Wednesday, 30 December 2009

2009 Annual Review

As New Years eve gets closer, I thought I'd look back over the year and sum up how I feel it's been for my 40k hobby and this blogging lark.

First off, hobbywise, I've got quite a bit done. Back before the new guard codex release, I decided that this year, I'd try to put together a full infantry platoon, less the conscripts for my mech guard force. As the end of the year draws in, I've got the final 9 figures on my painting station waiting to complete the 100+ troop choice. It' strange to think that I've spent a good part of the year on one force organisation slot. I've managed to add a few tanks to my force with the release of the new codex, and even made the odd bit of terrain. One thing I have noticed is that I've become a bit pattern set with my guard, with them being uniform. I've spent the year painting shades of grey, which hasn't really improved my painting skill, so I'm going to have to look at that

I've also dipped my fingers into the sculpting and converting with a few small projects like my snipers, marbo, advisers and the ongoing field ambulance project. Although they've soaked up a lot of time, I've really enjoyed putting them together and they are the models I'm most proud of. I definitely want to get more into the sculpting / converting / scratch building side of the hobby next year. 

On the gaming side, I must admit, it's been a complete failure. I don't think I've had more than six games this year, which considering I've spent the last year painting models to play with, it's a pretty piss poor situation. I'd like to say that this or that got in the way, but in all honesty, I've just been lazy. The nearest place to play is just short of an hour away and only open on a Friday night, so it takes a real effort to get me out of the house and rolling dice. This is something else that I intend to improve on in 2010.

Finally, on this blogging malarkey. I wandered into blogging back in march after getting disillusioned with forum and the various sorts of personalities you get on them. Nine months in, I've got to say it's going great. I never thought I'd enjoy it so much and people seem to like what I'm doing. So, I'm looking forward to more blogging in the new year. I have noticed that I haven't done much work on my campaign blog this month but it is a long term side project, so I'm not feeling to guilty about it, I'll posting more campaign rules in the new year.

So, all in all, a good year. There's a few issues I intend address in the new year but for now, thanks for taking the time to read this and following my blog if you do. Hope you have a great new years eve and I'll see you 2010.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Another heavy weapons team

Hope you all had a good xmas and Santa brought you lots of hobby goodness. We're slowly getting back into routine, I should have been working today, but I decided to extend the holiday by a day as the eldest two are staying for an extra day.

On the present front, personally I didn't get much this year. Firstly, I didn't really ask for much 40k stuff as I'm trying to get the plastic crack mountain down to a hill. Secondly, there's an ongoing xmas theme with the nearest and dearest where she tries her best on the 40k front, but something always goes a bit wrong. This christmas was no different, first off, she got me the Rogue Trader rulebook, well, she actually got me two copies as she won both ebay auctions. So, I'm not sure which to keep, the hardback or the softback, but one will be heading for ebay. Also, I've had an itch for Advance Heroquest recently, so my lovely wife scoured ebay and christmas morning, there I was, opening Heroquest by MB games ..... gutted but great fun with the family that evening.



I managed to do a little hobby stuff, I finished the final heavy weapons team for 2nd platoon. That leaves the final squad which I've already put together and undercoated ready to paint. Once they're done, I've finished the 100 man platoon. I also dugout my sentinel halftrack and undercoated it ready for painting, it's going to be the escort for my command section.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Monday, 21 December 2009

Doc Butchers victim ... sorry, patient.



I finished off the operating table last night whilst doing some other bits and bobs. All I really needed to do was to add a drip stand and a line. Overall I'm quite please with how it's all come together. Next up for 462 Field Ambulance is some stretcher bearers but I've got a few other things I need to get done first.


Sunday, 20 December 2009

Way back when ...........



So, I was flicking through an old copy of WD109 when I came across the inaugural guard article. Well, I say article, at 22 pages, it was more like a codex. Things were very different back then, first off, GW only put one advert for the 'new' guard box in the entire article!

Anyway, onto the boys, way back when I was a boy, the guard was a very different army. We flew around on land speeders and jet bikes, we drove into battle land raiders and rhinos.



Our sgts packed vortex grenades, our troopers packed conversion beamers and d-cannons and we had assault squads, yes, you heard me right, guard assault squads, with jump packs!!!



We were very inclusive in the day, we'd take criminals, squats, ratlings, ogryns and even beastmen, I jest ye not. Back in the day, we also used some dodgy methods of getting the job done, like suicide bombers, yes that's right, us guard were miles ahead compared to the real world in using high explosives and stupid devout people to cause death and destruction.


