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!

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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.

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How to paint Space Wolves: part 2

Space Wolf Panorama: A mixture of models from my newest to some of my oldest.

Space Wolf Panorama: A mixture of models from my newest to some of my oldest.

So, after all the preamble in the previous post, here’s how I paint my Wolves. The colour key is in the previous post.

 Stage 1: Basic colours
I start by painting the armour SW Mix. The concertinaed areas at the back of the knees, thigh joints etc. are coloured Eshin Grey. Bare skin and the backside of furs are painted Bugman’s Glow. Areas that will be painted gold or brass are painted with Tausept Ochre, yellow areas are painted with Iyanden Darksun and red areas are painted Mechrite Red. Bone areas (skulls, fangs, purity seals) are undercoated Ceramite White. Leather areas are painted Scorched Brown. My cabling colour scheme doesn’t completely work with the new paints as they got rid of Mechrite Red and I use that along with Fenris Grey and Caliban Green for any piping. Silver areas are painted with Boltgun Metal.

 Stage 2: Next Layer
Skin is painted with Elf Flesh, red areas painted with Red Gore (weapon grips, purity seals, fabric/chords) or Blood Red (armour), yellow areas are painted with Yriel Yellow. For yellows you need to do several thin coats in order to get a smooth colour. Brass areas are painted with Dwarf Bronze and gold areas are painted Shining Gold.

Stage 3: Freehand
For large bits of freehand I really recommend planning in advance (shoulder pads for instance). For tattoos I tend to go with the flow and see what I can come up with. I like to paint freehand before highlighting as it is easier to correct mistakes. However, this can also disrupt the highlighting process a little as you have to paint round the details.

At this point my guys tend to look like this:

before washing

Stage 4: Washes
The new washes tend to stick a bit more to the models. I don’t mind this so much as it makes armour in particular a little bit dark and dirty. If you want to dilute it use a bit of Lahmian Medium as well as water as that improves the flow a bit.

For skin I use Ogryn flesh
For hair it depends on the shade. I usually use either Gryphonne Sepia or Badab Black
For bone, fangs, parchment, back of furs etc., I use Gryphonne Speia
For armour I start with a layer of Deneb Mud and then follow it up with a layer of Badab Black.

The models then look something like this:

after washing

Stage 5: Highlights
Oddly enough, I don’t highlight my Wolves quite as much or use such a complicated scheme as I use for my newer models. It’s mostly because I’m trying to have a vaguely coherent army and I started highlighting with my second set of guys and while I hope that my technique has evolved, I’d like to have an army that more or less looks the same.

For armour I highlight with Space Wolves Grey. I line highlight along any edges and panelling and then add other highlights where it looks like light will fall. For bone areas I start with Bleached Bone (the Gryphonne Sepia really does change the colour that much!) and then extreme highlight with a touch of skull white. Yellow areas are highlighted with YY+W while red areas are highlighted up in the order (BR+RG, Blood Red,) TSO+BR, Troll Slayer Orange. Brass areas are highlighted with shining gold, while golden areas are highlighted with Burnished Gold. Silvery coloured metals are highlighted with chainmail and then the “sharp” edges are highlighted with Mithril Silver. With the piping I highlight Mechrite Red with Blood Red, Fenris Grey with Hawk Turquoise and Caliban Green with Warpstone Glow.

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Stage 6: Glazes
For the power axe I used a Guilliman Blue glaze before adding the sparks with Hawk Turquoise, Ice Blue and Space Wolves Grey. For the heat damage on the flamer I used Lamenters Yellow followed by a final coat of Gryphonne Sepia.

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Furs
I’ve separated hair and fur from the rest of the instruction as I tend to deviate a lot here from model to model.

I usually paint furs grey or cream but it’s easy to mix and match these and the same idea can be used on other colours. I usually go

Eshin Grey -> Nuln Oil -> Codex Grey -> Celestra Grey

Bleached Bone -> Gryphonne Sepia -> Bleached Bone -> Skull White

Start with the darkest colour and wash it, then highlight the spiky bits of the fur with the second colour. Use the final colour for extreme highlights. If you want to add patches of different coloured fur simply move one shade darker or lighter for the starting colour.

 Hair
I’m only showing one guy with hair here. The process I use is: base colour, wash, highlights. I start with a colour very close to the base colour and blend colours together until I get to a very light highlight colour.

For the Blood Claw I went: Trollslayer Orange-> Gryphonne Sepia-> YY+TSO-> Golden Yellow-> YY+W

For Grey Hair I start with Codex Grey and work my way up to Skull White.

With hair I highlight as the hair moves, using the lightest colour on the tips and on anything that really stands out (sorry if that doesn’t make enough sense)

So, that’s how I paint Space Wolves. Sorry for the delay, I had camera problems. I just hope that this helps somebody!

