Caving to the Pressure?

I spent the last couple days of last week testing out colors for the armor on my Nids. I flopped around between a dark green, green-blue, gray, and khaki colors. I decided I had to test some stuff out before deciding, and slapped a ton of swatches right onto the talons I was working on:

There's a lot of random colors on there. I didn't end up using any of them. I slapped a light coat of primer back over the colors and started painting in an ochre brown scheme. I snapped a shot, but it got corrupted in the transfer from SD card to PC. I'll put up another later on, when I've got a few more layers on it and you can start to see the transition from dark to light.

I've also been thinking ahead to list design, and that's where the title of this post comes from. My intent when I first started working on a Nid army was to create an all-melee force. Everything that could fight in melee would have melee upgrades like scything talons, rending claws, and toxin sacs. I wanted a walking Tyrant with armored shell, a couple base Carnifex (all scytals), and scything/rending Warriors and Raveners. I even thought about doing nothing in the army with less than a 40mm base, which meant Warriors as troops. Then I became obsessed with Genestealers after playing some games of Death Angel and seeing some awesome Ymgarl sculpts. My Hive Tyrant isn't even half done, and I've managed to buy 25 or so Genestealers and a bunch of Gaunts. I never intended to run Gaunts!
I am falling into the same trap I fell into with Marines...buying and trading for items because they're cheap. I've got a box of stuff next to my desk, and it bothers me.
The more I read about Nids on blogs and forums, the more I drift toward playing a force I never intended to run. I'm looking at Dakkafexes, flying Tyrants with brainleech devourers, etc. I've held firm against Tervigons, but everything else seems to be eroding. I looked at gargoyles, and found them interesting as well. I never wanted to run any of those units!

At this point I can do one of two things: pare my now-growing Nid collection back down to what I actually intended to run, or cave to the competitive pressure and run models that are awesome on paper (and the table), but total crap in my mind. I'm not sure yet which way to go. I'd really like to hold to my convictions and run only 40mm+ base models with lots of all-melee upgrades. But where do i draw the line? I love Raveners both for the models and the rules. Raveners can take various shooting weapons, and still retain their melee orientation. Do I skip taking spinefists on a model they're actually useful for in order to preserve my all-melee force? Do I not take a Trygon because it has a base shooting attack? Gargoyles are incredibly useful, do I break the 40mm rule and the no-shooting rule to take them?

I think the first thing I have to do is purge myself of all these Termigaunts. I know I'll never actually use them, so I should try to trade or sell them towards Warriors. I'll hold onto the Hormagaunts and Genestealers because they do fit the melee rule, but not the 40mm rule, though I can see myself shedding the Hormas as well.

It's a good thing I caught this problem early. I can still salvage some value out of the gaunts while they're still new on sprue. If I'd assembled and painted a ton of them, I'd have lost a lot more time and money.
Of course,the biggest obstacle to my Nids right now is my lack of painting! I need to get rolling on the Tyrant at a faster pace. I have til November for him to be perfect and competition-ready, but if i stall that long on him, I'll never move onward to other models.


Tyrant Progress

Here's some proof that I actually am working on a Hive Tyrant.

This is his top right talon as it currently sits:

This is the previous shot, when it was just a base coat and shading wash:

That second shot is more for my personal edification, as I'm not sure how much I like the paint work. Right now the arm has six or seven color layers on it. My concern is that it might lack definition, a contrast between dark and light. What do you folks think?

Here's a shot of his head:

I like this a bit better, as the lines around his jaw help with the contrast of shading to highlight.
I'm torn as to whether I should go back in and darken some areas or not. I have a temptation to blast it with Dullcote before I go on, as Dullcote has a tendency to help blend transitions. Not sure how it does it, but it does. Of course, you also lose some of your highest highlights when you do this. It's why I now try to highlight as close to white as is feasible and appropriate. I don't think white would be appropriate here.

Do you think the colors might pop a bit more once I get the talons and the ribbed flesh painted in? I'm thinking maybe a tan-to-ivory transition for the talon blades, and either a flesh tone or pink color for the ribbed flesh parts. I also considered a sickly yellow. I'm really stumped, honestly. I might go with a dark blue-green for the carapace armor, though. My reasoning is that I'm using a yellow-green for the main body chitin shell, and blue is the complimentary color to yellow. So having a blue/yellow contrast in my greens feels like a good plan. It also helps me stick a little closer to my original plan of "green crab theme". I actually almost started painting this guy in a tan/ivory scheme with a mahogany shell.

