Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Time for a refresh of sorts

Hello all,

Things have always been good here, and you all have helped make it that way, however I have started a new blog here.  The first post there pretty much sums it up, but I haven't really felt connected to this blog mostly from my own of perception of Chaos as I've changed over the years.  Granted, GW has put Chaos on a bit of a roller coaster in a design sense over the years.  Ah... 3.5... *ahem*

Instead of changing everything here, I felt it was easier to start over with the experience of blogging that I have now.  Slim it down a bit, cut out the things that aren't around anymore or I don't do.  Basically my entire life is starting over... I left teaching Uni after 7 years to start my own glassblowing studio, we also moved from the city to a smaller town on 3 acres of land.  My life is sort of upside down at the moment.  Utter Chaos even. 😂

Hopefully the new content will be more engaging, and have a little something for everyone.  Modeling, painting, AND gaming.  Even though I will probably get some game mechanic things wrong there, like I keep wanting to Advance Renegade Trait Raptors/Warp Talons after they DS... and you can't do that anymore, at the least you'll know what not to do. 😅

You are more than welcome to come along for the new ride.

Thanks for all your time with me here.

Hopefully I'll see you over there.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Splitting paint schemes

So I like to play a mix of shooty elements with some harder hitting assault units.  20 strong Chaos Cultists x 2 around a Dark Apostle with the Burning Brand of Skallathrax has been a favorite of mine since it could be a thing.  This tactic now works better with 30 strong units and Abaddon.  I also love some Khorne Berserkers, Warp Talons, Raptors, and even bikes to an extant but not as much as some other players.  Especially since only infantry can make it up different floors of a building, Raptors and Warp Talons are even more important I think.

What does this have to do with splitting my paint schemes you ask?

Well since 7th started the detachment craze and 8th doubled down on it I've decided I am going split my very large, and still mostly unpainted, Chaos force into separate Legions.  Black Legion for the shooty elements, Renegades/Emperor's Children for the close combat aspect*.  Renegades for the move/advance/charge and Emperor's Children for at the always strikes first in CC hilarity.  Some of the things you can combine with CSM Slaanesh marked sorcerers; such as Delightful Agonies - 5+FNP basically; and Slaanesh Demons loci/powers - Hysterical Frenzy for the extra "Fight phase" and the Loci for Emperor's Children demon units made me realize how flexible I could make my collection.  I also wanted something that could work with my Slaanesh Demons as well since this are the only demons I have.

"...but Chris... thats like, 3 legions still..."

Not Exactly.

The scheme I decided on for my Slaanesh based marines is The Flawless Host.  I looked for a long time for different Slaanesh war bands that were not based on a predominately black color scheme.  I wanted something that would offer a break from painting Black Legion, and even my Slaanesh Demons as well.  This did lead to some of the more strange paint schemes I've seen, a lot of images popped up from the 6th edition codex, and that the entire concept of not painting all the banding on CSM power armor metallic was a eye opening experience.  Now depending on what you read, and where you're reading it from, The Flawless Host has a couple of different paths.  One is the renegade chapter of Space Marines, the Shining Blades.  The other is an offshoot warband of the Emperor's Children that was entirely wiped out.  So either way I can make this work.

Now where to start?

This where the Internet helped out.  So the image on the top popped up when I was initially searching for references, and I remembered this painting guide from back in the day.  WAY back in the day.  Or at least what feels way back.  The image on the bottom?  No where to be found, and finding this exact guide on Warhammer Digital's website and seeing it was "out of stock" was slightly defeating**.  So I turned to Twitter/The Warp, and put out the call for this long lost tome of knowledge.  The Abyss answered.  Someone had the exact page I needed and sent a screen cap.  Now it's not that I couldn't figure out how to paint it from the paint list alone, but knowing the actual order of operations helped a ton.  Now I could see it, and modify it where needed.

First step.  Find a better primer***.  I'm all for priming black, and have done this forever.  However it felt counter intuitive to prime a model such a dark color and then bring it back up to such a lighter color.  Unfortunately GW does not have a Rakarth Flesh primer can.  I would but all of them they did, since Rakarth is slowly becoming on of my favorite colors to work with.  Enter Rust-Oleum Specialty Camouflage spray paint.  It has a matte finish, and is one value darker then Rakarth flesh, AND is anywhere to ~$3.50-$5.99(~2.7-4.62GBP & ~3.09-5.28Euro).  It's so cheap.  Since I also live in an area of the United States where hunting is big, rural Ohio, it's also practically everywhere.  Like anything that isn't an actual primer, take it slow, and build up thin layers.  I've been able to prime Raptors with this, and haven't lost any of the detail.

