Raagh! (Or a Shining Spear Exarch)

shining exarch FL

This guy took me a lot longer than I had hoped, partly because I went a bit overboard with the conversion. I won the Dark Elf War Hydra tail in a painting contest at my local GW a few months back. The prize was three bits from the box and as soon as I saw the tail I knew what I wanted to do with it. It took a fair bit of effort to get it to fit on a Cold One model and I didn’t entirely succeed but it makes for a larger (much larger) and more powerful looking mount for what (unless he gets a promotion) is currently my Shining Spears Exarch for my dinosaur riding Exodites. I had to extend the neck of the Cold One with some green stuff in order to balance the model. The rider himself has Dark Elf Cold One Knight’s legs (I broke the Shining Spears ones), a Shining Spear torso and sword arm, a Dark Eldar Hellion head and an Eldar Guardian left arm.

shining exarch neck tail

The feathered cloak is green stuff and was built by using a sharp modelling tool to rip and cut into soft green stuff to make a feathering effect layer by layer from the outside in on top of the basic cloak base. Sorry for the quality of the photos of the unpainted model. I obviously can’t go back and take better ones and I didn’t realise just how bad they were at the time!

shining exarch green stuff

I used the same paint scheme as for my other Shining Spear so I won’t go over it again. For the cloak I started with Kantor Blue, washing with Drakenhof Nightshade and highlighting with Macragge Blue, Hawk Turquoise (Sotek Green), Ice Blue (Lothern Blue), Space Wolves Grey (Fenrisian Grey) and Skull White (White Scar).

shining exarch side

shining exarch BR

I based the model using a piece of cardboard tube from a roll of clingfilm for the skeleton of my tree chunk with a crushed cinnamon stick as bark. I used Middenland Tufts for the longgrass and liberal amounts of Lustrian Undergrowth and Agrellan Earth to add texture. The spider came from the Deathworld’s basing kit. I love the new Nurgle’s Rot paint and I used a fair bit to add slime to the model, particularly as my water effects stuff has dried up.

shining exarch FR

shining exarch F

Anyhow, that’s one more model done for my Exodites. I’m going to paint a few marines next I think for a change of pace!

L.o.F.

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Bolter Time

My wrist is still bad which means that I haven’t been able to do much hobbying recently. I built a Space Marine the other day and instantly regretted it. I was planning on putting together the start of a codex Space Marine killteam based on the Marines Malevolent but if cutting and gluing sprues is enough to muck up my wrist, I can’t do all the conversion work I was planning with these guys. I did get a couple of bolter conversions done. I need to splurge out on some Forgeworld bits but part of me objects to buying MORE bolters when I have bags of them already. I made the box mag boltgun by cutting off the magazine from a Space Wolves Terminator Storm Bolter (I have more than enough of those) and replacing the sickle shaped magazine with it. I still need to drill out the barrel but I’m waiting until I can reliably do it and still be able to paint afterwards!

box mag

One thing with Marines Malevolent is that due to their piratical and impoverished nature, I can use all my castoff bits from other projects. I’ve got a few old style backpacks that I’m going to use and I can raid bits from the Space Wolves and Ravenwing sprues that I have. It’s a small scale project but one which I hope will be a change of pace to my Eldar and Wolves.

Some kind of progress

Sorry for being quiet recently, life’s been a bit up and down and that’s affecting my hobbying (not least in that I’ve somehow hurt my painting wrist so that highlighting of my latest model is taking a lot longer than I’d hoped). Once I’ve finished this guy I will move onto something a little bit simpler as a month on one Shining Spear is a bit long even for me.

I picked up the Imperial Knight codex the other day. The fluff is good but it’d have been nice to have added a couple more units to bulk the army list out. We seem to be moving to a more modular game these days with Imperial Knights, Inquisition etc. adding more stuff to (Imperial) armies. Hopefully GW will branch out into the non Imperial armies sooner rather than later. I doubt that we’ll see Exodites anytime soon but I hope that whenever they bring out the Ork codex (no idea when of course) that they add a few supplements or a Grot codex or something.

I quite like the new Militarum Tempestus. I’m not going to pick them up immediately but I might make a nice, fluffy little list with these guys and the Inquisition codex. The Imperial Guard (or Astra Militarum as they’re now called) has never really been my thing but these guys look kind of cool. I’m trying not to buy too much at the moment though as I’ll probably be moving in a few months and things can wait until after then.

