Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Hobby - Mel Bose's "Terrain Essentials"

There is a UK YouTuber, Mel Bose, who over the past 5-6 years has created a series of videos on terrainmaking. I've watched these and have learned an enormous about the various techniques involved. Mel's work while not as sophisticated as, say Gaming Geek, allows you to put together functional terrain that is pleasing to the eye.

About 18 months ago, Mel ran a Kickstarter in conjunction with Dave Taylor to produce a book on terrainmaking. I have Dave's book on building armies and it is a great resource, well put together and always informative.

Recently I saw that Mighty Ape were carrying the finished book so I purchased a copy (NZD 75 ~ USD 50).

The book is a solid, hard-covered 180 pages in length. It is full colour, well set out with a couple of bookmark ribbons for easy access.

What is really good is that it includes well photographed step by step instructions demonstrating a plethora of techniques.  These are applicable to all different genres and scales of wargaming.

The mix of photos and drawings makes it easy to follow - and replicate. The writing style is chatty, much like Mel's videos.

The best thing with the book is that you can pick it up to investigate a particular technique or to fill in five minute gap.

I really recommend it. For its price it is great value. 

Monday, April 19, 2021

40k - Tribulations for the Death Guard

 On the weekend I had the second game with my Death guard Plague Marine army. my opponent used a Shadowsun Stealth Tau army (3 Ghost Keels, lots of Stealth Suit units, Battlesuits with Rail Rifles - backed by Fire Warriors and drones). It didn't go well for the Death Guard, the game effectively being after by the end of the Turn 2.

From my point of view, the game was lost in the Deployment phase. There were some clear "red lights" and I, knowingly deployed in a way that would test the resilience of the army. These disadvantages were brutally exposed went the Tau won the roll off for the first turn.

There are a number of things I could have done to mitigate the potential effect at the time of deployment. It is quite clear to me now that more than my more recent armies - Harlequins and Dark Eldar - you just can't plonk things down. The army is slow and small. You need to be brave around the use of Command Points and things that are appropriate for one game may not be the best in the next.

To get the best out of this army it is clear that I'll need to real get on top of Deep Strike, Strategic Reserves and a couple of the more expensive Stratagems e.g. Cloud of Flies, Blight Bombardment.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Hobby - Citifight Board Tiles

 Lynne is away for four days so it's time to cut wild. And what does a wargamer do while the wife is away? Spends the weekend painting terrain! 😀

I'm adding more tiles to my Citifight board and tying them together with the existing tiles. 

I have forty tiles to do and these are the first 25%. More rocky ground cover has been added to all tiles, infilling some pre-existing bare areas. Using a mix of inks and paints on the ground cover (and this time I'm writing down the process). 

Long day ahead on the remainder.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Hobby - Legio Vulpa Finished

 Just a follow up on the "Fatigue Stage" post earlier in the week. The impetus of breaking completion done into component tasks worked.

Three evenings and a few hours on my day off have seen me complete my Titanicus army. A lot of satisfaction putting Legio Vulpa and its supporting House Hyboras into my display cabinet last evening.

Now to get some games in!!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Hobby - Pigment Powders for Legio Vulpa

 A couple of years ago, at Adepticon, I picked up the full set of weathering pigments from Secret Weapon Miniatures. I had used pigment powders before but this set gave a great range of colours and I was keen to put them to use. The ideal project for this is my Legio Vulpa. The engines are based on the Gamers Grass Badlands bases which replicate a dusty red planet. The powders provide the opportunity to tie the engines to the bases by extending the dustiness up their lower bodies.

Vince Venturella did a great video on how to use weathering powders which you can find here.

The first thing I did was make up a tray out of tinfoil and a plastic lid. This allows me to mix pigments together and get variations across the base and the model. I then apply them to the base and the model using a soft brush. The best thing is that this works as both an additive and subtractive technique as you can add or remove to suit your taste. Until they are fixed the pigments can be easily removed by continual dusting of the area.

Remember these are concentrated paint powders and will go everywhere and stain anything if you are nt careful. I removed most of my painting materials from my hobby space and laid down paper towels to catch the pigment. 

In this picture you can see the mess they make, so be careful and whatever you do don't drop the powders on your carpet (I didn't....phew).

Once you are happy with the job you need to fix the pigment or it will easily lift off. There are two ways to do this. The first is isopropyl alcohol which when applied to the pigment fixes it to the surface. You can paint it on but it is better applied through an airbrush.

The second method - and the one I used - is to varnish the model. I used VMS Satin Varnish through the airbrush and it really pulled everything together well.