That was the most significant change I've done to GW's process.  I pretty much follow the recipe and embellish it here and there.  I don't use black.  I only highlight armor plates to a lighter purple while leaving the banding the darker color.  I've added some small gold accents here and there.  All the small hoses are a brighter blue(Sotek Green, highlighted with Lothern Blue), and all cloth is pastel-ish green(Syabrite Green).  All leather bits are Vallejo Game Color Beastly Brown.  All armor joints, larger hoses, horns, and frag grenades are Eshin Grey.  Im trying to play up that aspect of Slaanesh with selective garish colors and bright metals while keep the rest of the model fairly neutral so those pastels pop.  The 2nd test model worked out well enough for me to move forward with priming the CC Raptor unit, Jump Pack Sorc, and Jump Pack Lord for this scheme.  To be honest the scheme has been a fun to figure out, and a little inspiring as well.  By inspiring I mean I want to paint now, which hasn't happened in awhile.

Here's the current order of operations, the Sybarite Green is not on there since I just added it to the scheme yesterday...  that being said, I have a tendency to jump all over a model and base coat and wash one section and then move a different part.  I'm just not a batch painter... maybe 3 models tops.  I realized this after the 2nd test model took about 6 hours to complete.  Granted some of that was problem solving, and further refining but still... 

So heres the 1st test model.  Everything was really rough, mostly because I didn't have any smaller brushes than a medium layer, and didn't have my bifocals either.

Heres the 2nd test model.  Now with smaller brushes and bifocals!  It came out well, and the flames came out really crisp, I'm actually quite happy with them.  Now I might try and use some more tribal inspired or hot rod inspired flames like I used to draw when I worked at the tattoo studio in my 20s.  I also freehanded the chapter symbol.  It wasn't a terrible experience, however I've already gotten the supplies needed to print out my own water slide transfers and just need to actually print them now.  That will be it's own adventure.

Here's the WIP magnetized Jump Lord, now with new Sybarite Green!  This also after about 4 hours, maybe 5 but it really only felt like 4 hours.  4 1/2?  Started at about 10am, went to GW around 12-12:15 had lunch and ordered Blackstone Fortress, went back and painted until about 5:30-6.  You know how it goes, as you do more of the thing the faster you get and the less you have to think about it.  You can also see the tonal difference between the primer and the Rakarth that I had mentioned earlier, since that is bare primer on the base.


Right now I have him kitted out as a Lord(reroll 1s to hit), Renegade trait(advance then charge), Mark of Slaanesh, Lightning Claws(reroll wounds), Intoxicating Elixir(+1 Attack and 1+ Strength) Exalted Champion Warlord Trait(+1 attack)... so 6, Str 5 attacks at -2 AP, ideally buffed by a Sorcerer with Diabolic Strength(7 attacks at Strength 7), WHILE buffing a 10 man CC Raptor unit for the rerolls, AND that Raptor unit was buffed by Delightful Agonies(5+ FNP).  In my head this looks/performs awesome... but will probably be shot off the table/crippled before doing anything seriously fun. 😂  It has the whole "dangerous enough to be a threat and shouldn't be ignored" vibe going on, I would like to back this up with 2, 5 man Raptor squads with flamers, maybe a 6 strong bike squad too.  Which with this scheme... those might look fantastic.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by and if you have any questions let me know.


*I know, I know.. nothing beats World Eater Berserkers for total mulching of enemy units.  To be honest though, I'm kind of over them.
**I did contact them by email, and there was nothing they could do... understandable, it is an old guide... but how exactly does an digital item go out of stock?
*** I did try GW's Zandri Dust base spray... it was just way too yellow in tone and got too far away front the flesh tone of the armor that I currently like.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Convert your models

So there’s a thing that happens with models for just about any gaming system.  You start with your game of choice and after awhile you start to browse the Internet for existing alternative models... you might want to field multiples of the same unit, or your looking at models you might get for the future.  That’s when you see it.  A model that fits what you thought the model should look like in your head... but it’s completely converted.

But you want something similar.

So go for it.

Yes it can be a daunting endeavor, even downright intimidating in some cases.  But you will have that unique piece for your army and the satisfaction modifying an exsisting unit better than what was released.

To be completely, 100%, honest it’s why I collect Chaos to begin with... all the conversion possibilities.

