Friday, November 6, 2015

Building a custom Knight, first steps


So as I had stated in the previous post I wanted to work on the knight conversion this weekend.  I was able to get a jump start on that yesterday.  This is to be a combination of the 15 mm Dreamforge Leviathan Mortis and standard Knight legs and exhaust pipes with plastic tubing to help bulk it out.  The legs were surprisingly easy to modify for bit more range of motion for posing.  Cutting the knees apart, while the legs were still in halves, with a jeweler saw or coping saw took all of 5 minutes for all four halves.  A really nice part was after some thinking, I was able to bulk out the hips with plastic tubing.  Then clip the peg off the thighs, use successively larger bits for the holes and the thighs now fit snugly onto the new hips of the Leviathan.

The trickiest part was actually clipping down, and hollowing out, the ankles of the Knight lower legs to have the Levithan feet fit into them.  Again, a Dremel tool was used and by going slow it was no problem to make spot for the feet to sit in.  My Dremel is quickly becoming one of my favorite tools to use and I can recommend one enough for extensive conversions like this.  I will probably have to clip a few more odd sections of piping/brackets off the feet for them to have a better range of motion.  The ball socket of the Leviathan feet still move, but they look good and definitely have a Chaos Raptor like appearance to them.  This is good because I imagine a fallen knight as being more feral looking than what Forgeworld has done with it so far.  Additionally, I'll go back through and take off some of the regular embellishments on the trim to Chaosify it a bit more with extended points and teeth like the Chosen from Dark Vengeance.  This really only applies to the thigh, knee, and lower leg armor plates though.



The hip tubing, I used a piece of plastic trim to make up for the difference in diameter of the inner and outer tubing and make them fit snugly together.

should be able to get time later today to get the torso built and dry fit with tubing to establish the height.  The Leviathan feet already give it some additonal clearance, but ultimately I would like it be as close to a normal Knight in terms of size; as possible.  Add a little more scenic of a base, and I think it won't be any problem at all to reach that goal.  

Now what I'm left to ponder is the idea and story of this model for my army.  I thought about having it be a relic left over from House Devine, using a Naga motif to show the house before the unification with the Imperium, but I have also thought about taking it a little further and going full Slaanesh Subjugator with it as well.  It wouldn't be to hard to make claws from Tyranid scything talons and the back guns would be a fun thing to build as well.  Or, since the Mortis comes with a claw hand, get the other claw hand and have a single back cannon, since I'm leaning toward a Paladin anyway.  Or just do a Gallant with the back mounted autocannon and then visually all the bases are covered.  I know I'm still getting started with the the chassis, but it's starting to be more complete in my mind and that makes the build go faster.

I'm excited to see where this will go in terms of a finished model, and it's all I can do to not blow off everything and work on it for the rest of the day and well into the night.  But I want to help out with the the bronze pour at school and wrap up a few loose ends before the weekend to really get started on this later this evening.

*I'll edit the format once I'm home, I wish I could center the pictures on my iPad.*

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Resuming operations... well, blogging at least

So it's been awhile and it's mostly from life stuff cutting into the majority of my time.  The job has kicked up a few notches mostly from a colleague and dear friend passing away last October.  So, to say I've been busy would be an understatement.  Running a glass studio is like owning a house, there's usually something wrong or you're just generally keeping it clean.  Imagine your house with 40 kids/young adults... and the house is on fire... you get the picture.

 However, I was always making some time for the hobby mostly as a way to keep me grounded through out the entire affair.  This involved a lot of building and some painting, but mostly building.  There was a lot of progress made on certain projects, new ones started, painting recipes tried out, and many; maybe too many; purchases.

The Leviathan Knight project is still alive and well.  However due to the size of the 25mm kit I have decided to "upgrade" it to a Kytan demon-engine.  This makes more sense for the scale of the beast and the torso and legs are attached and super glued in place as one unit now.  So really there's mainly finishing/detail work on connections and the like.  Hose connections, more wires, and many more skulls need to be added.  Additionally the right pauldron will need to be studded to match the lower left leg armor.  The middle has been bulked out so it looks less flimsy and more sturdy.  To go with this kit I picked up a pair of Mauler Claws for a house-ruled, non-gun version at some point.  It's a little pricey at 525 points but it is something you don't want getting to your line an making a mess.