Things are coming together for the Legio and with a few more hours I should have completed all the finishing work required.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Hobby - GW Skulls

 A few years ago Games Workshop released as a hobby accessory, a pack of skulls. Now GW models get an awful lot of shade for including excess skulls on their models but perhaps the truth has been lying in plain sight. The 41k Millennium is not a very nice place and skulls have replaced the electric scooter as the ubiquitous urban accessory.

I never gave the pack much thought....it was always a bit of a "meh" to me. However as I watch more and more terrain making videos, I now realise I need more skulls in my life! And in this pack GW delivers.

Skulls.....340 of them. And not just human but also all range of Xenos. 

The best thing about these skulls is that they come on sprue rather than loose. This makes painting them so so much easier.

They are perfect for airbrushing. Priming and various zenithal shades plus washes can be added in little over 10 minutes. You then have a wide selection of skulls to add to bases, terrain, grisly trophy racks as you need them. It is as simple as clipping off the sprue, attaching to a model and then touching up any areas required.

Incredibly useful and incredibly good value. Citadel Skulls. Where have you been all my life!

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Hobby - Resin 3-D Printing

 Back in March 2016 I bought a Wanhao i3 PLA 3D printer. This was a filament machine and I used it to print off a large amount of wargaming terrain - both for Kings of War and Warhammer 40k.

Over the first 2 years of its life I printed 3-4 times its purchase cost in terrain pieces. The big thing was that I discovered 3D printing was a hobby unto itself and could be very time consuming - and bloody frustrating when things aren't working. As a result, once I had printed the terrain pieces I wanted I stopped using it regularly and for the last three years it has sat largely unused in my garage.

I have, however, been watching the evolution of 3D printing and the arrival of resin printing. This has been on the wargaming "scene" for a couple of years and we have seen a move towards miniatures as well as terrain pieces.

A number of creators use Patreon to fund the production of new designs and recently I was introduced to Archvillian Games and their latest campaign. Regular readers will know I am a sucker for all things "ratty" and their March campaign seems aimed directly at me.

I purchased the STL files for this set of miniatures which all come pre-supported (important as it reduces the risk of print failure).

So now I'm looking at dipping my toe into the world of resin printing. I got a ballpark quote to print the figures locally which was around $400. Jack is getting a quote from a US printer to see how it shapes up.

Here are some prints he received for some Aliens figs - cost USD 50

The bulls are 40k bike sized while the Queen is 6" tall. Jack says the detail seems good so I'm keen to see them when he has painted them up.

Locally you can buy a printer for $650-850 that is aimed at the entry level hobbyist. I have been looking at the Phrozen Sonic 4k Mini which has a build plate slightly larger than an iPhone. The 4k is important as previously machines have generally been 2k. The progression means you capture greater detail in your prints.

I'm in no particular rush to buy as I think that we will see more 4k entries to the market over the course of the year.

Interested in people's thoughts and experiences with resin prints.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Hobby - The "Fatigue" Stage

 Saturday morning I painted the rims black on the last four figures for my 2000 points of Death Guard. The sense of achievement and satisfaction was palpable. This was a project done and dusted. There is an opportunity to expand the army - I have a number of Blight Drones and 30+ Poxwalkers in my bitzbox but they were never in the original army plan.

As I cleaned up my hobby desk, my eyes strayed to the left and staring at me accusingly was my Legio Vupla army for Adeptus Titanicus. This project was one of did over the New Year break and has been sitting uncompleted on my desk for three months. It is 80% done but has hit what I call the "Fatigue Stage".

The "Fatigue Stage" is that point you reach where you have completed a substantial part of the project - so have a significant sunk cost - but the enthusiasm has receded and you focus entirely on the work/effort to get it over the line. You realise it will only take "x" hours/days to finish but you want to move on to something more exciting....if it isn't addressed it will likely be boxed up as an unfinished project and potentially find its way to a Bring & Buy table at some event.

So how do you get through the "Fatigue Stage"? You can wait until there is a knock at the door and you are visited by New Enthusiasm or it becomes a case where you have to put on your Big Boy Pants.

Break down the work into a series of stages that you need to complete the project. By focusing on the steps rather than the entirety you can work on bite size chunks to do the necessary work.

For my Legio project I have the following tasks to complete:
  • Apply transfers
  • Finish weapons
  • Customise bases
  • Apply weathering pigments
  • Win!
Each of these stages is probably 1-2 evenings work but easily digestible while watching TV/Youtube or listening to a podcast. I'll approach each like a mini-project and work through it to completion. By my reckoning there is a week's worth of evenings.

