Thursday, December 31, 2015

Third Painting Chellenge Entry - Epic 30k Death Guard, Imperial Fists and Sons of Horus

Epic 30k reinforcements
My third Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge Entry is more Epic 30k material. It's an assortment of forces, including some bits from another Legion.
Death Guard tactical marines, with Rhino APCs in the background
Death Guard "devestators" - infantry with heavy weapons, with Land Raider tanks in the background
Up first are elements of another Space Marine Legion, the XIVth, known charmingly as the "Death Guard".  I find their backstory has a tint of emo-loser-teenager-sulking-in-the-basement-of-his-parent's-$500k-house to it. But at the same time, there is a humourless endurance about them that I find interesting.  It continues the trend of the traitor legions generally being cooler than the dull loyalist ones.  Also Byron and Dallas like this Legion, so I wanted to have a detachment of them on hand for gaming in Epic 30k with the group.

The fellow with the back banner marks the detachment commander
The Death Guard figures are all old-school plastic GW Epic figures from the 90s. If any of you nostalgia geeks like me are out there, you might recognize, from the original "Space Marine" game, the elements of one tactical detachment, one devestator detachment, one rhino APC detachment and one Land Raider detachment all in this batch.

Old plastic figures from GW - monopose, but still fun
Love the old Land Raider models...these are from the early 90s
Painting the old plastic Land Raiders is a lot of fun - these models are really, really old, but still hold up well as a quite fine rendering of the original 28mm-size Land Raider model, and still look fine on the table with the newer figures.

Rapier battery from the Imperial Fists
Ready to cut down the minions of Horus
Up next are some Imperial Fists from the VIIth Legion.  There is a battery of tracked infantry support weapons known as "Rapiers", and a brace of four Predator tanks - three are equipped with the standard autocannon/heavy bolter configuration, and one is an "annihilator", armed with a lot of lascannons.

Imperial Fist tanks - the one on the right is configured with extra anti-tank firepower

The Predator is an old-time favourite
A final, lonely element squeezed in for this submission is a Predator tank for the XVIth Legion, the Sons of Horus - mostly painted just to keep in practice, just didn't finish it in time for the last submission

Lonely tank for the Sons of Horus

The "Annihilator" version of the Predator tank - lots of anti-tank energy weapons on the vehicle

Overall there are 60 infantry, three crew-served guns and 11 vehicles, all in 6mm, which should net me another 55 points if I have the math correct (always a big  "if") toward my overall total goal of 1000 points, as well as my sci-fi duel and my 30k duel.  Brushes are down for now as I kick back on vacation. Have a happy New Year everyone!  Stay tuned for more in the New Year...

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Second Painting Challenge Entry - Epic 30k Sons of Horus

Horus for hope! XVI Legion marines, the Sons of Horus
My second entry to the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge built on the theme from my first entry - namely, more Epic Space Marines. These 6mm troops are from the XVIth Legion, the "Sons of Horus".  Being Horus's own lads and all, these fellows played a pretty central role in the fighting in the Horus Heresy, and are among my favourite "bad guys" of that "period" (among many - let's face it, the traitor Legions were a lot cooler than the cube-headed loyalists - before they turned into Chaos dorks).

A "talon" of dreadnoughts - equipped with an assortment of heavy weapons
As with my first entry, this one includes a selection of figures scored on Ebay and some models which are not available commercially.

Legion tactical marines with their Rhino APCs
There are two 20-man tactical squads and a pair of 10-man heavy weapon squads in this submission.  Also three Contemptor-class dreadnoughts, four Rhino APCs, and two Land Raiders.

Forward for the Warmaster!
Land Raider, ready to roll
While painting the yellow on the Imperial Fists took a bit a figuring out, I've already painted quite a few Sons of Horus in 28mm, so painting these fellows goes really, really fast - there are number of other troops and tanks not included here because they were painted prior to the start of the Challenge this year - I'll put a group photo later on in the New Year.

Heavy weapon marines - missile launchers and heavy bolters
There is still a LOT of Epic 30k stuff sitting in the painting queue, but we have the basics in place for a game of Epic 30k sometime in the New Year with the Fawcett Avenue Conscripts - I will be looking forward to that!

An old-school, original version, plastic Space Marine Land Raider - fun models to paint
With 60 infantry, six vehicles and the three dreadnoughts (which I will suggest be counted, in this scale, as artillery pieces, points-wise) this submission scored me another 45 points, so I'm on my way toward my goal of 1,000 points for the Challenge, and off to a decent start on two of my side duels - one for sci-fi, and the other for 30k. 