The final shot is of his body:

You can see all the fiddling about I did trying to fill gaps with Liquid Greenstuff. I did some more last night and will have to sand it back to smooth tonight.
One of the reasons I haven't started on the body yet is that I cannot for the life of me figure out how to mount this sucker for painting!

As you all know, I normally put a pin in one of the model's feet and clamp it into an old Dremel. I did this with my metal Dreadnoughts, and it worked just fine. The problem here is that the only part of him that touches the ground is that little tiny section of tail and sculpted-on rock. There's just not enough there to drill for a pin. I could drill in at an angle (20-30 degrees), and bend the pin downward after it clears the tail. But the rest of the model is so top-heavy that I'm afraid it would pull through the glue bond and just spin around the pin. The top-heaviness is also the reason I can't just grab that sculpted rock area in a vice or clamp and hold it that way. I tried with a couple clamps, and it kept tipping out due to the weight of the torso.
Anyone have any suggestions? My last resort will be to glue him lightly to his 60mm base with either a tiny amount of plastic glue, or a bit of superglue. I can use an Xacto to separate the former or just break the latter.

As a tiny bit of pointless trivia to end this post: the assembled Tyrant body pictured above actually stands freely on its own on that little sculpted-in rock section under the tail. Once I add the head and arms it won't but for now it sits proudly on my desk, daring me to finish it.


April Tourney Report

Saturday I attended the FLGS's monthly 40K tourney. This one was at 1750 points, and I ran this list.
It is basically the list I ran in March, minus the Hyperios Whirlwinds, and with an Assault Marine Squad and Jump Librarian added, with some shuffling of attack bikes. I've really enjoyed my bikes in Sixth Edition, and since I'm paring down my Marines to a fast-only style, I figured I'd keep going with them.

My first game was against Thor, from Creative Twilight. He was running Chaos Marines. We played Search and Destroy.
Things started out very slow due to Night Fight on turn one, and both of us playing pretty speedy armies. The first turn was mostly maneuvering and rearrangement. On Turn Two, I committed to the fight. I sent my Assault Marines into his Spawn with attached Lord. You see, I really love Assault Marines. I'm a White Scar/Raven Guard player at heart, but wear Ultramarine clothing. Whenever I field Assault Marines, I tend to hover around the edges with them, or hold them back a little too long. This tends to lead to them being shot down to ineffectiveness, or on the receiving end of a charge. Either way, they die without having accomplished much. I decided that this month they'd be bold, and be the first to the fray.
They slammed into the Spawn after a short volley of pistol shots, and actually managed to kill all of the Spawn in one go. A major factor was the ability to soak the Chaos Lord's challenge onto my sergeant, so the Librarian could use his force staff to take down two entire Spawn.
After that, things degenerated for me. My army has no answer to Chaos Marine characters and their nasty melee upgrades. None. Once those Lords got into my units, I didn't have much chance of survival.
In the end, I lost 33-1. Despite the loss, the game was enjoyable and challenging.

My second game was against Kamui and his Ork/Grot army. This one was Target Priority, on the shop's lava board. It's a board with a lot of 1"-2" wide lava streams, with some LOS-blocking rocks, impassable volcanoes, and some burned out tree area terrain. Most people at the shop love playing on this board both because it looks great, and because of all the lava. The cowards play the lava as difficult terrain. Others like myself play it as both difficult and dangerous. The crazies play it as lethal, though that's really tough to do due to the limited approaches amongst the spiderweb of lava.
My speed won me this one. I was able to roll a flank and reach the objective in Kamui's deployment zone, while using my own shattered units to claim my own objective and push onto the center marker.
Trukk Orks have it rough in 6th Edition. Once the trukks were down, I was able to charge my bike squads into the 12-strong Mobs. I'd challenge with a sergeant, and them immediately smack a wound onto a Nob with a Hammer of Wrath attack. The three remaining attacks would typically land twice, and wound once or twice. Nobs with a 6+ armor save and one remaining wound just never got to swing back. The game would have been a LOT closer if I'd not managed to use Terrify with my Librarian on the Warboss and his Nobz. They failed the immediate Morale test, ran, and were bogged down for the rest of the game. I also managed to Terrify the combined GrotGuard platoon in the last turn and send them packing, leaving the back objective open for the taking.
I ended up winning 30-3, but it was still a close game. I think another big factor int he game was the slowness at which we were forced to play due to the lava. We were rolling a LOT of dangerous terrain tests, which added several minutes to each of our turns.

