A little side project: Blood Angels Death Company

Sorry for the lack of posts over the past week, I was overseas and I left my laptop at home. I did some reading and some planning and sometime, when I’m more awake, I’ll talk about both of them. However, I meant to post these pictures before I left, so they’re first in the queue.

When I scrounged the Devastator squad that I used for my Long Fangs from my boyfriend, there were two more models in the box. Upon closer inspection they turned out to be Blood Angel Death Company figures.

I was going to just leave them in the box but then I looked at the models again and asked my boyfriend if I could paint them for him for whenever he decides to resurrect his old Blood Angels army. Fortunately he was ok with this so I did just that.

Death Company Front

Rather than adding blue to the black as I did with the armour for my Wolf Priest I used a 2:1 mixture of Abaddon Black to Caliban Green for the “black” parts of the armour. While using blue leads to quite a shiny looking black, green gives a subtler finish. I then used Caliban Green for highlighting the armour, which contrasts with the secondary colour used, which, as these guys are Blood Angels, is red.

For the red areas I started with a  layer of Red Gore (Wazdakka Red), which, after the model was washed with Badab Black (Nuln Oil), I then highlighted with a 1:1 blend of Red Gore to Blood Red (Evil Sunz Scarlet) followed by a second highlight of Blood Red. For the teardrop gems and the eye lenses I then used two more highlights, first a 1:1 blend of Blood Red to Troll Slayer Orange then finally a very little Troll Slayer Orange to make them glow a bit more.

Of course power swords should really glow, so after highlighting I painted on arcs using Hawk Turquoise (Sotek Green), Ice Blue (Lothern Blue) and Skull White (White Scar) and then used a Guilliman Blue Glaze to finish off.

Death Company Right

There’s a lot of “dark” about these models. Blood Angels Death Company are black and my boyfriend uses a dark grey base, so even before I started I knew that these models were going to be more sombre than my Space Wolves. I decided therefore to keep the models dark where possible and to keep the colour scheme simple, which is very different to how I usually end up painting my Wolves. To that end I decided to use a 1:1 blend of Abaddon Black to Scorched Brown (Rinox Hide) for the holsters and pouches, which I then highlighted with Scorched Brown.

For the bases I used greenstuff to make paving slabs to hide the slot of the slottabase, which I then painted using Eshin Grey and highlighted with Codex Grey (Dawnstone).

I don’t have transfers for Blood Angels so I had to paint the Chapter symbol which is why it is a little lopsided. Space Wolves are much more forgiving of wobbles in the painting as they are supposed to be wild individualists. Somehow I don’t think that I can use that excuse with Blood Angels!

Death Company Left

Anyway, my boyfriend now has his Death Company models back and I am back to painting Space Wolves (or thinking about it anyway). It was nice to paint something a little bit different for once and I think that I learned something about style and colouring while working on these guys. I really wanted to make them look as good as I could get them as I was not painting them for myself and because they did not have to fit in with my army I could try out something a little bit different.

L.o.F.

List Building

I’m not very good at list building, I don’t have much experience and I’ve heard so much about the cheesy lists that can be built with the Space Wolves codex, that I want to avoid that at all costs. It doesn’t help that I paint what I want to paint and that my usual opponent plays Daemons, so my initial lists were designed to deal with Bloodletters (they didn’t work).

I can currently make a fairly sensible (for me) 1424 point list which I could tweak to hit 1500 points, which is a bit of a landmark for me. It’s only taken me a year and a third to reach this point!

