Sunday, February 19, 2017

So about that Kickstarter...

On May 11th of 2014, a Kickstarter by a company named Creature Caster was successfully funded, and by successfully funded I mean the funding goal was absolutely crushed.  The target goal was $30,000 Canadian... the final total amount raised was $324,511 Canadian with 1,487 backers.  For a Kickstarter, that was a phenomenal campaign.  Now, this is where the disclaimer comes in...

This is primarily about the models I received.  Not how Creature Caster ran their campaign after funding.  Nor is this about how Jeremy did, or did not, handle things.  If you're curious as to what I'm referring to, I'm sure a quick search will yield results.  I do know there was a lengthy post over on Dakka, but you could also just read the comments at Creature Caster KS page as well.  Kickstarters can be risky, almost everyone knows someone who got burned by one.  My wife and kid are still waiting for anything from the Scary Godmother KS and that happened when my kid was still interested in Scary Godmother... 5-6 years ago now.  Anyway...

The things I will be focusing on are the actual models I received.  This was a Silver bundle of two models, the Spider and Vulture demons.  As you can imagine these would be alternatives for a Keeper of Secrets and a Lord of Change respectively.  I received my box last week but waited until yesterday, February 18th, to actually unpack them. This was my semi-annual hobby day with my buddy Dave.  Which I'll also expand some of the content here on the blog to showcase some of his Mechanicum, both 30 and 40k varieties.  He has some crazy conversions and the world needs to know damn it!

First thing, the models were bubble packed in a cardboard box.  There were also two bonus minis in the box, however these were loose and not in anything.  So before I even opened the box I was a little apprehensive about it's contents since I could hear rattling from the box.  After opening the box I was relieved to see the models I ordered were somewhat protected.  The bonus minis are not really worth mentioning as they seem to be after thoughts and rushed in their design.  They were a nice gesture but not really anything special.

 

Much to my relief, all the pieces were there for both models.  Not only the base parts to complete the mini but all the stretch goals of extra parts were there as well.  

   

The casting quality was... ok.  Several pieces had mold slips and so I'm going to have to back in and do quite a bit of sanding/back filling/scraping on these models. Especially the Spider Demon since a lot of her is very smooth those mold lines are particularly noticeable.  It was the hands on both models that suffered the most from this, the fingers are going to need a fair amount of work to look good.

       

Surprisingly there were little to no bubbles in the bodies, heads, arms, and legs of these models.  So that is great.  The pieces that seems to have the most, if not all the bubbles, were the wings for the Vulture Demon.  Now, if you look closely you will the majority of the "bubbles" are along the edges of the feathers.  This could be a sculpted detail to give that frayed look to the feathers once it's painted.  Or, it was a really bad day for mixing resin.  I'm still out on this.  What's probably going on is both.  Some of those bubbles/divots are probably there to represent the splaying of feathers.  Makes sense for something that large flying through the air.  The mold could have been detailed enough that so many air traps were an unforeseen complication.  Regardless of what's actually happening I will have to go back through and and fill some of those holes.  Or use a different set a of wings from the bits box.

 

This leads me to the next part of seemingly unfinished areas.  Most of parts for these models fit together pretty seemlessly.  They match up and the detail flows from one piece to the next rather well.  This is especially so for the Vulture Demon.  That thing is packed with flowing detail that goes from on part to another.  Where it was glaringly lacking was on the Spider Demon, in particular where the head meets the neck.  All that awesome texture along the spine and it just stops at the head.  What?  That's just bad from a craftsmanship stand point.  Also, I believe those tubes going up from the jawline and behind the horns are supposed to be ears.  I think.  It's an odd detail and it's not really clear what it's supposed to be.