Up next: even MORE Epic 30k - hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and has a great New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

First Painting Challenge Entry - Epic 30k Imperial Fists

Epic 30k Marines from the Imperial Fists, the VII Legion
Curt's Sixth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge is underway - the entries are already coming in at a pretty incredible pace.  As in past years, I will be posting my entries over to our home blog here - and I hope Byron and Kevin do the same. My first painting challenge entry is Epic, in a way - in literal content, not in points - a detachment of Epic 30k Space Marines, clad in the yellow colours of the VIIth Legion, the "Imperial Fists".  

Painting yellow is a major pain in the @ss, but I sort of managed to figure out an approach that turned out well for 6mm sized painting, and these little fellows painted up pretty fast. 

Land Raiders, the go-to, all-purpose tanks of the Space Marines
In my 28mm-sized 30k painting I've been painting bad guys - the Sons of Horus, the World Eaters - so this is the first time I've turned my brush to the loyalist side. I find the backgrounds of the traitor legions to be pretty neat for the most part (even if all of the Primarchs seemed to have similarly dreary upbringings).  On the loyalist side, the pickings tend to be slimmer, but the Imperial Fists are pretty cool. You get toughness, steadfast loyalty and grim, martial determination, without the MBA-style, stuck-up nerdiness of a group such as the Ultramarines.

Tactical marines near their trusty Rhino APCs - each APC can carry 10 marines, or two stands of infantry

While today geeks like me explore the Horus Heresy setting by playing with the 28mm figures from Forge World, it was, in fact, the 6mm-sized games "Adeptus Titanicus" and "Space Marine" which truly ignited interest, and gaming, in this "period".  I fondly recall guys like Kevin H and Dave V running games of Space Marine at the long-lost local gaming store here in Winnipeg known as "Hit Points". 

Another view of the tactical troops
The Epic game and its many variations are some of the top games GW ever produced, and I still love them.  I dust off the old figures for a game from time to time with the Fawcett Avenue Conscripts - we usually get about one, sometimes two, games in per year.  Most of my collection, however, is Imperial Guard, Orks and Eldar - and I have done, comparatively, very little Horus Heresy gaming in Epic.

Steadfast loyalty to the Emperor...
Last year David Larkins' excellent Epic-themed entries in Curt's Painting Challenge really inspired me to get back into Epic.  While I didn't manage it during the last Challenge, I kept a wary eye on Ebay over the past year and lined up a few scores to be ready for this year.  Two in particular have me really fired up for some Epic-30k painting during this Challenge.

Sicaran tanks - the one in front seems a bit, shall we say, "insecure"'s meant to be a major anti-tank weapon...right...
This year I wanted to get a first entry which would touch on a couple of my side duels (Sci Fi and 30k), and ride the Epic nostalgia wave.  This submission includes two 20-man tactical squads, four rhino APCs, three Land Raiders, two Sicaran tanks, and one Sicaran Venator (the, ahem, "insecure" vehicle, if you follow my meaning).  The figures and models are a mix of Ebay scores as well as some non-commercially available models.

Another view of the Land Raiders - in addition to being really tough tanks, they also carry troops!
These days Epic sits, as Curt eloquently described at one point, 'moldering in GW's IP graveyard'.  Word has it the corp-tards running GW these days intend to bring the game back. I'll believe it when I see it...

40 infantry and 10 vehicles is a pretty small force for a game of Epic, but enough to get started, and decent starter entry to the Challenge.  Throughout the Challenge I will be adding more Epic stuff, (good and bad guys), and I hope to have a nice little throw-down for the Fawcett lads some time in the New Year. 

This batch netted me 40 points - a decent start, but 960 points still to go...

Monday, December 21, 2015

Some "Epic" Nostalgia

Cool! All there and unpunched!
 A couple of amazing Ebay scores have arrived in recent weeks as I prepare for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge (it's already started - check it out! Byron has struck already with a platoon of 15mm Sherman Tanks...), and these have induced some "Epic" nostalgia on my part.  Remember this game???

Lovely nerd flashbacks checking out the box

Remember when GW thought about their games this way?
My big aim in the Painting Challenge this year is to finish 30k stuff - of course I hope a lot of that will be in 28mm, but I have been scouring Ebay in recent months picking up a bit here and a bit there to try and put together a 30k game in Epic - the "format", so to speak, that got the whole thing started.

Epic goodies! Original Space Marine rules, data cards, and most importantly, Space Marines!
This box is a big part of that - has all the old buildings, the old rulers, the old rules and old figures - a truly wonderful find.

