Monday, September 26, 2022

A Brief Byzantine Detour

28mm Byzantines - metal figures from Gripping Beast's characterful Thematic Byzantine range.

As the summer of 2022 drew to a close, my painting took a few detours away from Horus Heresy themes and into a couple of older projects.  One of those is my oh-so-slow-but-still-growing 28mm Byzantines, last seen on the painting desk in March of 2021! At around that time, I had also assembled and primed a couple of mounted figures to use as officers...and I finally painted them just now :) What is that - a 17-month-or-so turnaround time? Not great - but I still got to them at some point! Anyway, here are two mounted Byzantines, 28mm metal figures from Gripping Beast's Thematic Byzantine figure range. 

The officers are mounted individually, in bases that will allow them to merge with my other mounted units, and so they participate in anything from a skirmish-style game such as Lion Rampant or SAGA, while still playing in games of Warhammer Ancient Battales, as well as games like Hail Caesar or even Swordpoint.

All of the best officer sculpts are pointing at something...

While I usually prefer decals for my shields, it has been so long since I have been painting Byzantines that I had managed to, um, lose track of where I had stashed the shield I just tried my best to do a freehand pattern on each shield. It turned out OK. 

I might still attach a banner of some kind to the spear, but for now, this fellow will serve as a minor officer for my Byzantines.

It was fun to do a bit of work on an older project, and painting these two fellows served as something of a palette-cleanser, a break from the recent painting of Horus Heresy stuff. I also tend to associate painting Byzantines with Curt's annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, and so working on these fellows caused me to consider what specific painting projects I might try and line up for that...

That's all for now - thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more Space Marines of course, but also posts on some other painting detours from this August and September. Cheers!

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Minotaurs Vehicles

 I'm almost done the Minotaurs! I only have 2 special characters left and then that's it! I finished the summer off by painting the last vehicles for the chapter. This includes the Land Raider Crusader! You'll notice the side sponson weapons are quite a bit different from the standard Land Raider (or any land raider). As I mentioned before, this army is a repaint, including the Land Raider. The original crusader side sponsons were originally multi-part metal hurricane bolters. Each included about 8 pieces that no longer seemed to fit together. As I struggled with it, I had flash backs to 15+ years ago trying to assemble them. I had forgotten what a pain in the ass they were. I had no interest in trying, so looked online to see if I could buy the new plastic sponsons. That was too expensive to justify, so I turned to my bits collection. I managed to find two rotary cannons from Kromlech that would work as an equivalent to the hurricane bolters. I figured they looked like they were low strength, but had lots of shots, so work well as a proxy. To mount them, I flipped the metal bracket for the bolters around and clipped off one end. With the help of some green stuff I then managed to set the guns on the brackets convincingly enough. It really pays to keep old crap around for years until the right project presents itself.

This was really boring to paint. Combining the worst aspects of miniature and terrain painting!

Rhino rehab #2

Quite the beast!

Kromlech cannon

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Starfighters! "Get Veers!"

 Last month Greg Burch was in town, so I hosted a Star Wars space combat game. 

Scenario: Get Veers! 

  • General Veers is on a tour of bases on the outer Rim. Rebel operatives have intercepted his itinerary.
  • The Imperial space forces have been tasked with escorting the shuttles carrying Veers and his command and logistics staff. 
  • They must reach the other side of the playing area before they reach the designated Jump Point.

  • Unfortunately, this part of space is full of unfriendly, Rebellious types.

We used miniatures from the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures line, and the Starfighters! rules from Wiley Games.

Nine X-Wings from Red Squadron squared off against 9 TIE fighters of Black Squadron, with 3 Lambda Shuttles caught in the furball. After the Rebels started closing, they fired off a volley of 18(!) Proton Torpedoes, which would penetrate the shuttles’ shields. The TIE fighters shot down about a third of the torpedoes, then proceeded to knife fighting distance. 

Many dogfights ensued, with the Rebels trying to avoid those turning fights to concentrate on the shuttles. Though the shuttles’ heavy shielding protected them, the sheer number of Rebel attacks proved overwhelming. 

The cost was high, with 4 X-Wings, 3 TIE Fighters, and all 3 Lambdas shot down. 

For our ongoing Star Wars Galactic Heroes campaign, this will have in-game consequences. General Veers will not be available to lead any of the increasingly scattered Imperial ground forces. 