I really enjoy the look of theLeviathan kit.  To me, it looked superior in every way to the Imperial Knight. I'm not knocking GW's kit, my buddy has two and they are nice, it just never really appealed to me.  That being said, I did go ahead and order a Mortis Leviathan for a Knight conversion.  It is a little smaller but with some smart bit swaps I think I can bulk it out reasonably well.  For example using the GW Knight legs but the Leviathan feet should give it an almost Chaos Raptor like appearance.  The 15 mm scale is a little intimidating just because everything is so small but I think it is more than doable.  I also plan on using plastic tubing to bulk out the middle and hips, iron work from the Chaos Warshirne kit for the shoulders and some Mechanicum bits for a more arcane feel overall.  The idea is to make a Knight cheaper than the FW model with select replacements and bits box rummaging.  It should be fun, and I'll probably start that this weekend.

A recent purchase was the Chaos Rapier Platforms from The Dark Works.  This gentleman does stellar work and they ship with magnets so you can change the guns out for any load out you want.  Currently, he only has the conversion beamer(sold out) and ecto-plasma cannons but the auto cannon  option should be coming soon.  They look the part without any conversion work, which is fabulous.

I also backed The Others:7 Sins on Kickstarter as way to bolster my demon models and cultists/renegades.  At the time of this writing I believe they are still doing late pledges so don't wait too long or the pledge manager will be launched effectively closing any buying.  The amount of miniatures you get for $100 US is simply staggering.  They are at 30mm scale so a little bigger than but it shouldn't be too noticeable.  Some of the add-ons are fantastic as well, check out the Apocalypse box for Demon Prince proxies and you'll see what I mean.  The various other team boxes could be the basis for Inquisitor war bands as well.  All around a super value for the money.

Well over a year in the waiting, the Creature Caster KS is finally gearing up for production and those demon miniatures are fantastic.  If you haven't seen them yet you should really go over and take a look.  The length of the wait is annoying but they will get to me eventually and I have enough keeping me busy until they show up.  Which, once they do will put me at A LOT of Greater Demons counting the 4 models I got from Mierce Miniatures this summer as well.

On the Forgeworld front, my buddy and I took advantage of the free shipping promo and I got the 40k Nurgle Sorcerer, Kor Pharon, and Erebus.  I'm still figuring out what to do with Kor Pharon but Erebus is a stunning model and I have plans to turn him into the ultimate Dark Apostle.  That Nurgle Sorcerer just needs a Palanquin and he will be all set.  If you have the chance sometime I highly recommend a level 3 Nurgle Sorcerer on a Palanquin rolling on Biomancy with a demon weapon.  He can become an untouchable killing machine, yes it's dependent on good Biomancy rolls but if you get them... heads WILL roll.

Using FW's lovely legion bits, I was also able to convert the CSM plastic champ and magnetize him with almost all the options.  Super pleased with the whole mini, need to get him primed soon since we have a break in the weather this week.  Again, the dremel made hollowing out the collar super easy for the resin head to fit.  That thing has a made a bunch of modeling projects way easier.

For a side project I've started an Inquisitor Warband and have a ton of fun converting a rag tag group of ImperiL lap dogs.

As far as painting goes, I think I've finally found a way to paint my Black Legion well and quickly.  This isn't my recipe, I found it online poking around B&C and was pointed here, but it works wonderfully.  Super easy to do too!  The general recipe is as follows...

Prime black
Base coat Leadbelcher, I used the spray 
Thinned black wash all over, allow to dry
Thinned sepia wash all over, allow to dry
Dry rush with Necron Compound
Detail Mithril Silver on the trim edges
Fill in armor plates with a mix of black and Lahmian Medium while being careful to avoid the trim, apply twice if needed.

This is general recipe which get them painted quickly.  It works really well for the Dark Vengeance Chosen so the "normal" CSM go even faster.  Then all the details, eyes and hoses in red, loin cloths in brown for leather, edge highlight armor plates with Incubi Darkness and then base.

