The winter tournament season is back on track again with back-to-back tournaments at Konstanz in the last two weekends. Seetroll ran their ‘Grosse Spieletag’ last weekend which featured WFB, WH40k and various CCG tournaments as well as random boardgames happening spontaneously around the venue while this weekend was the Warhammer Fanatics’ tournament run by a local club. These were my first experiences of 8th edition competition and the first proper tests of my new Warriors of Chaos army. Unfortunately I didn’t get any usable pictures from either event but I’ll be updating soon with a general look at how my servants of Tzeentch are coming along.
This figure and twelve Chaos Warriors are the only parts of my list that weren’t already painted. I’m confident that I can crank out a dozen warriors in a week so it was a relief to finally declare this guy done and move on. It often happens to me (and I’m sure every other painter in the world) that I’ll start working on a figure and it just won’t come together. The figure will then get sidelined while I work on other things and sit partially done on my painting table for ever – let me tell you about my Dwarf Rangers that probably need less than two hours work to finish off but have sat in a case for four years. This figure was one of those that I couldn’t get on withthis update. Somewhere along the line I decided that I needed a mounted battle standard bearer and this figure seemed an obvious place to start from. The conversion is very simple; the hammer was cut off right above the hand and was replaced with a spear from the Marauder Horsemen sprue. The banner itself and the banner top also came from the Marauder Horsemen and I swapped the head for one from the Chaos Mutation sprue. I also decided that I didn’t want the steed to be a Daemonic Mount but instead to be a ‘normal’ Chaos Steed so it got rebased onto a regular cavalry base.
When it came to painting this figure I really had no idea how it was going to end up. In the end I pretty much just threw paint at it until I could see something worthwhile emerging then tidied that up. Originally the armour and barding were to be a pale rosy lavender so I started with a bright pinky-blue basecoat and glazed it with Hawk Turquoise. That didn’t work so well and I ended up repainting it in a greyish purple which ended up getting highlighted and declared good enough. The horse was going to be black with flamey accents but that didn’t look so good with all the detailing on it so it ended up a chestnut colour instead with reddish hair. Finally the banner. I painted it blue then yellow, highlighted that right up and then sketched in the freehand design in the centre using Black Ink. Once I’d got something I was happy with I blocked it in and highlighted the pattern. At this point I realised that somehow I’d finished it. This was a nice surprise so I built up a taller base from smaller square bases and greenstuff to help him rank up properly (he overhangs the sides of a base even more than the plastic Knights do) and slapped some varnish on him before I could talk myself into doing more. He’s a little fussy and there are some messy areas but from 3 feet away he looks fine.
The full Warriors of Chaos Gallery is available here.
I’ve written another column for the good folks over at Wargaming Ireland. Read about my plans to bring my armies kicking and screaming into the new edition! Share your experiences either in the comments over there or right here, I’d love to open a discussion on how other people are dealing with this.
I’ve been asked to contribute to a new wargaming blog that’s just been started up by some friends of mine. The first article that I wrote for them is up now and others will be following at the same rapid-fire rate that readers of my two personal blogs will be used to (ahem). These are the guys that I joined up with for last year’s European Team Championship, they’re all a lot of fun so I’ll certainly be looking forwards to the other updates. Those of you in the Irish Republic will find a lot of useful local information too regarding clubs, events and general organisation.
So go and read my musings about tournament comp over on Wargaming Ireland and please add your comments to the discussion. It’s a topic that I feel needs to be discussed before we start arguing over precisely which combinations are too cheesy to be allowed.
Two updates in a week? Truly some foul sorcery is at work here! Actually it’s a side effect of being off sick from work for a reasonably long time, I’ve had time to crack on with painting as it’s one of the few things I can still do while I convalesce.
