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.

Happy New Year: Space Marines and Kill Team

Well, another year done and I have to admit that hobby-wise I didn’t paint anywhere near as many models or play as many games as I’d have liked. I most certainly didn’t post as much as I should have (or wanted to). I don’t really know why, although I know my Space Wolf and Blood Angel plans were scuppered a bit by the unavailability of the new spray paints here in The Netherlands, which kind of put me off painting them a little. Hopefully I will find a good excuse to drag them out again soon. I still have another “Joy of Kitbash” to go after all!

I’m not going to hurry with my Exodites, they are going to be my “showy” army, after all. My next priority for them is to build and paint the rest of my Shining Spears, after which I may paint an HQ choice so that I can consider using them as allies.

marine malevolent test

I built this Marine Malevolent Tactical Marine as a test model for the new(ish) Citadel paints. He no longer looks quite like this as I have applied copious amounts of various Special Effects paints on him. There’ll be a post on the paints (sometime) but I’m still trying to get the hang of them. I’ll probably build a few more of these guys to test them out, partly because they are grim, battered, morally on the darker side of grey (see any of the Salamander books and Bitter Salvage– all by Nick Kyme) and partly because I think that I’d like to build enough Space Marines for a Kill Team. Perhaps I’ll get round to playing a few more games if they are at a lower points level. I’ve skimmed through the rules and when we both have a few hours to spare I guess we’ll have to try it out (though we need to find a hill somewhere if we manage to roll a “5” on the mission chart!).

Anyhow, that’s it for now. Here’s to the new year and much hobbying ahead!

Space Marines are… Oops

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I’ve been struck by a severe case of lack of motivation caused by a combination of work/life and my painting plans getting derailed by the introduction of the new Citadel spray paints, me making Plans involving them, and then finding out that they are not available in my region. Hopefully, I can get back into a painting mood soon and that will lead to me blogging more.

Anyway, the Space Marine codex has been out a whole two months and I’ve read it… multiple times. I’ve been tempted to start a small force of Space Marines but I’ve managed to talk myself out of it for now as I have two and a bit armies to work on already!

What I’m also still very excited about, several weeks later, is the Tactical Marines box. I’m so excited about it that I daren’t cut any bits out to use, which kind of isn’t the purpose! I have “assigned” certain parts though. The Mk. IV legs are going to go to a future Rune Priest project, that’s just waiting for my current projects to move on a bit (or I get bored). Other parts will be used in future Space Wolves and maybe some more Blood Angels. While the legs are still in that strange standing Space Marine pose, it has been tweaked slightly, making them far more dynamic. The sculpts themselves are more detailed too.

Also more dynamic are the arms. The extra hands, holding a magazine or pointing, look like they’ll be good for conversions. The hands have been moulded to the weapons rather than the arms on the weapons, which is a bit different and I’m not sure how it’ll affect fitting bolters after painting, which I find helps with painting the torso. There are a nice combination of different weapon types and designs, including a combiweapon (which might end up on a Wolf Guard model).

The kit comes on three unique sprues which leads to less duplication than was seen on the old sprue or in the Space Wolves Pack box. Hopefully, when I get my motivation back, I’m going to have a lot of fun with this kit. I just hope that the Wolves get Grav Guns when their time comes!

Space Marines are coming (part 1)

Yeah, I already know that they’ve been outed as coming this month for ages but I can still be a wee bit overexcited can’t I? I’ll write a bit more when I can a) see the White Dwarf and b) get on the Games Workshop website (we seem to have broken it guys!).

Fortunately the Black Library site is still up and it already has the e-book codex up to preorder complete with pictures (and price). I’m not going to argue about the price right now, but I thought that I might share the link as they seem to have plenty of (very, very pretty) pictures up and even some rules. Drop pods don’t seem to have changed but Rhinos have a cryptic line which may or may not mean that their extras have changed.

There are a lot of Ultramarine pictures but there are Raven Guard, Iron Hand and Imperial Fists up there too.

So, if you want to take a peek you can look here:

and I’ll be back later once I can get hold of a White Dwarf!


The Joy of Kitbash part 4: Reposing Limbs

For the penultimate part of this series, I’m going to look at something a bit more complex, reposing limbs. It’s something that I’ve done a few times and it can be very, very frustrating. On the other hand, it gives a unique pose. I have to admit that the example shown here was not my most successful attempt, I used Tactical Marine legs (as that’s what I’ve got at the moment) rather than the running legs available in the Space Wolves Pack kit, and not only is the Tac Marine pose a bit weird it’s a bit of a nightmare to repose as I had to adjust the ankle as well as the knee and hip joints. I suppose that my first bit of advice then is to try to pick a limb (or set of limbs) that is as close in shape to the final pose as possible.

The second thing to look at is the material from which the limb is made. Oddly enough, given its reputation, Finecast is easier to work with than plastic in this case as limited reposing can be done using a hairdryer. All you need to do is heat the limb for about thirty seconds (hairdryers vary so I’d recommend heating then testing every few seconds) before gently bending them to the right shape. I had to repose a set of Shining Spear legs this weekend and it took seconds in order to pose them. If they had been plastic it would either have relied on judicious shaving of limbs and mount or several hours with wire and scalpel and if they had been metal, well, I’d probably have ended up sitting on the floor rocking back and fore trying to figure out how to jam them together.