The back-fill technique in full effect on a test mini

So a very sort of up and down summer as it were, but it feels good to be back, talk to you soon.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Painting Progress

Ah, the lean mean grey machines

So after a dogs age... that Rogue Psyker Coven is finished.  Ok, 99.99% finished, I still need to put some static grass on the bases.  All the painting is finished though!  All I have now is the picture I cobbled together with my iPhone, it's not the best picture though.  My apologies.  I did shoot a batch of pictures earlier today with my DSLR and a photo-cube, but I'm having trouble with manual focusing and depth-of-field issues.  So those pictures were pretty terrible.  Most likely due to older eyes.  However, it did make me realize that I need a new camera with a nice autofocus that won't break the bank.  If anyone has any suggestions, let me know, I appreciate the input.

So here's the unit...

Have a turn will you?

A little bloody, but seeing how they are being used to be conduits for the Warp that my Black Legionnaires exploit... it seemed fitting.  In my mind, they were rounded up; festooned with Warp condensers and amplifiers with the resulting power surges melting their faces off when cursing/blasting what their masters point at.  Speaking of coruscating Warp energies... when these guys get possessed in game, I'll attach a sigil in the base to mark which ones are possessed.  Because last game was confusing trying to keep track of who was, or wasn't, possessed.  If you're familiar with the illustrator Wayne Douglas Barlow's work Inferno you'll have an idea of how it will look.  A demonic sigil as a halo right behind, or above, the head.  Now I just need to get some white base paint, and I'll be all set to do the rogue-witch flesh.  But before that guy, who is the big bad of my R&H, the Renegade Ogryns and their Hounds are ready to be finished.  Ogryns are past the black out stage, Hounds still need it, but all the flash is done.

One of Mr. Barlow's illustrations... I love his work.

There was a lot of good little discoveries for this batch of minis.  Namely... a good "leather", exposed bone, and unhealthy skin tone color recipes.  Sometimes I just paint, other times I'm really trying to make sure that I can repeat a certain result so I document the entire process to make sure of that.  Since these minis are the first lot of my R&H, I want to be able to repeat most of these results over the rest of the force.  If anyone wants to know how a certain area was done, just ask.  I don't mind sharing at all.  

I have to admit in all my years of painting minis, I never thought that white primer would be so nice to work with.  Prime white, do all the flesh tones with washes, black out everything else, and block in base colors.  It's been a little labor intensive, but it's been an enjoyable process for me.  I'm a very slow painter remember, but I really want to try that Spartan conversion... and I'm holding on to getting some painting done before I buy anything else.  The back log has been big for a bit, I'd like to knock some units out for a change.  

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Real quick Dreadclaw update... come fly with me...

Yesterday ended up being a really good day for hobby time as I was able to pretty much finish the Dreadclaw minus some bling.

As you can see there's a lot more plasticard from last time.  Basically it was really simple to trim a piece down to fit where the pods retro-thrusters would normally go.  I just traced the outline of the bottom on to the plastic, and then cut it a little big at first after measuring how much to trim off.  Then trim and check, trim and check, yadda, yadda.  The door for the bottom is from the old-old Rhino kits before the current version.  I also sawed out some replacement fins for the top out of some really thick plasticard, and the template I made earlier worked like a charm.  Add some tubes, stick some claws and tentacles in a few of those tubes for the Demonic Possession rule, some teeth-like protrusions... and presto.  One, mostly, finished Dreadclaw!

But then there was the whole thing about getting it onto a flying stand...

If you do a lot of modeling and don't have one of these, I really recommend that you get one.  This one was a little bit more expensive.  It's variable speed which came in handy, but the thing to remember is as long as you can change out bits you'll be fine.  This made cutting the hole for the flying stand go so much easier and faster.  By faster I mean about 40 minutes or so.  Doing it before hand, you know... before finishing the model, probably would've been better.  If I make another, now I know.

