Thursday, August 17, 2017

From Iron, Cometh Strength - Heresy-Era Iron Warriors - Part 1

Continuing our group's collective Horus Heresy madness, I've now made a start on my second Legion project. Having amassed a reasonable force of IX Legion Blood Angels, I wanted to collect a Traitor legion, just for some contrast (not that Greg's Sons of Horus hordes need any reinforcement!)

So, which to pick... one of the things I enjoy about the Heresy background is its grittiness. It's really the antithesis of the "cartoon" GW aesthetic of the 1990s and hearkens back to the grunginess of John Blanche's work. And who are the grungiest of all the Traitor Legions? Well, that would have to be the siege masters of the IV Legion - the Iron Warriors.

I also have to admit that ease of painting was another major factor in my choice. And what could be easier than the blackened iron and hazard striping of the Iron Warriors? On with the show...

First up is a group of random character types - Praetor and standard bearer, Lochagos (Captain), and Ypolochagos (Lieutenant) in Cataphractii-pattern Terminator armour.

The Lochagos. Really quite a nice model. Unfortunately mine was miscast around the sword pommel so I had to add a new one with greenstuff. Turned out OK.

That firearm of his is mental eh!!

Praetor and Legion standard-bearer. The banner was the subject of some consternation. I'd originally thought of freehanding a boar, horse, or some other traditional Greek subject like you'd see on an amphora. However I ended up getting lazy and using a couple of decals from the excellent Forgeworld Iron Warriors sheet, and adding an "epsilon" and "IV" for some unit/Legion identity.

The Praetor is an excellent model. I've painted one for my Blood Drinkers also but to me the pose and weapon really suits the siege masters of the IV Legion.

Cataphractii Terminator character. Not sure how he's gonna fit in but he's painted now.

Of course, you can't have an army of all characters. You need some troops as well, and here's the first lot - a squad of 15 Space Marines in MKIII armour.

The IW decal sheet includes some nice skull insignia which I used on the left pauldron. The decals settled nicely around the compound curve with the aid of copious amounts of Micro-Sol. Hazard stripes freehanded on the power fist.

Single vertical yellow stripe on the right pauldron was shamelessly lifted from the excellent Iron warriors painted by the Apologist.

The majority of the squad are plastics from the Prospero box, which are excellent. A few of them are resin Forgeworld models, but fortunately they blend in very well with their later plastic counterparts.

The assault squad are all resin. They're "OK" but some of the anatomy seemed a little ropey in the arm department, like the arms are a bit too long. Not really noticeable unless you're really looking for it though.

The squad has some further distinction in the form of yellow stripes on the left pauldron as well as the right, and the skull insignia in black.

Contemptor Dreadnought... this is from the Calth box. I re-posed the legs slightly for a bit more dynamic pose.

Legion-ified with some hazard striping as well.

I also painted an Iron Warriors Contemptor, using a spare melta-arm from a Calth dreadnought.

The plastic arm fit the resin dreadnought with only minor surgery required.

So that's the first bunch of IV Legion troops done! Still lots more to come, including Rhinos, a Medusa, a Typhon tank... plus Breachers and Iron Havocs, and more tactical marines... Siege Tyrant Terminators, a Storm Eagle... certainly more than enough to keep me going over the winter.

Oh, and just for posterity, here's the infantry paint formula, in order of application:

Basecoat: Leadbelcher
Gold trim: Brass Scorpion
Pouches: Doombull Brown
Yellow stripes: Averland Sunset highlighted Yriel Yellow
Chipping on stripes: Mechanicus Standard Grey/Black mix
Nuln Oil wash
Reikland Flesh wash on the gold
Eyes: Temple Guard Blue

Bases: Dryad Bark/Mournfang Brown/Steel Legion Drab drybrush

Cheers and remember, "Iron within! Iron without!"

