White Dwarf 218- Review

One last nostalgia piece before the month ends.
 White Dwarf 218 came out in February 1998, and heralded the release of Digganob, an expansion for Gorkamorka (itself released only a few months earlier in White Dwarf 214). More importantly it also contained the first ever incarnation of The Tale Of Four Gamers.

The more things change the more they stay the same...

So what was within the 128 pages of old school magazine. Cover price £3.50
There's the news section that gave a price chart of the new releases and was filed with bits and pieces from around the Studio, larger gaming world, and Black Library and a few paragraphs on the new models. What is very different is the lack of the splash pages full of pictures.

So what was out at the start of 1998?

White Dwarf 387 - Review

A quick break from standard articles as I try and get everything finished for the rapidly approaching month end, with a review of WD387 that hit my doormat this morning, and a bit of a wider look at GW.

So 119 pages of hobby goodness, hopefully...

Sunday Photo Page 26.02.2012

My Jackalope turned up in the week..
 I'm tempted to leave the antlers off and paint it white...
 with bloody jaws...
 and use him as the Rabbit Of Caerbannog, complete with bug pointy teeth.

25 Years Of Warhammer 40,000. A Personal History

Happy Birthday Warhammer 40,000.

And while we're at it, Happy Birthday 2000AD, 35 years going strong come Sunday, and still full of Thrill Power at the ripe old age of Prog 1771.

Interrupting "From the Æther" at week two isn't what I'd planned to do (I should have planned ahead a bit I suppose), but I think a bit of a celebration of 40K is in order.

Let start with this little nugget of awesome. Give it time, but oh wow.

It'd be remiss of me to start this piece without quoting the page of script that's followed the game through many incarnations.

"IT IS THE 41st millennium. For more than a hundred centuries the Emperor has sat immobile on the Golden Throne of Earth. He is the master of mankind by the will of the gods, and master of a million worlds by the might of his inexhaustible armies. He is a rotting carcass writhing invisibly with power from the Dark Age of Technology. He is the Carrion Lord of the Imperium for whom a thousand souls die every day, for whom blood is drunk and flesh is eaten, Human blood and human flesh- the stuff of which the Imperium is made

To be A man in such times is to be one amongst untold billions. It is to live in the cruellest and most bloody regime imaginable. This is the tale of those times. This is a dark and terrible era where you will find little comfort or hope. Forget the power of technology, science, and common humanity. Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for there is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods.

But the universe is a big place, whatever happens, you will not be missed...

In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war."

 Below follows a personal history...

Adventures In Casting - Shields And Scarabs Pt2

And so after a bit of messing about with lego, here's how I've got on...

The first step was to soften the Instant Mold to allow it to be reused.

 Once this was done it lined the bottom of a lego former I was using to keep the two halves tight together. Below is the former for the Scarabs. I added the mould, then pressed the scarabs in, then once this had hardened placed a second layer and the rest of the former on top and left it to set. This left me with this...
 Then in went a very roughly guessed amount of Green Stuff, (turns out it was too much, but not by a huge amount.) and added it to the moulds, packing it firmly intto the bottom half. 
 Then the top layer was added, and pressed own very hard. The top of the former was then added on.
 It was then a wait of 24 hours...
Some time later and here's what my eagerness to get into the mould revealed...

 Three fairly well former Scarabs.

And here's one that's been cleaned up compared to the plastic original.
I'm impressed with the scarabs, and can hopefully churn out a fair number by simply casting up three daily, to generate enough for a real swarm feeling to the bases, rather than the rather sparse four GW gives in the sprue. Practice will only improve things. 

As pleases as I am with the Scarabs the shields have not gone as planed. I didn't make a former that fitted as tightly and the mould suffered from being done second and not quite softening enough. The end result was not all it could be...
I can probably salvage all but the right hand shield for adding character to bases. At least creating another mould is easy at it is merely a case of wasting Green Stuff, rather than binning a whole mould.

Overall I'm impressed, with Instan Mold as a substance and the results it has given, user error not withstanding. Expect to see a slowly growing Scarab swarm on the Photo pages at some point.