I ended up using the flying stand from my Heldrake to pencil out where I wanted to start cutting/drilling/modifying.  I had a 1/8" wide, ball cutting bit chucked into the Dremel and used short stokes to work the entire "cross".  One thing I should mention. I did use both halves of the door for the finished model, as I wanted something sturdy and more rigid.  This actually helps with the flying stand since you have more material to actually rest the pod on the stand with.  I had gone through the first layer of the door, taking my time, and checking the top of the stand to the hole often to see where it was and where it wasn't lining up.  Put the pod on the stand, and it was way too tippy as the area the stand rested in was just too shallow.  Only about 1/4" in depth.  So it was a simple matter of going through the inner part of the door, just like before.  Once both halves of the door were cut in, I switched bits to a 1/8" cylinder cutting bit.  This allowed me to really shave off just a little bit of plastic at a time on both halves of the door at the same time.  Again going slow, and not pushing really hard either.

There you have it, now my Dreadclaw can go into flying mode...

Or hover mode!

Now if I could just get a flying stand ordered, most places... including GW... seem to be out at the moment!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

IA:13 continues to inspire

Image from Forgeworld 

Well, what about those Dreadclaws?!  Seriously, an assault craft that is a dedicated transport for CSM or Chosen?  Sign.  Me.  Up.  This little baby gives me some flexibility on the battlefield while not competing for those all important Fast Attack slots... if those are really even a thing anymore.  Anyway... liking the rules, loving the concept, and not to happy with the FW pricing.  At 57 Pounds Sterling, that's ~$88 before the shipping.  Now I do love FW, I did get the collectors edition of IA:13, but thats a lot for something slightly larger than a normal stock GW Drop Pod.  So... I go looking for "dreadclaw conversion" and find this nifty article over at Dark Future Games that pretty much summed up what I wanted.  Exactly.  Their tutorial is spot on, and a fantastic start.  For my own Dreadclaw I pretty much followed it to the letter, but then I started looking at the all the other conversions as well.  They were all pretty much the same.  Make the pod, flip the fins.  Except I don't like how the fins look after they get flipped.  The fins look to splayed out, like they buckled a bit when they made impact and thats why they look a little "splayed".  Well, how could I change that and make a bunch of extra work in the process?  Simple!  Try and find the correct angle to flip the tips inward to look more like the Dreadclaw.  I think I got it to work out pretty well, let me know what you think.

Basically follow Dark Future Gaming's tut for the main hull assembly, and where to clip the fins initially.  After that, you're done.  Prime and paint!  It doesn't look bad at all really.  However, if you want to spice it up a bit... then please continue on.

So what it really comes down to is two cuts, sawing actually, and some spacing material.  Old sprue could do it as well, I just happen to have some plasticard from ancient days around to chop up.  Start with the yellow line first in the photo above.  Use the orange area of the stabilizer tip to find the approximate length you will need to for the end of the second cut.  Finally follow the blue line to make the second cut.  You may want to trim some of the servo arms for the fin off to make sawing easier.  Repeat x 5.

Then all you have to do is flip the stabilizer tip and glue.  Again, if you wanted to, you could stop right here and call it a day.  I added some spacing to help raise the whole pod a bit, and I even added tips from the "dozer" blade on the CSM Vehicle Sprue to jack it up a little more.  I wanted infantry models to be able to fit underneath it, so I needed it to be taller.

Fins at dry fit.

So there we have it.  This, to me, feels more like a Dreadclaw and I'm waiting on some bits to come to finish it up.  There's only a few more things to get planned out.  Adding some more stabilizer fins back to the top, and how to do the flying stand for it as well.

So here's the Photoshop mock up, and then the actual template for the construction of the top stabilizer fins.  

All in all, this has been a fun project and I *might* do another one.  My personal philosophy is that one might be good but a pair is better, but that's not always the case.  One of the best unit analysis posts for the Dreadclaw is here.  It's especially malisteen's post, #16, that really lays it out to not think of the Dreadclaw as a drop pod but more like a stripped down Storm Raven.  Great post.

That's it for now until those bits get here and I have a chance to wrap this project up and put it on the very large "to paint" shelf.