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sons of Horus Reaver Attack Squad

Horus for hope! Reaver squad for the XVI Legion

More painting from the lake, a group that I was very pleased to finally get under the paintbrush! This is a squad of Reavers from the XVI Legion, elite troops from the Sons of Horus.These figures were a Christmas present from Dallas...from some time ago...they have been primed and ready to go for over a year, but have waited in line throughout the various tics and flights of fancy which affect my painting direction.  As I departed for the cabin this summer, I vowed that this would finally be the year where I would get them done...

Hand flamer, useful for cooking those who deny the power of the Warmaster!

In 30k each Space Marine Legion has some fancy, specialized troops meant to represent their unique "character", their dispositional traits which set them apart among the 18 Legions and show their genetic ties to their founding Primarch lord.  The notions of Legion "character" make me chuckle, as they often end up similar despite the best efforts of the writers at Forge World. But it is kind of funny in the case of the XVI Legion, as their Primarch, Horus the Warmaster, comes across as a smooth-operating diplomat and thinker as much as he does a heroic warrior.  Yet the disposition of the XVI Legion, the Marines who bear his traits and are functionally his "sons" is rather different - brooding, bitter, short-fused and aggressive. They are basically Space Marine versions of the character "D-FENS" portrayed by Michael Douglas in the 1993 movie "Falling Down".

How about a hug for Horus? Reaver Chieftain ready to lead the squad.
These Reaver sculpts portray that side of the XVI Legion well! They are quite...pointy...sort of ominous.  The figures are equipped for short range work, sporting pistols, grenades, a hand flamer and an assortment of mean-looking axes. The leader has a power fist for the sort of punch-you-in-the-face work that often comes up in the 30k setting. I'm kinda worried about the longevity of those axes...resin is a terrible material for weapons like that on a wargame table...

Nice iconography on many of the figures, add to their specialized aura
Grenades and packs of extra ammo add to the rough, pointy-edge look of these troops
Like other infantry units in 30k, Reaver Squads can actually be a healthy size, up to 15 models strong. And while the kits come equipped with pistols and close combat weapons, the rules allow for a startling assortment of weapons to be equipped.  They can also take jump packs! How fun would that be?  Might be something to explore as I continue to collect 30k forces...

I painted the shoulder pauldrons red and gold to help them stand out more, and give them a bit of a look of elite status

For now this small band of five angry Legionnaires will take their place among my XVI Legion chaps and look to chip in here and there for various close action roles.  As newly painted figures I'm sure they will cover themselves in glory for the Warmaster at their first opportunity on the table!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Alpha Legion Command Elements

Alpharius' sons gather near Lake Superior...
Painting at the lake has been a little slower this year than last, as the summer distractions at the cabin have been getting the better of me - a nice "problem" to have.  Nonetheless, a few figures have been completed or, as in this particular case, mostly completed.

The "bling" checklist is filled in full by this commander. Cape? Check. Fancy pistol? Check. Silly sword? Check. Couple of parchment seals to certify general awesomeness? Check.

This is an assortment of command figures for the XX Legion forces.  There is a standard bearer, two body guards, an apothecary and a champion-type figure which I can use either as a Centurion or as one of the many different variants for "consuls", like a Legion Champion, Delegatus, Herald etc.

Better view of the gear on the apothecary, ready to provide top-notch "medical care" for fallen battle brothers...

Standard bearers are silly anachronisms for the gun, tank and artillery-filled battlefields of the 31st millennium, but I just love to have these crazy things for my Space Marine Legions.  In particular, I felt the senior commander I had painted for my Alpha Legion forces seemed like the sort of fellow who would have a standard following him around as he traveled about the war zone in style.

In the 30k lists the standard bearers are always accompanied by two "chosen" Legion Marines, presumably to protect the bearer on the battlefield etc.  You can give them spiffy guns, so I dug into the bits box and gave each of them a combi-weapon, basically a bolt gun with an added one-shot special weapon.  I think one of them has a plasma gun, and the other is a flamer - those will provide a nice extra jolt to anyone who gets too close to the standard carrier.

It's the Alpha Legion! We have a banner in case you forget!