Anyhow, the latest addition to the collection of painted figures is this unit of Chaos Knights. My Warriors of Chaos army has a Tzeentchian theme to it and for me, the standard black and brooding colour scheme doesn’t really work. Additionally as these are amongst the most elite warriors in the army (actually they are pretty elite compared to most things in any army), I wanted them to be individualistic and unique. So it is then that I decided to paint them each with a different colour palette to show their status as the warrior nobility in the warband. These are really nice models and come with a variety of options for heads, shields and weapons – more than enough of each to avoid any duplication. They are also big, the barded Empire warhorses as used by the Knightly Orders for example are about two-thirds the size of these monsters. You will need to take care when assembling them and when attaching them to their base to make sure that the unit will rank up (mine doesn’t) as they overhang significantly on both sides of the base. I’m expecting that I will buy a second box for a larger unit (hello 8th edition!) and they will be planted at the extreme backs and fronts of their cavalry bases so that they can rank up between these. That’s something for another day though.
The first figure I completed was the champion. Actually he may not be the champion after all as I’m still somewhat undecided. All of the figures that aren’t carrying a standard or a horn could reasonably be used as the champion as they are all distinctive enough. This guy at least has a lightning charged sword which may tip things in his favour. He’s painted over a white basecoat (they all are actually) with Orkhide Shade which was washed with Thraka Green and then highlighted and glazed with a variety of greens and purples to get a nice rich effect on the armour. The horse is Thraka Green over the white undercoat and then highlighted and tidied up with thinned down Goblin Green and Skull White.
I did the sword purple with purple lightning all over it and this is a cool effect that’s easy to achieve if you take it a step at a time. First paint on very thin lines roughtly where your lightning will go, these can be quite broad and should be about a half shade above the base colour – the same sort of difference you’d use for a highlight. Then you highlight the centre of these lines in a slightly more erratic way so that the highlight follows more closely the final line of the lightning itself. After this you paint in the lines of the lightning bolts in a very pale colour, I printed out some photos of lightning to use as a reference for the way that it forks and flashes to and fro. These lines need to be very thin and some need to be painted in as almost invisible wisps in very thin paint. Finally take some pure white and highlight parts of the line, major branches and so forth. It’s time consuming to do it properly but it looks really nice.
Next up was the Bone Knight. I put this guy together specifically thinking that his weapon, shield and armour detail would look good in bone. He’s done in my normal bone style which is yellowing and aged looking rather than stark and white. It starts off as Snakebite Leather and gets highlighted up with Bleached Bone and Skull White. His horse and the detail trim were painted grey and the mail barding on the horse was given a pale bronze effect by washing Chainmail with Gryphonne Sepia and then highlighting with a mixture of Mithril Silver and Burnished Gold.
I tackled the standard bearer next, and I’d decided I liked the idea of a yellow knight. Blue and yellow are traditional colours for Tzeentch and I wanted to feature them both. I didn’t want this guy to look like a Tonka toy though so I kept the yellow dirty by painting it onto a Snakebite Leather base and highlighting with Bubonic Brown and Golden Yellow in a hatching pattern rather than as a smooth highlight. The banner was done on a base of Hormagaunt Purple and highlighted up with various blues. Finally a starfield was painted on with a Tzeentch icon painted in as if it were a constellation. I may redo this later as I’m not 100% happy with it but it’s good enough for the tabletop at the moment.
By now the end was in sight and I went for the musician. This was the blue one to balance the yellow standard bearer. The base of Mordian Blue was give the same treatment as the green armour on the first knight although this time using blue and purple washes and glazes. It was highlighted with Ultramarine Blue and curlicues painted in with very thin Enchanted Blue on the flat parts of the armour and shield. The metallic pieces were painted Mithril Silver and then washed with successive layers of watered down red, blue and purple inks. They were then highlighted with Dwarf Bronze and Burnished Gold. This was an experiment that I had no idea on how it would end up but I’m happy with the result.
Finally I tackled the lancer. My Chaos knights will all be fighting with hand-weapons but, in the interests of making the unit look less uniform and also because I really liked that particular weapon, I equipped one with a big choppy lance. This guy was originally going to be white but I decided that this would be too bright and so it ended up a very pale dove grey. This is Codex Grey with a Devlan Mud wash and then highlighted up with Fortress Grey, Space Wolf Grey and Skull White. The horse is Devlan Mud over the white undercoat and then highlighted with Graveyard Earth and Kommando Khaki.
