Friday, 28 September 2012

Mongoose Miniatures: Judge Dredd & Psi Anderson

I recently went to see the movie Dredd 3D, which I highly recommend! An excellent action flick, which reignited my interest in all things Judge Dredd and 2000AD...

These two miniatures have been sitting in my bits box for most of this year, but I decided to paint them up. I went for the "classic" comics colour scheme, although my colours were a bit more muted than some portrayls of Dredd.

The figures are from Mongoose Miniatures - they are currently running a Kickstarter and have a huge range of Dredd-inspired figures. They have a certain comic charm to them - not unlike early Rogue Trader figures!

Next up: more Space Sharks...

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Carcharodons Astra Land Raider Crusader

Progress continues on the Space Sharks project, and today I have finished a major milestone...

The finished Carcharodons list will have two Land Raider Crusaders, which will be tasked with delivering two squads of Terminators into the heat of battle. Although vehicles are now more fragile than in previous editions of 40k, Land Raiders took a relative boost as they can't be destroyed by glancing hits any longer!

I used MIG Dark Was on the armour plates, and a combination of MIG Fresh Mud and Track Brown on the tracks and armour skirting. The decals are from Forgeworld.

I thought about using one of the recently-released FW heresy-era tank crew models for the top hatch, but they are pricey for what you get. So I went with an Anvil Industry head, which is a nice stand-in for a Mark III head.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Imperial Guard: Aegis-pattern Hydra flak tank

Today is to show a model I finished a while ago, but it highlights a useful and cheap conversion which might help some Imperial Guard players out there.

Under 5th edition, taking two or even three Hydras was a common and competitive element of many Guard armies. Under 6th edition, the Hydra now has the Skyfire rule which has changed it's use considerably. The Hydra is now a dedicated anti-air and skimmer gun battery, and should only be used in extremis against ground targets (it can only make Snapshots). However, bear in mind that the autocannons are twin-linked which obviates the disadvantage of firing at BS1. The Hydra remains a solid anti-air choice, and is useful to armies without proper anti-air capacity as a an ally.

Whilst the Forgeworld Hydra is an excellent piece of kit, it is also expensive. I've never owned one, but there are many horror stories online about gun barrels being warped - fixable, I know, but annoying when you spend so much money on a model! So, I decided to make my own solution to the problem, and back when the Planetstrike terrain was released I instantly decided to convert my own Hydra... It's a simple conversion: mounting the Aegis Quad Gun on the turret socket of a Chimera! Of course, you can go further than that by creating a more specialised chasis - leaving off the "troop compartment" at the rear and adapting the chasis from there is an idea. I decided to keep things cheap and simple.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Aliens vs Predator in 15mm

Today's post is to show a project that I recently finished, as a diversion from my usual scale and miniatures choices. My interest in all things Aliens and Predator was piqued by the recent release of Prometheus...

I purchased a few bags of models from a company called - they have an excellent online reputation and regularly release new products. I've often seen updates on projects on The Miniatures Page, and thought I would give their models a try.

For a regular 28mm scale modeller, I've got to say that these figures were a pleasure to build and paint! I deliberately avoided using too much gloss varnish on these guys, as I wanted to avoid the whole messy look and instead relied on drybrushing and fine-brush highlighting.

The models have such character and are really detailed. I will definitely be adding more to my collection of these models - Khurasan also have some predator hybrid-types with bio cannons, and variations on aliens such as hammerheads etc.

Firstly, here is the Alien Queen - based on a 40mm plastic base.

Then the hive to accompany her - these are ridged-dome head versions, as seen in Aliens.

A close-up of an attacking alien warrior, demonstrating the level of detail:

Then some smooth headed versions, as in Alien.

These guys need something or someone to keep them in check, so I painted up four Predators. I decided to go with a mix of colour schemes from Predator and Predator 2 - so they have bother bronze and silver armour.