I made some scenery this weekend. We desperately needed some line of sight (L.O.S.) blocking for our games so I decided to build a hill. It took me a few weeks to find the bits. The shop where I picked up foamcore in the past has closed and our local model train shop charged more than I was willing to pay for an A2 rectangle of foam. In the end I found some, along with a bag of static grass, in a bookshop in town which has a limited art section (and the most beautiful-and pricey- model aeroplanes). It’s not a very sophisticated hill. I cut the foam with a knife as I don’t have a hot wire cutter and glued the layers together with thick super glue. I then painted it with Chrome Green acrylic paint. I couldn’t undercoat the model as the spray primer melts the foam, so I used a thick coat of cheap acrylic rather than the finer modelling acrylic, which would have required multiple coats. I added a few lichen “trees” and some grass tufts before smearing the whole thing with PVA glue and covering it was static grass. It’s cheap and a little bit crude but it’s a piece of all too important L.O.S. Blocking terrain that doesn’t resemble a pile of books!

102_0181

So, having built this hill we had to test it out with a game of Kill Team. I’ve been playing with my Space Wolves and I finally think I’m getting there. I took:

5x Grey Hunters
5x Wolf Scouts (3x sniper rifles, 2x bolt guns)
5x Fenrisian Wolves

I need to tweak it some more but it’s a much better list (at least against Orks) than the last one. I have a slight problem in that apart from Grey Hunters, which are fine as they are, most of the usable things for Kill Team in the Space Wolves codex are too expensive for the limited points budget (Swiftclaws, Wolf Guard, Lone Wolves, Thunderwolf Cavalry) or have to be taken in fives (Wolf Scouts, Fenrisian Wolves).

The game went far better for me than the last two times I played, although the Fenrisian Wolves die too easily which meant that my boyfriend’s Orks broke my army about two turns too soon. I’m going to drop them from my next list because of this, although they are good fun to use and its nice to have something that can zip across the board. If I could take fewer of them, I’d keep them in. We played the Head Hunt mission and in the end I won 6-4 on Primaries. It was a nice close game, the last time we played was a bit of a disaster for me, I’d taken Grey Hunters, Wolf Guard and Fenrisian Wolves and was then systemically taken apart by Lootas and my own dice. The Wolf Scouts really made the game for me this time, their ability to infiltrate and the 36” range of the sniper rifles more than made up for their carapace armour. I’m looking forward to the next game as I’m sure that The Other Half will have found a good counter to them.

Well that’s it for now. Hopefully I’ll have something else to post about sooner rather than later!

L.o.F.

Female Inquisitor Kitbash

In a fit of drunken grumbling three weeks back, I found myself bemoaning the loss of the female Inquisitor model by Games Workshop. At some point I realised that I had some female Dark Eldar bits kicking around and decided there and then to kitbash my own.

Inquisitor front

I used a set of Eldar Guardian legs as they are fairly slimline while the torso came from the Dark Eldar Hellion box, as did the head and arms. The sword came from the Dark Elf Cold One box while the bolt pistol and parchment cases came from the Space Marine Tactical Marines kit.

Inquisitor right

Next I sculpted the coat, sword hilt and hair from green stuff. I did this in several stages so as not to damage any of it. I started with the skirts of the coat, which I built by cutting panels out of soft green stuff and fixing them together on the model. When they were almost set I built sleeves round the arms. Only when these were set did I add the cuffs and lapels. The hair I added in several layers in order to get enough fullness. One great thing about green stuff is that it freezes, so that you can happily pause between layers, stick the leftover green stuff in the freezer for anything up to two days, then, when you’re ready for the next layer, warm the frozen green stuff in the palm of your hand and you’re ready to go again!

unpainted Inquisitor

Most of the purity seals came from the Tac Marine box, although the big one came from the Ravenwing box (as did the book on the base).

Inquisitor back

I posed her standing on a heretic tome as she will probably be played as an Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor eventually. Hopefully I will build a retinue to go with her when I have the bits and the inspiration to go with them!

L.o.F.

Blogging, grumbling and trying to be mildly positive!

So the new White Dwarf Weekly and Warhammer Visions have been out for over a week now. I was going to write a blog post on my opinions of them but I found that I didn’t have the heart. It’s not the quality of the magazines (I quite like the new White Dwarf Weekly, not so much Visions) but the general atmosphere right now. Maybe it’s just the 40K sites I frequent but it feels as if there’s a lot of kneejerk negative reactions to 40K and Games Workshop right now. It feels like as if as soon as something is even rumoured it’s bitched about. It’s not that I never criticise Games Workshop, I snaffle and snark all the time about little things and we should all do that, sometimes it’s important to complain, but I’m not sure that the genuine complaints are noticeable above the general, loud low grade moaning at the moment.  The other thing is that a lot of the malicious stuff is now actively spoiling my hobby. I’ve cut down the number of sites I visit (there’s enough to be worried about in real life, I don’t need to get riled up over the latest silly rant) and even the number of podcasts I listen to and its really affected the way I blog. It’s all irrational, I know that opinions are only opinions but I get the impression now that if Games Workshop were to announce a free set of rules complete with a complete (and free) set of models delivered to your door, someone would complain that the models weren’t pretty enough, the rules didn’t auto-destroy Tau or that they just took too long to deliver. It’s like being surrounded by Private Frazer clones!