The Howling Of The Wolves

It's fairly spread across the internet that Space Wolves will finally be getting Thunderwolves next month. If you've not seen them, and the Tyranid releases also soon to be out, then have a look here, via Bell Of Lost Souls

Adventures In Casting - Shields And Scarabs Pt1

A packet of Instant Mold arrived yesterday, finally allowing be to being experimenting with casting Scarabs and Skeleton Shields.

 Inside the packet are six sticks of mould. As I'm casting full pieces rather than a surface impression I'll be using two sticks per piece, sandwiching the piece to be cast.

InstantMold reacts to heat, the sticks being made pliable by immersing in water for 2 minutes at about 80°C. I boiled a kettle which gave me usable water for long enough to play around with the sticks and create moulds.  The water needs to be hot enough to completely soften the sticks, as they won't take an impression if the remain, or cool, to a rubbery consistency.

The first thing to note is that the mould will rebond when pressed together, so there is no need to worry about flattening, folding, or probably cutting bits off, as it'll repair when heat treated. This means a piece can be reused again and again (although I assume the softening/hardening process eventually stops).

Once I'd had a play about I used a stick for the bottom half of each of my moulds.
 Once this had cooled and hardened (a few minutes at most) I used a second stick to make the top half.

As I didn't want to waste Green Stuff at the experimental stage I tried the shields first, which have been captured impressively well. While the gaps in the originals have not been reproduced the copies should be serviceable once fully hardened and tided up. It bears noting that at no point have I used a release agent or similar, the Mold does not bond to the Green Stuff.

I'm going to modify the process slightly by adding Lego formers so I can fully control the two halves coming together and get a really good finish that'll be needed on the Scarabs. Expect Pt2 soon.

Overall I'm very impressed with Instant Mold as it's made a previously difficult job considerably easier. It opens some interesting doors for conversion, especially given that it can be reused or left in shape, particularly if I can master two part casting.

You Know You Can Fix That Chameleon Circuit...

... if you just try hotwiring the fragment links and superseding the binary binary binary binary binary binary binary ...

More or less geekery than normal today? You decide...

I've got a TARDIS to fix. Well, a Glaswegian Police Box from Hasslefree Miniatures.

The way resin is cast causes bubbles in the mixture. Something Forge World seem on top of, but that GW are ignoring in their "Finecast" range.

Mortis Engine Pre Painting Assembly.

Truth be told I've had this done for a while and have been waiting for a chance to do the photos and get posted, so here it is, the Vampire Counts big plastic kit all ready for undercoating and painting at some point in the future.

I'm very impressed with the kit, and the level of detail is impressive. While the Spirit Horde clearly uses other kits in it's creation (it'd be interesting to see the original sculpt), it'll tie in well with the rest of the army in terms of look. The kit has a large number of parts, particularly for the Skeletons in the Horde, which meant actually crossing parts off in the instructions as I glued them in place.

First is the base section that I'm leaving as two parts for now, so I can get at interior detail more easily. Once this is painted it'll be glued solidly together.
Outermost sides of the Spirit Horde
Inside of the Spirit Horde
When stuck together they'll look like this...

 The Engine section will sit on four small contact points that are hidden amonst the other detail. One thing I'm not sure of yet is how much the top of the 'V' the Horde makes will splay out and if it'll need a connection fabricating between the top of the two sides, that'll also provide more support for the Engine's base.

Sunday Photo Page 19.02.2012

A bit of a slow week this week, but progress has been made none the less, if possibly in a more intractable way than normal.

First up some models from Heresy Miniatures. Found within their Sci-Fi range it ought to be fairly obvious to those in the know who they are possibly based upon.

 The "Eleven" group are going to a new home, but "Ten" is staying with me.

From The Æther 1. The Obvious Places.

And so begins the first article in a series of Saturday posts that will list a variety of articles from around the web, both to give me a resource for things that would otherwise remain as an unused bookmark sat gathering electronic dust in my favourites folder. And to stop the tearing out of hair when such folders get eaten by the whims of breaking laptops. To start with I'll be hitting the basic sites, and one or two things that have caught my eye this week.