The final game was against a Chaos Marine/Daemon list loosely themed around Typhus and Zombies. Typhus, three huge zombie squads, Huron, two units of Nurgle Spawn, some Chaos Hounds, Plaguebearers, and a Herald on Nurgle.
The mission was Defensive Onslaught.
This game was close til the last turn or two, and I lost 31-3. Again, I had no answer to Chaos characters. My Captain went toe-to-toe with Huron and did ok, but he was at one wound when he went in and wasn't able to do much before dying. I think if he'd had full wounds, it would have been closer.

All in all, a good day. I manged to win the "Master Class" side of the painting competition with one of mu Honour Guard models. The two divisions were one for entrants who'd never won a painting award, and one for anyone who had won a competition before.
I won't have the chance to play a game again til probably late June. The May event was pushed to June 1st, and I can't make that day. I might be lucky enough to sneak in on a Wednesday, but I doubt it.

I'll have to content myself with painting and clearing out Marine kits. My Hive Tyrant's limbs are coming along, and I hope to have a WIP shot soon. I assembled the three major parts of my next Sternguard model (body, backpack, bolter) and will prime and paint him in the coming week or two. Two more after that and I can stop with the Sternguard and switch to either my final Landspeeder or some Scout Bikers.


Pyrovores...yes, Pyrovores!

In my quest to field a non-standard Tyranid army that I like the looks and feel of, I am thinking seriously about picking up a couple Pyrovores for my eventual force.
Before your heads explode, let me explain why.

Many of the Sixth Edition codexes have featured units that serve pivotal roles in their respective army that everyone takes, Dark Angels being the anomaly so far.
Chaos Marines armies feature a lot of Cultists, at least in this area. These guys just hunker down, take potshots, and claim objectives. There are so many other, nastier units bearing down on you that you can't often spare the fire to wipe them out, especially if they're made fearless by an Apostle.
Daemons do the same thing, but with Plaguebearers. Those rotten bastards hide in terrain on or near an objective, and just exist. The 2+ cover save they get from Shrouded and Go to Ground is tough to beat.
And now Tau have their Fire Warriors and Pathfinders, who have weapons with solid range, and the ability to be keystones of an army with markerlights and Supporting Fire.

Nids will have a really tough time crossing the board with standard units against any of these armies, and that is a common complaint/observation of the Tyranid players and bloggers I follow.

The answer might be Pyrovores.

My theory is that you can take a pair of Pyrovores for under 100 points. Feed them into a Spore Pod, and land the whole bunch danger close to your target. Pods don't mishap on Deep Strike, unless they fall off the board. With the new FAQ allowing the Pyrovores to be placed anywhere that is fully within 6" of the pod, scatter is less frightening. This also allows the Pyrovores to be placed for maximum carnage with their flame templates.
Tau and Cultists won't get a save at all, and the Plaguebearers will be forced to use just their invulnerable and any Feel No Pain they have. Far better (for the Tyranids) than a 2+ cover save!

Those are my reasons for seriously considering Pyrovores in my army. Any counter arguments, suggestions, or ideas?

And remember, if all else fails, they can stand in as Biovore models!


A Newbie's Musings on Gaunts

I did a quick headcount of my Tyranid models thus far, and I've got a Hive Tyrant, 17 Genestealers, 12 Hormagaunts and 8 Gaunts. All my Genestealers will be simple to arm, as all of their weapons are largely interchangeable, and no one in the local area will pitch a fit if some of the models in the unit have scything talons on the model, and others do not. So long as I clearly point out and mark which units have which upgrades, we're good.

Gaunts are a tougher choice, and I did some quick Mathhammer to see what guns work best in different situations. I compared the stock Fleshborer against Spinefists and Devourers. I skipped the spike rifle and the strangleweb, as those are flat out bad. The strangleweb is laughably bad.