These figures are a blend of plastic Mark IV kits, the plastic Space Marine Command Squad from the current 40k range (which will be cancelled as soon as GW finishes rolling out those appalling Primaris Marines) and Alpha Legion upgrade bits from Forge World.  I like that you can mix and match all the various plastic components and it was fun to put them together. I'm particularly fond of the upgrade bits for the Alphas, as the helmets are really quite cool, and many of them are "beakie" style.  I was sure to use "beakie" custom helmets for the officer - to match the pimped out cape, after all...

Another view of the apothecary and one of the "chosen"; I just love the specialist accent bits from Forge World, they add a ton of character to the figures, and are pretty least on the apothecary and the standard bearer you can really see the customized chest plate.

These had been sitting primed for some time in my huge "pending pile", as I had sort of run out of momentum after finishing a big chunk of my initial Alpha Legion forces in the winter and spring.  It was fun, however, to finish these off and have them ready for a game this fall. 

I say these are "mostly" complete as I managed to forget a bunch of my Alpha Legion decals back in Winnipeg.  I applied the larger ones I had on hand, but the spots for the smaller ones will wait until I return to the prairies.  So for now you can see the gloss-coat base I have put under the decal areas (or areas intended for decals) and I will apply the matte varnish after I get back to Winnipeg and finish off the final few decals.

Just a few more decals and a coat of matte spray and these fellows will be ready for action!
This little assortment of troops will just about "round out" the infantry forces I have for my Alpha Legion collection - it works out to about 45 figures in all at this point. They now require some vehicles to help them get around. That is something I'll try to get to later this summer or into the fall.

Old Goulais Bay as seen from my kayak - Lake Superior was nice and calm that afternoon!

Up next are some more troops for the XVI Legion, the Warmaster's own! But in the meantime, as you can see above, more relaxation at the cabin too.  All the best from Northern Ontario

Friday, August 11, 2017

Battle of Hudson's Bay - 1697

Every year I spend one month in Winnipeg and I always look forward to it because it gives me a chance to play a few games with the Conscripts. Last Thursday, KevinH, DaveV and ByronM were kind enough to come to my suite downtown to push some sail ships miniatures.

I offered a choice of two scenarii: Battle of Cape Ortegal -1805, or Battle of Hudson’s Bay - 1697.  The guests chose the latter, which was fitting given that it’s Canada’s 150th birthday. The battle happened on September 5. A British squadron’s primary mission was to replenish Fort Nelson and to get out of the Bay as it was already late in the season. The Hampshire was a military vessel and her mission was to escort the merchantmen. The Dering and the Hudson’s Bay were merchant vessels property of the Hudson’s Bay Company. It could be assumed that it was difficult to repair a ship in the Hudson Bay and, in September, there is not much time left to get out of the bay before the sea freezes. The British merchant ships probably wanted to avoid any damage to make sure they could get out of the Bay before being caught in the icepack. On the French side, the Pélican was under the command or Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville, a warrior who led a very adventurous life. I encourage you to read his bio on wikipedia. A recreation of the battle was done by Radio-Canada (in French) back in 1967-68. I remember watching this show as a wee little kid and it might have sparked my interest for sail ships.

There is also a diorama displaying the four ships involved in the battle at the Royal Canadian Artillery Museum in Shilo. Unfortuntely, these cool ships can not be played with.

We had time to play the scenario twice and d’Iberville’s ship was sunk in both cases, proving that he was either an outstanding sailor or a lucky bastard. I would argue for the former.

The Pélican, coming strong on the British squadron. "Men, we'll bag those Brits before our second coffee of the morning." Alas, it was not to be. All models are from GHQ.

Here is a shot at sea level. Everything seems calm and quiet, but not for long...

The Pélican, in the upper right corner, shot by all the British ships in the same turn. Aouch!

Blub! Blub! Blub! D'Iberville probably would not survive having to swim to the shore in freezing water, while avoiding polar bears. All in all, it was fun to watch.