 

There are some odd match ups as well.  The area on both models that didn't really want to line up well was the completed model into the sculpted base that came with it.  To their credit, Creature Caster tried to make it easy.  They even had pegs on the feet so you didn't have to pin them separately.  I'll probably have to do that anyway since there was a slight warping to the legs.  They curved in just the slightest amount, a millimeter or two but that's enough to strain it.  The sculpted details of the base also didn't quite match up as well.  So the feet appear to be floating and I ended up having to cut the pegs off to get them to fit into the base at all.  In hindsight, one could deepen the holes in the base and not have to cut the pegs down at all.  Also, you can see the mold slip on the Vulture Demon base.

       

The scale is nice.  These are greater demons and their size reflects that.  When compared to the a Knight they size up well.

 

All of my greater Demon proxies/conversions are on the large oval base.  That fits their size without making them super unwieldy to field.

In closing...

These are good models, not great but good.  The detail is pretty crisp all over and there was actually little to no flashing.  Although I'd almost prefer that over the molds slipping.  To be honest, I've had both better and worse kits.  I think with a little green stuff and some extra bits these will work well with my other greater demons as far as looks.  I'm glad I got them, but I wasn't "OMG!!1!" when I was able to actually hold them.  They're nice for the price, well the price at the time, and I don't know what they are charging to them now in the online store.

At the time, 3 years ago, these were cutting edge.  I remember the excitement these generated when the first renders were making the rounds.  Even in an "alpha" state they were amazing for the time.  Bigger, and badder than GW's greater demons.   Jeremy is an obviously talented artist, given that... I'm glad he's not solely running things anymore and wish him and the company smooth sailing from here.

This was before a lot things.  Before the gaming world upset of Age of Sigmar and the death of WHF.  The release of the plastic Bloodthirster, and now the Lord of Change.  Both of which have upped the bar considerably for not only size, but also detail.  Those kits are amazing.  Technically you could say the Glottkin can be the plastic Great Unclean One, if you assemble him without his brothers attached.  Which many people have done.  That just leaves a new Keeper of Secrets, which we might just see with the Eldar about ready to throw down with Ynnead.  

I think there was a lot of potential with these kits.  Due to problems with the management of the KS and manufacturing problems there was a great window of opportunity that wasn't capitalized on.  If they would have been able to turn things around in a year, not almost 3, they probaly would be one of the more successful mini companies out there today.  We'll see how they fair in the future, and I wish them the best of luck.




Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Playing catch up


So remember that previous post about having a light summer and I was all excited about how much time I could have to work on my hobby...

Remember that?

Good times...

By good times, I mean it didn't happen at all.



Seemingly right after I had posted that, I got an email for a large commission that was pretty much impossible to turn down.  The payout was very, VERY good.  I'll put it to you this way, I could buy 16 Warlord Titans, with weapon arms, for the 5 weeks worth of constant work.  That didn't stop all my hobby progress.  It just reduced it to a glacial crawl on the weekends only.

What ended up happening was reduction of models I was barely using and a restructuring of units kept, if needed.  So a lot of units went away... Berzerkers, Plague Marines, old Rhinos, Predators, my Chosen of Abaddon project, pairing down the Terminators from 15 to 6 and reclaiming magnets, metal Raptors, my old robed Word Bearers, etc.  Bascially just trying to clean house, and get a handle on what I have to paint without having stacks of boxes and/or sprues staring at me.  This also forced me to finish building units that I had started, like my Possessed.  So I start doing this, and then this interesting stirring of the warp occurs... the rumors of the new supplement Traitor's Hate.  That it has formations, vehicle squadrons, etc.




Figures.  

This almost always seems to happen to me when I have a major shift in my hobby plans.  The only reason this does happen is because my hobby time is limited and very slow, apart from building models.  However, I now have a stable core of choices to pick from now and have been mostly using the Black Legion supplement as a blueprint for any units I wanted to add.