You can see more pictures of the Knights on this gallery page.
I bought a portable photo-studio and as a test of its capabilities I decided to photograph my Cryx Warmachine army. These pictures are taken with the same camera as all the others on this blog – it’s a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7 of about 4 years vintage. This is a reasonable quality camera falling somewhere far to the south of a DSLR but a couple of steps above a basic point-and-shoot. Mostly the problem I’ve had with photography is lighting the subject; ambient light is too dark while spotlights and the camera flash are far too harsh. Previously I’ve got around this problem by using the inbuilt camera flash with some thick paper held or taped over the bulb to diffuse the flash. This mostly works although the results can be pretty variable.
I’ve wanted to improve the quality of the photography and short of dropping a couple of thousand Euro or so on a decent DSLR and a macro lens, I figured that lighting would make the biggest difference to my set up. It turns out that I was right. I found a ‘Portable photo studio’ from an eBay reseller for £28 and I’m very happy with it. Basically it’s a folding lightbox with two separate 500w spotlights and a camera stand. The whole thing folds neatly away into a sturdy polyester case which includes pockets on the outside for the lights and other hardware. It couldn’t really be described as professional quality gear but for change out of thirty quid it seems like good value.
So anyway, having taken delivery of my new toy, I was eager to play with it! Here is a quick run through my Cryx army for Warmachine. I picked Cryx for the same reason that I ended up with most of my armies – I really liked the models. While I was working for WAR in Dublin we had a short office campaign that took place in the cellar beneath the company HQ, I did reasonably well there and found that I quite liked the way that the Cryx played on the tabletop as well. Since then I’ve taken them to a bunch of tournaments here in Germany with varying amounts of success, generally I find that I either get a caster kill fairly quickly or I lose.
These figures were mostly painted over the course of a couple of months approximately two years ago, they are definitely table-top standard rather than display standard and some of them are showing signs of battle damage. To begin with, our campaign only allowed units from the Prime (Mk.I) book and Escalation, since then I’ve only added the Nightmare to the army. Thus the army doesn’t include any epic Warcasters, nor any of the character or ally units such as Cephalyx. I will eventually add some of these (in fact Lich Lord Asphyxious is on my painting table at the moment) and I’ll write them up as separate projects as they are done.
All that out of the way then, let’s take a look at the figures.
These two are my most commonly used Warcasters. In particular I like to bring a stealth-heavy army with Deneghra leading it. I’ve tied the army together by using a fairly limited palette of dark grey and corroded bronze with green and pale grey accents. Silver metallics are used sparingly and mostly as contrast. The bronze colour is a custom mix of Tin Bitz, Chainmail and Shining Gold, this is then washed with a custom ink mix of Dark Green Ink, Chestnut Ink and Black Ink before being highlighted with Burnished Gold and glazed with Hawk Turquoise. The grey is mostly Shadow Grey highlighted up. For some figures such as the Skarlock Thrall the grey is applied over a dark brown basecoat to provide deep shading.
Green is used for the detailing in the steam engines for the necrotite glow. This starts as Goblin Green, washed with Dark Green Ink and is then highlighted with Scorpion Green and Skull White to produce a glowing effect. A similar pattern is used for the thrall runes on the Bane Thralls’ axes.
Of course the centre of any Warmachine force are the ‘Jacks and mine is no exception. My force includes a Reaper, Slayer, Nightmare, Stalker and five Bonejacks of various types based on the Defiler hull. These again use a mid-grey main colour with metallics for the exposed machinery and various spot colours. The Reaper that you see above left features runes in Scab Red on the hull and weapons, other ‘Jacks have patterns painted in with a slightly paler grey this breaks up some of the large, flat surfaces and also helps to identify them on the battlefield.
