Sorting Bitz

I finally found a few spare moments for 40K stuff last night, after all the farm planning, late season planting, and chicken raising. We've got twenty five meat birds and a dozen potential egg layers (some will turn out to be roosters) on the farm this year. I'm reframing an old shed into a coop, and am almost done after only spending less than fifty bucks or so on it.

Anyhow, I sat down for an hour last night and...sorted bitz. When we moved house, I just dumped everything into a gallon storage bag from the little hardware bins I'd had them sorted in. Putting them all back in the right bins is a chore, but strangely relaxing. It also allows me to take stock of all the stuff I've got and haven't looked at in ages. There's definitely some things that need to be purged or simply thrown out. Reclaimed shoulder pads and backpacks with glue in the attachment points, snipped off plasma pistols, etc.

There's no electricity in my painting room yet, since the house was built in 1800, and running wiring up there is expensive. If I find time to paint, it'll have to be at the dinner table or on the couch like I used to do years ago.

I'm still tossing ideas for Raven Guard lists around in my head. Hopefully I can put pen to paper soon.


Forces Redeployed

Yet another fly-by status update by me.

After a complete nightmare process of closing on the sale of our old house, and then a much more pleasant closing on the purchase of our new house, we're officially moved and owners of our farm. All of my 40K stuff is still packed up in boxes waiting for me to find time to unpack and arrange it all. So, no painting updates for a while. I've got a field to mow and plow, seeds and seedlings to plant, and chickens and rabbits to acquire and build shelters for. So much work! When you add my new hobby of attempting to restore old antique tools to working condition and learning some timber framing for my farm buildings, 40K time is going to be hard to come by.

I am excited to start building models based on the new Space marine codex, which I bought the weekend before we were supposed to move. I really like the changes and formations, though I'm very disappointed about Fast Attack drop pod cheesery, but I think we all saw it coming. I'm also a little torn on how damn good the Ultramarines have become alongside the rules for the various formations. BY my math, an Ultramariens army that is made up of at least one Gladius has enough doctrines stashed to reroll to hit in every turn of a seven-turn game. You get one set of each of the doctrines (Tactical, Assault, Devastator) for being Ultramarines, another full set for taking the Gladius formation, and another Tactical for the mandatory Demi Company that's part of the Gladius. Seven doctrines available to reroll SOMETHING every turn. Oh, plus every single unit taken as part of a Gladius has Objective Secured, or is that just for the Demi-Company? Regardless, it's damn good.

Despite how awesome Ultras are (in my opinion) now, I'm still planning to push forward with Raven Guard. I'm just not quite sure of which direction I'll take them. I need to sit down with the codex and think about it when I have free time.


Hunting Wabbits!

Just a little note to those of you who actually read this blog on what passes for a regular basis, it's going to be very, very quiet in here for a little while. I'm moving homes in a week and a half, and just haven't got the time to paint or play until we're all settled.

Consider me on a short hiatus. See you again soon.


Fratris Salutem...My Army List

This coming Saturday I'll be participating in the Fratris Salutem, which is a local narrative-driven 40K event. I won't really call it a tournament, as it's not about individual achievements. Essentially, the field is divided into two teams, and the members of each team play against players from the opposing team. Each player's point total from their three games are added to the collective points of the team to determine the winning side.

We focus heavily on story for this event, with no traditional, "competitive" lists allowed. You can face tough lists for sure, but nothing cutthroat is allowed in the door.

I was the highest-scoring Imperial player in the first event of this type, running an Ultramarine Biker list. This year I felt some serious malaise about my army list options for a narrative event. I didn't want to run bikes yet again, as I felt I'd already told that story. I thought about running a pretty bog-standard Half Battle Company list led by my new Librarian and Command Squad, but I just wasn't enjoying the prospect of running tons of basic Marines.

Then I started looking at units in the book I'd never, ever run before. I didn't want to start a whole new unit, like Centurions or Scout Bikers, as I didn't have the painting time available. Then I landed on Antaro Chronus. I have the model, but had never assembled it. I scavenged his backpack for a bike-riding Techmarine some time ago, but had a couple of leftover old-school servo arm backpacks to replace that.