Khârn
Abaddon
Cypher
Warpsmith, I'll need 2 more I think...
3 Demon Princes, MoN with wings, MoT with Wings, MoS/MoK
Fully magnetized Lord in PA with almost all the options, working on a backpack swap next
5 Sorcerers, 2 with swords, 2 with staves, one in terminator armor with an axe
3 Dark Apostles, MoT and Brand, Unmarked, and Erebus... so he is probably next on the paint table, I mean, Erebus is a bad ass model
Unit of 7, Chosen for CC, 5 magnetized for weapon swaps, this includes a magnetized icon and special weapon
Unit of 6 metal, plasma Chosen
Unit of 6 plasma Chosen, need to magnetize for meltas and flamers 
Unit of 3 Terminators X 2, combi-meltas and chain fists, magnetized 
Unit of 5 Possessed X 2
2 units of 5 CSM which have to be built for the formations, I'm toying with the idea of giving them Lascannons maybe ACs
Unit of 5 Raptors with meltas, Champ with a fist X 2, I'll probably take the fist off and just use melta bombs but I love the look of the fists...
10 Spawn
Unit of 5 Havocs with ACs X 2
Land Raider
Dreadclaw 
5 Helbrutes, 2 magnetized 
3 Contemptors, 2 magnitized and 1 in progress 
6 Oblits
3 Contemptors, 2 magnitized and 1 in progress
2 Renegade Knights, one conversion finished and the other still on sprue
1 Decimator, still PIP



So that's a lot to paint up, but at least it's all mostly built.  This also gets me to a point to be able to run a few formations at once.  Obviously from a power stand point, the Black Legion Cabal is fantastic.  My biggest fear for Traitor's Hate was it would make the Cabal an almost auto-include, and the new powers pretty much sealed that deal.  Despite they are reskinned powers from Angels of Death, those powers are still great for Chaos to get a hold of.  A lot of the other formations I'm interested in running as well.  For example... The Favored of Chaos, The Lost and the Damned, Raptor Talon, and Spawn are all formations I can run, or almost run with a few VERY select purchases.


I actually like this stuff, and I'm pretty excited by it.




No, not this type of boons farms... this is just bottled pain and suffering.

The biggest thing I'm actually excited about is the Black Crusade detachment because of the possibility to boons farm without having to be in a Challenge.  Get a Lord, give him Gift, get a Dark Apostle(DA) in there somehow; probably from the Lost and the Damned formation maybe another CSM CAD, profit.  The ability to roll on the boon table twice at the beginning of every turn, keep one OR both boons, and get rerolls from the DA can make a Lord go Super Saiyan pretty fast.  Put that Lord in a, considered by many to be sub-optimal, close combat Chosen squad with an Icon and see what happens.  So far a Lord with MoS, Black Mace and a Sigil, in a unit of MoS Chosen with 5 power mauls and an Icon of Excess for the FNP, add an DA or maybe a few Scorcerers with staves and put them in a Dreadclaw is a build I keep coming back to.  I'll need to check the rules but I'm pretty sure you could take the FNP roll, since it's not considered a save, to get out of the Dreadclaw eating a squad mate, but again... I'm not sure, especially with the draft FAQ out.  But back on track, a Lord with Gift and two turns of rolling on the Boon table... assuming he doesn't have some very unfortunate event beforehand, can give you the following results...

Gift roll - Reroll failed Armor saves
Turn 1 - Attacks have Instant Death
              Demon Prince, DA reroll - Unworthy Offering
Turn 2 - Models in base-to-base contact take a S4, AP5 hit at Int step 1
              Armor save is increased by 1




That's a pretty powerful Lord in a short amount of time.  Now the size of the current Boon table is something you want to roll on for more options.  I only say this because in my latest games I've been using the Eye of the Gods table from the Path to Glory warband supplement.  Primarily for better boons and god specific marks.  On that table, since it's so small, multiple rolls can be a little lack luster.  Primarily since I still skip a boon I've already got, so you can lock out the list in pretty short order.  For example getting boons on the Eye of the Gods table was as follows...