Finally then the army is rounded out by a selection of Thralls. I love the damage that Bane Thralls can inflict and I’m also a fan of the problems that Bile Thralls can cause the enemy, they are awesome suicide troops and no sane opponent will let them get close. I have a Machine Wraith which I love the figure for but which hasn’t really worked out for me on the table so far, my sole Pistol Wraith likewise has been a disappointment. I suspect that this is a case where adding a second one would make a huge difference in the effectiveness of both types. My favourite solo however is the Bloat Thrall, this thing is just horrible and attracts a lot of attention from the enemy. Painting it was a lot of fun too.
Check out the whole collection on the Cryx gallery page.
Yet another figure that I’m painting for someone else. It’s a change from working on my Warriors of Chaos army at least. This one is for a friend who wanted a Belial figure but didn’t have the confidence in his own modelling skills to convert one. I had a bit of a cast around, realised it wouldn’t be too tricky and promptly volunteered to do it for him. There’s quite a nice version posted up on the Games Workshop website that I used as inspiration although mine ended up being quite different as you’ll see.
To begin with I started from Lysander, Captain of the Imperial Fists’ First Company. This is a popular choice for Belial conversions as it’s an ornately armoured Terminator in a fairly dynamic pose. The first thing to do was to remove all the Fists’ iconography which was pretty straightforwards – there’s a fist on his gorget and one on each tasset. These are simple to remove. I also cut out the hand part of the fist shape that makes up part of the head of his Thunderhammer. One of the requirements was that the figure should have interchangeable weapon loadouts. As he’s a Terminator this is a piece of cake – all you need to do is have the relevant weapon arms and magnetise them. In Belial’s case he can have either twin Lightning Claws, a Thunderhammer and Stormshield or a Power Sword and Stormbolter. As I don’t collect Space Marines myself I don’t have a stock of bits to scrounge in so I also bought the Dark Angel upgrade sprue which provided the Power Sword, Stormbolter, Storm Shield and some other small parts. I was also sent a pair of Lightning Claws and shoulder pads by the owner of this piece. Right away I had a problem; I had three left arms and only two left shoulderpads – these are the ones that have the Crux Terminatus sculpted on. One was integral to the Storm Shield arm and the other was the plastic one that I was sent along with the Lightning Claws. I solved this problem by cutting the left Lightning Claw and the Power Sword arm off just below the shoulder, magnetising them and then attaching the shoulderpad to one of the orphaned shoulders which then received two magnets (one to attach to the body and one to attach the rest of the arm).
Originally the plan was to give him a hood but I couldn’t make the hood work with the Terminator armour no matter how I tried. It didn’t look right coming from inside the armour and it didn’t flow well around the head if it was outside. Eventually I scraped off all the greenstuff and left him with just the half-cape that’s part of the Lysander figure. I added some Dark Angel iconography on one greave and the gorget by taking some of the small icons from the Dark Angel upgrade sprue, filing them flat on one side and then gluing them on to the armour. I also Dark Angelsed up the Thunderhammer by sandwiching some greenstuff between two of the helmet wings from the sprue and sticking that on where the fist used to be. The wings on his back are from the Warhammer Fantasy Empire General set, there’s a standard top which is a robed and winged skeleton carrying a scythe. All of that except for the wings were cut away and then the two separate wings were greenstuffed together and moulded somewhat to match the back of the armour. The Empire general also gave up his two handed sword which replaced the one from the Dark Angels sprue.
Once the figure was built, it was time to get on with painting it. To begin with I painted on a thin basecoat of Snakebite Leather all over the armour. I like to paint bone as yellowy, old bone rather than bleached white as it’s generally done so I start with quite a dark colour and work up from there. In this case I highlighted up with various mixtures of Snakebite Leather, Bleached Bone and Skull White. The final edge highlights are pure Skull White but the blending in between is mostly Bleached Bone. The green parts started with a base of Orkhide Shade and went through Goblin Green, Scorpion Green and Sunburst Yellow while the red was a base of Mechrite Red with blood red and Golden Yellow for highlights. I’ve warmed to the foundation paints recently, previously I never used them at all but I’m liking the depth of colour I can get with them even though I almost always start from a white undercoat.
