Friday, July 3, 2020

Primaris Experimentus Circumspectus

Squad of Primaris Intercessors for the Crimson Fists Chapter of Space Marines - figures from GW.
The summer has finally - finally - arrived to my corner of the world - yay! With the arrival of scorching temps and sunshine, along with what would appear to be something of a lull in the pandemic (at least around here - I know it is getting worse elsewhere), the amount of hobby time has declined somewhat. But the brushes are still going, and here is something a little different to share - a squad of new "Primaris Intercessors", plastic figures from GW, painted in the colours of the Crimson Fists Space Marine chapter.

Intercessors carrying "auto bolt rifles" - I love the drum-style magazines on the weapons.

Emobssed shoulder pads are from older kits - and they still work fine on the new "Primaris" models.
The "Primaris" models are hardly news anymore, having arrived back with the release of the 8th edition of GW's Warhammer 40k rules. For an old Rogue Trader grognard such as myself, the Primaris versions of the Space Marine did not hold a lot of immediate appeal. The narrative setting and story around the appearance of "Primaris" marines in the 40k setting was lame (subjective, of course, YMMV). The Imperium of Warhammer 40k is grounded in a certain blend of high technology and feudal superstitions..."innovation" is, at best, suspicious. A newer, tougher Space Marine with improved armour and cooler guns would properly be considered some kind of abomination. Those advocating for the adoption of such technology and "improvements" would be sent to the recycler! After all, The Emperor himself came up with the Space Marines. Anyone saying "hey, I improved the Space Marines" is claiming, somehow, to be better than The Emperor...seems like a career-limiting move to me!

If you are going to check your email, always draw your pistol first...

Just one example of many different options for poses/looks in the Intercessors box.
But of course Warhammer 40k is not just a story, but a business, and from a business perspective, an entirely new Space Marine is a big gamble for GW. But, in many ways, and I can see how it might be a sensible approach for GW to take. Space Marines are THE big product that underpins the whole 40k product line, and if you can take a central product line into new and better places, well, it's great for business, right?

Sergeant - a fun pose, again, another example of the neat poses from the kit.

No harm in sneaking a VII Legion decal on this group, is there?
So, leaving aside the turd-like narrative aspects, and just looking at the new models,  I thought I would give them a try. I purchased a pack of "Intercessors" last summer. I thought I would paint them for the most recent edition of Curt's "Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge" - and indeed I did start them in late December of 2019 - but assorted distractions and other projects left them unfinished. They never made it to the Challenge. They were about 60% done, sitting on my painting desk, until this week.

But this delay is not due to disliking the figures - it is due to a desire to focus on non-40k projects. In fact, I quite enjoyed these figures...GW is at its best when doing these multi-part plastic kits, and the Intercessors have all sorts of nice options - for weapons, for poses, for accessories. I like the notion of the "bolt rifle" and the three different types you can choose to equip the figures with. I opted for the "auto bolt rifle" for most of these Marines in this unit as I like the look of the drum-style magazine. There are a couple with "stalker bolt rifles", and two of the Marines also have auxiliary grenade launchers.

A (fuzzy) example of a "stalker bolt rifle".
There are lots of options for arms with knives, arms swapping out magazines, arms point, checking scanners etc as well as tons of little add-ons like relics or parchment seals etc. These things are familiar from previous Space Marine figure kits, but they are taken to a new level here - it is well done. I only used those sparingly here, as I wanted to get a sense for what a "basic" Primaris marine would be like. But there are tons of options for anyone who would like to try them out.

Auxiliary grenade launchers mounted on bolt rifles - with grenade rounds loaded into the slings...neat details.

A small amount of extra fire support for the squad.
The other benefit that I did not expect was the extent to which you can still use components from earlier ranges of "classic" plastic Space Marines - or even the Horus Heresy stuff if you want. I mean, obviously the Primaris' legs are huge, so limited options there...but shoulder plates in particular, as well as many arms, the backpacks and the helmets can swap back and forth between "classic" Marine models and the new Primaris figures. That means, for example, that you can put the riveted shoulder pauldrons of a Mark III armour suit, or the cool "beakie" style helmet on the model and it will still work. You can even go the other way - using "bolt rifles" on classic plastic marines - I experimented a bit with some 30k Space Wolves (not perfect, but I still liked the results). If you want to see much, much, better examples, of how bits from the more classic kits can look great on the Primaris marines, check out the cool "Gatebreakers" over at the amazing "Death of a Rubricist" blog

View showing the rear packs and leg armour.
Are there downsides? Well, one familiar frustration is decals...the decals that came with the box were perfect if you were painting Ultramarines, but otherwise you were SOL. I think GW is improving on that now, and you can get kits to further customize your Marines to a number of specific, well-known chapters. In the case of these figures, I just used some spare Imperial Fist/Crimson Fist embossed shoulder pads and then used the Ultramarine decals for tactical symbols, painting over the bright white of the Ultramarine's symbols with a red that I feel is more appropriate for the Crimson First Chapter.