Oh yeah! Now THAT is a battle!
Another nostalgia score was a box of old plastic Warlord titans.  GW has continually abused the Warlord Titan with new designs - each one progressively worse, in my (wholly subjective, totally superfluous) opinion.  The ominous, turtle-shell style of these old plastics simply cannot be beat, in my view. It will be great fun to paint up six of these suckers - three loyalists, and three traitors.

Side note - OK the new look warlord in "28mm scale" from Forge World is in fact a lovely design, but since it is not available in Epic sized, I'll disregard that for now :)  

Woohoo! Old time plastic goodness!
One theme in this year's Challenge is "nostalgia" - I usually ignore the theme submissions (they derail my momentum) but a maniple of these old Warlord Titans might just do the trick...

Might even use the void shield wheels, just for fun...
I'm looking forward to getting a few of these bits under the paint brush very soon.  Epic has changed a great deal over the years since this version of the game was released - I'm debating whether to base them in a fashion consistent with my newer approach to the game, or to go whole-hog with the nostalgia and use the old little square bases...we'll see what happens!

So watch for this - and hopefully more - to come in the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.  As before, I will be posting progress here on our blog do, and I hope participants Byron and Kevin do the same.

All the best, and have a great Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Painting Challenge Prep

It's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge weather outside my house...
As winter locks in here in Canada (even it has been relatively mild, so far, by our standards), the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge takes shape.  Basically, its just a big race to get as much stuff painted as you can.  You get points based on the volume of painting - check out Curt's blog for all the rules (link here). This is my sixth year participating, and it looks like there will be quite an assortment of participants - something like 86 from around the world.  Three Fawcett Conscripts are involved - Byron, Kevin H and myself. 

The Challenge is a lot of fun.  People have different targets for their points - some aspire to get a few figures done, and others paint whole battalions with seeming ease and a frightening pace.  The variety is great. I like to paint a lot anyways, so for me the best part of the Challenge is the group dynamic, mutual encouragement and inspiration from different Challengers, hobbyists from all over the world. It's entertaining and helps motivate further painting efforts. 

Some of the allotted Painting Challenge figures...some are already primed

Many of the participants approach this event with a "plan", so much so they even use spreadsheets (WTF?!?), one of the least useful "solutions" our society has ever devised for anything (yes, fighting words for some, but spreadsheets are the worst).  Clearly, my approach to the hobby seldom involves anything like a "plan", and even when I try to "plan", it seldom survives contact with reality (after all, with 30k, my "plan" for small skirmish forces turned into this - which was awesome).  While planning is important in the work I do, and other parts of 1-to-1 scale activities (i.e. life) when it comes to this hobby, screw "plans".

Tactical support troops in Mark III power armour with Volkite Calivers for the Sons of Horus

On the other hand, having some kind of plan seems to be all the rage, so I'm giving it the best go I starts with a "strategy".  So, my strategy in approaching this year's Painting Challenge involves the following four cornerstones:
  1. Use side duels as additional motivation and a means to channel my hobby randomness
  2. Ignore the theme submissions (most of the Challengers love them but they almost never work out for me anyway)
  3. Build and prepare as many of the figures and models beforehand as possible
  4. Use a spreadsheet format consistent with my overall approach and views regarding spreadsheets 
I've been on a big 30k kick since...I dunno, lets say 2014. I want to finish as much 30k stuff as I can, but I also know I will, at some point, randomly want to work on something else, just for a break.  So I've got two side duels - one to paint the most sci-fi themed stuff, and the other, to paint the most Horus Heresy/30k themed stuff - going to help me with the main goal of finishing 30k stuff.  And to channel the random "hey, I haven't painted a T-55 in, like, forever" thoughts I am prone to experiencing, I am also dueling (with Curt and Byron no less!) to finish as much modern stuff as possible...with that new "Team Yankee" game looming from Battlefront, I wanted to be prepared...

Plastic Mark IV armoured "seeker" Legion Marines for the Sons of Horus...breacher Marines can be seen in the background
For the past several weeks I have been working to build models so I can focus on actual painting during the Painting Challenge...I have almost 100 Legion marines, as well as some bits like Dreadnoughts, tanks etc. all ready to go.  I'm not limiting myself to 28mm either...I'm also busy prepping Epic models (infantry, tanks, titans) etc.  My liquitex supply is nearly exhausted, but hopefully when the starter gun fires I'll be ready to start ripping through this stuff.  

Assault marines in the foreground, tactical support marines and devestator marines in the background

Finally, I have prepared a spreadsheet of my own devising to help me with all of this...

This is the only appropriate format for spreadsheets I have ever seen

So who knows, I might actually stick to this plan, maybe win a duel or two, and by the spring our 30k games will be in some sort of even more bonkers new level.  Or, I'll suddenly want to paint ancients...I would lose all the duels, but then we could play more ancients, just never know, right? 