As you can see, things were very different back then, and yet twenty years on, there's still so much that's the same. Unfortunately, White Dwarf isn't one of them, it makes me laugh when I heard you young whipper snappers going on about how rubbish WD is. For us greying vets, we remember a very different WD. In this issue, along with a 22 page guard codex, we had the vehicle rules for Adeptus Titanicus (Now epic), rules for greater demons in WFB & 40k, rules for goblin fantatics in blood bowl, the inaugural 40k terminator rules, the rules for reaver and warhound titans in AT (epic) and finally the rules for orc stone throwers and goblin chariots plus a host of letters, faqs, titbits and heavy metal.

Now that's what I call a White Dwarf!!!!!!!!

Finally, a quick update on my operating table for 462 Field Ambulance, it's almost done, I just need to finish the drip but I wanted to show you a wip because I'm really proud of how the green stuff work came out. What ya think guys?

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Doc Butcher finished



I finished Doc Butcher last night, overall I'm pretty pleased with how he's come out. I went a little OTT with the blood on the apron, that's what happens when you try to paint at 2am when you should be sleeping. I did add a bone saw at the request of a few of the guys on the Bols forum.


It took me three attempts to get the teeth right and the handle was a real challenge but it worked out quite well in the end. One thing I did realise when I was painting him up was that in future, I need to sculpt more texture / creases on arms, aprons or any other large flat areas. With the Doc's arms being mainly flat, when it came to painting them, they turned out flat. So, that's the first sculpting lesson I've learned since starting sculpting, hopefully, I won't repeat that mistake again.

Finally, I had a play with one of the biker bases John at Spectre hobbies sent me. I'm sure you can guess where I'm going with this one.

Friday, 11 December 2009

The moment you realise ....

I've had a bit of an epiphany, a moment of clarity recently. I was checking on the replies I've had on a few forums to my ambulance. A few people have asked what rules I'm going to use for it, and to be honest, I don't know, I never really thought about using it in a game.

Now, when I first started this blog, it was all about the game, yes I enjoyed the painting, but I was painting to get models on the tabletop. I did convert my advisers because I didn't like the GW ones but they were for the tabletop.

With my ambulance, it was converted and painted for the sake of it, it's probably going to spend the rest of it's life sitting on a shelf. With the year coming to an end, I've been thinking about next years projects, one of which will probably never really get used but is going to take up half my modelling efforts for the year.

So, I've realised that I've moved from being a gamer to being a painter and converter. I'm hoping that this isn't a permanent change, more a simple swing of the 40k pendulum and it'll swing back to the gaming side in 2010. I must admit, I've got very comfortable with painting in the evenings but I do need to get off my backside and get down the club for some games.

I can see a new year resolution coming on.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Ambulance finished


Finished the ambulance last night, overall I'm pretty please with how it's come out considering it was a damaged trade. This one's been quite challenging, it's given me a go at some basic plasticard work which I've enjoyed quite a bit. I've also done rivet for the first time, seriously fiddly!

 

 




Doc Butcher is halfway painted, so hopefully I'll be finishing him tonight. I've also got together the bits for an Executioner with plasma sponsors, so that's going to get put together over the next night or two.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Spectre Hobbies



I while back, a put a little request on my blog for bike bases. John from Spectre Hobbies (who've recently taken on TerrainForge) drop me a line saying he could help me out and if I was interested in some freebies. One quick check of his website led to a 'hell yes'.

So, fast forward to this morning, feeling a little dodgy, I'd claimed a duvet day and was well buried in snug land when my wife came in 'So, you've bought more models?', 'No' I replied and for once I was being honest. So, I ventured downstairs to find a package, popping it open I found two bike bases and much hobby goodness. Inside was one of John's Elite basing kits and a few other bits.




See, I told you it was full of hobby goodness. There's everything you'll need to base your models in all sorts of different ways. I won't go into a long list of what's in the box, you can find that here. There's static grass, tall grass and flock for all four seasons. All sorts of hard basing materials, from fine gravel, all the way up to large slate and everything in between. The kits comes with some specialist bits, like resin tree stumps, tools, glue, mixing tub, even a selection of bases.

On a slight downside, the kit also comes with modelling water (bit like GW's I think), modelling paste and textured paste. I'm not really sure what these are for or how you use them, so I few instructions might be helpful. Obviously, this is me not the kits fault, I'm sure I'll love them just as much as the rest as soon as I can figure out what you use them for.

Overall, I've got to say that this is an excellent kit, that's very well priced considering the contents. I'd recommend it to all hobbyists whether you're new to the hobby or a long toothed vet, especially if you haven't ventured outside the GW basing range before. John also sent me some Ivy leaves and a pot of dried leaf material which don't come with the kit but make a perfect addition to it.



I can see this kit getting a lot of use in the new year, but in the meantime, I've got two bike bases, so tonight, I'm going to start working on them and my latest conversion madness. Finally, if anyone else would like to send me free stuff to promo on my blog, feel free, I'm happy to accept any sort of hobby stuff as well as cash, beer, cars and dancing girls.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Doc Butcher

My adventures into GMS (Guard Medical Services) continues with my first field surgeon to go along with the Ambulance, and my casualty objectives.