Against T4 models, a unit of 10 Termagaunts manages 2.5 wounds with fleshborers, 2.475 with spinefists, and 7.5 with devourers. This is assuming they're all within 12", of course. For the fleshborers, you essentially pay 20 points per wound caused. Spinefists are 24.24 per, and devourers are 13.33 per. Devourers seem the most efficient.

Against T3 models, the same units do 3.3 wounds with fleshborers (15.15 pts/wound), 3.75 with spinefists (16 pts/wound) and 9.9 with devourers (10.10 pts/wound). Again, devourers win on efficiency in a vacuum.
So, the conventional wisdom holds true. Take fleshborers if you want masses of cheap, garbage units. Take devourers if you want a hailstorm of small arms fire. Seriously, a unit of 10 Gaunts with devourers is half as expensive as a Tactical Squad, and can outshoot them on raw wounds caused.

That's the kicker, though. Wounds caused is not wounds punched through. In the above scenarios, only the devourers will punch through Marine armor with anything resembling reliability.

I was curious how the changes that arrived with Sixth Edition altered the common thinking on Gaunt weapons, especially when it comes to Overwatch fire. As a Marine Bike player, I know how valuable twin-linking is, so maybe Overwatch is where the spinefist shines?

When you do the math, that 10-strong Gaunt unit does .85 wounds to a T4 unit during Overwatch with fleshborers, 1.03 with spinefists, and 2.5 with devourers. Points per wound for those are 58.82 for fleshborers, 58.25 with spinefists, and 40 with devourers. Devourers win again!

Now Overwatch versus T3 models: 1.12 wounds from fleshborers (44.64 pts/wound), 1.56 from spinefists (38.46 pts/wound), and 3.3 from devourers (30.3 pts/wound). Devourers again.

So, my theory that spinefists are more efficient during Overwatch is nuked. There doesn't seem to be a situation in which devourers lose to any other Gaunt weapon in pure points-to-wound ratio. That bums me out, as I really wanted to put to use some of the million spinefist bits I have.

The only time it seems spinefists outshine any weapon on a points-to-damage basis is when attempting to ground a flying monstrous creature. That functions purely on hits, so the spinefists clock in at 19.29 points per hit, compared to a flat 20 for devourers, and 29.4 for fleshborers. Not exactly a huge margin over devourers, and a bit of a ludicrous application of Gaunts.

Of course, this all feeds into the idea that Gaunts are not a "heavy lifter" unit. I've used that term before elsewhere when talking about Troops choices. Some armies, like Deathwing, Grey Knights, or Orks have Troops units that can and do pull a lot of weight on the table. They can and must kill enemy units reliably in order to win games. Those units are either so costly in points, or in board real estate that they are forced to do SOMETHING or risk losing through inaction. Gaunts are not a heavy lifter. They're cheap enough, and of such poor effectiveness that they lose nothing by inaction. A unit of 10 Gaunts with Fleshborers can be parked out of sight (and out of mind!) for an entire game, and it won't affect the damage output of your army by more than a model or two.

So, how will I arm my Gaunts? I've already vowed never to field a Tervigon, EVER, so I'm not forced to field fleshborers if I don't want to. It's a decision that's a ways off, as I'm determined to finish any and all Genestealers before I complete a unit of Gaunts, plus I only have 8 Termagaunt bodies at the moment, unless I want to plunder a few Hormagaunt bodies and put guns on them.

Right now, I'm leaning toward Devourers, because not only are they "most efficient", but they're more expensive, meaning I can get a tiny force on the table faster if I field Devourers.

As a final note, I know Mathhammer is unreliable, and never accounts for all of the different factors in a game. I also know that quantity has a quality all its own, that 100 points of Devilgaunts won't have as many bodies as 100 points of Fleshgaunts or Spinegaunts. I think that's a HUGE factor to realize, because Gaunts die to a stiff breeze, being T3 and no real save to speak of. How many times will I actually fire that full volley of Devilgaunts, as compared to firing off the survivors of a unit of Spinegaunts or Fleshgaunts that have taken the same incoming damage? Points-per-damage is an attempt to quantify that, but 0 is still 0 no matter what. If the unit of 10 Devilgaunts is down to no models, it's not shooting at all, where the double-sized unit of Fleshgaunts still has 10 models left.