Start out small.  Head swaps can do wonders.  You can completely change how a model looks just by swapping the head out.  Looks at the Genestealer Cult upgrade sprue as an example.  Regular Cadia bodies with different heads and sometimes a few items of bling to show who they really are.  Simple.  Effective.  Easy to do since GW provides the kit to do it.  Maybe take those heads and swap out a few for your Chaos Cultists and use a little liquid green stuff to smooth out the head ridges.  Or scrape the ridges off with a slightly dull blade.  Still a simple conversion, but requires a little extra cutting on the Cultists.  There are several companies out there that make replacement heads of all types for your army too... Maxi Mini and Puppetwars have a ton of alternative heads and other bits, and they are just 2 companies out there.  I use Maxi Mini Fallen Legionnaire heads for head swaps on my Renegade Guard/Cultists and I love the look.  It gives them a serious Blood Pact vibe, especially when used on Scion bodies.

Just something like that can breath new life into your collection while making it completely yours.

But that’s just the beginning, and really was a lead in to this part... which is a personal favorite of mine...

Use Age of Sigmar(AoS) models in your 40k collection.

Now, I had already done something similar to this with my Warpsmith made from a Carin Wraith.  A lot of people have used that model to some really truly stunning effects.  Go look, you’ll find some truly amazing things... use Inq28 if you need a little help to find stuff. 🎉  In fact the major players for converting models before AoS was the Carin Wraith, plastic Necromancer, Nurgle Lord with axe, Banshee, and Dark Elf wizard.  I have all of those models in my Inquistor warband.  I even used Witch Elves for my Death Cult Assassins.  They are still super good for converting, they didn’t disappear like some models did with AoS.


The very first model I converted from AoS to 40k was the Stormcast Eternal that came free in whatever issue of White Dwarf ages ago.  I clipped the hammer off and replaced it with a Grey Knight falchion; added some purity seals and few bits and bobs for the belt; scraped the hammer off the shield... I still need to find an =][= symbol for it; and I had a Crusader for my Inquisition side project.  It practically built itself.  That’s sort of the point.  Certain models from the AoS line are just asking... maybe even begging... to be brought over to 40k.

Now the next model I tried this with was the Slaughter Priest.  It was a horrible conversion and died on the table.  Same deal, I got it from the White Dwarf it came with.  I mean, it wasn’t my system of choice so there was no way I was going to actually buy AoS models.  Yet.

That changed with trying to find a good replacement for Khorne Berserkers, which have to be the king of durpy models in 40k right now.  The AoS Blood Warriors are a truly amazing kit in terms of detail and size. They look like the rage swollen killers they’re supposed to be.  A few minor changes and you can have way better Berserkers for your army than the super outdated kit GW is still selling.  I mean all they really have to do is open the Blood Warrior CAD file and add armored greaves for the feet and a mounting point for the backpack and have a new kit that would just be printing them money.  So for this type of conversion, there’s several kits to get Blood Warriors from.  I used the push-fits from the starter box, and the 10 count box kit as well(with a little searching on eBay you could probably still find those Blood Warrior push fits for a decent price).  You just need to think about where to cut with the push-fits.  A lot of the time your not cutting the entire arm off, just at the elbow.  Use a little green stuff to make a mounting point for the backpack and you have better Berserkers for your army.  If you’re using the box set, which I recommend since it’s less work, you just need to put a small tab of plastic in the socket of the torso.  After that just use regular CSM arms for your weapons of choice.  Since your using regular marine arms, that means your using marine shoulder pads so the backpack can be directly glued to the torso, no mounting point needed.

*As a side note, I would suggest Raptor arms for these since those chainswords are particularly brutal looking.
**As another side note, I have seen more extensive conversions where people have chopped the leges to attach armored greaves and that’s just too much work for me... I have no problem with Berserkers in leather boots.

Which brings me to the next darlings of the AoS range, the new Nighthaunts.  Seriously... if you collect AdMech or make Dark Mech stuff and haven’t thought about using these models for a basis you REALLY need to reconsider.  It’s a bunch of robed figures, floating around with skulls for heads.  If that doesn’t scream AdMech I don’t know what else does exactly.  So I’ll give you an example of what I mean.  This past weekend the model “The Craven King” was finally available to pick up.  Great model. Good size.  Lots of flowing robe action.  I was smitten with it as soon as I saw it and wanted to try to something with it.  I mean... look at it! So I ordered two, sometimes my ideas don’t go as planned so I wanted a back up, and if everything went ok I’d just make the extra as it’s supposed to be at some point.