I don’t know what to do about it, I’m not sure that there is anything to be done about it, but I’ve been feeling quite bad about my inability to blog recently. I want to get back into posting regularly. Perhaps I should just give up worrying and just have fun. Criticise when I feel like criticising and laugh when that’s really the only thing to do. I want to be logical when I need to be, rational when I have to be, and totally irrational and completely illogical when I build models just because! (That’s a story for a couple of days time)

I think that this comic from John Kovalic really sums it up: Every Reason to be a Fan of Something, Ever-

I know that the traditional way to chill out online is with a cute picture of some kittens. Unfortunately, the only kitten photo I have is of my Mum’s leggy example demanding attention, so here are some happy reptiles instead!

Happy Reptiles

L.o.F.

Rocking all over the board!

In our recent Kill Team game we realised that scenery was fairly important and that we needed more scenery, in particular more line of sight blocking and area terrain. Now you can buy some very good scenery but I wanted to build at least some of my own. These cork mat based rocks are cheap and very, very quick and easy to make.

You need:
Cork drink coasters: These are 0.99 for six from Xenos in The Netherlands. The four rocks shown took about 1 ½ packs (9 coasters).
Thick superglue (I used Bison Kit supersterk contactlijm but you could use any thick superglue)
A pair of scissors
Army Painter Uniform Grey spray Paint
Citadel Nuln Oil Shade paint
Citadel Longbeard Grey drybrush paint

Cork mats are soft and easy to cut and tear. To build your rocks cut out a base shape for your rock- a blob or a splat shape.

Cut out the next layer. It should be slightly smaller than the base layer. Don’t worry about measuring your rock though, just do it by eye. Rocks are natural structures, you don’t need to be neat or accurate. Spread glue on it and place it on top of the base layer. You may have to weigh the first few layers down while they dry to stop them curling up.

Keep building up layers of cork until you have a “rock” of the right height. You can play around with stacks or multiple peaks.

cork rocks

Leave your rocks to dry before spraying them grey. I used Army Painter Uniform Grey spray paint but if you want you can undercoat and paint the rocks by hand (I’m going for speedy here).

Apply a heavy wash of Nuln Oil and leave to dry before drybrushing with Longbeard Grey and that’s it- rocks! You can jazz them up a little with clumps of grass or splashes of lichen but I’ve left these ones mostly plain for now.

painted rocks

Turns out that we need even more scenery (of course) but these are a start.

L.o.F.

Wolf Hunt by Graham McNeill: A review

The thing with audiobooks is that you have to rely on somebody’s interpretation. With a classic book (whether it’s on paper or on a screen) it’s up to you to determine what the characters sound like and how they speak. With a book you only have the author’s descriptions to guide you but with an audiobook that decision is taken away from you and, depending on the acting, the story is either enhanced or spoiled. With Honour to the Dead by Gav Thorpe it was unfortunately the latter, the screeching and cackling spoil the production, which is a pity as parts of the story were obviously well written and would have been awesome if well acted. On the other hand I really enjoyed Butcher’s Nails, Censure and Deathwolf which were produced by the same company, Heavy Entertainment.

So, I was a bit worried when I saw that the cast for Wolf Hunt appeared to be the same as in Honour to the Dead. For the most part though I needn’t have worried. Wolf Hunt is a much better production with one glaring exception, which I’ll come to later.

Wolf Hunt is a sequel to McNeill’s Outcast Dead and deals with the last of that party, Severian the Luna Wolf, as he tries to make his escape from Terra to try and find out for himself what is going on. The story is good, it’s paced well and the characters are interesting and well written. Both the protagonist and the antagonist (and I’ll let you make up your own minds who is who) are likeable and the big reveal at the end is plausible.

So, the writing is good, how about the acting and direction? Well, there’s less screeching in this than there was in Honour to the Dead which is all to the good and overall the cast do better with one terrible and glaring exception, Nagasena’s accent. There is no excuse for playing the character with an accent last heard in The Talons of Weng Chiang! For some reason he’s been played with a fake Chinese/Japanese accent. He’s the only character in the audio drama to have a forced Asian accent and it really is unacceptable. I don’t know whether it is the fault of the director or the actor but not only is it unthinkingly racist (other Asian characters in the story are portrayed with neutral accents) it cheapens and spoils what would otherwise be an excellent character.

So, in conclusion, Wolf Hunt is a very good story and a fairly good production, spoiled by one very poor decision. It’s worth listening to for the story but if you are concerned at all, I’d recommend avoiding it until the prose/script version hopefully comes out.