Gift roll - Change the Attack characteristic to D6
Turn 1 - Gain Fear
              Gain Demon, DA reroll - Reroll failed Armor saves
Turn 2 - Reroll failed Charges, including any unit the character is a part of
              At Initiative Step 10, enemy units locked in combat with this Champion; or his unit; must
              take an Initiative Test.  If failed, that units WS is reduced to 1 for the duration of the phase.

That was an uncommon example of really good rolls on such a short list of boons.  However rerolling charges and having D6 Attacks on top of the demon weapon's D6, at Int 6 isn't anything to sneeze at.  Yes, this particular model does become a fire magnet.  However you can do this again to any model with the Champion of Chaos rule.  So having another bruiser is a definite possibility.  That model won't be as strong as quickly, but it could give you an edge before a Challenge.

Another thing with The Black Crusade detachment is getting Hatred:Armies of the Imperium.  It also allows any unit that can take Veterans of the Long War (VotLW) to do so for free.  This a great little flavor rule for running a Black Legion based Crusade, which is what I want to do.  While it's not necessarily great on any unit that can take Veterans of the Long War, which is just Hatred:Space Marines, and most people take it for the LD bump anyway... it does make Cultists, Spawn, Helbrutes, Defilers, and Maulerfiends pack a little more punch in that first round of CC.  I think that with Traitor's Hate, there will be more combos over time, this always seems to happen with any Chaos release.  A vocal percentage of CSM players will not like it, and that's ok, but I think to completely write off certain parts is just being petty anymore.

With everything that Chaos has available to it currently... a CSM codex, Demon codex, Khorne Daemonkin codex, Black Legion supplement, Crimson Slaughter supplement, IA:13 not only for the CSM units but for the R&H lists as well, Siege of Vraks, Apocalypse, Traitor's Hate supplement, new psychic powers, and tactical objectives... there really shouldn't be any problem thinking of something that could work together.  Do all the rules make sense, and interact well?  No.  Again, I think once a new CSM codex drops with some tweaks... point drops, some new rules maybe; like Stubborn, actual Cult lords, some new Demon weapons, etc... a lot more players will be happy.  I don't see GW going to Legion rules ever again.  They are pretty much making Chaos what is written for 40k.  Lots of Cultists with their cruel masters and their Demon engines.  I think they are almost there, they just need to inject some life into CSM to make them more like how they read... something to give a Space Marine pause, like some of the mechanics happening in Traitor's Hate. I'm patient, and I'm willing to see where the Black Crusade takes CSM.

It's exciting, and a little nerve wracking for my favorite faction, but more exciting than anything else.






Monday, April 18, 2016

Knight Progress v.2




I had a chance to finally push through and get the Knight about 98% finished.  All that's really left is GS and a few more smaller details, and those deatials always take a bit.  Over all though I'm quite pleased with how this turned out for being an extensive kit bash that I wasn't sure was going to work in the first place.  I'll be the first to admit not all my projects work well, some have to be stopped before they spiral any further out of control.  The tiny cultist is very tiny, but cultists are always tiny.  I'm waiting for a better day, read not too busy, to take a better set of picture with more angles and a few size comparisons.  It is smaller than a regular Knight.  I'm ok with that, and my regular gaming buddy is ok with it, since this will now be the Knight for my Renegades and Heretics(R&H) force.  But Chris... R&H can't take a Knight by themselves with out a Chaos Space Marine CAD.  You would be right, until this week.


This week saw the wonderful preorder goodness of GW's latest brain child... Imperial Knight - Renegade.  A game of Knights hunting each other with... wait for it... RULES FOR RENEGADE KNIGHTS FOR CHAOS.  Someone(s) at GW has to be trolling (in the fishing sense) the Internet for ideas.  This just seems too good of a coincidence.  Granted, these rules come with a bundle of models that also happens to retail with a fairly good discount as well.  So you do have to buy them, at first.  I'm sure within a few days those rules will fall into a scanner somewhere and then spend the rest of it's days in some data gulag being ogled by the 40k masses.  I mean, there's already been a leaked datasheet and a snippet about allies.  The allies part looks like it reads "exactly like CSM", so that means Battle Brothers with Demons and R&H.  For the Chaos community this is huge news.  For the some of the places that don't allow Forgeworld(FW), and there are a few, rules for a Renegade Knight from GW is a godsend.  Like I said before, they have to be watching.