So being a Chaos player the question was what to turn it into and then it hit me... that needed to be a Hellwright on Dark Abeyant from the FW Index!  Add some AdMech and Chaos bits and it would work.  I knew it would work.  

Ok... I was PRETTY SURE it would work but there’s always that doubt, yeah?

And so far it has worked.  It still has a long way to go as far as being complete, but it’s definitely well on its way.  The Warpfire lance is almost finished and ready to be mounted in one of the side ghosts.  The void cutter, which I believe is just the warp version of a lascutter, I’m still figuring out, and I have to figure out a way to put an axe in his hand.  Add some more tendrils for Mechadendrites, a little green stuff to tie it all together and it’ll be finished.

So don’t be afraid to modify your models for a unique army that’s yours.  And look through the AoS range for even more ideas, and unique models for those ideas.  There’s so many new and updated models there it’s kind of ridiculous, and you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not checking it out.  I mean I love the new Nighthaunt range.  It’s so dynamic in motion, while also being very minimal.  The next idea I had from that range was using the Glaivewraith Stalkers as the basis for my Dark Mechanicus Kill Team.  Once stock is in again anyway. 😀

Monday, June 18, 2018

Long time, no see...

Yeah, it’s been over a year.

Life happens and this blog was one of the first things to go on the “not right now” pile.  


That’s not to say I haven’t been active in my hobby.  I have been.  Just not here.  I have still been building, painting slowly, and gaming on a fairly regular basis.  I have been posting more to Twitter(@40kChris) and I recently started Instagramming(@40kChris2) over this last year.  I believe it’s primarily due to the immediacy of those formats.  Work on a project, snap a few pics, write a blurb, send it off.  Done.  Where blogging feels very deliberate, and calculated by comparison.  It’s not a bad format and I have recently been thinking getting back into it primarily for the breadth of an article that can do so much more than a tweet or Instagram entry can.

As such, I think if I’m going to do this then I’ll need a restart.  That just feels like the right thing to do since my goals and outlooks have changed since the beginning of this endeavor.  A new name and a new format that cover all the aspects of the hobby I’ve gotten into since I haven’t been blogging.  

Switching fully to Black Legion from the Word Bearers.  I mean, at least Abaddon is doing something other than fuming in some tower someplace in the Eye.  Also, ADB’s Black Legion novel are nothing short of inspiring.  I like where they are going with it and like that idea of desperate brotherhood.  If you haven’t read Talon of Horus go do that, and then go get Black Legion next.  Wonderful books and rich with imagery.  

Slimming down my collections.  Which is still sort of laughable.  I’m only have Slaanesh Demons now and they total about 3,900 points.  I started counting my built CSMs and had to stop around 7,000 points and that did not include anything from FW Renegades & Heretics. 😭😭.  I did get some units bulked up because that seems to be the way to go with units like Possessed and Berserkers in 8th.  Given that I’d like to focus more on painting and less on building for awhile.

Speaking of painting, I have recently moved all my GW paints to 17ml dropper bottles.  That’s included 5 pots of the really old GW inks that are OOP.  No more dried out pots for me!  I have also started using Vallejo Gamecolor.  So far the combination of the two seems to be a good palette for my forces.  I have most of my schemes worked out and I just need to get priming.  For that I had just acquired a mobile spray booth with its own exhaust fan and tube to vent fumes outside.  This should help getting models primed in less than ideal conditions like high humidity, which is the case right now, or winter.  It’s also lit up with LEDs so you can see what your priming, but this also turns it into a makeshift photo booth.  It’s a wonderful little thing.  

That is just one facet of reorganizing my hobby area.  Since we have moved I have a lot more hobby space now than I had before.  So building a game table is a serious consideration. On casters to move it around and have terrain storage underneath.

Just more things for consideration.  Maybe even a batrep or two if I can swing it.

Thanks for being here over all this time, you probably even forgot this was here, but having the blog is way more fun with all of you.  If anything changes I’ll let you know here since I’ll need to keep this blog alive for a little bit.  Maybe even import this blog to a new name?

Here’s a Hellforged Leviathan I recently finished, enjoy!!  As you can see it’s based off the plastic Redemptor, the full kit not the easy-to-build, and it was a super fun build.  It practically built its self.  There were also a lot of firsts on it... first freehand work, oil washes, A LOT of Technical paints, pencils, etc.  If you have any questions about anything I did just ask, I do love have discussions with you guys.

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.