As some of you who follow my blog already know, I've only just started to play around with Green Stuff and sculpting. My only other attempts have been the cloaks on my snipers and my marbo. This model was a whole different challenge to those cloaks.

I wanted to get across the look of a field surgeon, so that meant that he had to have an apron, face mask and some sort of medical tool. I started with a tank commander model, cutting off his side pouches. From there, I built up the apron. The arms are from the catachen command medic, I filed them down a bit as surgeons don't have huge muscles and then added cuffs to give the impression the arms were clothed. Finally the head came from the catachen command sprue, I cleaned up the side knot for the bandanna and added a face mask. Overall he looks like I wanted him too. I showed my wife, and she said 'Is it a butcher?' much to my initial dismay. I thought for a moment, then realised he's a field surgeon, so yes, he's a butcher! Doc Butcher to be precise.

OK, now I know I'm new to sculpting, and I'm certainly no Col. Gravis, so I'm going to be honest with myself about what I don't like and think I could do better. I don't like the fact that none of the edges are sharp on the apron and mask. They're all rounded, but I'm assuming that's because I'm using a rubber sculpting tool and not a metal one. Also, the cuffs came out a bit chunky, so in future I'll put a lot less GS on initially and building it up over time. Hopefully, over time, I'll get better at judging how much GS I need to do something.

If any of you guys have any tips or know of any good guides, please let me know as the more info I can get, the better. So, what do you think of Doc Butcher guys?

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Scenery tutorial - Making Eldar cityfight terrain


I get quite a few comments about my Eldar cityfight table, especially on how I made it. Most people can't believe that it's just a load of sweetie tubs, cardboard and cake bases. So, I thought I'd put together a simple tutorial to show you how you can make simple but great looking Eldar terrain. I want to make it clear that this isn't some sort of masterclass, more a very basic tutorial aimed at those who've never really made scenery before and don't have access to tons of tools and specialist materials. On the materials, this is what we're working with ....



Materials
  1. Sweetie tub
  2. Cake base
  3. Drinks tube
  4. Cardboard
  5. Newspaper
  6. Gravel or cat litter
  7. Static grass or flock
  8. Clump material (optional)
  9. Gems (optional)
See, I really did mean sweetie tubs, cardboard and cake bases. Cake bases are easy to get your hands on, just check your local supermarket. The only thing you might have trouble finding is the plastic drinks tube, I get mine from our local cinema but if you can't get your hands on one, just use a cardboard tube for a thinner tower. You'll be able to get the static grass and clump material from any hobby shop including GW. The gems came from a cheap kids craft set but if you can't find one then check out a knitting shop, they have loads of cheap plastic gems for buttons etc.

Tools
  1. Hobby saw
  2. Sand paper
  3. PVA glue
  4. Masking tape
  5. Large paint brush

All of the tools with the exception of the hobby saw are commonly available from most handy stores if you don't already have them. For the cutting of the base, tub and drinks tube, it's best to use a hobby saw, but you could use a steak knife if you can't get your hands on a hobby saw. Just remember to watch your fingers!

Paints
  1. Skull white
  2. Chaos black
  3. Bleached bone
  4. Scorched brown
I actually use Dulux matt emulsion for my scenery. You can get colour matched tester pots for less than a GW paint. With a little water, they work perfectly well and when you're doing lots of scenery, you'll find they save you a small fortune compared to GW paints. If you're not ready to get paints just for scenery, you can use GW paints, but expect to use a half a pot of skull white and a third of the other colours. You can use white primer for undercoating, but you'll still need the skull white for the drybrushing.

Right, let's get started, First peel the silver foil off the cake base, place the tub upside down on the base and draw around it making sure you leave at least two inches from the edges. Also include space for the tower at the side of the tub. Once you've got it marked out, cut off the excess and bevel the edges. If you've never worked with cake bases before, then checkout this Youtube Tutorial. Once you're done, you'll have something like this ...



Next, cut the rim of the sweetie tub so it sits flat on the base. If the tub has a extended rim, cut a notch out of it for the tower. In my example, I went a bit OTT with the notch, but it's not a major issue, I'll patch it up later in the project. Don't worry if you make little mistakes, terrain is very forgiving.



After that, cut your drink thingy in half making sure that the bottom bit has enough of the tube to stand clear of the top of the base building. You'll see what I mean in a moment. Remember if you can't get one of these, you can just use a cardboard tube.



Once you've got your pieces cut ready, glue them to the base with PVA glue. You might like to prop the tower against something to get it perfectly straight, just remember to dry fit it a couple of times to get it straight as possible.



As you can see, I left enough of the neck of the drinks tube to make sure the towel stands clear of the base building. Next cut a long strip of cardboard to go all the way around the tower. Make sure you make it wide enough so that when it's fitted, it stands 1/2 - 3/4 inch clear of top of the tower.