Once I decided I wanted to run Chronus, I started rereading all the rules for Warlords, Warlord Traits, etc. Making Chronus my Warlord is legal, plus whatever Warlord trait he rolls would still apply to an Unbound army, and so I set about thinking of a way to capitalize on that. Chronus is a tank commander, so I figured an army full of tanks would make sense. I came up with this list:

MkV Mortis Dreadnought "Hylas", two missile launchers

Land Speeder Typhoon
Land Speeder Typhoon

Land Raider Crusader with multimelta
Land Raider Crusader with multimelta
Vindicator with Siege Shield
Predator with lascannon sponsons, twin-las turret, Sergeant Chronus, and Legacy of Glory: Schism of Mars

Tactical Squad, 5-man, plasma gun, sergeant with bolter
Tactical Squad, 5-man, flamer, sergeant with pistol/chainsword
Razorback with lascannon and twin plasma gun

Essentially, it's an armored assault column led by Chronus in his command Predator. Two small Tactical Squads provide infantry security, as any modern (or far future) mechanized force would have. The Dreadnought is the anti-air platform every tank force needs, and the speeders are the fast-moving flank security and recon element. The Schism of Mars rule is a purchased Legacy of Glory from Imperial Armor 2: Second Edition. It gives the tank the Tank Hunters rule, +1BS when firing at models with the Daemonforge special rule, and the ability to ignore the effects of Haywire hits on a roll of 4+. I originally selected this rule purely for Tank Hunters, as I figured Chronus would be the top tank ace of the Chapter. I wanted him to be more capable of killing tanks.
Then I downloaded and listened to Eye of Vengeance, which is primarily about Sergeant Telion and his scouts, but Chronus makes an appearance as well. In that story, he takes his armored forces out and engages in a huge tank battle with Dark Mechanicum forces. So the bonus to Daemonforge makes sense with that history in place. The save versus haywire is just icing.

I'd already submitted my list for approval by the time I listened to Eye of Vengeance, but was kicking myself because it provided a reason to take a Scout Squad with Telion instead of the two small Tactical Squads. Not a huge deal. The Scouts would have been a weaker choice that adhered to written fluff, while the Tac squads are a slightly stronger choice that adhere to theoretical, non-specific fluff.

I'm pretty excited to see how an army of almost all tanks will fare. I've never done such a thing, but the possibilities for the future are interesting. I've never built more than one Predator because I could never fit more than one in the three Heavy slots of a CAD, and stalled on building my third Land Raider for the same reason. I never touched any of the IG tanks I like so much because of the CAD and Allied requirements. Maybe I can run a combined IG/Marines tank force.


Raven Guard Scout Squad, Work Complete

After some solid paint sessions, my Raven Guard Scout Squad is now complete!


My only real disappointment with this squad is the sergeant's face. He's got some sort of Popeye look going doe to that one poorly painted eye. I also need to look again at the model, because the picture shows a big splotch of blue on his chest, which I don't remember seeing.

Other than that, the squad was a lot of fun to work on, and I learned some new stuff. Decals and decal solution, gloss varnishing, casting bases, and more work on painting faces.

I'm not sure exactly what is next in the Raven Guard pipe. I have parts set out for both a Librarian and a Captain, but I can't decide which to build. I'm stuck on the Librarian because I can't decide if I should stick to my original plan of replicating this guy from some older art, or just go freeform with him.

As for the Captain, I can't decide on armament. Originally I'd intended to build him as a Shrike stand-in with dual lightning claws, but then I realized that Shrike is a bit of a lame duck in 7th. So, I thought about a different loadout of thunder hammer and lightning claw. Looks cool, and is pretty in-game effective. But then I compared him to my potential VanVet squad who'll likely be packing bolt pistols and grav pistols (Gunslinger rules), and he doesn't really match what would be his de facto command squad. I could give him double pistols as well, but then he's pretty pointless in melee where Captains tend to shine. Any suggestions?

I'm stumped at this point. I have time to think about it, as I have a few Ultramarine projects to work on. I have three lascannon Marines in progress, and a drop pod waiting for magnets to arrive in the mail to fix my mistakes. I also want to expand my heavy weapon options for my Terminator squads to include Cyclones and heavy flamers.


More Raven Guard Scout Progress...So Close!

Here's a series of images that show my progress on the Raven Guard Scouts.

This image is washed out and terrible, but you can see the glossiness of the varnish I added to the shoulder pads. I'm told it's a key step in laying a foundation for decals, so I applied it to the shoulders of every model.

