bases with permanent markers, the number of dots showing what unit a team is part of, but I think you can push this method a little farther.  I tend to paint a wide region on the back left side of the base with white paint.  I will put one or more colored dashes to illustrate which platoon the team belongs to.  The colors and number of dashes that you use to mark the teams can vary in any way you find appealing.  For example I will mark my combat platoons with red dashes, but a different number for each platoon.  1st platoon would have 1 red dash, 2nd 2 re dashes, ect.  A weapons platoon would get orange, blue, or other color dashes in the same way.

On the white background, these colored dashes really stand out, and are very easy to read.

Another step that I like to take is to make an additional mark, sometimes on the right side of the base to mark a special unit.  My PAVN Infantry Companies have many RPG teams in them, and it is important to me that I don’t position them incorrectly, or remove them as casualties before I want to.  These teams get an additional mark on the right hand side of the base to help them stand out from the rest of the company.  Teams such as command teams usually don’t get any additional marking as they are pretty easy to identify from a distance based on their base-size.  This method is very easy to do, and makes keeping your teams organized very easy.

US gun team with base marking
This infantry team is part of the 2nd platoon.
The dark blue dash next to the platoon identifier shows that this is a RPG team.

Another method, one favored by my good friend Jason is to give the bases some special detail which will identify them from one another.  His US Paratroopers combat platoons have either pumpkins (made from greenstuff) or tombstones (made from plasticard) which identify them as either 1st or 2nd platoon.  This method, while taking a bit of extra work adds a lot of character, and appeal to a platoon.  At 15mm, the base of an infantry team is effectively half the model, so extra work put into bases is never wasted.  This subtle method can also be used creatively to give an overall theme to your army, much in the way that Jason gave his US paratroopers a Halloween theme.

US Paratroopers (Tombstone Platoon) by Jason Misuinas

The two primary platoons of Jason’s US paratroopers are defined by pumpkins, and tombstones.  These simple thematic devices identify what platoon the team is in while giving the entire army its own flavor.

US Paratroopers (Pumpkin Platoon) by Jason Misuinas
Gasmask wearing Grenadiers by Jason Misuinas

Jason’s Pioneer Grenadiers are a very individualistic unit who’s base really causes them to stand out.  This unit is usually the lone infantry unit supporting his Panzerkompanie, but if he were to add more units, he could apply variations to the basing to both maintain uniformity, and give them some unique trait that he could use to help identify the unit.

One popular method for marking bases that I don’t think is very useful is to put a sticker on the bottom of the miniature’s base.  While marking the unit this way looks nice (because you don’t see the markings unless you look at the bottom of the base), it makes spot identifying the team impossible, and when it comes time to figure out who is who, you need to physically move the team.  This is usually not a big deal, but can occasionally cause troubles.  In a tournament I participated in an opponent needed to make sure that the command team that was between two platoons was his 2iC.  After picking the team up and checking out the bottom of it’s base, he put the team down around an inch closer to a neighboring platoon.  I don’t believe that he was intentionally trying to influence the game, but that fudge could have changed whether both units could link up to provide defensive fire or not.  This method is better than nothing, but not ideal.

Marking your bases is extremely important for your flames of war army.  It will help you keep the army organized, will keep you from forgetting to put teams down (I have forgotten an observer team on occasion), and will help maintain accurate gameplay which your opponent will appreciate.  On that last note, if  you are going to tournaments than this step is critical.  Nothing is quite as frustrating for an opponent in a tournament as when you can’t clearly tell them where platoon boundaries are.  Mark up your teams.  Its good for everyone!  🙂

Tanksgiving 2011

About three years ago, the Flames of War gaming group that I play with regularly started playing an annual, large format scenario called Tanksgiving. Its a giant team slug-fest featuring tank-heavy 2000 point armies for each player. In years prior I had brought to the field large Tiger units or US 2nd Armor. This year I am going back to the force that I started FoW with, the German Panzerkompanie.

This year’s list is built from Fortress Europe, and goes for quantity, more than quality. In contrast to some of the other lists I was tinkering with, what I am bringing to the table will be primarily older model medium tanks, StuGs, Panzer IVh, and Panzer IILs for example. This will be supported by a large battery of Hornisse  15cm self propelled artillery! I am taking advantage of the scenario’s employment of the ‘Across the Volga’ rule (Artillery units do not deploy on the board, but can still deliver a bombardment) to try out some artillery units that I have never used before. The high point value is also allowing me to a battery that would be difficult to fit in a smaller list.

Below are some pictures of the force that I am bringing to tomorrow’s game!

StuG Platoon Work In Progress
StuG Platoon Work In Progress

I have been working on some new StuG assault guns for my Panzergrenadier army.  These guys are the only models in the force that I am fielding tomorrow which aren’t complete.  I owe them some more highlighting, some detail work, and weathering.  I have 3 StuGs that I painted up several years ago as well.  I am trying to take this set of 5 a bit past where I had the previous 3.

My force includes 8 StuGs in total.  This is in addition to 5 Panzer IVh tanks.  The PzIVh platoon was also painted over a year ago.  Check out images here.

Panzer IIL image
Panzer II L recon tanks

I painted these Panzer IIL tanks about a year ago.  I have fielded them a couple of times with mixed results.  I really dig these models, and I think their paint job turned out great!  I have been trying to learn how to use recce in FoW, so tomorrows game will hopefully be a positive learning experience.  I am not sure how many tanks are going to be gone to ground (a platoon that is concealed, did not shoot, and did not move is harder to detect, but recce units can try to spot them and radio their location to friendly platoons), but their ability to prevent ambushes nearby may prove useful.