So, the obvious three places to start...
Games Workshop
Privateer Press

There are far more companies than this, but deserve more of an airing than I'd give them here.

News and Forums
Dakka Dakka
Bell Of Lost Souls

And my best find of recent times for keeping up with news from outside of the bigger games...
Tabletop Gaming News

And for those keen on their painting
Cool Mini Or Not

And to actually to provide a useful link this month, an ex-GW employee fields questions on Reddit, via Bell Of Lost Souls

I'll be sifting various blogs over the next week, to pull both individual posts and full sites of interest for next Saturday.

Forging A Warjack

It's been a long time since converting a miniature has taken me so long. It's a reminder of why the shift to plastic and resin is a good one, and of long hours spend filing and cutting away to try and obtain a certain pose.

The metal Khador warjacks some with disappointingly static posing, and I was keen to alter this. I'd already started work repositioning the leg, but It was now time to get everything together and try it.

First job was checking parts. Two plastic warjacks stand proud above the bits of three old metal 'jacks. Not sure why I have three metal 'jacks, must have been a reason for the third one. A mystery for another time though.

After sifting through everything I'd got all the bits I wanted, which is always good coming back to a conversion, as there's always the fear something has gone missing or been cannibalised for something else.
 With that it was onto the pinning and posing, which caused much frustration. The metal proved both difficult to drill, and when constructed with blu-tack had a tendency to fall apart. This became increasingly tiresome as I tried to position the model on it's base to drill holes for the longer pins. I usually just press down to put a mark in the cork, but the movement in the model was to much. In the end, after repositioning a hole three time I ended up happy.

 I'll be adding more to the base to blend in the raised section but it is looking good for now.

The Lost Art Of...Not Starting Another Army

A wordy post today, while I continue some conversion work on my metal Warjack, and try and avoid playing Skyrim (made easier by the game incorrectly deciding it'll make itself more fun by dropping a dragon on my head every tenth time I step outside. My thief character is ill equip to fight anyone who isn't asleep or surprised, let along a winged, fire breathing saurus, who I can't run away from, but I digress).

While looking on the Privateer Press site for Khador related goodness I saw the box shots for the soon to be released (May/June ish?) plastic Horde Battlegroups...

It was then, as is want to happen, that shiny stuff fever took over. While not a wholly consuming want my avarice shifted between the factions (although not Skorne) and finally settled on Everblight.

It is important to list the steps.

  1.  See new model, be it a new release or something you've only just found. See above
  2. Find main site and look up background. See here and here
  3. Look at more models from the same range. See here 
  4. Look at tactics site to get a feel for the force. See here
Now this in itself is a fairly long process as previously it tended to go
  1. See new model. Decide it is worth getting.
  2. Add to cart and pay
 There are variations as well, but that's the shortest path.

So at 4 I'm still all gung ho for starting an Everblight force. Normally this would be followed with
  1. Add to cart
  2. Pay
But not this time. Instead I went
  1. What have I already got to paint for Warmachine/Hordes (Asking that question with a broader spectrum of games is only more damning)?
  2. What's the initial buy in cost?
  3. What's the cost of expanding the force?
  4. Will it wait?
Well after a lot of searching online 8 answered itself, with no firm release date on the sets but looking like at least a wait until May.  So it'll have to wait. 5 is answered by the fact I'm currently converting a Warjack. 6 depends what I get, but certainly £30+, and likewise for 7.

However the plastic Warbeast set is available come the end of the month, and I'm sorely tempted by it, but I think that may become the reward for achieving March's goals. We shall see. I'm also tempted by the warpwolf kit as I love me a nice werewolf model.

What is important to take away for me at least is a deferred defeat to my acquisitive wants, if not a victory. How long this unexpected bit of willpower will last remains to be seen, but it's a glimmer of hope in terms of my usual approach to buying models.

Sunday Photo Page 12.02.2012

 Not a huge amount done this weeks that I can actually photograph. I seem to have spent a lot of time reading web pages on painting and all sorts of other things, which will become a new feature come next Saturday. That's not to say that there has been no progress though. I've mainly been experimenting with my painting, and trying to settle on a style and improve my skills.

