Monday, December 30, 2019

Painting Challenge Submission 1 - Espern Locarno, Imperial Navigator

Espern Locarno, Imperial Navigator - 28mm figure for GW's 40k Universe. He could be yours!
Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge has kicked off once again.  Through the winter months of 2019-2020, participants will do their best to tackle the mountain of unpainted figures and stalled gaming projects that lurk in their basements and hobby rooms.  Points are awarded based on production, but since you set your own target, you are competing against yourself - and all of the participants try to egg each other on, encourage each other and we all marvel at the sheer diversity of painting subjects and projects out there. 

I'm a little late getting going on my AHPC submissions, but I was lucky to be spending Christmas with my family in Sault Ste Marie while staying at our cabin. Very lovely for relaxing and enjoying winter scenes...while I paint a lot out at my cabin in the summer, it is not great for painting in the winter.  Now that I am back at my regular hobby hole in Winnipeg, I'm trying to get the painting engines fired up once again.

My first entry is modest, but is intended to accomplish a number of things at once. First, to obtain a landfall on "Challenge Island", the unique and interesting theme map meant to encourage participants to cover different challenges and painting opportunities.  Second, to provide an "entry fee", something Curt asks every participant to prepare.  

So here is Espern Locarno, Imperial Navigator, a character from the GW game "Blackstone Fortress".  Why paint this guy? Well, he looks pretty cool. Plus, I loved his description..."if you are looking to support your friends and manipulate your opponents, Espern Locarno is the explorer for you."   As someone who has a career in public affairs, this particular description really spoke to me :)

The shores of Lake Superior at Christmas, 2019.
I generally love the characters of the Navigators in GW's 30k/40k setting. Essential for warp travel, the Navigators are important and influential in the 40k universe. Your Empire can't span the galaxy after all, unless your starships can travel through space.  It's nice that The Emperor can sit and rot away for eternity on his Golden Throne, but everything from His greatest battleships to his lowliest cargo lugs will require one of these pin-headed Navigators to get from point A to point B. 

Life it good when you can wear an outfit like this on your head...
The Navigators realize this.  And while they cannot challenge the Emperor, they still know they are part of the glue that holds the terrible and terrifying Imperium of the grim and dark future together. Insufferable, arrogant, entitled and required to be literally disconnected from reality as a core part of performing their work (steering a starship through the warp i.e. not-reality), the Navigators have always been fun symbols of the 40k universe. And as with many good science fiction symbols, for me, they also reflect much about our present...

Need to have some kind of respirator of course, just to ensure you air is better than anyone else's...and you need a skull on your cloak because 40k.
The Navigators also are a very clear sign of the influence that Frank Herbert's "Dune" universe had on the design of the original Warhammer 40k setting. Anyone who has read those books will no doubt see the many parallels. Oddly, the GW's writers these days seem to also be having their Titan commanders seem more and more like the "Dune" navigators as well, which I don't like so much...but I'll leave that blather about that some other time. 

"What do you mean I am just some kind of 'entry fee' - this is an outrage!"
As with "Dune", in 30k/40k the Navigators themselves are seldom seen on a battlefield, so there are not many figures representing them.  While I was not interested in "Blackstone Fortress" myself, I did go out of my way to track down one of these figures so I could paint one up.  The GW sculptor hit things out of the park with this figure - a perfect rendition of a whackadoodle Navigator.  He oozes arrogance, technical competence and a smug inability to grasp his own vulnerability, knowing there will always be someone at his beck and call to take care of things.

Between the various bonus points one receives in the Challenge for painting an "entry fee" figure, and covering a location on "Challenge Island", this one figure gathered 60 points toward my total goal of 1,000 points worth of painting.  A modest start, but a few months lie ahead...stay tuned for more (and watch for great entries from fellow Challenge participants Byron and Mike F!).

Friday, December 27, 2019

Ignatum Warhounds

I finished two warhounds for Legio Ignatum for the big New Years game next week. I found the black and yellow stripes to be the most challenging on these. I think it’s because the angle is more extreme than on the other titans. I made the most use of magnets on these guys and all the weapons are interchangeable. I didn’t bother with any decals since there are no Ignatum decals and I couldn’t see any logical place for the wasp symbol.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Legio Krytos Reaver Titan #2

Well, Titan escalation continues to... escalate, building towards the just-announced New Year's Day game. The exact lineup hasn't yet been determined, but is expected to pitch Greg's Legio Gryphonicus and Legio Mortis (on opposite sides of course) against Mike F's Legio Ignatum and my Legio Krytos. So of course it was important to get another Titan painted!

The Reaver is definitely my favourite Titan design. I just love the beetle-backed look of these monstrous war machines. This one was built straight from the kit, mainly because I have a ton of extra weapon arms and carapace weapons from the other Reaver I built. This one also is equipped with copious amounts of magnets to take advantage.

One thing I did screw up on this build (which was discovered too late) was the legs - I assembled them backwards!! Ugh.

The paint scheme is standard Krytos of course - Vallejo German Uniform and GW Pallid Wych Flesh.
What a cool looking machine eh!!