L.o.F.

500 points Space Wolves versus Orks

I managed to get a game in against my boyfriend the other weekend. We don’t get much time for games, so even a little 500 points game is a refreshing change and, equally unusually, I actually won. This isn’t a proper battle report, I didn’t write everything down, more an exploration of my list and my core units, most of which were in action.

I bought a 500 point Space Wolf list against his Ork Boyz. My list was:

HQ: Wolf Priest on bike
Troops: 5x Grey Hunters, Melta gun
Troops: 5x Grey Hunters, Melta gun
Fast Attack: 4x Swiftclaws
Heavy Support: 5x Long Fangs: 2x Heavy Bolters, 2x Missile launchers
=500 points

While he brought:

HQ: Warboss, Power Klaw, ‘Eavy armour, twin-linked shoota
Troops: 20x Ork Boyz, 2x Big Shoota
Troops: 20x Ork Boyz, 2x Big Shoota
Fast Attack: 3x Deffkoptas, twin linked rokkit launchers
=495 points

We played Purge the Alien with Hammer and Anvil deployment on a 4×4 board. Actually, we rolled Vanguard Strike yet again but I know from experience that it doesn’t work so well on a 4×4 as the deployment zone is too small.

I won the roll off and decided to go first. I decided to play aggressively with my Swiftclaws and drove them towards the Boyz squad with the Warboss while the Grey Hunters shuffled forward six inches. I really wanted to get the Deffkoptas off the board, so I set my Long Fangs on them while the other squads shot at the Boyz.

I’m not particularly tactical, I usually forget something important or place a unit in a daft place. For once I lucked out with the placement though. Playing on a 4×4 meant that my Long Fangs could hit everything and my Grey Hunters could hit something every turn. I was also fairly lucky, or rather my boyfriend was very unlucky, as I was able to kill his Warboss in a challenge before he could hit back. If he’d had better luck with his saving throws, I’d have been in a lot of trouble!

The mixture of missile launchers and heavy bolters worked fairly well for my Long Fangs against an infantry based army mostly due to the rate of fire. I guess that Long Fangs are probably a little bit too powerful for 500 points, as they are fairly cheap for the amount of damage that they can do, however I don’t think that they were crucial this game.

Oddly enough, although Swiftclaws are not the best value for their points cost for Space Wolves, I like them as they do provide a way of getting an assaulty unit across the board very fast and the extra point of toughness comes in very handy. Of course, as Blood Claws, they are only WS and BS 3, but they get an extra attack on the charge and with the very killy Wolf Priest attached to the unit to nullify the Headstrong rule, they are fairly reliable. I need to build and paint another one or two models for larger games, but at 500 points, four bikes are fine. I don’t expect them to last the game, just cause as much chaos as possible before they get killed. They were definitely worth their points this game as they killed a 130 point unit of Ork Boyz and one Swift Claw survived long enough to join the Wolf Priest in an assault on the other Ork Boyz squad along with one of my Grey Hunter squads. The Wolf Priest survived this game and I guess he caused the final blow to the Orks as the last unit fell to his sweeping advance in turn three.

I lost one pack of Grey Hunters in addition to the Swift Claws. However, they played their part, lasting a turn and a bit in close combat with the second squad of Ork Boyz. I think that if I were to tweak this list a little, I might swap out a Melta for a Flamer in future. The Melta guns did practically nothing all game, and if anything, I was penalised by being out of range with them for most of the game. A flamer is still only short range, but it’s a template weapon (meaning that if I’m lucky I can take out more than one guy with one shot) and might be a bit of fun.

It’s a pity that the game only lasted three turns, my boyfriend had some atrocious luck at times, but I think that I’m happy with this list as the core of my army. I didn’t use the Rune Priest as I thought that the Long Fangs would be more useful. In a larger game I’d add in the Rune Priest as a matter of course.

Hopefully I can get a few more 500 points games in and try and see if practice speeds up my playing. A 500 point session is never going to be the most epic of 40K games, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be great fun and it has the advantage of being small and fast, meaning that in my hectic household, there’s a chance of getting a game in! Hopefully I can get another one in soon as my boyfriend needs his revenge and there are a couple of tweaks that we both want to try.

L.o.F.

The Joy of Kitbash part 3: Weapon Swaps

So, today I’m going to talk about weapon swaps. Sometimes the weapon that a model wants to use is simply unavailable or requires buying a kit for just one bit. Perhaps the way the weapon is posed is not quite right or you want a WYSIWYG model and your model doesn’t have quite enough hands. If this is the case then it’s time for a weapon swap.

