Tuesday, May 28, 2013

KublaCon and some more PSAs : )

Well, I finally had the chance to get out to the West Coast (the Bay Area to be more precise) to check out the KublaCon show (tagline: The Khan of Cons!)

I was there to cover the first Flames Of War US West Coast Nationals tournament, run by Gamescape North in conjunction with Battlefront. The tournament was great; well-run, friendly gamers, some very lovely looking armies, and a very relaxed atmosphere. There'll be photos going up soon on the Flames Of War website, and appearing later in the year in the pages of Wargames Illustrated.

While I was there, I had the opportunity to enter into the KublaCon Miniature Painting Competition, run by Wayne Rogers. It was a very interesting departure from the "normal" format of mini painting comps that I'm used to. Instead of it being the "podium" format with a wide variety of categories (eg. 10 categories with a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd awarded in each, just like the Golden Demons or Crystal Brush) it was what is known in the wider painting world as an "open" format of judging.

Essentially there were three categories:
• KublaKids
• Open
• Masterclass

You could bring along up to two "single minis", one "squad", one "large", and one "diorama"

Each of your pieces was then judges to a set standard by a panel of judges (I think as many as five, with results being averaged) and determined to be either gold standard, silver standard, bronze standard, or honorable mention.

If you entered your work in either the KublaKids or the Open categories, you were awarded a Kubla Medal for each piece, determined by the quality as judged by the panel.

If you entered in the Masterclass category, all of your pieces were judged, given their "level" and the highest ranking piece was what was awarded the appropriate trophy.

As I was traveling all that way, I figured I'd take all the entries I could, and put them up for consideration in the Masterclass category. I brought the following entries:

• Iconoclave diorama - considered Bronze
• Lamenters Tactical Squad - considered Bronze
• AdMech Combat Servitor - considered Bronze
• Lamenters Dreadnought - considered Silver
• Malifaux Wastrel - considered Silver

This last one was considered by best entry by the judges, and so it was that model that I was unsure about that won me the Silver Kubla bust in the first photo. Pretty pleased with that, and having seen the other Masterclass entries, I can now see what I need to do/work on to lift my game for next year. As there were already entries better than mine in the case when I entered, I knew the pressure for Best of Show was off completely, so I could think about some of the other awards, like...

Best Conversion!

Apparently the judges had to be told a number of times that my Combat Servitor entry was a conversion. Most of them had assumed it was a stock model, so I'm pretty pleased with that too ; )

There were plenty of other great things at the show (one of the being the very cool family atmosphere, as geeks of all ages (from 1 to 91) were at the event to indulge in a weekend of gaming (be it miniatures, board, card, or both kinds of roleplaying)!

One of the cool things that caught my eye (and will be featured in the pages of Wargames Illustrated sometime this year, I hope) was "Wooden Wars" by Thomas Foss. You can see the "press pack" that Thomas handed me at the show, with a set of rules, along with three packs of wooden "flats", toy soldiers cut from birch plywood with a laser, ready to be assembled, painted, and have little rubber balls bounced at them by kids of all ages as they advance across the floor... err, battlefield!

More on these at a later date as I get some of them painted up, but you can find out more about  Wooden Wars at his blog:


The first Public Service Announcement is about a new game store in Rancho Cucamonga, CA -
Dice Of War Games! Owned (in part) by my friend Alec Peters (of the Apocalypse 40K forums and blog fame), the store will open this weekend (June 1-2) and promises to rock your gaming world! Head on over to their Facebook page HERE to check them out : )


PSA #2 today is about a little Kickstarter being run by another mate, this time Rhys Knight from the UK. He and a couple of friends have formed PDC gaming and are running a Kickstarter (HERE) to raise funds for their "Toys for your Toys" range of wargaming accessories (including sprues of plastic weapons, tracked gun platforms, and other fun items). They are currently at 65% funding with 5 days to go. Head on over to their KS page (HERE) and check out their work!


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Wastrel or "wasting my time"?

So, do you think I should enter this guy in the painting competition at Kublacon today?


Friday, May 24, 2013

We are Legion...

I've finished off the updates on my old servitor horde. They all have their new sickly, pallid flesh, brassy bits with patina, and awesome Dragon Forge Tech-Deck bases. There are 35 of the suckers in the picture above, along with two Techpriest Engineseers to oversee them.

A I was going through and touching them all up I realized that no two are identical. They are built from a pretty even mix of the eight different bodies that have appeared over the years (shown in the photos above) but have been given enough arm swaps that they are all different. This pleases me : )  The ninth body in the photo just above is one of the old Skullz promo set of Ad Mech guys.

Here's where I'm at with the painting on the Knight. All the armor plates are close to where I want them, and the rest of the metallics have been painted with Boltgun Metal and washed with subsequent layers of Secret Weapon Amethyst, Agrax Earthshade, and Nuln Oil. It certainly is quite dark.