In any case, it was great to visit with the Conscripts again and I'm grateful to them for taking an evening to share my passion for sail ships.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Imperial Fists 1st Squad Done

Finally finished my first squad of Imperial Fists. It took me a while to figure out the best technique and color combo. The key was a final wash of Casandora Yellow. You can't tell from the photo, but they really don't look that bright a yellow...I don't think. The longest part of the process is layering the yriel yellow. Hopefully the next batch go quicker. The other pain is using the transfers instead of special shoulder pads. I had some dark moments where I though an emergency order to Forgeworld or their Chinese wholesaler ;) was needed. Luckily, after applying vast amounts of microset and microsol, they're mostly smooth. I may need to trim the next batch of transfers a bit closer.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Imperial Fists for Iannick

Defenders of the cabin! VII Legion Veteran Tactical Squad
There are some fantastic people out there in this hobby, and Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge has afforded me the opportunity to connect with a number of them over the years.  Iannick M is one such person. During this most recent edition of the Painting Challenge he provided me with a great deal of information, guidance and some figures for a project I have simmering in my vast "pending pile" - an Oldhammer project I hope to get started on more fulsomely in the fall.

Iannick was kind enough to send along a number of figures to help this project along, and agreed that we would figure out the payment later. Figures now, with consequences later - the wargamer's dream! To thank Iannick, I offered to paint him some figures if he liked.  He thought it over, and we settled on a squad of 28mm Horus Heresy-era Marines in Mark IV armour.  He gave me a choice between four different loyalist legions - the Blood Angels, the White Scars, the Salamanders and the Imperial Fists.  He asked that I make a choice, but he wanted to be surprised - sounded like fun to me!

Veteran Sergeant ready for battle

I used the new "urban" bases from GW as an experiment - they were kind of neat, I might try this out with some of my own figures.

So here are the figures that I painted for Iannick. As you can see, they are from the VII Legion, the Imperial Fists.

There were a few reasons I chose this Legion from the options Iannick requested.  The Imperial Fists are one of the coolest Legions (you know, for loyalists). Where the Ultramarines run around getting trapped and ambushed and dreaming up committees and flat tax proposals, the Imperial Fists do real fighting, get real results, and don't need daily affirmation. Story-wise, they were present for the Siege of Terra, which to my mind is THE penultimate setting for 30k.

Love the custom helmets Forge World did for the VII Legion

Holstered bolt pistols on the right hips, backup weapons for close action.
Plus, that yellow looks really cool! I have painted many Imperial Fists for my Epic 30k forces, but the few 28mm test models I have attempted over the years were less-than-inspiring. As such, I went elsewhere to try some loyalists, opting for Raven Guard.  But Iannick's little challenge got me wondering if just one more attempt might find success, so I went for the Imperial Fists to see if I could pull off the yellow without using witchcraft (i.e. white base coats or airbrushes). The VII Legion it would be...

The "shark fin" missile launcher - a brilliant touch from GW
A useful and flexible weapon, particularly in the 8th edition of the rules
This is a 10-man Veteran Tactical Squad with a missile launcher and melta gun.  The Sergeant has a plasma pistol and lightning claws.  The figures are plastic multi part plastic from GW Mark IV Space Marine kits, but the squad has some enhancements from Forge World, namely custom shoulder pauldrons and heads, and a fancy torso for the officer. I also tried out some new bases from GW - these are the "urban" bases.  I'm generally skeptical of "terrained" bases, but these look pretty sharp.  I might look to try these on some of my own figures. 

Melta gun to assist with "home cooking"...

A couple more of the regular veteran grunts.

I finished these fellows at our cabin near Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, and shipped them off last week. I was pleased with the results, but more importantly, Iannick likes them, which is what matters, so I'm glad it all worked out! 

VII Legion units mustering near Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior before boarding a drop pod that would take them further east...

Part of the fun of this for me is spreading the passion for Horus Heresy gaming to new folks (Byron might call this "corrupting" but I like to take a more optimistic angle).  Hopefully Iannick will tilt ever further down the slippery slope of 28mm Heresy gaming...right now he's at the "just a small force stage"...let's see how long that holds...