The main problem I had with this figure was working out what colours to do the details. Particularly things like the purity seals, which are generally done with red seals and parchment tassels. In this case the red seals would have been lost against the red eagle on the cuirass while parchment tassels wouldn’t show up well against the bone armour. Eventually I decided to do them gold with greyish parchment. The cloak was another area that got redone once I realised my original plan wouldn’t work. I had planned to do it green and cream to match the Deathwing and the Dark Angels primary colours however this didn’t go well. Cream on the inside was too close to the armour colour and it didn’t frame well as a border colour. In the end I painted the inside green with a red border to tie in with Belial’s old company colours (argent a bend sinister gules). This heraldry is repeated on his back banner, his left kneepad and on two of the right shoulderpads.
These problems are why I like to ‘sketch in’ a figure before I start to work on highlighting and fancy work. Very often something that sounds sensible in your head doesn’t translate well to the actual miniature or you’ll realise that you’ve overlooked some detail that requires you to change your plans. You’ll see that the work in progress shots from the gallery are quite rough, there’s no highlighting to speak of, many of the lines are wobbly and there may even be blank bits. Once I’ve got a better idea of how the final figure will look and I’m happy with the scheme then I’ll tidy it up, work on the shading and add in the fiddly detail.
I played around a little with some non-metallic metal effects on this model. The sword on the back banner as well as the Power Sword and the bayonet on the Storm bolter are all done with slightly different nmm techniques. The back banner is done as shading with a chrome effect – very dark areas next to very light areas to suggest sharp contrasts of light. The Power Sword and bayonet on the other hand use a hatching effect to suggest a shimmering reflection on the blade.
Finally the base is from the 40k basing kit. The large pieces are a shade over 40mm across so I had to trim it down to size, the feet are pinned into it and then it was glued onto the standard 40mm round base. It was painted black then drybrushed with Graveyard Earth, Terracotta and Fortress Grey before small clumps of static grass were added to break it up a little.
It’s getting posted off to England on Monday, let’s hope the new owner likes it!
You can see all the in-progress and final pictures of this figure in the gallery.
We’ve been keeping up steady progress on the 8 new WFB armies that were introduced in the previous update. Dawn and I have made the most progress by far but things have been coming along nicely with the others too. Grazyna has begun work on her Empire Knightly Orders in earnest while Mario has been assembling a horde of skeleton warriors. There was a bit of a pause due to the Easter holidays but despite that a lot has been completed. Dawn has painted most of her initial 500 point force and I have completely painted mine (ok, it was only 27 figures but still…). Dawn’s initial unit of 20 Night Goblins has been done as have all of her Squigs and the mounts for her cavalry. She only needs to finish off the Goblin and Savage Orc riders to hit her first target.
Meanwhile on a different painting table not so far away, Adam and Caz have been working through their piles of plastic. I gave Adam a painted Warhawk rider for his birthday to use as a hero and he’s added a large unit of Dryads to form the core of his force while Caz has been up to her elbows in Ghouls.
On the gaming front, things haven’t been so good. We had a couple of battles to get people familiar with the rules and the different army dynamics. Mario faced off against my Warriors of Chaos first and then against Dawn’s Greenskins and found that 500 points of Tomb Kings is not a very solid force at all. We’re going to push for 1000 point armies which will help him out a bit but he’s definitely going to find things are an uphill struggle in smaller games.
My initial 500 points is entirely done now. It consists of the Sorceror on a Disc, 10 Marauder Horsemen and 15 Marauders with flails. I also painted a familiar for my Sorceror which is magnetised, a second magnet has been greenstuffed under the disc so that he can ride shotgun as required. Next up for me are five Chaos Knights and a converted battlestandard bearer.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine remarked that he and his wife would like to start new Warhammer armies. Previously he’d been a keen 40k and Warmachines player and now he was hankering to get into WFB. As we work together we chatted about it at the office and this led to a few more people jumping in. It’s funny how many closet wargamers there are in the world. So now there 8 of us all starting new WFB armies to play against each other. The idea is that we’ll begin by each putting a 500 point force together as a starting point, have some games with those and then expand from there. There’s talk of a potential Mighty Empires campaign eventually too but we’ll take it one step at a time for now.