Off to the San Francisco Bay Area today to attend Kublacon, should be fun. I might even enter their painting competition ; )


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

And the clock is ticking...

With less than six weeks until the in-store Armies On Parade event, I figured it was time to get cracking on the display board. Much like last year, I'm planning on a processional feel to the army presentation. There will also be a few surprises I hope will be appreciated by everyone viewing the army : )

So, over the next six weeks I have to paint my Knight, my Admekrepairrume, 20 Bridge Guards, build and paint the display base, attend both Kublacon and WarGamesCon, host my parents for 10 days, and celebrate my 40th birthday and my 8th wedding anniversary! Should be a busy time ; )

Question: I'm painting the armor on my Knight in a Brassy/Bronze way, highlights quite bright and shiny, shadows very dark and grimy. How do you think I should paint the "steel" parts of the model, bright and shiny OR predominantly dark with bright edge highlights?


Monday, May 20, 2013

Volsinii Imperator of Knight Household Etruia

The latest addition to the Mechanicum army is this construct. Hailing from Knight Household Etruia, this is Volsinii Imperator, piloted by Lucius Sejanus.

Quite obviously he's built from a Grey Knight Dreadknight, but with a few modifications. The most fun was curving the front plate for the cabin that holds Lucius Sejanus, that and smoothing out the putty for the top of the cabin.

I've repeated the cog/crenellation motif several times on the larger pieces of armor, should add just the right level of detail once painted.

The shock lance was fun to cobble together, and that AM symbol is from a FW titan ; )

This was the third ammo feed I had to build for the chaingun. It's not perfect by any means, but I'm satisfied right now.

Lots of detail around the back of the model too.

I hope you like it. : )


Friday, May 17, 2013

Public Service Announcement #3

Man, are May and June busy months, or what?

First up, I need to remind everyone who can make it out, that the Dropzone Games One Year Birthday party is fast approaching! On the weekend of 7-9 June, Tom, Dan, Terry and the guys will be hosting another massive shindig at the best FLGS on the East Coast! Click on the link to find out more about the fun they have planned.

I wish I could be there, but work commitments are dragging me across the country to another big wargaming event - WarGames Con! This will be my third time attending this excellent event in Austin, TX, and run by none other than Jon Wolf!

Make sure you're at one event or the other (or that you at least get to do some painting that weekend), as I know I'll be having fun photographing toy soldiers for Wargames Illustrated! : )


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

More bestial, not less...

Last week's post on the Chrono Gladiators received quite a bit of feedback (which I always enjoy) and not all of it positive (which can be helpful if phrased correctly). I took a bunch of this feedback into account, modified the models a little (despite their already primed status) and got stuck into painting them.

The biggest fear some folks had was that they were looking too Dark Eldar and not enough Mechanicum. I'm not sure if I've been able to redeem them in the eyes of these folks, but I'm happy with the results, so I guess that's the main thing ; )

One comment was that the legs looked a little too bestial, and I agree that it was the legs/feet that were causing some of the issue. I stepped back and thought a little about the influence behind much of this army - the crazy work of John Blanche. Then it hit me.

These legs weren't too bestial, they weren't bestial enough! The model was heavily "wolf" influenced, so I decided to take a suggestion from commenter Mkvenner and add hooves into the mix. And not just horse hooves, but crazy, metallic hoof collars for the bottom end of the leg. There's an interesting kind of "fetish" look to them, something that makes the model feel awkward and unnatural - voila! John Blanche inspires again.

Here's a size comparison shot of the tallest and shortest of the bunch along with the Plasma Cannon servitor and the Thallax.

I trimmed off some of the pointy bits on the faceplate too, filled in the holes with putty, filed it down once dry, and added a couple of plasticard squares on the sides, to mimic the Thallax faceplate. The painting of the faceplate was achieved in the same manner.

And here are the three of them ready to join the Mechanicum horde!

I hope they worked out and that you like them as much as I do.

As always with this army, the bases are from Dragon Forge Design.

UPDATED: My apologies to Luke Jordan, but I forgot to include these links to pictures of his beast.
Of course, there is plenty of "derivative" work going around in our toy soldier world, but sometimes people stumble onto the same cool idea completely separately - a "great minds think alike" kind of moment. Here are links to the first of Luke's beasts, built sometime last year I think. Note that we both used the mechanical Talos hand to replace the gravestone in the Crypt Horror's hand : )



Sunday, May 12, 2013

Public Service Announcememt #2

My buddy Alex, owner of Battleroad Games & Hobbies, is celebrating his 30th birthday in a few days (May 14th to be exact). To do it in true Alex style, he'll be running a "30% off for 30 hours" sale in his webstore starting on May 14th (this Tuesday).