Another thing to be mindful of with these figures is the posing of the arms...I wouldn't call this a "flaw", per-se...or if it is a flaw, it's me, not the models. You can get some super-cool poses with the plastic Primaris Marines, but also some awkward-looking ones. The issue can stem from a very small thing, a not-quite-right pose of the arms or the head...look closely at a couple of photos here and some of Marines look a little awkward with their weapons. Just take your time, and you'll be fine.

One final negative for me is the lack of heavy weapons. Don't get me wrong - there are new-generation Space Marines with heavy-style weapons, such as the "Hellblasters", but I miss the single heavy-weapon Marine with a missile launcher or lascannon. The designers seem to be taking the Marines away from the vision of the "tactical squads" that could do a little bit of everything. Instead, there are more specialized squads, with specialized armour/weapons etc. Oh well. 

Auxiliary grenade launchers on the end of the battle line.
But overall, these were fun to experiment with. It is clear GW is intending to replace the entire Space Marine line with new "Primaris" figures. GW denies this, of course - that is one way you know it is true! But you can also see the writing on the wall in that every new Space Marine model released by GW since the arrival of the 8th edition has been a "Primaris" variant of some sort. While the grognard in me grumbles, at the end of the day, most of the new figures look neat - different, yes, in many ways, but still clearly Space Marines, neat to assemble and paint, and surely fun to put on the table where they can get run over by Orks and other xenos threats of the grim and dark future of 40k...

Thanks for reading, hope you are able to be safe and enjoy some summer and some hobby time of your own. Cheers!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

30k Militia Turrets

While Dallas and Greg have been pumping out models with regularity, my progress has been slowed by school being cancelled and at home learning g being implemented. This program has been a failure in my opinion as although  technology has allowed us to attempt remote learning, it is not yet capable of the task asked of it. Thankfully the school year is ‘officially’ done and I’ve been able to carve out a few hours of painting here and there. First up there s a unit of troops for my 30k militia force. Models are from anvil industry and are armed with lasrifles. The rules allow you to buy augmented weapons which add +1 to the strength of las weapons making these long range bolt guns. A bolt gun isn’t anything to get excited about when your fighting  World Eater Legionnaires swinging a chain axe at your skull, but it’s better than strength 3 I guess.
The Sargent is armed with a power maul and blast pistol for those pesky World Eater Terminators. Yikes!

I’ve also reorganized my existing Imperial Guard army to fit in with the 30k list. It’s pretty basic and would be used to add some fodder for the Traitor Legions. I purchased some new turrets for my Leman Russ tanks from Kromlech. The turrets fit perfectly and have almost every weapon option for the tank. I opted for the demolished, battle cannon and twin lascannon turrets. I added some Sons of Horus transfers to show off their new allegiance. I’m sure Horus will be considerate of their crews lives.

Storm Eagle for 30k Space Wolves

Storm Eagle gunship ready to fly in support of the VI Legion on the tabletop.
The skies of the real world today might be mostly empty, but the skies of our Horus Heresy are getting little crowded! Here is a Storm Eagle gunship painted in the colours of the VI Space Marine Legion, the Vylka Fenryka - the "Space Wolves". The model kit and decals are from Forge World.

View of the top, showing a crew access hatch, and the rocket launchers (not sure how those get to ground targets, but it's 30k, let's not worry over such things).
As you can likely tell from even a casual perusal of this blog, I am rather passionate about GW's Horus Heresy setting. This leads to the accumulation of more models than I can paint at a given time period, and thus an accumulation of what I like to refer to "pending projects" (makes it sound more organized, less nutty). This model is one such "pending project" fact, it was "pending" for well over a year, almost two!