Some weapon swaps are trivial, for instance in building Long Fangs from the Devastator kit or giving a model a sword or pistol from another kit. It gets a little more complicated when you need a weapon for which you don’t have the kit or want to pose the weapon in a different way. I’m going to cover reposing of limbs in a later post so today I’m just going to look at what the limbs are holding.

So what should we consider when doing a weapon swap on a model? The first thing to think about is how the weapon is going to be fixed to the model. Is it in the model’s hand ready to use or is it stowed? Is it one-handed or two handed? If it’s stowed, does it need strapping down in any way? If it’s in use, is it in one hand or two? In which direction do you want it to point?

Below are some examples of stowed weapons. The sword that the Wolf Scout is carrying is a cut down power sword from the Space Wolves pack (representing a combat knife). I had to build up the hilt with green stuff and I added the chain to make it look as if it were strapped on. I also built the green stuff fur cloak around the blade, so that the sword blends in with the rest of the model. The meltagun on the first Grey Hunter is slung from a sling made from green stuff. Here, I just glued the meltagun to the thigh of the model and used two thin bits of greenstuff to make it seem as if it is slung from a strap over his shoulder (don’t you just love big shoulder pads sometimes). The final stowed weapon is the simplest. I just glued the bolt gun to the backpack to represent a weapon that is maglocked in place.

stowed weapons

So, stowed weapons are fairly straightforward. Now we come to weapons modelled as if they’re in use. The trivial example (although it doesn’t feel like that when you’re juggling arms and bolters) is swapping out a bolt gun for a plasma or melta gun. A more dynamic pose can be made by having the model wield the weapon one-handed. For the flamer wielding Blood Claw below I used a plasma pistol wielding arm from the Space Wolves Pack box and a flamer from the Tactical Marine box (1). I trimmed off the plasma pistol using a scalpel and trimmed the grip area of the flamer to match (2). Then it was straightforward to glue the two pieces together(3-4).

Flamer diagram jpg

Then there are weapons and items that do not exist, for example the only Space Wolf Crozius Arcanum comes with Ulrik the Slayer. Fortunately it’s very easy to make your own. All you need is a thunder hammer (of which you’ll have plenty if you own the Space Wolves Pack kit) and one of the backpack icons from either the Space Wolves Pack or Terminators kit. Trim off the head of the thunder hammer and glue on the icon. It really is that simple!

crozius

So, what should you try to remember when kitbashing or converting weapons. Well, firstly, you need to consider what the weapon represents. For example I built my Rune Priest with a staff, which caused no problems when I fielded him in 5th Ed., but caused me much confusion when I first got him into close combat in 6th (it should be a power stave). The next thing to think about is the aesthetics- how you want the model to look. For instance if you want a WYSIWYG model you need to work out how to fit everything on which, when you have a model with two or more weapons, stops being trivial very quickly! The third thing that you need to consider is transport and storage. Unless you only play at home and store your figures on a shelf, you will need to be able to pack up and move your models. If you want to kitbash or convert a model with a particularly epic or thematic pose you may want to think about either keeping everything close to the body of the model (for ease of packing) or using magnets.

Hopefully this post gives you a few ideas about how to be creative with a weapon swap. In the next post of this series I’m going to look at reposing limbs. Until then!

L.o.F.

The Joy of Kitbash part 2: Kitting things out

One thing I found very early on when I started to hobby was that you fill up a bits box very fast and usually with the things that you do not need! I have bags of spare heads, powerfists and plasma pistols, but never enough legs or backpacks or shoulder pads. Or rather, I have tons of shoulder pads that I can’t use for my army because they are for Ragnar Blackmane’s Great Company or have the pack markings already moulded in place. A while back I found the old Grey Hunters kit for sale in a local shop so I invested in one. It’s basically a Tac Marine set with an added upgrade frame, but it’s given me a few more bits to use. You can still get the accessories sprue from Games Workshop and while the sculpting is a little bit cruder than in the new Space Wolves Pack kit, it does contain some nice bits, in particular, a different Space Wolf backpack and a nice variety of chestplates.

Of course there are other Space Wolves kits. The Space Wolf Terminator kit contains far more bits than you can use, and I have frequently used bits from that elsewhere. I have to admit that I’ve not looked closely at Thunderwolf Cavalry. The kit looks lovely but I find the whole idea of Space Marines riding giant wolves a little bit silly.

The Space Wolf kits are woefully undersupplied when it comes to pouches and holstered weapons (and meltaguns and flamers). Now I like pouches and things on my guys, so this is where other marine kits such as the Devastator and Tactical Squad kits come in really handy. One of my favourite finds though is the Ravenwing Bikers Kit as, not only is it the cheapest way to get bikes, it also contains two sprues of upgrades, some of which can happily be appropriated for Space Wolves.