Alex has a ton of cool things in his store, including a lot of GW bitz, soooo... I suggest you click on the link HERE and start planning your purchases for Tuesday!

The discount code is: 30thBday

Have fun, updated Mechanicum combat servitors coming very soon!


Friday, May 10, 2013

Public Service Announcement #1

My friend, Justin McCoy (of Secret Weapon Miniatures), is just about to wrap up his company's first Kickstarter campaign, Tablescapes. I've mentioned it before, but as there are now less than 48 hours to get your pledges in, I felt it was important to mention it again.

Since I last talked about it, several more themes have been unlocked, and all manner of additional announcements and partnerships have been made.

Soooooooo...   Head on over to the Kickstarter page HERE and take another look through the excellence that is Tablescapes!


Expect to see a few more plugs for different things over the coming days.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Is it time to fight?

Over the weekend I picked up some Vampire Counts Vargheists from my FLGS (Dropzone Games) and set to work adding some techno bitz, most of them from the Dark Eldar Talos kit. With a few sessions of greenstuff application I ended up with these three 'Chrono Gladiators'.

These three beasts have just been primed (white) and stand ready for me to dive in with the paints. I'm pretty excited about them, so they may push aside the servitors currently getting a makeover.

Some of you may have noticed the small, circular sockets embedded in the flesh of these combat servitors, somewhat reminiscent of the sockets from The Matrix. I thought I'd boost the value of this post by showing you how I did them.

Greenstuff and a sculpting tool are required, in addition to two "new" tools, shown above. A is a thick plastic rod with one end drilled out to create a little hollow inside. B is a thin plastic rod with a diameter smaller than the hole drilled inside the thick rod.

Step 1. Place your little ball of greenstuff onto the model where you want the socket.

Step 2. Smooth out the ball of greenstuff, blending it into the surrounding flesh.

Step 3. Push the end of Tool A into the center of your greenstuff bulge.

Step 4. Push the end of Tool B into the center of the greenstuff nubbin.

Step 5. Let it all dry

Simple, really. And don't forget to use some sort of lubricant on all your tools when working with greenstuff. I use my paint water because it's convenient ; )


Sunday, May 5, 2013

The first of the Thallax Cohorts

Here are the first three of the new, Forgeworld Mechanicum Thallax Cohorts.

I went for a fairly simple color scheme, much like the FW paintjob, but a little brighter on the brassy bits.

I decided not to go for a bright blue glowing power core, but I might change that if enough of you think otherwise. Also, for the face plate I decided to steal a little bit from Roman Lappat's class. On of the busts he has painted features deep black eyes, accentuated by four or five layers of gloss varnish. I think it adds just the right touch of depth to the head.


Friday, May 3, 2013

What was old is new again!

I haven't been idle, hobby-wise, since Adepticon. I've just been without my lights for photography. They returned on Wednesday, so last night I was able to sneak in a few shots of what I've been up to.

So far you've only really seen the "new" stuff for the Mechanicum army. Well, part of the plan has always been to rebase and touch up the "old" stuff, and bring it inline with my new approach. Above you can see the four Magos/Adepts models from the "never commercially released" Adeptus Mechanicus set that was available for a short time in the early years of this century (vis GW's Skullz program). When I first tackled the AdMech in 2005-6, I converted these guys, and replaced a few missing bits, hence the interesting mix of backpacks and claws etc.

For this update I simply switched their bases, updated their skin color to match the pallid flesh aesthetic I'm going for now, and repainted any military green areas with black or red. They'll be a nice "throwback" cluster of models in the greater procession.

I have over 30 servitors to update as well. Here you can see the new approach to the flesh in effect. The model on the left is my original "greying flesh", then the second step of the new flesh (Vallejo Pale Sand with a layer of Seraphim Sepia wash), followed by the fourth step of the new flesh (highlights with Pale Sand and Dead White). The final scribe servitor on the right has some thin, spot glazes of Secret Weapon Ruby wash pushed into the details.

Here are a couple more of the updated servitors on their Dragon Forge Tech Deck bases.

I also had over 20 "Cultists" to bring up to date. Here they are. The bulk of the original conversions are based on the old Bretonnian Grail Pilgrims.

And finally. I was short a couple of 40mm bases (a miscalculation on my part), so I built these ones using plasticard, plastic rods, and a few cool vents and deck sheeting that I received from Jeff (at Dragon Forge) in my order. I think they've turned out very nicely.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy seeing this "update". There'll be a lot more Mechanicum/Adeptus Mechanicus stuff to come.

But, wait... there's more!

My mate Graham McNeill, author of Priests of Mars (the book that rekindled my obsession for the Ad Mech), is up for voting in the SFX awards for 2013. Please take a few minutes to head to this link here, scroll down a bit, and vote for Priests of Mars. I (and Graham) would really appreciate it ; )