 

Remember to dry fit it a couple of times to get the right length and width. Once you're happy with it's position and it's dimensions, tape it with masking tape and then glue it with PVA glue.



Don't worry if it looks a bit flimsy, the glue and tape is only there to hold the cardboard in place for the papa mache stage. If you get any PVA running down the side of the tube, just clean it off with a damp cloth. Next cut another strip of cardboard, making sure that it's slightly longer than the rim of the base building top. As this one is going to sit on top of the tub, I've made it 1/2 inch thick.



Attach one end to the drink tube neck using masking tape, and then start running the cardboard around the top of the tub securing it with masking tape.



Once you've run it all the way around the top of the tub, secure it against the neck of the drinks tube by adding some masking tape on the inside and then run PVA all around the inside where the cardboard meets the tub.



Once again, don't worry about how flimsy it seems or the gap between tower and the base building, that will be sorted with papa mache next. Mix up some watered down PVA, I normally go for 1/3 PVA and 2/3 water, which ends up looking like milk. Then rip up some newspaper, dip it in the watered down PVA and then use it to fill the gaps around the tubs. Use papa mache to fill in the rim on the base building, the gap between the base building and the tower and then finally around the inside rim of the tower. Don't worry about it being a bit rough at this stage.







This is going to get a bit messy, just soak up any excess watered down PVA with a cloth or some kitchen towel. Once you've filled the gaps, start using small piece of newspaper to cover the entire piece with the exception of the base. Using small pieces is the key to keeping creases to a minimum, if you do get any big creases, just cover them over at the end with another small piece of paper. Use your damp clothe to soak up any excess PVA and to smooth any edges down. Once finished, leave it overnight in a warm place to completely dry out.



Once the papa mache is dry, or at least touch dry, it's time to gravel the base. I placed mine on top of a few paint tubs on a piece of paper to catch the overspilled gravel. First, give the base a neat coat of PVA.



Then liberally pour gravel all over the base and leave it to dry for at least 20 minutes.



After 20 minutes, pour off the excess and use your paper to get it back in your tub. You'll be left with a neat base although it'll still have quite a bit of loose gravel on it. Wait until it's completely dry before shaking this off.



Finally, use your watered down PVA to seal the gravel in place and leave it for a day to completely dry out. Make sure that the gravel is completely dry before doing this otherwise you'll wash the gravel off when you add the watered down PVA. I've propped mine on some paint pots on a piece of cardboard to catch the excess drips and make sure that it doesn't stick to the cardboard while it's drying.



Once that's completely dry, it's ready for painting. Undercoat the gravel black and the building white. I normally undercoat everything in black but with the building being a very light bone colour, it made more sense to undercoat it white.



Don't worry if the paper bubbles a bit, that's the moisture in the paint, they'll disappear when the paint dries. Also, don't worry about getting it perfectly covered in white, any dark patches will be covered next. Paint the building in bleach bone, you'll need to do at least two coats to get a smooth finish. Then paint the base with slightly watered down scorched brown.



Once that's dry, give the building a heavy drybrush of skull white and the base a drybrush off bleached bone.



Done worry if it appears a bit over white or bleak if you get what I mean, the surface will get broken up in the next stages. First piece of decoration is the gems, remember this is optional but personally, I think they really compliment Eldar terrain. Just glue them on with a little PVA, there's no right or wrong way or amount, it's down to how 'blingy' you want your scenery.



Next up come the vines, simply run strands of PVA across the surface of the building starting at the base and branching upwards.



Next dab on some static grass and leave it to dry. I placed mine on top of some newspaper to catch the overspill so it can go back into the tub.



After five minutes, shake off the excess and you'll be something like this. Don't worry about the bare bits, you can just redab them while the PVA is still wet.



Once you've got your vines sorted, cover the base in PVA. Most of the time I leave a rim of gravel between the PVA and the buildings which is more realistic but with my Eldar terrain, I wanted to blend them into the table so I covered the entire base from edge to right up to the building.



After that, cover it in static grass or flock. I've got a bit OTT with the example, you don't need to put anywhere near as much on your base, just make sure it gets a good covering. It's fine to lightly shake of the excess as you go, so that you can gather it up if you're running short. Don't worry, the vast majority will be going back in the grass tub.



Once it's dry, shake off the excess onto your newspaper and then use the newspaper to get the static grass back into your tub. Next up, glue pieces of clump material and lichen around the base of the building, especially where your vines start from the ground.



Once that's done, you're done ;-)



There you have it, a nice looking bit of Eldar terrain made from recycled material with simple tools that easy to do for anyone who's new to scenery making. I hope you liked my 'little' tutorial, if you give it a go, drop me a line as I'd love to see what you've done.