Thanks to Greg, Frederick, Brian, Rob, John, Kevin, and Hugh for playing!

(Before the game I had my lovely wife Jennifer randomly choose one of the shuttles as Veers’ own, which she duly secretly recorded. As it turned out, Veers’ ship was the last to fall.)

Monday, September 12, 2022

New Plastic "Sword Praetor" Figure

Horus for hope! He will bring you all the bling!

Among the waves of new plastic kits sweeping over GW's Horus Heresy setting are some new figures to represent Space Marine "Praetors" - the senior commanders of the Space Marine Legions. Where once these figures would have been resin, like much of the Horus Heresy range, they are now available in plastic. There are two new plastic versions, and in the new "Age of Darkness" box set, you get one of each! Here is a look at one of them - known colloquially as the "sword praetor".

The Praetor is a central HQ choice for your Space Marine Legion force - in fact, absent named special character, or a Primarch, this would likely be the commander for your force. As such, he has access to all sorts of fancy toys, weapons and wargear. Many players and collectors will want such a figure to really stand out, and I suspect this is what the designer/sculptors were going for with these new plastic Praetors, but for me the result it...meh.  I saw a comment a Facebook group that described the new Praetor figures as "trying too hard", and I think that sums up my own reaction very well.

Behold my terrifying sword! Even when cracked, it is still powerful!

What do I mean? Well, looking at the figure, I find it has a lot of specific 30k sort of features that I enjoy as a one-off, and it becomes too much of a good thing. Rather than work around one defining feature, the sculptor seems to have crammed too much stuff into the one figure, like a cake with too much icing. It's almost as though, having managed to keep the new Mark VI marines looking nice and clear, they tried to dump all of the skullz, cloaks, and other bits into one or two figures to compensate.

So, on this guy...a big sword? Sure! But THAT big? Really? The blade is as big as he is, maybe bigger! And what's up with the cape - it's a mountain on its own. Even better, the cape is multi-part! How FUN to assemble! Then of course there is all of the "flare" - the studs, the lined armour, the comb on the helmet, the dumb skullz...the studs in particular are a real fail IMO. They look less like upgraded versions of the studded the shoulder pads of the Mark VI marines, and more like the beginnings of some kind of Nurgle loser infestation. All in all, to me these new Praetors look more like a 30k cosplay dreamed up by a 40k obsessives....but hey, it's all subjective - you might love them, and if you do, have fun!

There is a LOT of robe on this guy...note how, thanks to his faith in the Warmaster, this amazing robe is not only huge, but very clean, despite the best efforts of pro-Emperor terrorists.

One other gripe - these figures also come with bits of terrain that one must stick to their feet...while you can convert around that if need be, I generally hate built-in ground features on figures. Leave the groundwork to me! Stop assuming you know what groundwork I want! And stop making stuff that deliberately does not fit on the base, for f*ck sakes!

Those studs on the shoulder pad are totally years of service, and not at all the first signs of any kind of mutation or anything like that...right? I mean, who would believe such a thing?

Another thing about that sword - it is pretty thin plastic, and turns out it breaks easily! If you look closely, you can see the crack where I managed to glue the #$#$ing thing back together...

But on the plus side, at least they included a helmet as an option, instead of forcing you to have this nutter walking around the battlefield bare-headed.

Death to the false Emperor! He wants to take away our stuff!

Not every sculpt will be a home run, or be to our taste. We all have figures we love, and figures we don't love so much. The new "Age of Darkness" box is generally awesome, even if these two character figures are, in my view, a miss. Skilled hobbyists out there will spot a challenge, and try and create unique conversions with these guys (and there have been some excellent and inspiring conversions done online). I'm not sure when I will get around to the "axe Praetor", but in the interim, if you are looking for command figures, I recommend sticking with the existing range from Forge World, which (for now, at least) features a mix of generic, non-Legion-specific officer figures, as well as Legion-specific command figures for several Legions.

That's all for now - thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

More New Mark VI Space Marines

Did somebody call for some contractors? Imperial Fist Space Marines for GW's "Age of Darkness" setting.

Here are some more of the new plastic Mark VI "beakie" Space Marines from GW, this time painted in the colours of the loyalist VII Legion Astartes, the Imperial Fists. Nearly all of these are the new multi-part plastic models from GW's new "Age of Darkness" box set, with the exception of the one figure which is a Forge World Preator model, enhanced with some spare plastic bits. 