This past Saturday was a model day for me, more on that later, but previous to this the rumors of this new GW game began to circulate.  Then the pictures started.  Once that happened I was determined to finish my Knight build.  The real selling point for me was the box art, here was a box from GW with Knight that had a Chaos star on it shield.  Sign me up.  I did sign up by the way.  My buddy Dave and I went halves on the box.  He gets another Knight, his total will be at three, I get a Knight and rules to run my two without having to use Demon Knight rules from FW.  These Renegade Knights can also double up on their weapon arms... meaning 2 battle cannons or 2 gatling cannons.  Seriously, what's there not to love?

This whole Knight thing has me really excited is all.  Usually, through out the school year, I can have a game day about every other weekend.  My job keeps me busy and sometimes during the summer I get to travel, for sort of working vacations that last between 2-6 weeks at a time.  I work at an arts university, and I teach glassblowing there and the summer work is usually being a teaching assistant at Pilchuck Glass School.  Well everything I applied to this summer... I didn't get.  So this just freed up my summer in a big way.  Working in a glass studio is a lot like owning a house.  There's always something wrong with it.  So I'll be doing maintenance on the school  glass studio through out the summer, but only for 3-4 days out of the week.  That leaves a lot of free time.  So I want to try and get a lot of modeling projects like the Spartan finished up , built things painted, slim down the collection a bit, basically get my hobby life together.

This summer I'm going to try to do Bolter & Chainsword's annual ETL painting challenge as a way for me to get some support to get some stuff done.  The hobby is like going to gym in a way, if you have other people to help out it's more fun and you're more likely to do it.  For the ETL I'll be focusing primarily on my R&H and their big stuff.  Maybe my Mierce Miniature greater demons as well.  Since this is the first summer I will be home for the entire time, I want to get some paint down on some minis.  

Thinning the herd is another big thing on my to do list.  The Predators that have been sitting untouched for years, they should probably go.  Half built Plague Marines from the FW upgrade kit?  eBay those.  It's just time to do this.  Lately I've been noticing that I've been playing more R&H and Demons and less CSM.  Some of that has to do with how I personally perceive Chaos as a faction.  Almost every book I have read with large battles involving Chaos there's this screen of filth that's used for meats shields .  That's kind of how I play.  Lots of cannon fodder, and let Kharn roll up in a Khorne Chosen squad.  Some of it has to do with the parent CSM book.  It's way better than the last one, but still needs points drop across the board.  This coming weekend  I have a game, and it will be using the boon table from the Path to Glory supplement, released over Christmas I believe.  Less bloat and god specific rewards, it should be fun.  So a good long look at what I have been playing and what I haven't been playing to make some shelf space is in order.

I should also have enough time to go on a few fishing trips with my wife, it's one of the things I've missed the most working these past summers.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Warpsmith finished


So there' a theme happening if you noticed... time to stop building and start A LOT of painting.  Who am I kidding?  I can't stop building but I can slow way down, and in that regard the Warpsmith is finished minus the static grass.  It was a real pain to paint at times since it is whole with no subassemblies.  Old school I guess, build it then paint it.  The biggest thing I've learned, from the Sorc and this model,  it have it mostly together but not all the way.  Its makes things so much easier.  Lesson learned, it took awhile but it stuck.  Enough so that I haven't fully assembled my Havocs... legs, torso, backpack, gun arm, and gun are all together leaving the shoulder pads, and support arm off... so I should have an easier time getting to everything I want to reach.