I think that's one of the things I like about learning a new army. Marines don't tend to worry about such things, as they all run in units of 5-10, and you don't tend to make the same types of decisions with them.
Does anyone have any fun or radical methods for running Gaunts of either breed in their armies? I know all about the "best" loadouts. Adrenal Hormagaunts for cracking AV10 rear armor transports through sheer weight of numbers and hull point attrition. Toxin Hormagaunts for taking down anything with a wounds value and less than a 2+ armor save. But does anyone run anything really wacky and unconventional?


The Rule of Four

I've made some progress in downsizing my Marine gear. I sold a few items at the FLGS for store credit, and am hammering out a deal for a couple items over at Bartertown. It does feel nice to shed some of this stuff, and I've not even gotten into the valuable stuff. So far I've just moved random items and castoffs from dead projects.

As I sit and think about how many of each item I need, I'm discovering that most of my collection can be summed up with "The Rule of Four."

This is an idea I started working under back when I was first amassing my initial compliment of infantry. I was unsure how many models of each type I needed for maximum list flexibility. Did I build all the missile launchers I owned, or only a few? How many flamers did I need? I decided that four was the magic number for special and heavy weapons. The maximum number of heavy weapons in a Devastator squad is four, as is the maximum number of special weapons available to a Command squad. So, I worked on special and heavy weapons in sets of four. I've got four plasmagunners, four missile launchers, four heavy bolters, etc, etc. Thus far, I've never really wanted for more than that.

I think part of this is due to how I play. I don't tend to build forces that feature the same weapon over and over. You won't see me playing an all-melta army, or a list that exclusively uses missiles. I like to mix and match my weaponry.

Now that Sixth has rolled around, the Rule of Four is even easier to enforce, due to the points levels we play at the FLGS. Some folks clamor for 2000+ point games, but so far we've hovered in the 1500-1850 range due to the time investment involved in tourneys. Sixth simply takes longer to play, so lower points levels help ensure complete (or near-complete) games. My Marines simply don't have the ability to cram in more than four of a given unit in those points ranges, while still being an interesting and balanced force.

So, I counted out the parts I need to get all of my heavies and specials up to four of each type, and bagged up the spares. The spare heavies are already gone, snapped up in a flash after I'd posted them. I only have two meltagunners to build and paint, so I'll have to inventory my special weapons next.

This rule even extends to vehicles. I had set my NIB Dreadnought aside in the Keep Pile, until this morning. I have four Dreads built and painted in my collection already. One plastic Venerable, two metal standard Dreads, and an Ironclad. I always fooled with the idea of running six, and had collected stock to do so. But, Dreads took a big hit in 6th Edition, and I decided that four was plenty for games of the previously mentioned points range.

The only exception to the Rule of Four right now are Rhinos. I have four built (though one is an old-school variant that I've grown out of love with). All of these are magnetized, have removable hatches and opening doors, and painted interiors. I could stop at four, if Rhinos were only used for transports. But, they also form the basis of Predators, Razorbacks, and Whirlwinds. I like running all of those models, and they're almost necessary when running a force that needs Rhinos as transports. So, I've decided to break the Rule of Four for Rhinos and go with a full six. I might even sell my old Rhino/Razor when I'm done, and pick up a new chassis to replace it. We'll see. If so, it would be the first painted model I'll have ever sold. Not sure how I feel about that.

I finished off another Sternguard model last night, except for his static grass and repainting of the base ring. I was pleasantly surprised while assembling him that his head fit neatly in the collar without the issues of the previous model. This second model uses a different helmet, the one with two pipes on one side, vents on the other, and a skull on the brow. The lack of vents on both sides makes it possible to fit his head in the neck socket without contacting the collar! Huzzah! I have decided to stop using Mk8 torsos after the third model, though. This is because I'm keeping three Tyrannic War Vets models from my metal veteran collection, and adding them to the Sternguard pile. Since that breaks the cohesion (as does the one model I've had built and painted for ages now), there's no point in keeping to Mk8 for the rest.