Sorry for the blurry pic - wanted to get one of the alternate head, from the Reaver weapon sprue. I couldn't decide which one to use, so I magnetized them so I can use both. 

Slightly better pic of the head here. I weathered this model "to the extreme" including leaving a couple of panels (crotch and right leg) in "primer"... simulating emergency repairs made on campaign.

Once again the excellent Legio Krytos decal sheet was utilized. Unfortunately, there's a distinct lack of Imperial eagles on the AT18 sheets, so I pilfered a half-eagle for the left pauldron from a 40K decal sheet.

So with the completion of this Reaver, we've got a full Axion Battleline Maniple - Warlord, two Reavers, two Warhounds. I do have another Warlord kit to build, but first I'm going to paint the Civitas Imperialis buildings that came with the Grand Master edition of the ruleset. I've got 'em assembled now and it looks like they'll be a relative snap to paint.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Another 1/72 T-34 from PSC

T-34/85 in 1/72 scale - plastic kit from Plastic Soldier Company, metal barrels from RB Models.
I hate to switch back to WW2 after there has been so much awesome Adeptus Titanicus escalation, but here is another bit of 20mm armour - another T-34/85 in 1/72 scale from the Plastic Soldier Company.  The commander is popped out of the hatch, a useful gimmick to indicate a platoon or company commander as required within various rule sets.

Machined barrel from RB models.

The new metal barrel in place on the turret.
There is one slight difference with this T-34/85 - I swapped out the plastic main gun barrel from the kit and used a metal one from RB Models.  I have seen other super cool advanced modeling/painting folks doing stuff like this. I'm no IPMS-type, but thought I would try it out for myself. The metal barrels are awesome, look great, and it is very easy to cut the plastic one off of the PSC kit and replace it with the metal component. This was gonna be SO cool...

View from the rear, tried to have the exhaust look a bit mucky.

Another view of the metal barrel...
And in the end it looks...almost identical to the other T-34/85s in my collection. It's not a huge change...more of a subtle difference. I love the idea of the machined barrels (and will probably try something like this on some 1/72 German tanks I am looking to paint, which have some elaborate muzzle brakes) but, at least for the T-34s, it didn't really change anything. Oh well - still fun to practice!

Decals are 1/72, also available from PSC.

Pretty easy to build, and straightforward to paint...these kits from PSC are addictive!
That's six T-34s for my 20mm Soviet collection.  I still have several boxes of these things from PSC...while I feel like you can "never have too many T-34s" there are some limits...I'll probably paint at least one more platoon, and then start painting some others in winter white-wash camo.  

A column of T-34s moves out on the gaming table...a total of six T-34s finished so far, more to come...
Painting more T-34s might be something I try during the 10th Edition of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, which begins on December 21st! Byron and Mike F are participating along with me this year, and while I encourage you to check everything out over at the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge blog page, be sure to watch this space as well, to see what existing and new projects are spurred forward by the Painting Challenge!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Legio Ignatum Reaver

I finished the Reaver titan for my Legio Ignatum “Fire Wasps” maniple. I magnetized the guns in case I end up getting the additional weapon sprue. Right now I only have the volcano canon to swap out the melta weapon. The carapace was the most time consuming part of the model, but I’m quite happy with the results. Hopefully I can finish the two warhounds before the painting challenge starts in a few weeks.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Legio Krytos Warlord Titan for Adeptus Titanicus

Reinforcements for Legio Krytos have arrived in the form of a Warlord Titan... just got this one finished over the weekend. It's an awesome model and actually wasn't as much of a headache to assemble as I imagined it might be. The Warlord is set up for the initial photos with Laser Blasters up top and Volcano Cannons. Let's look at it in detail...

As I said, assembly was pretty straightforward. It's always a bit of a crapshoot putting the legs and hips together. It can be tough to ensure that things line up and that when you attach the torso, it's not cocked in a different and unexpected direction. Fortunately with this build I just set up one of the legs "in stride" and everything else lined up OK.

There's lots of room for heraldry on the Volcano Cannon shielding. I used some decals from the Legio Krytos sheet to fill it up.

Rear view of the Titan.

I really weathered the Hell out of this one with the sponge chipping. Had to buy a new bottle of Vallejo German Uniform to do the green. I was worried because the colour of the bottle was quite different to that of my old bottle - but I needn't have been concerned, the match was great.

It's certainly fiddly painting those "eyes" inside the "helmet". Probably would be a good idea to do those before assembly.

A quick switch of weapons configuration to Plasma Annihilators and Apocalypse Missile Launchers. The standard kit comes with Apocs and Volcano Cannons of course - the alternate weapons (as well as alternate head shown here, and the Arioch Power Claw) come on a sprue available from GW separately.

Good view of the Plasma Annihilator. I should add that the kit is super-easy to magnetize - all of the weapon mounts are set up for 5x1mm magnets.

Apoc launchers up top - the traditional choice.

Top view of the Titan.