View from the front - twin heavy bolters, ready for strafing - and there is also an access ramp in the nose.
Twin lascannons under each wing.
It's a little precarious up on that flight stand...
Why did it take so long to paint this? Well, all the usual excuses apply...when I paint 30k, I paint tons of it, but then when my hobby-squirrel brain chases other interests (like the Franco-Prussian war, to name a recent example), the 30k stuff waits. But there was something else...this kit is a healthy size, and it was kind of intimidating to consider painting. I procrastinated and made up excuses, worked on other projects etc. while this model, primed and ready, waited amid the "pending projects".

There was an option to mount multi-meltas, but I just didn't see those as "strafing" weapons, and opted for the heavy bolters instead.

Close up of one of the twin-lascannon mounts under the wings.
Enter Dallas, and the wonders of collection escalation! When Dallas sets his mind to a project, he is often quite decisive about it. Earlier this year, he talked about how cool a Storm Eagle would be. He got one. And then he built it, and painted it - and it looks bloody fantastic! I told him if he painted his gunship, it would inspire me to finish one too - and it has! Seeing his awesome IV Legion gunship, I decided to get moving and paint one up for the loyalist side. Since I have been painting a lot of Space Wolves for 30k lately, I opted to paint one for The Rout.

One of the side access hatches.

Main access ramp for troops and cargo is at the back.
As Dallas mentioned in his recent post, these Storm Eagle models have a well-deserved reputation for "being difficult" to assemble. Certainly, it was utterly beyond my skills, and thus I turned to local hobbyist Steve B for assistance - as has been the case with so many vehicles and kits in my 30k collection, Steve was an absolute genius at getting the model assembled and ready to go. He had to put up with numerous issues assembling the model - "green stuff" and card and other things were required in order to make them work.

This is always disappointing to see with such an expensive model kit, but this is par for the course with Forge World kits (not all of them, of course, but enough of them). Certainly I was fortunate that Steve helped with the assembly - I could not have built it properly myself...

A look at some of the decals on the wings...

Another partial profile view of the main body of the craft.
Painting was straightforward, in that I pretty much followed the same steps I use to paint an individual space marine - but of course the size of the model made the process more involved, and it took several days.

I painted the pilot and the cockpit, and then painted the cockpit cover separately, before adding the plastic canpoy. Unfortunately the spars that should go over the canopy to help hold it in place were not packed in the kit properly - there were two for the left side. So I just left them off - they are not strictly necessary.

The base coat was "Mechanicus Standard Grey", followed by a layer of "Dawnstone", a recess wash of "Agrax Earthshade" and edge highlighting of "Administratum Grey". The red is "Khorne Red", edge chipped with "Mephiston Red". I sponge-chipped the whole thing with "Eshin Grey", then went to work on the various lenses, metallics etc. There were a few spots where I was able to make use of GW's new Contrast Paint range...usually on metallic components, a good way to give a bit of colour and/or shade - especially for the buttons on the cockpit controls etc.

WIP,early stages, some base grey and metal paints on the model.

Another WIP photo...this was the 50% done stage...
The decals come from Forge World's awesome legion-specific decal sheet range. These decals are pricey, yes, but they are more than worth it, providing a healthy supply of varied and cool decals. I tried to make the best use of them I could on this model. 

This beast will carry the warriors of The Rout into battle in style, conveying them safely to a hot LZ and then sticking around to provide some fire support. With lascannons, heavy bolters and missiles, the Storm Eagle will bring the vengeance of the Vylka Fenryka to a 30k tabletop sometime least, I hope it will be sometime soon - our common lament. When the time comes, I have a feeling we will be playing a HUGE game of Horus Heresy...but until then, we can all stay safe and keep painting.

VI Legion models give a sense of the size...certainly this is no Thunderhawk, but it's a big model.
A big thanks again to Steve B - I hope he's happy to see this finally painted! A big thank you also to Dallas for the inspiration and collection escalation, and to the Fawcett gang in general for their energetic embrace of the setting. I remember when I first started the Horus Heresy in 28mm back in 2014, I figured that "it would just be a few models" and that the game would be something niche that I would run from time to time. Instead, Byron, Dallas, Mike and others have all jumped in, and 30k games have been fairly regular occurances...between us we have significant forces we can put on the table for something like ten or eleven of the different Space Marine legions, as well as the Mechanicum and even the Solar Auxilia. We have heretical billboards and Walls of Terra for terrain. The games have all been amazing. Crazy stuff! Anyway, thanks for reading, be safe!