Moving Along Nicely

I'm on my way to cataloging the excess items in my Marine collection. I pulled out a first batch of stuff, and have decided to give the local players at my FLGS first crack at each batch as I make it available, then progress to Bartertown, then eBay. This is mostly due to ease of transactions. An in person sale is easiest (though I have to take the price in store credit), followed by lump and flat price sales/trades on Bartertown, then the crapshoot and fee-murder of eBay.

It was interesting to sit down on the living room floor and open every box and bag I have, write down what was in each one, and then close it all back up and start making "keep" and "go" piles. There was a little less in the "go" pile than I wanted there to be, though. Try as I might, I couldn't bring myself to put the brand new Land Raider with all of the sponson options in the pile. However, I think I'll be performing the sort again after I've cleared out all of the stuff currently in the "go" pile. I figure with some time and effort, I'll be more willing to part with some things.

I did some painting this weekend as well. I finished off the painting for the body of my second Sternguard model. I need to seal him this evening, then paint the base while the sealer dries.
I also started working on my Hive Tyrant! Here is a quick shot of what the first two coats look like:

This is white primer (Rust-O-Leum sandable primer), then two coats of Reaper MSP Olive Green, and a heavy wash of MSP Muddy Green. The wash was straight flow improver and paint, no water. It pooled in some areas, but I'm going to do a 50/50 mix of Muddy to Olive to bring the surfaces back up, then progress upward in 25% ratio increments. The third color in this triad is Pale Olive. I'm thinking at the extreme ends of each carapace section, I'm going to go all the way up to an off-white, so I can then blend the very edges of the carapace sections to a reddish pink, like I've seen on some of the crab shells I was trying to emulate.
I'm not sure what I want to use for the armor plates, though. I have some alternative green colors, or I can try purple or red. I'm thinking a dark color will work best.
What do you think?

I also got my fifth Genestealer assembled, so I have to figure out a way to pin their feet in order to hold them while painting. I'm thinking I can just cut off the slotta tab, insert some thin wire in the feet (like I do for Marines), and then form that wire into a hook shape. I took a handful of picture framing eyelets and screwed them into a wooden paint stirrer. I laid that across the speakers for my computer, and have been hanging the Tyrant's talons and head from the eyelets. It keeps me from touching the wet paint to my desk. I was originally planning on making little vice blocks with scrap wood and butterfly nuts, but I don't feel like spending money on butterfly nuts, bolts, and washers. Although, those are pennies apiece...

I also sat down last night and did some more sculpting. I had found a Genestealer conversion over at Warp Shadow that replaced the stealer claws with Daemonette claws. it looked neat, and fit the crab theme of the army (Hive Fleet Karkinos, remember?). A local Daemons player gave me a bag of spare Daemonette claws, and I started working on trying to copy the conversion. I realized too late that the original conversion was done using the scything talon arms mated to the Daemon claws. I was trying to remove the humanoid claws and replace them with the Daemon pincers. The effect was not as nice as I wanted, so I had to do some sculpting to fix the arms up. Of course, I don't have pictures of this, so I'll talk about it more in a later post.

One thing I do have pics of is the sculpted Spore Mine I made. Every time I have Green Stuff left over after a joint patch or other use, I have been rolling it into little balls to cure. I keep adding to these, like a tinfoil or rubber band ball, each time. I stop when they're about the size of a Space Marine helmet. Once they're that big, I start adding details with the small GS leftovers. Here's one of the things I ended up with:

This little bugger started out as a ball of Brown Stuff that I had left over from something. I drilled a hole in one end, and put a length of steel paperclip in to hold it. Then I started taking little balls of GS and sticking them to the surface. I pressed into the center of a ball with the back of a paintbrush, and then again all around the donut this created. The result looks like some sort of fleshy plate over the gas bladder of the mine. I kept adding to the main ball of Brown Stuff until it was almost covered, leaving area around the wire for tentacles. Those I rolled out by hand using the side of my finger. I found that using the touching portion of my finger would leave fingerprints. The side does not. Hold the resulting tentacle next to the mine and wire to gauge length, and cut to proper size. The offcut goes back into the wad of spare GS. Pick up the tentacle with a wet XActo blade, press into place under the mine, and then use a sculpting tool to press the connection flat for stability. I used the tool to pose/twist the tentacles around the wire. Repeat that process until you've covered the wire as best you can, and filled the blank area under the mine head. I then rolled out one shorter tube of GS, and wrapped it around the tentacle root points. Snip the tube to size, and begin using the sculpting tool to press a furrow in the entire tube. Smooth the area that meets the mine head flat, and then fiddle with the lower edge to make it look like some sort of fleshy skirt. Done!
Does it look pretty good?