As the actual models had quite a limited colour pallette, I added splashes of colour to the bases: just simple foliage and static grass tufts, but I think it had the desired effect. Now these hunters look the part - stalking through an alien jungle!

 Finally, here is a shot of the whole hive together being lead into battle by the Queen:

All in all, great models and a very interesting scale in which to paint - even for a painter with such limited experience of this scale, these figures turned out very nicely.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Space Sharks aka Carcharodons Astra: Stormtalon finished

The Stormtalon model by GW has received quite some criticism since it's release, but as soon as I saw it I wanted one for my Space Sharks army. It's a really nice plastic kit in my opinion, with conversion potential and lots of extras bits for the bits box.

Aesthetically, it's quite different to most Space Marine models. Out of the box the angles felt a bit wrong, so I reversed the stubby wings. This simple change makes the whole kit look a bit more aerodynamic.

Post the Elysian commission, I'm trying to finish my own personal projects before I move on to another commission. Available for further work if anyone is interested!

I chose to weather the black in a quite stylised way, which is comic-book rather than real-world but I'm pleased with the result. Additional light weathering to the grey was done with a sponge.

I picked out the pilot as a Techmarine, as I figured the model needed a spot colour. I used the extreme highlighting method advocated by GW on their studio Fleshtearers army, but used the new Bloodletter red glaze - again, pleased with the result.

The base presented a difficulty: my other Space Sharks have starship-themed bases - deckplates, cables and pipework. I searched online for suitable bases, and found a few, but the prices were quite high. I decided on a base I bought via Ebay, and using a variety of sprays and weathering powders I achieve the look I wanted. I added static grass and grassy tufts for effect; I envisage the Stormtalon flying over a crashed starship - maybe a grounded space hulk.

The model was finished with FW's Space Sharks decal sheet, which offers literally hundreds of suitable images. The image below shows how I've attempted to replicate the infantry colour scheme on the vehicle, using white accents on the underside.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Getting Creative with Imperial Guard

Today's post is to examine ways in which you can make your Imperial Guard models different to the rest. The explosion of resin conversion bits (see my earlier post on this topic) now allows for an unprecedented level of modification, but the interchangeability between plastic kits made by GW also gives access to whole new areas of conversion.

These ideas could be used across a whole new regiment, to create individual squads for variety, or even to make character models stand out. With the new 6th edition Allies rules, the Guard have become more popular than ever - cheap troops and reasonable HQ costs make them a solid choice.

This post will feature some of the ways in which I've converted my own or commission projects over the years, and will mainly focus on the Cadian sprues - despite their age, I still find the Shock Troops kit to be one of the most useful GW produces!

1. Using backpacks
This is an obvious one, but strangely can change the look of a squad instantly! The standard Cadian and Catachan infantry sprues don't come with packs, but the heavy weapon sprues do. Alternative bits are available from Maxmini, Secret Weapon, Forgeworld and other suppliers.

More exotic backpacks can make for a more exotic regiment: take a look at this example - rebreather packs from Westwind Miniatures for my Savlar Chem-Dogs...

2. Consider Warhammer Fantasy Battle kits
With the advent of more plastic kits, don't feel constrained by just 40k plastics! Many WFB plastics can be used as conversion fodder. Capes, swords, archaic pistols and more are available across the WFB range.

A simple cape conversion, making for a more noble-looking Cadian officer...

... through to noble-looking Royal Guards, all made with parts from the Empire Pistolier kit...

3. Use a headswap
... or a leg, torso or even arm swap! With so many manufacturers now making 28mm-compatible bits, and the variety of plastic GW kits, it's never been easier to change the look of your models.

Here's an example using the awesome Forgeworld Cadian respirator heads...

... then another using a head from Pig Iron productions...

4. Think outside of the box
Don't feel constrained by just using a particular kit for a particular purpose. If you want your loyalist Guardsman to have a pistol from the Space Wolves kit, then use it. If you want your Grey Knights Grand Master to carry a sword from the Chaos Space Marines sprue, then use it.