PS - I still have another one of these models to go! We'll see which Legion gets that one... 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Iron Warriors Primarch Perturabo and Iron Circle Battle-Automata

A mighty group here... I've now finished painting Perturabo, Primarch of the Iron Warriors Legion, and two Iron Circle Ferrax-Domitar Battle Automata. Three very large models!

We'll have a look at the Iron Circle battle-automata first. These are robots, of course - creations of the Adeptus Mechanicus modified by the Primarch himself to serve as his personal Honour Guard. Apparently Perturabo assembled six of these machines as his "Iron Circle" following an incident where an Imperial Fists kill team managed to infiltrate his flagship, the Iron Blood, following the Battle of Phall.

The Iron Circle are armed with Graviton Mauls and Karceri battle shields, as well as shoulder-mounted Olympia-pattern bolt cannon. The models are very straightforward to assemble, with the exception of two elements...

The legs, often a particular bugbear of mine, assemble easily due to the fact they go together in only one way. I often have problems assembling legs since it can be tough to ensure that the hips and pelvis of the model are level. However there's no problem this way with the Iron Circle robots.

One of the difficulties, however, is pictured above - the long power cable stretching from body to left hand. Of course, modelers have significant flexibility in how the model is assembled and that precludes Forge World from providing a "pre-formed" length of cable. Their solution is to supply a straight resin cable and instruct modelers to heat it in hot water and bend it to suit placement on their particular model. You can guess how this goes in many cases... resin is insufficiently bendy and breaks into pieces when it's being bent to shape. This is exactly what happened with Unit 1. To fix it I had to run a piece of stiff wire, bent to shape, between the unbroken ends of resin cable I glued to the body and fist. When I was happy with the shape, I rolled thin cylinders of greenstuff and attached them to the wire, matching the cast resin cables. The final step was to build and attach the bronze cable stays, again out of greenstuff. Arrrgh.

ANYWAY... the Karceri battle shield looks pretty cool painted "chevronny" in the good old IV Legion style. The shields were extensively chipped with a mix of Rhinox and craft black on the yellow parts, and Leadbelcher on the black parts.

Unit 2 was painted in the same way - base Leadbelcher, bronze parts Brass Scorpion, yellow parts Zandri Dust/Averland Sunset, the whole washed with a mix of Agrax Earthshade and Nuln Oil.

Here's the second beef I had with assembly - similar to the power cables, the ammo belts for the bolt cannon were straight resin pieces meant to be heated and formed to shape. Well screw that - I knew what was coming, so just cut some straight pieces of belt and attached them to the cannon.

The maul is a wicked looking weapon!

The cables on Unit 2 actually bent and formed very well - this is what they're "supposed" to look like.

The Iron Circle robots absolutely tower over regular infantry models - in the foreground is a Space Marine in MKIII armour.

Now on to the big man himself, the Primarch Perturabo. I've actually been finished the model for awhile but figured I'd combine the post with the Iron Circle bots that were just completed over the weekend.

Lots of silver paint on this fellow also. I like the head sculpt but having seen another hobbyist's conversion of Perturabo wearing a helmet, I kind of wish that Forge World had given this as an option. After all, gritty siege specialists don't often run around without head protection.

The provided display base is ridiculous and over-the-top, and actually took a little bit of thinking to figure out in terms of assembly. It's completely impractical for any kind of gaming use, of course, which leads to my work shown later in the post.

Perturabo can wield Forgebreaker, the massive Thunder Hammer forged by Fulgrim and used by Ferrus Manus (save Ferrus!), primarch of the Iron Hands Legion. The hammer was given to Perturabo by Horus the Warmaster himself, following the death of Ferrus Manus in the Drop-Site Massacre on Isstvan V.

But wait! There's more! As the display base is pretty much unusable for gaming, I rigged up some magnets to base Perturabo on a 40mm base, using one of the parts from the display base as well. The magnets work fine but be mindful of polarity as always!

Finally, I magnetised Perturabo's right hand as well, so he can be played without Forgebreaker if desired. Again, all it takes is some small magnets sunk into his wrist and hands.

Forgebreaker and bare right hand

Gaming base

Display base
As Conscript Greg pointed out in a recent text, we seem to be headed for a GIGANTIC Horus Heresy game as soon as this lockdown lets up. I have to say that Perturabo and his Iron Circle Honour Guard were pretty satisfying to paint despite (more likely because of) the limited palette and simple techniques used. They sure look impressive I reckon!

Stay safe everybody!