Anyway, best of luck to all the Challenge participants, particularly fellow Conscripts Byron and Kevin H - watch the Challenge blog, as well as this space, for more on our submissions!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Madness begins again...

Well, it's getting close to that time of year once again...  No silly kids, not something so mundane as Christmas Holidays, I am talking about the far more important annual decent into madness that is the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge

This is the 6th year of the challenge run by Curt and my 3rd year entering it.  The last few years have been a lot of fun, although it almost always turns into a lot of work as well.  It is the time of year to actually paint some (and just a small "some") of the various hobby items I have accumulated over the past year in my ADD induced hobby obsession.  I always look forward to this event though as I tend to get as much painting done in the 3 month span of the challenge as I do the entire rest of the year!  So at least it gets me working!

As I do every year, I try to plan out what I want to get done, and then try and prep as much of it as I can before hand so I do not have to clean, base, or prime much during the challenge and instead can focus just on painting. 

This year I have a huge list of things to get done, and added some more to that for a side challenge with Curt regarding modern figures, although I am sure he will destroy me on that front as I only have a small portion of my challenge entries dedicated to modern.  Here is my basic plan so far, I am sure it will change:

My planning sheet, a doomed to fail attempt to keep me on track!
Also, other than figuring out the Theme Week entries and any last minute additions, I think I am almost ready as I have pretty much everything cleaned, assembled, based, and primed as of last night.  The one noticeable exception being the Tau Titan which I am still assembling, but the legs are in there for scale purposes.  He is going to be a big boy :-)

The masses sitting and waiting for the 20th
Once again I am trying to stick with mainly historical units, and not my typical non-challenge time painting sci-fi stuff.  This year I am trying to get through not one, but two Napoleonic 28mm units.  Who knows, at this rate maybe I will have enough for a game before I retire in 13 years. I also have some French WW1 sections to add to my WW1 forces, some WW1 tanks, and more.  Not added to the list or put together yet, but something I would like to potentially get done this year are some additional WW1 Germans (which I have already) to further flesh out WW1 games and some more 30k marines to expand my Death Guard force.  I seriously doubt I will get to them though. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

30k Legion Fellblade

Embrace the Warmaster! He's not kidding around...
This past Thanksgiving (October here in Canada), we played our long-aspired-to 30k mega-game pitting two Titans, many tanks and thousands and thousands of points worth of troops in a massive confrontation on the table (check it out here). The game was just awesome, and you might think I would have come away from that experience pleased to have the game complete, and ready to drift to another project.  That does sound plausible, but my brain is broken, and I'm going the opposite way - as in, "hey, we would have captured that position if only we had more troops..."

Quad lascannon sponsons on each side
Demolisher cannon and twin-linked heavy bolter on the front.  Can you feel the hope?
Completely non-carbon neutral engine...
And so, as Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge approaches, I'm getting ready for some major escalation on the 30k side of things...up first in this post, a major addition to the ranks of the Warmaster's armoury - something I was so keen to paint I didn't even wait for the Challenge to start. This is a Fellblade super-heavy tank in the fine green tones and spooky iconography of the XVIth Legion - the Sons of Horus, the Warmaster's very own.

Fellblade crew popped out to enjoy the fun - although the gunner on the front right is wisely keeping a lower profile...
In the 40k fluff, "super-heavy" tanks are generally items of the Imperial Guard lineup (or the Astra-whatever-screw the stupid "new" names).  The Imperial Guard infantry might be expendable, but backed up with tanks they are tough.  And backed up with "super-heavy" tanks, like Baneblades, Stormblades and other horrors, they are even tougher.

The tank commander sports a pistol...for repelling boarders, I guess? Or maybe he's just really, really into guns...he must be, if he's driving this thing around all day at work...
Another view of the turret - was like painting a naval turret...
The Space Marine Chapters? Well, they are tough because of the Marines themselves (at least, they are in the story - seldom works that way on the 40k gaming tables, but I digress).  Of course they have Land Raiders, Thunderhawks and other heavy kit, but limited to 1,000 warriors, the 40k Space Marine Chapters leave the super-heavy tanks, and the protracted conflicts and mass confrontations use of those platforms implies, to the Guardsmen.