Another kit that I’ve used is the Iron Hands upgrade kit. I’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship with this kit as the first one was so terribly cast that it had to go back to the shop and the second one is still a bit bubbly in places. However, the details on the kit itself are really good and the undercuts, something which can’t seem to be done on the plastic kits, are great. I’d be tempted to use a Forgeworld kit in future for bionic limbs though.

So, here are some examples of a few kitbashes using parts from the kits above. With the exception of a green stuff strap on the meltagun, these three guys are pure kitbashes. I’m aiming for a bit of a chewed up look with these guys (the back-story is that they’ve met one Tyranid too many) and I wanted to use helmets on the models while keeping each guy unique.

grey hunters front

The guy on the left has legs from the Iron Hands kit, chestpiece and bolter from the Space Wolves Pack kit, backpack from the Space Wolves accessories sprue and a helmet from the Ravenwing Bikers kit (with the Dark Angels insignia removed). I really liked the Ravenwing helmet and I really wanted to use it on a model.

The other two guys are less obviously kitbashed. The middle guy has a Tactical Marine chestpiece and a meltagun from the accessories sprue, while the third model has a helmet from the Devastator Squad kit, a Tactical Marine backpack and a knife from the accessories sprue.

grey hunters back

Hopefully these examples show how a kitbash can be everything from adding a knife or a pouch to give a finishing touch to a model, or a complete mash-up of bits from the box.

I’m going to move on to looking at the how of kitbashing rather than the why in the rest of this series but I hope that this inspires you to dig through your bits box and start kitbashing.

L.o.F.

Busy, Busy, Busy…

Normally when I go all quiet and can’t think what to say it’s because I’m not doing very much in terms of hobbying. At the moment though it’s the opposite, as, although I’m not going particularly quickly, I’m doing a lot of stuff at once and having fun doing it.

First up, my Space Wolves. I’m busy painting more Grey Hunters at the moment. They’re a little darker in colour than my original guys, but I’m painting them up as rather more battered veterans than my first pack. Not counting the Standard Bearer, I have two guys painted (but not based) and I’m highlighting a third. I’ve got two more waiting on the painting table and I hope to finish them off fairly quickly. Once I’ve got them finished, I’m going to build the final four members of the pack.

I’m also looking at freshening up my Wolf Lord. I was thinking about swapping out his lightning claw for a power sword, but I don’t seem to have the bits so I’m going to tidy up the paint and replace the broken bits. I’m planning on going through my whole army, or at least my first few efforts, touching up the paintwork and fixing any dinged up bits. It shouldn’t take too much time out of my normal model building and painting schedule.

I’m also working on another project, a diorama, and that’s at the undercoat stage. I’ll post pictures up here when it’s done.

Until then, here’s a picture of one of my WIPs. He still needs a base, but I’m going to be working on that soon.

Fotr Halffotr

L.o.F.

Space Wolves Grey Hunter Standard Bearer

I finished this guy a few weeks back (and entered him in a store competition in which he didn’t do too well) but I never got round to posting him up here.

standard bearer face

He’s a kit bash using parts from the Space Wolves Pack and the Space Wolves upgrade frame, with the horn from the Space Wolves Terminator kit (which was a bit of a nightmare to drill out and file). The standard itself was bashed together using a thunder hammer from the Space Wolves Pack and the pole from the upgrade frame and I used green stuff for the banner itself. The banner didn’t sit as planned, I’d wanted it to be a bit more dynamic, but gravity won out.

standard bearer unpainted

With a piece of freehand as large as the banner I plan (almost) everything in advance. I drew a large scale version of the banner in order to plan everything out.

standard bearer banner design

I then mentally broke everything into layers. I started by painting on the red for the background of the banner, starting with a Mechrite Red (Mephiston Red) base and a Red Gore (Wazdakka Red) layer, using highlights (blends of Red Gore and Blood Red (Evil Sunz Scarlet)) and glazes (Bloodletter) to build up the colour. Next I added the large shapes- the claw marks and the paw print itself.

standard bearer banner basics

I then added the smaller details colour by colour, starting with the wolf in the centre. I then decided that the banner needed something else and so I added the runes and the gold detailing round the claw marks. After washing I then highlighted everything, building up from Red Gore, through Blood Red to Troll Slayer Orange. I was careful to highlight the design, especially the runes, as well as the edges and the background “cloth”.

standard bearer banner

standard bearer back

Anyway, here he is. I hope to finish building and painting the rest of his pack soon (I’ve already posted up three of them unpainted) and use them in a game as I desperately need more troops in my army.

L.o.F.