The list is currently:

 

HQ: Wolf Lord, Terminator armour, 1x Wolf Claws, 2x Fenrisian Wolves, Belt of Russ

HQ: Rune Priest, Chooser of the Slain

HQ: Wolf Priest, Bike

 

Elites: 3x Wolf Guard, 2x Wolf Claws, Storm Shield and Thunder Hammer

Elites: Lone Wolf, 2x Fenrisian Wolves

Elites: 10x Wolf Scouts, 5x sniper rifle, 1x boltgun, 1x missile launcher

 

Troops: 5x Grey Hunters, 1x plasma gun

Troops: 5x Grey Hunters, 1x power fist

Troops: 10x Blood Claws, 1x melta gun, 1x power axe

 

Fast Attack: 3x Swift Claws

Fast Attack: Land Speeder, multi melta, flamer

 

Heavy Support: 5x Long Fangs, power fist, 2x heavy bolters, 1x missile launcher, 1x lascannon

 

=1424 points

 

At the moment I have kits or partly built models for: 20 more troops, 2 more Swiftclaws, 10 more Long Fangs, a Land Raider and a Dreadnought. Obviously I would not be able to use everything listed below 2000 points. I’d probably drop the Lone Wolf for the Dreadnought and I’m not planning on using all of the Long Fangs at once.

It’s beginning to look like a list though!

Deathwing (1990 edition): A rather late review

When we went to the UK in April we stayed at my boyfriend’s Dad’s house. On the first evening my boyfriend disappeared upstairs and returned with a battered old ex-library paperback. This was 40K tie-in fiction, but unlike any that I had seen before. Long before there was the Horus Heresy series, or even Black Library, there was Deathwing.

© Games Workshop 1990

© Games Workshop 1990

Black Library have released an updated version of Deathwing, with three new stories and carefully edited to remove any mention of the “S” word. This review is about the 1993 edition though, so if you want to know about Pestilence, Suffer not the Unclean to Live, or Unforgiven, you’re out of luck this time.

The age of this book really shows itself with the cover, and the picture of the brooding Dark Angel is of its time. The stories inside have generally held up fairly well though, and you could probably slip a few of them into a modern Black Library anthology without much tweaking. There are however several major things that struck me as being different from modern Black Library fiction.

  1.  Space Marines have changed! They’re more like augmented humans than the post-humans that they are portrayed as these days (if that makes sense). They grow old for a start, which is a major plot point in Deathwing the short story.
  2.  There’s more “sensual” stuff. These days Black Library tends to leave it at vague suggestions and people caught in bed. It’s much more obvious in this book, and particularly in Warped Stars, which is uncomfortably squishy.
  3.  Tastes have changed. Again, Warped Stars is the best example of this. There are pea-green and lavender marines and an inquisitor who is dressed in a long silver furred kilt (what?) an iridescent cuirass and a red cloak (eep!) (page 61).

As the stories are all variable in quality and datedness it’s probably fair if I go over them one by one.

The first story in the book is Deathwing by Bryan Ansell and William King. The story is about the foundation of the Dark Angels’ elite Terminators. While the portrayal of the marines is a bit dated, the Dark Angels in question are old guys coming home for one last time, the story itself is a classic 40K based tale. It’s a really enjoyable, rereadable story.

I’m not so keen on the second story, Warped Stars by Ian Watson. I’ve already mentioned two reasons. The characters all have very questionable taste. I know that the 41st Millennium is melodramatic, but some of it is pure pantomime (in the rather bad village pantomime Widow Twankey kind of way). Watson’s descriptions are also a bit… well… different. I’d say unique, but I’m sure that there’s plenty of similarly poorly written erotic fiction out there on the web.

Lacrymata, also involves sex in the story although in a far more subtle and less embarrassing way. The story is by Storm Constantine, who I don’t know much about, although she appears from Wikipedia, to be a fairly prolific science fiction writer. The story is from the perspective of a Navigator and narrates his relationship with a mysterious female astropath. I like this story, my boyfriend doesn’t. It’s a bit different, but I think that it works.

Almost the first thing I noticed when I first picked up this book was the author who wrote the next story, Monastery of Death. In fact, he’s one of my favourite authors and I’d just finished reading one of his books (Rule 34). Charles Stross doesn’t mention this story in his bibliography, but there surely can’t be two authors out there with that name and the style is undoubtedly his. It’s notcomparable (or as dark) as some of his more modern short fiction but it is a good story and if somebody were to put it in a modern 40K anthology it would fit in seamlessly. The story involves a newly rediscovered world, on which sits the titular monastery and the monks within, who are worried about the approaching Imperium and what they bring. Tweak it a bit and it would even fit in a Horus Heresy anthology!