Tanksgiving 2011 Army
Tanksgiving 2011 Army

Above is a shot of my entire army (sans SP artillery battery) ready to go into the miniature bag.  I think this will be entertaining to run.  The VAST amount of Soviet T34s that I will inevitably encounter are going to be a hassle.  My plan is to have my units stay relatively hidden, and strike at whatever unit the artillery can break up with either smoke, or actual destruction.

I am going to attempt to take pictures and create some kind of simple battle report to illustrate how the game went.  If that works out I will post it here!

Norman Invasion!

Recently I have become infatuated by historicals, and have been making some progress on a Norman/Early Crusader army. The plan is that the army will be used for late Dark Ages battles up to the battles of the Kingdom of Jerusalem after the 1st Crusade. This project has been very satisfying after some recent frustrations with my miniature hobbies. The Warriors of Chaos army has become a burn, and I still need to figure out what the heck I want to do with my Legion of Everblight minis for Hordes. The US armor project for Flames of War has been going well, but I simply haven’t put much time in to it lately. I have a significant obligation with the Norman project, as many of the minis were provided to me as part of a campaign army that will be part of a large event happening at Adepticon 2012.

So far the army consists of…

  • 12x Norman Knights
  • 12x Mercenary Cavalry (Medium Cavalry)
  • 24x Spear Heavy Infantry
  • 24x Spear Heavy Infantry
  • 24x Hand Weapon Heavy Infantry
  • 24x Hand Weapon Medium Infantry
  • 24x Spear Levy
  • 16x Archers

Most of this is assembled and on bases, but only the spear levy have any significant amount of paint on them. I have some of the heavy infantry under way to figure out how I want to accomplish the chain-mail & other armor. Right now that is simply black under coat with a metallic drybrush. I think that they will require some more work/layers to really get them to pop.

I’ll try to post some work in progress pics of the spear levy once I can take them.

Citadel Finecast Review

A chap on Dakka named legion4500 (I like that name. I kind of imagine that he is a computer from the early 90s) got his mits on one of the new, and controversial Citadel Finecast models form good ole GW. Here is a link to his review of this new product.

Essentially GW is recreating their metal line in some sort of 3d printed plastic medium. Some folks are bothered by this because change is scary. Some love it because they consider metal a pain in the ass. The price is going up on these models which is not surprising, but a bit difficult to stomach*. I am a bit sad to see that the quality isn’t as dead on as some initial insight seemed to think it would be. I imagine that this will improve in time. I am curious to compare one of these models to the various resin lines out there, and Privateer Press’ plastic line.

Special thanks to pokeminiatures for pointing this dakka post out to me.

*I really try to avoid bitching about prices associated with GW products. GW should make a profit off their hard work, and we aren’t entitled to a certain price-point. That being said, I am seeing more and more people being put off by the price. It is more difficult for people to impulse buy there way into the hobby with things the way they are. I used to not have too much trouble with the prices personally, but now I don’t think I can afford much more of GW’s stuff. There is a point where their pricing will have a chilling effect on their sales. I wonder if they are nearing it.

Fixing the High Elf Spearman

*While in the process of trying to get some pics of some of my new Chaos creations, I decided to make live a draft of a post that I have been working on for a while.

I commonly hear people complain about the plastic High Elf Spearman kit. When you consider the bizarre proportions of the models that the kit makes, you can’t really blame folks.

I actually really like this kit. It needs a ton of loving before the models will look good, no doubt. The criticism that the proportions are way off is dead on, and is pretty much to blame for the cartoon look of the HE spearmen. If you address the proportions some, the models actually start to look pretty good. Here is my prototype for a High Elf Spearman.

High Elf Spearman Work In Progress

I did 3 distinct things to this model to get it to look better. The first thing to do was to add about 1-2 mm of waist length under the torso component. This was accomplished with a simple shaped wad of fresh greenstuff. If made much longer, I would need to pin the torso to the leg piece as well. The next step was to position the arms in a more natural, and interesting way. For some reason the GW stock kit makes the elf look like he is floating in an inner-tube in the water. The last thing was to add about 2 mm of length to the space between the foot and the bottom of their skirts. This helps the legs not look too short after the waist is adjusted. After this the proportions are better, not perfect, but better.

Obviously, I also added a lot of details to this model with putty. This captures the look I want for a High Elf soldier far better than the rather bland details the existing kit has. This is a matter of personal taste, not really a criticism of the GW kit. I also wanted their spears to be longer so I replaced the shaft of the plastic one with 1/16th” aluminum tubing.  Eventually the shield will receive a press mold applique.

As I said, I really do like this kit. I think it has a lot of flexibility in the ways that the models can be posed thanks to the way that most of the major body parts are their own piece. Some of the newer kits seem to be designed to lock into a particular position, and would be more difficult to vary their poses.  Oh, and I bet you are wondering what happened to his left foot.  He lost it in a de-basing accident.  It will give me an excuse to learn to sculpt elf kicks!

Demon prince started

I got a start on my demon prince tonight. While waiting for the putty to set up on some new chaos warriors, listening to some podcast reruns, I decided to dive in on a project that had kind of been intimidating me for some time; a totally scratch-built demon prince for my warriors of chaos army.

I’ve had a concept that has been germinating in my brain for a while now, and it’s good to get a start on it. The design has both a slanesshi, and tzeentch vibe, which suites my army’s direction. This character was the first model that I broke away from the single power army, by first running a proxy DP with tzeentch, and later undivided.

My single concern at this point is that the model will seem kind of small compared to the new GW demon prince kit, which is kind of huge! This model will be fairly tall, but not quite as big across the shoulders as a chaos spawn model.

I’ve tried full sculpts in the past, but have abandoned them after mistakes with proportions, or whatever. Many of my conversions are largely sculpted these days, so over time I’ve become more confidant with my skills.