Check back next week and hopefully there will be pictures of the completed Legio.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Hobby - A Revelation re Craft Knives

Over the summer here, I watched a lot of Youtube videos on hobby aspects of wargaming. 

One of the clips looked at hobby equipment and focused in on hobby knives. Most people use some sort of craft knife with Citadel, Tamiya, Excel and a swathe of No-Name brands being popular. However, in virtually all cases they use the #11 blade.

While universal, this is a very poor choice for most hobby jobs. The blade is generally too big for the job we want it to do and inevitably will lead to problems. These might be damage to model pieces or parts or injury to the user.

You get far better control with a more focused blade. I recently bought the Tamiya Design knife which has the #3 blade.
You can see that it has a much smaller blade which allows you to focus your energy and minimise the chances of slippage. Since I started using it I have noticed far greater precision, reduced need for pressure and, importantly, far fewer cut fingers.

Seems obvious now.

40k - Tinkering Like A Pikey - Death Guard List Changes

 On the weekend I had a game with Locky which gave my new Death Guard their first run on the table. Up until then I had been theorycrafting my tactics and it became very quickly obvious just how slow and immobile the Death Guard are relative to what I had played most of 8th/9th Ed with (Dark Eldar and Harlequins).

"Da ya lek daags?"

What that has made entirely evident is that tactics need to be vastly different. The list I was using is heavily Plague Marine based which according to the 40k Hivemind is sub-optimal. While I accept this I believe that the list can work but requires very disciplined play. I have made a few changes to the list I used and this week painted up the four new required models.

First change is Putrifier in for Surgeon. While I am not happy about losing a 6+ FNP bubble, I can see benefits in wider synergy. The other thing I have done is taken a "win more" pathogen off my Lord of Contagion. The points that have been freed up have been used to give each of my "Shooty" PM squads a HtH threat to keep opponents honest.

My updated list as follows:

Plague Company: Mortarion's Anvil

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos - Death Guard) [1,996pts, 7CP] ++

+ Stratagems - Gifts of Decay [-2CP]: 2x Additional Relics

+ HQ +

Lord of Contagion [120pts]: 5. Rotten Constitution, Plaguereaper, Warlord, Warp Insect Hive

Malignant Plaguecaster [95pts]: Miasma of Pestilence; Curse of the Leper

+ Troops +

Plague Marines
[195pts, -1CP: Champion of Disease]
Plague Champion: Bolt pistol, Plague knife, Plague Skull of Glothila, Power fist; Plague Marine w/ 2nd Plague Knife; Plague Marine w/ Bubotic Axe; Plague Marine w/ Great Plague Cleaver; Plague Marine w/ Flail of Corruption; Plague Marine w/ Plague Spewer; Plague Marine w/ Plague Belcher

Plague Marines
Plague Champion: Boltgun, Plague knife; Plague Marine w/ Blight Launcher; 4x Plague Marine w/ Boltgun, Blight grenades, Krak grenades, Plague knife; Plague Marine w/ Flail of Corruption

Plague Marines [167pts]
Plague Champion: Boltgun, Plague knife; Plague Marine w/ Blight Launcher; 4x Plague Marine w/ Boltgun, Blight grenades, Krak grenades, Plague knife; Plague Marine w/ Flail of Corruption

Plague Marines [167pts]
Plague Champion: Boltgun, Plague knife; Plague Marine w/ Blight Launcher; 4x Plague Marine w/ Boltgun, Blight grenades, Krak grenades, Plague knife; Plague Marine w/ Flail of Corruption

+ Elites +

Blightlord Terminators [295pts]
Champion: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter; 2x Terminator: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter; Terminator: Balesword, Combi-bolter; Terminator: Flail of Corruption; Terminator: Blight Launcher, Bubotic Axe; Terminator: Balesword, Plague Spewer

Deathshroud Terminators [150pts, -1CP: Champion of Disease]
Champion: Plaguespurt gauntlet, Reaper of Glorious Entropy; 2x Terminator: 2x Manreaper, 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet

Biologus Putrifier [65pts]

Foul Blightspawn [75pts, -1CP: Warlord Trait] - Gloaming Bloat, Plaguechosen, Revolting Stench-vats

Tallyman [70pts] - Tollkeeper

+ Heavy Support +

Plagueburst Crawler [175pts]: 2x Entropy cannon, Heavy slugger

Plagueburst Crawler [175pts]: 2x Entropy cannon, Heavy slugger

+ Dedicated Transport +

Chaos Rhino [80pts]