Here's an example I made - a Cadian Penal Legionnaire made with parts from the FW Renegade Militia set. It required only minimal conversion work (filling in Chaos symbols with green stuff etc).

5. Variant uniform patterns
By using your own paint scheme, you can individualise stock models immediately. This is especially the case if you do something completely different to the standard GW scheme.

Here's an example of a Harakoni Warhawk from an army I sold earlier this year - note how the fatigues and armour create strong contrast, and bring the model away from any suggestion of it being "just another Cadian"...

6. Consider abhumans
Do you Guardsmen even have to be fully human? Older editions of 40k have examined the use of mutants and abhumans in the service of the Emperor, and the new 6th edition ruleset brings along the suggestion of possible abhuman soldiers.

Your abhumans could fill any part of your army - perhaps a unique veteran squad, or a special weapons squad (after all, maybe those demo-charges will misfire, and surely better to lose a Beastman than a human soldier!). I went so far as to build and paint an entire platoon of Beastman soldiers.

7. Think about your bases
Basing is an area overlooked by many hobbyists, but it really shouldn't be. Bases can really tell a story. Using resin bases, you can quickly establish the fighting conditions of a whole regiment. If you'd rather concentrate an individiual models, then using a special base for a character model can add to the gravitas of your warlord.

Here, I've created a basic slate base for a Savlar commander model - note how by adding height to an othersise dimitutively-scaled model, already he looks more menancing...

8. If all else fails, go the Forgeworld option!
Alright, this is a bit of a cop-out, but if you want an army very few people will have, you can always consider using whole Forgeworld models. They make amazing models - with highlights including Death Korps of Krieg, Elysian Drop Troops, and specialist Cadians.

Here are some Elysians I painted a few years ago, in standard wilderness-pattern gear...

9. Bringing techniques together
Of course, you can mix and match all of the ideas raised above in creating something really unique.

Here is an example of my Mark I Chem-Dog rough riders - using mounts from the WFB Chaos Marauder kit, torsos from the FW Renegade Militia set, and bits from several other 40k sets.

Hopefully that will give some food for thought next time you build a Guard squad - please feel free to leave comments!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Inquisitor Coteaz and Warband

So, with the Elysian project finished I finally got the opportunity to turn to other armies and commissions. The painting never stops! In truth, whenever I suffer from burnout I turn to another project or even another miniatures scale - sometimes just painting up a personality model or vehicle from a different faction is enough to keep my interest going.

Today's post is one such distraction. I have a personal Grey Knights army, and under 5th edition it was a great and fun army to play. I probably (read: definitely) need to make some changes for 6th edition, and on that topic I decided to paint up a Finecast Coteaz model. To accompany him, I raided the bitz box and converted some additional figures to act as his warband.

These may not be sound choices in-game, but they were certainly fun models to paint.

The man himself, painted in a similar scheme to GW's model but I decided to use more gold on the iconography.

Two Jokearos - I bought one of them when the model first came out, and then decided I would like to use a second if I ever ran a warband-based army. Lots of nice detail and an opportunity to paint tones I would not usually use.

These two Servitors were left overs from the Space Marine Techmarine boxed set - whilst the Techmarine is an awesome model, I just never got the urge to paint up the Servitors. Plus, they were armed with heavy bolters... I eventually converted them to carry multimeltas from the Leman Russ sponsons - this is a cheap way to make your Servitor models a whole lot more useful!

And finally, three Death Cult Assassins. I got these off of Ebay some months ago (maybe even longer!?!), but again never got around to paitning them. Under 6th edition, they are certainly less threatening with their AP3 swords, but they are useful nonetheless. These sculpts are quite aged in my opinion; they are very lithe and feel quite fragile. I think I would convert something from plastic if I were to add any more DCAs to my army.

Tomorrow's post will be a retrospective on a number of Guard armies I built over the years, with advice on building and converting more unusual regiments.