As it happens the eight players are four real life couples; there’s me and my wife Dawn, Adam (the friend who started this whole thing off) and his wife Caz, Mario (the Game Director) and his girlfriend Grazyna and finally Jan-Eric (my boss) and his girlfriend Sarah. Conveniently all of us except for Grazyna and Caz all work for the same company which is also located within scatter range of the local game store.
Shortly before Christmas, my local game store received one of the new plastic Tyranid Trygon kits for display purposes. As it happened, I was in there at the time and casually mentioned that I’d like to paint one but wasn’t going to buy one just to paint. The manager told me that I was welcome to paint the display copy once he’d magnetised it and so I ended up painting a modular Trygon/Mawloc.
Jakob spent some time magnetising each of the different options to make them interchangeable and this is mostly pretty straightforward. Each arm has a magnet in the ball joint and there is a corresponding magnet in the sockets. It’s worth spending some time here to make sure that the magnets in the arms are at a good angle. Each arm overlaps the one above it to a degree and thus needs to be splayed out a little to clear it. If you put the magnet in the same position for each arm then they won’t fit properly. The tail has a pin as well as a magnet and each tail tip has a magnet and a hole drilled in it to accept the pin to ensure that it lines up properly and doesn’t twist. The complicated area is the head as there are a lot of optional parts in a relatively small area and these need magnets in different places. The mandibles can be attached just like the arms as they have a simple ball and socket joint on each side but the two jaws present problems. The contact area for each jaw is quite small and the Mawloc mouth part is pretty large so needs a solid connection to hold it in place. Jakob was able to make the regular Trygon jaw fit by putting a magnet in the cavity within it which connects with one inside the head.
Once Jakob had assembled and magnetised the kit, it was handed over to me for painting. I sprayed it white and then deliberated on a colour scheme. Jakob wasn’t a fan of the standard Leviathan colours of purple and white and I think the Behemoth red and blue scheme looks too busy so I compromised on a purplish-brown with pale green scheme as a good contrast using non-standard colours. Tyranids are composed of two main textures: chitinous armour and ribbed flesh, I chose to make the armour dark and the flesh pale. To start with I painted all of the flesh areas with Rotting Flesh. This was then washed with Thraka Green and then highlighted with Rotting Flesh again. Once that was dry I glazed it with Enchanted Blue before applying final highlights of a Rotting Flesh/Bleached Bone mix. As this is quite a large model and there are lots of extra bits, this took some time.
The chitin was painted Scorched Earth initially and then washed with Asurmen Blue. This gave a very dark and warm purple that was almost black. I highlighted this with Leviathan Purple in small amounts of Skull White before glazing it with Lich Purple. Final highlights were in Warlock Purple mixed with Tentacle Pink. Highlighting chitin is relatively simple although it’s time consuming when dealing with the number of separate plates on the Trygon (plus all the different claws, mandibles and so forth). To start with the highlight was pretty subtle and was applied towards the trailing edge of each individual plate. Then the lighter highlights were painted on very quickly in thin lines down from the middle of the plate to the trailing edge. As the highlights get lighter these lines become shorter and more closely spaced, this provides a smooth highlight while keeping the chitinous feel. Finally edge highlights were painted around the vertices. The flesh inside the jaws was painted Tentacle Pink and washed with Leviathan Purple before highlighting with Bleached Bone, this provided a sufficient contrast with the rest of the model without making it look unnatural. The eyes were done in blue and painted as gems instead of irises and pupils.
The whole thing took me a while due mostly the sheer size of the beast. Highlighting that much flesh and that many plates is fiddly and time consuming even with a big brush and thin paint. Still once it’s together it looks pretty impressive.
Check out more pictures including work in progress shots on this gallery page.