Here's the final product.  A few things to note, it is much larger than it needs to be.  It sits on a 40mm base, and stands much taller than a marine.  So game wise it's a sitting duck, but with a 2+ save it should be ok most of the time.  Either way I didn't want a Finecast version of the Warpsmith because of the fragility of Finecast.  I've had smaller diameter pieces just snap right off and didn't want to shell out $30(US) for something that could break easy.  So all the tentacles are from a Necron Doomscythe and guitar string for strength and stability.

 






A lot of firsts on this model.  First time using oil based rust effects.  Loved that.  It can have a nice subtle rust effect that can be built up and if you want to add some more orange to it's nothing to add water to a small amount of Ryza Rust and dab that in place.  Used Nurgle's Rot for as well, and it's interesting but I don't see using it for anything else beyond what I've done here.  Accents for seepage or tissue breakdown.  The red was really simple, but so effective.  It really was just using GWs paints... Mephiston Red for the base, first layer of Evil Sunz Scarlet with an edge highlight of Wild Rider Red.  Layers were applied very thin, think translucent, to build up the color.  Once that was all dry, a glaze of Bloodletter was put on the red to pull it all together and it came out great.  Super pleased with how simple it was.  The metal and skin were completely different stories however, and involved a lot of touch up and a few restarts.  

At the time of this writing, I am currently finishing the base for one the Rapiers and I'd like to finish the other Rapier this evening.  Another Hellblaster Volley Gun is on the way to finish out the battery at 3 strong.  My beloved Auotcannon Havoc squad was rebuilt yesterday and a new Havoc unit built using Forgeworld's Legion Autocannon set I got forever ago.  Love those guns, hate the ammo feeds.  If you get them, plan on rebending the belts a few times to match up.  Also if you want to use Chaos backpacks, you'll have to trim them down a little so the ammo boxes fit.

Nifty trick if you don't want to use your Betrayal at Calth heavy bolters as heavy bolters, just clip the barrel off and glue an auto cannon barrel on.  Super easy conversion for a, IMHO, better gun.


So yeah, more painting and less building.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Chaos Sorc finished up... finally.


A few of you may remember this picture from awhile back.  It was from a post about using magnets and different heads as a way of showing Marks of Chaos on your models.  Well, I finally was able to get this Sorcerer and all the heads painted this past weekend.  So what we have is a Black Legion Chaos  Sorcerer, the only Finecast model I wanted to get... ever, with a back pack and helmet from Forgeworld's Sons of Horus upgrade pack.  All the other heads come from the Chaos Chariot kit.  But enough with that technical mumbo jumbo, here's the mini...


So here's a similar shot as above but painted...

Chaos Undivided...


Mark of Nurgle...


Mark of Slaanesh...


and Mark of Tzeentch...


So one model with 4 very visual ways to represent the Marks it might have on the battlefield.  Which is great for me because I kinda need WYSIWYG for my army so I remember what the thing does!  For being a Fincast model, which I dislike for it's fragility over anything else, it was very characterful and had a good amount of detail without being over the top.  All the bare heads used the recipes for my Demons so they would tie into each other visually.  Except for there Tzeentch head, with that one the recipe came about from this model so I now have a nice, subtle, blue to work with for later.    One of the details I did get into was the demon faced shoulder pad...


That one thing was a lot of fun to do and I will be using this same type of structure for any leering demon face on Chaos armor that isn't in the trim.  Like on all the Dark Vengeance Chosen.  This model was also upgraded to a 32 mm base using Eccentric Miniatures Size A Adaptor Ring.  It just needed a very  minimal amount of GS for the gaps but otherwise worked great.  They are cast in polystyrene from 3D printed masters.  You can see the printing detail once you get them, but after 3 thinned coats of paint on the rim you barely tell at all since the paint smoothed out the surface pretty well.  The only thing I *might* go back into would be the rips/vents in the cabling with the same coloration I used on the demon tongue.  Maybe.  

What do you think, did it turn out ok?