Another story that would only require a little tweaking to be considered a “modern” story is Seed of Doubt by Neil McIntosh. The tweaking in question being the use of Squats in the story. The story involves a shipwrecked Inquisitorial band and a ghost town and is again pretty good.

It’s getting a bit repetitive this, but yes, The Devil’s Marauders is another good story that stands up well. This time The Guard take centre stage. It’s the second William King story in the anthology too.

The final story is the longest and is by Ian Watson again. Fortunately it’s a lot better than Warped Stars. The Alien Beast Within is not my favourite story in this book, and confirms that Watson’s style is just not for me, but it’s not bad and Meh’Lindi is a sympathetic protagonist.

Over all Deathwing is well worth reading if you can find a copy. Sometimes it feels a little bit dated and the quality is a little uneven, but the latter can be said about more modern 40K anthologies. It’s a little piece of Warhammer 40K related history and as a relative newcomer to the hobby it’s nice to get an idea of what the game (or at least the fictional universe) used to be like.

L.o.F.

Wolf Priest on Bike: Hildólfr Deathmask

My Wolf Priest was my first ever conversion and, to be honest, I’ve never been completely happy with how he looked, so, when I started building my Swiftclaws, I decided that I’d rebuild him as an HQ to go with that unit.

There are bits from the Ravenwing bike kit, the Space Wolves pack and the Space Wolves upgrade frame in there.

For markings I decided to go with using Morkai, the two headed wolf of death, due to him being a Wolf Priest, and also due to the scarring on his face.

Trying to get the scarring right was quite important for me. This character has quite a complicated back story in my mind. The scarring was caused by a heroic last stand that turned out to be not quite as final as he had assumed. I wanted it to be quite extreme, and I’ve almost got it how I wanted it (I had a little mishap with a wash and his face turned out darker than expected).

I’ve already talked about the Wolf Skull Helmet. I really wanted to get that and the Crozius onto the model. I decided that adding an amulet on top would have been too much, but I did manage to fit on a cannister for geneseed (a piece of tubing stopped up with green stuff), strapped onto his belt.

Anyway, here you are,meet  Hildólfr Deathmask, Wolf Priest of the Great Company of Ælfhere Greatpaw, ready to lead those riotous Swift Claws into battle! I have two more bikes left in the kit to build, but I may leave them for a while as I have a couple of projects (and that flipping Aegis Defence Line) waiting to be done.

L.o.F.

Of Nano, painting and dark nights

I’m struggling a bit at the moment. My thesis has to be sent to the printers next week (and no, it’s not ready) and I have a foreign trip coming up due to a friend’s wedding and then, after all that, I have to defend my thesis! All this means that I’m not doing much in my spare time except sleeping and reading.

I’ve just finished Helsreach, which is a very, very good read. The style is different, swapping between 1st and 3rd person, but it works very well. Aaron Dembski-Bowden is not above just killing characters off though!

Every year, in the build up to November, I think about doing Nanowrimo. Every November (but one) I have failed to finish. This year, in about June, July, I came up with a brilliant idea, by October I realised that I was far too busy to even contemplate adding yet another challenge to the pile that are standing between me and getting home in a more or less sane state of mind this Christmas. I like Nano in the same way as I like painting challenges and even deadlines. They focus me, stop me butterflying from one idea to the next. Unfortunately they focus me, to the extent that I can’t think about anything else. This week I’ve been totally focused on work and however relaxing half an hour’s painting is, yesterday was the first evening this week that I’ve managed to build up enough focus to do more than look at the bike that I’m working on and then my leg went to sleep…

Anyway, enough of my moaning! The bike only needs a few more hours work. I forgot to paint the handlebars. I just need to fix them, touch up a couple of wobbly bits and then it’s on to the washes and the highlighting. I’m having to use lamps while I paint in the evenings now, which is always “interesting”. I should be able to get in some solid daytime painting time in this weekend though, and hopefully I can focus on my task!