Ready to man the walls of the Imperial Palace!

Why paint Imperial Fists? Why "start" yet another Legion? I'm not really sure what happened here. I can start by blaming the fabulous set of decals for both the Sons of Horus and the Imperial Fists that comes in the new "Age of Darkness" box. Then, I didn't feel like adding to my Space Wolves or Raven Guard collections yet. I had recently re-listened to the audio book of "Saturnine" from the Siege of Terra series, so there's that. I have also been reading the special rules for the different Legions in the new edition, so maybe I wanted a unit to take advantage of the ridiculous advantages given to the Imperial Fists? And I might just enjoy having a few of these on hand as a tribute to my friends in Winnipeg, where Mike F still has his amazing collection of Imperial Fist marines - and this way if Mike comes to visit, he'll have some infantry available for a game :)

Sergeant on the right, and vox operator on the left.

Of course, I also just love painting Space Marines, and so, before the year is out, be sure to point and laugh as I start some additional Legions because whatever reasons as the year goes on...

I was a bit liberal with the attempted weathering (basically sponge-chipping) but it is a look I prefer, especially on fancy yellow armour.

OK, enough blathering, back to the figures. So here we have a basic, 10-man tactical squad here, equipped with bolt guns, and a bossy Sergeant with a power fist and a plasma pistol. The regular Marines will get a +1 to hit with these bolt weapons...when you think about it, that is a kind of crazy advantage, given how many bolt guns and bolt weapons there will be in any given Space Marine Legion force. In fact, the new special rules for the different Legions are quite out of whack...but we'll save that discussion for a later post...

Preator figure on the right, and basic tactical marine on the left.

There is also a senior command figure in these photos - this figure is a Preator - one of the old resin ones from Forge World, not one of the new, multi-part plastic ones from the new box set (we'll cover those in a later post). He is wearing custom Mark III power armour, but the power sword is a spare from new plastic Mark VI kits. I also gave him a helmet - in this case, a spare resin Mark II helmet - because space is dangerous and Space Marines should be wearing their damn helmets. As you can see, this older figure still fits in well with the newer, taller plastic Mark VI Marine figures, and a good example of why I am not too wound up about the size differential - although YMMV.  

Another view comparing the Preator with one of the new Marines.

That's all for now - thanks for reading, and I hope you have been able to enjoy your Labour Day Weekend, wherever you are. Cheers.

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Cheap(ish) Trucks

So one of the things you need for WW2 gaming in almost any theatre is TRUCKS. This is especially the case for the Western Desert. Open any book of photos of the 8th Army or the Afrika Korps, and you'll see lots of pictures of vehicle laagers packed with trucks of all descriptions - including captured trucks - laden with water and fuel containers, supplies of all kinds, and even carrying troops.  

However, it has to be said that trucks aren't exactly super-sexy wargames vehicles. Given the choice, pretty much everyone will opt to spend their money and hobby time on tanks and other armoured vehicles rather than trucks.    

That's where these models come in handy. They're one piece, so no assembly required at all, and they look generic enough that they could reasonably pass for anything from an Opel Blitz to a stake-bed Chevrolet.

Detail on the models is "OK" and will be suitable for the wargames table.

Scale is suitable for my Perry Miniatures Afrika Korps and 8th Army forces. Painting was simplicity itself - Zandri Dust washed with Agrax Earthshade, windows painted a blue-grey and gloss-finished, and tires painted Vallejo Dark Rubber. Done! 

When I said these models were simple, I wasn't kidding. They're literally hollow one-piece injection-molded plastic. 

I do really like these models as they're so generic and easy to paint. These ones will serve both the DAK and 8th Army I'm sure, and even make good scatter terrain as wrecks. Just don't turn 'em on their sides!

As noted earlier, these were sourced off eBay. I'm not going to say who they're from or how much I paid, but if you're interested in them you can search "Painted Truck 28mm WW2" and you'll see that the seller has literally a dozen auctions for these trucks painted in all sorts of styles. I inquired about getting some unpainted trucks from him and he kindly offered some at a steep discount from his painted price. Still not super-cheap for what they are - honestly they seem like something you might pay a buck for at the dollar store - but fractions of what a real model kit might cost, never mind the time savings in assembly.

Anyway... keep on truckin'!