Sunday, 12 April 2015

Tyranids: Venomthrope, Neurothrope & Zoanthrope

Apologies for the blog weirdness last week; I've been experimenting with scheduling posts and something went very wrong! Those posts will feature shortly on the blog, but I've yet to finish some of those projects...

So, a Venomthrope, Neurothrope and Zoanthrope walk into a bar...

I've been so busy with other interests recently, that I've been unable to accept commissions. I'm not the sort of commission painter who likes to mess about with a client's expectations; I'd rather say no outright than take years to get a project done. However, a very good client of mine asked for a few models to add to his Tyrannic army - the largest commission I did last year - and the idea of revisiting this very interesting scheme was appealing! So I agreed to paint up a few models for the army, and today finished the first batch.

These models are form GW's newest plastic Venomthrope box. It's a really nice kit, capable of making several variations on the basic 'thrope chassis.

Let's start with the Venomthrope...

This is a much-needed revision of the older Finecast model. The Venomthrope was never a good candidate for resin, and the various flash lines, tabs and other assorted resinous peculiarities made the old version hard work. I painted up three last year, and the comparison between the old and new kit is very revealing.

Here are the older models:

From the new kit, next is the Zoanthrope. I've painted several of these in metal and resin, and the plastic kit is much nicer. The resin version had a real problem with sagging and being unstable on the base (the solution is, or was, to use brass or metal rods). This plastic version has all of the detail of the previous incarnation, and is much easier to assemble!

Finally, we have a new addition to the Tyrannic fleet: the Neurothrope. He's a generic version of the Doom of Malantai (oh, how we grieved his passing!) and represents something of royalty to the hive mind. A great little model and very detailed; there are some interesting spine parts on the back, and the head crest reminds me of the Alien Queen.

I painted these models in the same scheme as the rest of my client's army, but added more extreme highlights to the crest and spine of this model. I figured that he is something a bit special; perhaps this being reflected in the extreme patterning on his carapace and spine.

Bases are all from the excellent Secret Weapon range. I highly recommend them!

Another shot of the back of the model. The brain seems better sculpted on the plastic kit. I glossed these areas, and also used a turquoise glaze to add some pulsing effects.

So what's next? Some Forgeword goodness for the Tyranids will be coming soon. Next week I'll hopefully have some Judge Dredd pieces done.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Iron Hands: Drop Pod 1

Another slow week of painting... 

It's a drop pod. What more is there to say?

I always build these shut if I can help it! I have another to make for my Iron Hands army, but have put that off until later in the project.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Iron Hands: Techmarine 2

Not much painting this week, but I finished the tech marine from my last Thunderfire cannon.

I really like this sculpt, notwithstanding that he is Finecast... I expect the servoharness will warp and sag over time, as many of my Finecast models seem to have done. Still, it's a lovely model and looks very "Iron Hands" to me.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Iron Hands: Thunderfire Cannon 2

Oops! Looks like this post went up without the text the first time around! Second try...

The Thunderfire cannon is a unit that went from "zero to hero" under the new rules. It was once a mighty glass cannon; being very easy to damage and difficult to manoeuvre. This has now changed, with the cannon itself being quite a tough target. 

I have a soft spot for the Thunderfire. It reminds me a lot of the early Rogue Trader artillery pieces. I purchased one many, many years ago, and it sat on the shelf gathering dust. I decided that my Iron Hands army would actually be built around two of these models, and this is the second....

My first cannon was the now-defunct metal version. This was a pain to assemble and weighs about two tonnes.

I hoped that the Finecast version would be a nicer model to build and paint...

Not so! This is probably one of my worst experiences with Finecast, and I've had some bad experiences! The model was cast "okay" (read: inadequately for the £38 price tag), but many bits were warped, didn't match up or required green stuffing to fit properly. The gun chassis is super thin: it is almost transparent in places.

I also find the Finecast sculpts have weird injection lines, which are very difficult to remove. Actually finding what is supposed to be detail, and what it supposed to be flash, can be time-consuming and frustrating.

Here is the gun with attendant tech marine. He's getting some finishing touches done to him, and I hope to post him up properly next week.

A shot of the first and second gun together; they have subtle differences, but look nicely uniform when placed together.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Iron Hands: Razorback with twin-linked lascannons

Another Iron Hands tank today...

This is a standard lascannon Razorback, made with no real modification. Although it's a typical model, and you see it around all the time, it was still quite nice to make something simple and easy to assemble!

I used the same weathering and chipping techniques as I've used on the whole army. Weathering powders were applied around the track skirting, and these haven't come out so well on the pictures but it reality it looks nice and adds some variety.

I used the GW Iron Hands decals that are no longer in production... That's a shame, because these are nice decals. My only criticism would be that you don't get enough of the larger transfers, which you'd usually use on a tank or vehicle.

I plan on having another three of these in the finished army - one more with a lascannon, and two with assault cannons.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Hivefleet Behemoth Tyranids: Toxicrene

This model has been a long time in the finishing, but I've finally managed to complete one of GW's biggest bugs: a Toxicrene...

I painted him (it?) up in the Hivefleet Behemoth colour scheme, consistent with the rest of my Tyrannic collection. The red in the photo has come out really flat, but in real life it has a lot more depth to it.

I was pleased with how the toxin sacs came out: I used flesh tones, the Nihilakh Oxide technical paint on the raised veins, and then put a layer of gloss over the top. Those sacs are a nice break from the otherwise monotonous colours used across the fleet!

I was pretty impressed by the quality of this large plastic kit. Some of the other Tyranid kits have quite shallow detail, but this one was quite sharply sculpted. You can make it as a Maleceptor as well, and you have the option of building either in a choice of two poses. I couldn't resist including the dead Space Marine on the base - if you don't build the beast in this pose, you could actually use the Marine as an objective marker.

The tendrils did slightly "droop" during the building process. The GW version shows them as being proud off of the ground, but despite my efforts to keep these pieces in place they ended up in a position that means they touch the tabletop. I'm fine with that: these bits look quite delicate, so at least they have some extra support.

All in all, a very nice kit which I'd definitely recommend!

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Iron Hands: Stalker anti-air tank

My Iron Hands army has to be one of the longest-gestating model projects I've done in recent years... The infantry have sat on my painting desk, accusing me of inaction with their red, unfeeling eyes: imploring me to finish some damned armour so that I can get on with the rest of the army...!

So, I painted up a "new" Stalker anti-air gun. 

Based around the Rhino chassis (when GW upgrades that sprue, most of the Marine tanks will be done for!), this is a nice model. It's another dual: allowing you to build either the Stalker or Hunter. I was actually going to magnetise the parts, to allow me to swap out the actual battlefield role, but realised midway through that I had glued on the top guns!

The major disadvantage of this kit is the cost. The price tag, in my view, clearly illustrates that this is the only ground-based anti-air option available in the Space Marine codex (discounting fortifications and allies). It's insanely expensive: I only wanted one in my army, but even so it's far too highly priced.

As an aside, it is strange how some GW kits seem to have this price premium: another example is the Centurion set, which again appears to be out synch with comparably-sized kits.

The guns are weathered with MIG powders, and the tank itself has loads of weathering. The extreme edge highlighting isn't realistic, and some might say that it doesn't sit well with the more visceral  weathering techniques. I just think that it looks cool!

The reinforced side armour plates are nice, a lot like the Vindicators extra armour panelling.

The accusing-infantry are now happily deployed around a tank...