Once that was dry, I started applying decals. I used Micro Sol and Micro Set to get them nicely adhered. The first I applied didn't go very well, as I mixed up the order of the solutions. You want Set, then Sol. Set makes the area tacky so the decal "sets" in place, and then you use Sol to soften the decal to conform to the shape of the piece. It's a SOL-vent. After I figured that out, the remaining decals went quick and easy.

I used the Forgeworld decal sheet for Raven Guard, which is absolutely fantastic. I'd say you could probably do an entire army with a single sheet.

I then set the models aside after giving them a quick blast of Dullcote to lock down the decals, and proceeded to work on making a mold for my custom paver/flagstone bases. I dug out a very old canister of mold silicone. I'd had the kit for something like two or three years, and the canister was half full. When I went to use it, I realized it was probably no good because the silicone was very thick and goopy. Proper silicone is thick but flows easily. Being the cheapskate I am, I figured I would give it a shot anyways and mixed up a batch.
Turns out I was right, the stuff was too far gone. It refused to cure after three full days. Uncured mold silicone is just about impossible to remove from anything, so I had to throw the mold box, the acrylic sheet I'd glued it to, as well as four master bases in the trash. Here's a pic of the whole disaster before it went in the trash. The bases sticking out of the top were actually pulled free from the hot glue I'd used to fix them to the acrylic sheet because of the air bubbles underneath!

I thought about giving up on making a mold, as I wasn't sure I wanted to spend more money on more silicone. But, I gave in and bought more. This time I bought Alumilite Quick Set, where in the past I'd used High Strength 2. The Quick Set cures more rigid and less squishy. HS2 is more for one-piece molds with big undercuts, while Quick Set is for two-piece molds and one-piece molds with no undercuts.

I got my shipment in less than a week, and poured a mold over four of my masters. The result? Success!

One thing I'm a big fan of when I make molds is recycling. In the past, I'd saved small spills and sections of cured silicone and added them to my new molds. Silicone cures solidly to old silicone, which is why you need mold release agent when making two-piece molds. But I wasn't sure if Quick Set would bond to HS2, so I didn't include any recycled chunks in the master mold. Instead, I sliced off a couple pieces of an old HS2 mold and put them in the bottom of some plastic cups. I poured the leftover Quick Set into the cups to see what would happen. Turns out they bond nicely! I can now use chunks of old molds to save volume when pouring new molds. I even added these two little experiments to my pile of old silicone for chopping up and inclusion in new molds down the road.

My first pour into the new mold wasn't great, but it wasn't a total failure. Below you'll see four bases. The top right contains a lot of unmixed resin, while the top left contains a little less. I didn't spend long enough stirring the bottom of the cup. The two casts on the bottom came out perfectly, as they were the first ones poured from the cup.

 After another mix and pour, I had six usable bases and two failures. Here are the five for the Scouts:

Because pure, flat bases are boring, I got out my tubs of sand and small rock and added some to each base to make them look like small rubble piles.

These will then be primed white and painted a stone grey color. You'll notice the bottom left base has a small notch out of the largest tile section, at the bottom. That was an air bubble from the casting that I carved the edges of to make it look like wear or damage. You don't have to worry too much about bubbles on bases of this style, since you can just cover them up with sand and rock, or expand them into cracks or damage.


Epistolary Librarian Laetus Falco

A little while ago I finished my Ultramarines Librarian, but wasn't able to get good pics until last night. So, here he is, along with his fluff:

Epistolary Librarian Laetus Falco
From his induction into the Librarius of the Ultramarines, Laetus Falco displayed a penchant for using his powers to unlock the physical and psychic potential of his battle brothers. Those Marines who go to battle beside the Epistolary find themselves possessed of great strength, unassailable mental fortitude, or able to endure or recover from the most dire of wounds.
As a Codicier, Falco was able to use his powers to keep his mentor alive long enough to banish Nodosus, a greater daemon of Nurgle, back to the warp. Falco's mentor died shortly after, but lived long enough to pass his force staff, Reach of Empedocles, to Falco. He has carried it ever since.

I used a darker blue for his armor, since the Codex Astartes indicates that Librarians are marked out by a deep blue. I use a lighter ultramarine shade for my army, so I just stopped one shade darker. You can see the difference in the second picture that shows the shoulder pad with the Chapter icon on it.
His backpack is magnetized so I can swap in a jump pack if I want.

This was a fun model to paint, and I'm really enjoying all of the new clam pack characters GW releases. I'm thinking about painting the Reclusiam Command Squad Chaplain next, after I've finished all the other Ultramarine models in my queue.