Here's a good view of the alternate head. I magnetized both so it's easy to swap back and forth. Honestly I'm not sure which I prefer.

The last weapon choice is one I'll not likely often use - the Arioch Power Claw. Yikes!

Here's the gang so far. Hoping to get either another Reaver or a second Warlord done before the New Year. Might have to start on the Warlord as the Reaver's missing its base, which hasn't yet arrived from the eBay vendor. I'll certainly paint more of the armour panels separately on my next Warlord - the ones around the "shoulders" made things kind of awkward to get to. I'll also magnetize the torso somewhat differently. On this build I attached a steel washer to the "hip" and disc magnets to the "torso". I'll do the same on the next one, just a bit more neatly.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Even More Random WW2 Painting - Big German Guns

Some serious late-war firepower for my 20mm Germans
More random 20mm WW2 painting as we arrive in December - back to the German side of things. Here is a Pak40 anti-tank gun with crew from Plastic Soldier Company, and a scary King Tiger panzer from Britannia Miniatures.

Pak40 Anti-Tank Gun & Crew

Here comes Ivan...
I have a slowly growing complement of T-34s for my Red Army 20mm collection. To counter the red tide, we start with this Pak40 and crew.  This hard-hitting anti-tank weapon is an iconic part of the late-war German arsenal. The gun, crew and accessories are all from the Plastic Soldier Company.

Gun commander figure on a square base.
I divided the crew for the gun among different bases to accommodate the various WW2 rule systems we play.  The "Battlegroup" rules, for example, have extra loaders as an option available for most crew-served weapons in the game, so I put two of the loaders on a separate base with an ammo box to allow that to be represented.  I also put the gun commander on a separate square base, which will help him stand out as a "junior leader" in games like "Chain of Command."

Extra loaders on a separate base.

Another view of the loaders.
The details on these PSC plastic figures can be a bit soft in places, but these kits are a great value (see more on that below). This Pak40 will be sure to put a few T-34s out of action - or at least it will until the Soviet players either blast it to pieces or simply run the gun and crew right over with one of their many, many tanks!

The crew prepares to load another 75mm shell...I think I positioned the loader a little too "behind" the gun...wouldn't want to be directly behind that thing when it fired...
The PSC Pak40 box set is really remarkable - you get two guns, two crews, and you might think, "hey this is great." But wait, there's more! You also get two raupenschlepper ost vehicles - which can you build using TWO different cabs, and also choose between an open or enclosed rear compartment! can use the guns and the RSO models to build the very odd RSO Pak 40 SPG! Really an amazing kit from PSC! I'm still working on my first RSO model to give this gun team a tow option and a chance to escape from Soviet retribution after they have fired on a few enemy tanks.

Tiger II
The Tiger II - model from Britannia Miniatures.
I know. Who needs yet another King Tiger for WW2 gaming, right? These vehicles (thankfully!) represented such a small percentage of the overall available German tank fleet in WW2 - and even when available in some force, they suffered badly from mechanical problems and breakdowns, such that very small numbers tended to make it to actual action in the front lines.

On close inspection you can see where the casting had some issues...on the exhaust, and the chain on the hull...not the biggest deal, but slightly annoying.
Even with these factors, what can I say...I have a weakness for scenarios that feature the "big cats" in the late war.  This model is a resin-and-metal Tiger II from Britannia Miniatures. I picked it up as part of a second hand offering on TMP, unable to resist a "great deal" to add some of these ominous vehicles to my budding 20mm WW2 collection. 

The sculpting of the zimmerit was well done...even showing a few spots where the zimmerit has been shot/scuffed off. Some nice character.
I was excited when I closed the deal, but it was a bit of a let-down when I received the goods. The model is OK...but it is small. It seems more like 1/76 scale than 1/72 scale (which is the stated scale of all of my 20mm Plastic Solder Company models).  It is still bigger than my PSC T-34/85s...but doesn't seem quite big enough - even though the MG34 on the cupola is as larger or larger than that carried by any of my other 20mm troops.  The size of the model just to me.  It reminds me of the feeling I get when I see 1/56 scale vehicles on a table with 28mm miniatures.

There were also some casting challenges on the hull, always a risk with resin casting. A few bubbles, a few holes here and there, and the exhausts were snapped off in shipping.

But for all these challenges, there are many positive aspects to this model too. For starters, the metal accessories all fit very, very well. That doesn't always happen with these mixed media kits. And I have to hand it to the sculptors, they really nailed the zimmerit finish on the hull.  I like the look of the zimmerit on the German tanks...makes them look even more ominous than they already are! Finally, I got a great deal on this tank (and two more which came in the lot), and at the end of the day every Winnipegger loves a good deal.

That 88mm gun, with the huge muzzle brake, looks scary as heck.
I haven't painted WW2 panzer camouflage in several years, so was pretty rusty when it came to executing on this model...but it was good to practice and get back into the swing of painting WW2 panzers in a larger scale.

That's all for now - thanks for visiting the blog, and stay tuned for more.  The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge will soon be upon us...always some fun stuff there!