L.o.F.

White Dwarf November 2012

Last weekend I picked up the second of the new look White Dwarfs. It’s still on probation as far as I am concerned but I’m fairly happy so far.

There are a few reminders of the bad old days, namely while last month’s magazine was heavily 40K orientated while this month’s issue was largely based around Warhammer Fantasy. As someone who currently only pays 40k, it’s hard for me to really get into a largely fantasy based article. However, part of this problem is due to the magazine being based round the new releases, which take up a very large chunk of the magazine.

Oddly enough, I did spend some time on the new releases. I find that I like looking at the pictures, even of models that I’ll never buy. I get eye strain easily and as I work on a PC all day during the week, I don’t like spending all evening browsing the web (the weekend is another matter). Having  large high quality images in White Dwarf means that I can look at, drool over and criticise the pictures to my heart’s content. There are a few too many of them though and the Forgeworld pictures were very disappointing. The “normal” Games Workshop models have new pictures, different to those on the website, the Forgeworld pictures were the same mostly unpainted models seen on the Forgeworld site. In the case of the Magma Dragon, there are colour pictures on the Forgeworld page, yet all the magazine got was a picture of a rather boring looking lump of grey resin (and I like the Magma Dragon). What’s the point of putting Forgeworld stuff in the magazine if someone is not going to actually make an effort to sell it!

It is rather obvious that this is the White Dwarf for parents doing Christmas shopping as the gift guide gets a large spread. As a hobbyist this is frustrating, but thinking as someone who has bought Games Workshop related presents (without being able to openly ask the giftee what they want) and who every year has a mild panic over what to buy her brothers for Christmas, I can see the appeal of a pictorial list of stuff that can be taken into a shop and pointed at.

I was tempted by the ‘Eavy Metal Edge Paint Set… until I saw the price, which is far more than I’d consider paying, especially as I don’t really need special edge highlighting paints.

As a 40K player, the big splash this week was the Imperial Defence Network. It looks pretty nice but I don’t really have space for it at the moment, so I’m merely admiring it from afar. I’m more likely to pick up the Valkia the Bloody model which is almost right, and paint her just for kicks. Actually I have already done so, this post has taken me far too long to write, and she is absolutely gorgeous, but I’ll write about her another time.

The Army of the Month is a nice feature. I’ll happily look over other people’s beautifully painted models for hours, despite the gnawing envy over the fact that they are so, so much nicer than mine. I’m looking forward to seeing what army will be showcased next month.

Of the regular editorial like opinion pieces, Jeremy Vetock, Jervis Johnson and Blanchitsu, I much prefer the first two. Blanchitsu was a four page spread with two pages of content and was, to be honest, fairly disappointing. Jervis Johnson’s column was fairly interesting. I’m not a tournament player, so I can’t give a critical view on it, but it was perfectly readable. Vetock’s article was quite fun too and made me smile, which is very nice. I really want to know what a “shrill but manly Wyvern shriek” sounds like now!

Although the Hall of Fame is not content heavy I quite like the idea of spotlighting a particular model and the Mangler Squigs are cute!

The hobby related content in this month’s White Dwarf is fairly good and the salt technique was new to me. I’m really liking the direction they’ve taken in the hobby section, it feels more useful and, even if the techniques are irrelevant sometimes, there’s plenty of inspiration and encouragement there.

However I still don’t get why the “This month in” section is after the store directory. It’s far too good to be hidden away.

In conclusion, this month’s White Dwarf is still riding on the same high as last month. It has the same good and less good parts (well, if nothing else they’re consistent). I’m planning at waiting until next month before I make up my mind on the new layout still though. I just hope that it isn’t all about Lord of the Rings as that would be rather boring for me!