Side-by-side photo with an Imperial Guard Baneblade - the Fellblade is a big piece of kit...
Switch back to 30k, however, and the Space Marine Legion is meant to be an entirely different matter from the Chapter...the Legions are the instruments of the Emperor's Great Crusade - each Legion tens of thousands, in many cases over 100,000 - strong, with all the kit needed to travel around the galaxy and bring lost civilizations into "compliance", or wipe threatening xenos from existence, or both.  The team at Forge World have done a really masterful job of establishing this different sense of setting with their 30k stuff, blending much homage to the original Heresy story and the old Space Marine/Epic setting with new items to dazzle dorks like me.  One big part of that is the presence of "super-heavy" tanks in the Space Marine Legion, as part of the Legion's own organic armoured capabilities - not just Marine versions of the Baneblade (you can do that too if you like), but Marine-only "super-heavy" tanks.

Size comparison with some XVIth Legion Marines...judging by the presence of that quad lascannon, they are not standing in a very safe place...I know Horus is a tough boss, but remember SAFE work fellas!
In the current 30k fluff the Fellblade is described as a more advanced design variant based off of the Baneblade chassis.  Heavily armed (to put it mildly), heavily armoured, it fits, at least for me, exactly in my imagination of a Space Marine Legion.  Small war? OK, but if you insist on giving us problems, we'll land 10,000 Legion Marines and a company of these things soon you will be blasted to particles...we totally would have swept those pesky loyalists away if we had one of these in October...

The Fellblade before priming...Steve has done an incredible job getting this beast assembled for me - my sole contribution was gluing on the brass Horus icons
I just love how this thing looks.  The cut of the chassis, the round turret, the kookoo twin barreled main cannon...just bananas...fits perfectly with the Sons of Horus, and with the 30k setting in general.

Primed black (again, thanks to Steve), and with the first dry-brush of gray applied, I'm getting down to work...
This model is not an easy model to assemble.  In fact, I plain could not do it.  At all.  It was beyond my skill. Fellow conscripts are familiar with my tendency to snap my crayons, and I'm not a patient builder of even small model kits.  I went into this expecting trouble, but even still I was surprised, and I just could not get it put together properly.  I was not ranting or anything (my usual approach), but was instead working on a fall-black plan to build it instead as a knocked-out tank (which would be a neat piece of terrain).  It was a little embarrassing, but at the end of the day, my skills are what they are, and a knocked out tank this size would be awesome terrain to fight over.

Some basic colours in airbrush here, just boring old brushes, GW paints and some NHL hockey in the background on TV
Basic greens in place, a wash of Biel-Tan green done, ready for next steps...
Crew figures with basic coats of paint, awaiting washes etc.
Enter Byron, who urged me to stay my hand, and suggested I connect with Steve B, a local gamer and avid hobbyist here in Winnipeg.  Steve is the kind of smart, reasonable hobby guy with a brain for assembling these tricky models, and the tools to back up the smarts and skills. I should note here that his skills with the brush (and airbrush) match his building skills as well. Steve took up the challenge, managing to disassemble the chunks I had already put together, and get the thing built properly.  He even magnetized the sponsons for me! I am totally thrilled with the results, and a huge thank you is due to Steve B - great work!!

So instead of terrain, there would be a tank to paint after all...

View from the top
Steve left the hatches off for me so I could add the two crew in the turret. I like how the vehicle commander is carrying a bolt pistol - seriously, the accelerator cannon, the demolisher cannon, the two quad lascannons and the twin heavy bolter were not enough? What is he going to shoot with that pistol? It's so 30k/40k - I quite like the silliness of it.

"Horus for Hope!"
I used some the Forge World brass Sons of Horus icons on the vehicle, and I am very happy with how it turned out.  While decals might have done the job, for something like this, the brass is a lot better - and the Sons of Horus decals do, for whatever reason, silver up like crazy, no matter what hobby tricks you use, so it was nice not to worry about that.

The Fellblade joins fellow members of the XVIth Legion in my basement armoury, awaiting further 30k mayhem on the Fawcett Avenue Conscripts gaming tables...
The paint job is pretty basic - no fancy airbrush stuff for me.  It's kinda boring, but I'm pleased with how it turned out.  I can't wait to get this thing out for a spin, so it can run over some Loyalists dupes on the table and blast their faith in the so-called "Emperor" to ruins...while we won't have a mega game anytime soon, it will have to be a large, or at least carefully scripted game, as this thing is 525 points (without "upgrades") and has like 12 hull points, so you don't really just drop it on to the table for a quick pick-up game.

A big thank you again to Byron and Steve. I could not get this model built, and while it was fun to paint, none of that happened without Steve's work getting it built properly.  Hopefully he could join a 30k game on our table sometime and take command of this beast as it renders silly Loyalists back into their component atoms. Thanks again! Up next, the Painting Challenge looms - more reinforcements for the XVIth Legion, as well as some...Loyalists??? Stay tuned...