For this article I’m going to start with reposing legs. I’ve done this a few times now (well, at least four) and it’s fairly straightforward, it just requires a bit of work, some planning and a lot of patience. As I play a Space Marine variant army I’m going to use Marine legs to do this. It should also be possible to do something similar with other races but you’ll need to think about how you’ll model the joints as power armour has convenient corrugated bits at the joints (can’t think of the proper name for them right now). You will need:

  • a set of Tactical Marine legs. Other variants are fine. In fact it’s probably easier to use running legs as I did for my Rune Priest and this Swiftclaw.

unposed legs

  • Green stuff
  • Some fairly stiff wire (~1mm in diameter)
  • A scalpel
  • modelling tool with a pointy end
  • file
  • wire clippers
  • drill bit (slightly wider in diameter than the wire)
  • Super Glue
  • A plaster/bandaid (at least if you’re me)

The first job is to stop and think. I’m serious, honest! Before you cut anything you need to consider what pose you’re planning and how you’re going to do it. Are you just shifting one knee so that the guy is striking a heroic pose or are you going to have to move every joint? Is the pose anatomically possible? I have been known to try and pose heroically on a chair to try and figure out what I’m about to do. Fortunately my boyfriend hasn’t taken any photos as I don’t do heroic particularly well!

The next job is to cut up the set of legs. I use a scalpel rather than a razor saw as it removes less material (if somewhat more finger). If you’re going to be doing a lot of joints, you may want to label them.

reposed legs cut up

Then you need to drill through the cut up pieces. If a piece needs connecting at both ends (such as the thighs of the example), drill all the way through, otherwise drill deep enough into the plastic to hold the wire securely just as you would when pinning.

Then thread the wire through, gluing it in place. Leave enough space at the joints so that you keep the model’s proportions once it is posed. Using wire lets you repose the model a bit, so that you can get it just right.

reposed legs wired

Next up, you need to use green stuff to fill in the joints and tidy up any mess you made when cutting up the model, such as with the ankles on the example legs, which had to be dug out rather than cut cleanly. Please take your time when doing this. Do one joint at a time and wait for it to be set before starting the next one. I’m serious. If you store mixed together green stuff in the freezer it will stay soft for about a day and a half. Simply warm it in your hands for a minute or so before using.

reposed legs greenstuffed

File or sand any rough edges and your reposed legs should be ready to use. I’ve used the same technique to repose arms too.

reposed legs and arms

A simpler way to repose arms is to play with how the limb connects to the body. You can trim and file the joint before filling in any gaps with green stuff. It’s much simpler than making a new joint but is only really suitable if you just want to tweak a pose slightly.

reposed bloodclaw

There’ll be one last post in this series but I need to find the bits, something which is turning out to be harder than I thought.


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.


So close…

Now, I try to keep positive about Games Workshop, I get very frustrated with all the internet moaning, but in the past few days there have been two things on their website that annoy me.

The first thing is flyer related. In an earlier post I was quite excited about the new flyers (I still am) and I was hoping that there would be one for Space Wolves. I was still hopeful until Thursday’s “What’s New Today” when they started talking about Flyers, saying what other fast skimmers are available for the new missions. For those Space Marine Chapters without access to Storm Talons or Storm Ravens they suggest… wait for it… Land Speeders! Admittedly you can get three basic Land Speeders for the price of one Storm Talon, but although you get three times the “wounds” you only get three heavy bolters (for the same cost as one Storm Talon), and, for Wolves and Blood Angels at least, none of the exciting rules. I really need to pick up a few more codices one of these days, so I can compare things for more than just Space Wolves and Blood Angels, don’t I?

If I had an iPad I probably would have picked up a new e-version of the Space Marines Codex on Sunday. Unfortunately I don’t, and that’s the other thing frustrating me this week. The idea of having all my codices and rulebooks to hand in a lightweight electronic form that I can consult whether I’m at home, at a gaming club/shop or even on a train, would be very nice and I like the idea of the expanded codex, the only problem is that I don’t own and will not be owning an iPad, which means that I miss out… again! It’s like the BBC’s international iPlayer all over again. Here I am, with money burning a hole in my pocket, only to be told that as none of the four (soon to be five) operating systems in use in my household is iOS Whatever, they don’t want my money. Actually, to be fair to Games Workshop, I was more annoyed at the BBC thing, as they’d been advertising it for ages before it was released without saying that it was going to be Apple only, while this was a bit of a surprise.

It is however, a step in the right direction. It’s just a pity that they didn’t ask the guys in Black Library to help, and instead went for a one platform only release with a platform that takes 30% of the price of the product. Hopefully this is just a test run and that once they get over the whole “new and shiny” phase, they’ll click that there is a wider market out there. I’ve seen people complain about the price being the same as the paperback copy. I know that there isn’t the printing and the storage costs, but they still have to pay the writers and the designers etc., so I can imagine that it’s not all pure profit! I guess that they can charge whatever they like for it though. They could be selling it for a lump of cheese and three bars of chocolate or for three rubies the size of hens’ eggs, plucked from the statue of a forgotten statue in a long abandoned temple, deep in the Himalayas, until they release it on a platform that I use, it’s out of my grasp!