I'm using the above terminator as a test for various things, first of all a bit of freehand. The above is a very clean version, while below has a slightly more John Blanche style  to it...

 The background was me testing out painting checks, but painting onto paper doesn't help hugely as it doesn't share the same properties as plastic.

More experimentation below, this time with Dark Eldar. I've taken time to clean up my edge work on the right-hand model, which is possibly most noticeably on the legs. This proves a point about being prepared to go back over linework and tidy it up for the best effect, rather than expect my first brush stroke to be perfect.

I've also painted another zombie. Ish. I was kken to play around with a gore and mud splattered model and this is the result. 

 This, more than anything I've played around with needs the most work, both finding a suitable blood mixture and placement on the model. More zombies where he came from to experiment on though.

Another bit of experimenting involved trying to paint red by adding layers of brown and red wash to a blazing orange base coat. This worked surprisingly well, as shown by the lower of the two shoulder pads here.

At the end of the week a large wet pallet I've bought arrived. I've yet to give it much of a work out, but initial impressions are mixed. I will review it at some point anon...


There is one man who has really guided  the vision of the two Games Workshop universes, and that man is John Blanche. 

With his unique style and gorgeously macabre touches the grim future and dark fantasy of Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Fantasy (and their sister games) are bought to life by his artwork. 

2nd Edition 40K Boxart

Epic 40,000 cover art.
 More pictures below the post, including some models painted by the great man himself...

Of Zombies and Movement Trays Pt1

I don't think I've ever posted pictures of my zombie regiments. While painting got paused while in progress (as is the case with most of my Vampire Counts force) I have made minor alterations to the way the unit ranks up. While not a conversion as such, I'd say they fall under unusual. It's possibly best to show with pictures though...
Unit 1: Lunch

Unit 2:Still Fighting.
 Patting myself on the back a bit here, but I really like them. Certainly unit 1 gets some horrified looks, which is what you're after as a VC player.

There is though a problem with these units under the new rules. While I've included a standard and musician in each (the extreme ends of the front rank) it is now possible to include a Hero. Tradition would have it that the hero would go right where I have placed my unfortunate victims. This will look like all the zombies are trying to cop a feel though.

Instead I think that my hero will go in the second rank, and should stand out well enough, like so.

It's probably his kill anyway...

 The second unit has him lost in the horde a bit, but I'll be adding some height to the base (emphasising the Wraith as being ethereal; floating through a gravestone or such like)  to make him stand out. If my opponent objects I can move him to the front rank, and lose all respect for them. I will need to remember to add one extra zombie to the formation to keep the unit size at the minimum 20 plus the hero (I will forget this more than once no doubt).

The units above produce a second problem, as zombies they are likely to get added to throughout the game as I cast Invocation on them. And when they reach critical mass of 30+ I'm going to want to change formation with them. Going from a frontage of 5 and depth of between 6 and 8 to a frontage of 10 and a depth of 3 or 4 is not a task to be taken lightly. Swapping to a different tray is gonig to be a long task with 30 models, so a different solution is needed. After a bit of drawing to work things out...

Pure genius at work....
... I think there is a solution.

I don't mind having space at the rear of the base spare, but there is a need for the footprint of the unit to match a fully ranked unit (so no edges in the middle of units. While one solution is to do this...

Potentially 6 ranks deep...

Change to horde formation
it does mean moving all the models on one tray through 180°,  and the centre of the unit moving across, so not an ideal solution.

So how to create a more elegant way of doing things?

The first matter to address in how the tray is split. See the blue and green sections on my piece of planning paper for how I intend to do it. Basically the back ranks, past the standard 4 rank depth will split into two sections one 3 models wide, the other 2 wide. These will then move to either flank of the central block. So far so good, but the base edges now cause a problem, either getting in the way or not being there. 

There are two possible solutions I want to explore for this. The first is to mount the edges so they detach at this stage and can then reattach in the correct places. The second is to have two layers to the tray, one without the edging that is a simple tray for the models, and a layer underneath that which is replaced when the unit formation changes. Neither solution is ideal, and I'll be experimenting later in the month to see which I prefer.