The plan now is to either snip the wire just below the tentacles, and drill through the base to allow the wire to fit, or simply bend the wire at a 90 degree angle and a switchback to make it so I can glue the wire directly to the base. Cover with some GS made to look like a rock flow, add sand, paint, and flock. One free spore mine!

I've also started working on the second one:

Not super happy with the tube vents on this one, but they're good enough for a first try. In the future i think I'll attach little lengths of plastic rod or tubing, and sculpt the GS around those instead of trying to press GS into vent shape.


Full Stop!

Brace yourselves, dear readers, wall of text incoming...

I'm in another one of those 40K funks, and it sucks.

You see, I tend to get into a "who the hell cares about 40K?" frame of mind every once and a while. it typically coincides with massive levels of stress in my life. I know what causes it, and that it will pass, but just can't seem to fix it before it runs its course.

Symptoms are a general apathy about the game, and the hobby in general. I get into this "I don't play more than three games a month, so why bother playing at all?" mindset. I try to jump start my enthusiasm by starting up a new painting project or playing a completely radical army list, which sometimes works and sometimes does not. I have trouble summoning the energy to paint, or even scrape mold lines.

This current funk is pretty deep. I'm considering liquidating all of my Space Marine back stock. I sat down in the living room one day early last week and went through everything I have sitting unbuilt in boxes. Off the top of my head I ran up three Rhinos, a FW Vindicator kit (sans Rhino), a Whirlwind turret, half a squad of AoBR Tac Marines, a metal Techmarine and Servitors box, a Land Raider with ALL armament options, a metal Legion of the Damned box plus a couple blisters, three or four Scout Bikes, a Landspeeder Storm, a Landspeeder, a Dreadnought, an early multipart Tac Squad, and a metal Chaplain. That's just one plastic storage tote! Stashed in an armoire I have two or three Terminator boxes, a box of Scouts, half a Command Squad box, and two Drop Pods. If I jump into my bitz storage organizer, we're talking another 10-15 AoBR Terminators, 10 or so Scouts, 10+ Tac Marines, 15 or so jump packs, Marneus Calgar in metal, 10 or so metal Veteran models, parts of Antaro Chronus, a pair of old metal Techmarines with servoarms, a metal Dreadnought, 4-6 old style Scout Bikes, several old metal Attack Bike sidecars, the limited edition Web Store veteran, the limited edition Army Box Veteran, and a plethora of Marine bitz.

I've amassed all that over the years by making impulse buys at the FLGS, buying people out of their collections via Bartertown or eBay, or just deal-watching for rock bottom eBay auctions. Counting all of that stuff out and inventorying it doesn't make me feel better because I have everything a Marine player could ever want, it makes me feel worse because I know it will take years to assemble and paint it all.

The weight of my amassed Space Marines is crushing the life out of my motivation. Add in my new interest in Tyranids, and it's overwhelming.

I think it might be high time to put a full stop on Space Marines. I tinker with the idea of inventorying and liquidating all of the Marine stuff in one go, just to be free of it. Every time I've thought about it, that little voice in my head says "But you might use that someday!" or "But the next codex might mean you need those kits!". I need to send in a Deathwatch Kill team or some Genestealers to kill that voice.

Is anyone else out there in the same situation? So much stuff backed up, not enough time or motivation to use it all, but a nagging voice that refuses to let you free yourself of it all?

What I need is a plan, and it looks like this: count up all my main Marine body and armament bitz. Keep X parts to build about 20 Marines total. Count up my Scout parts and armaments, and keep 10 total Scouts with a variety of armaments and a heavy bolter (as much as I think it'd be cool to run an all-Scout army, it won't ever actually happen!). Count up my Terminator parts, and keep enough to build two heavy flamer and two Cyclone bearers. I won't ever actually build my Ultrawing force, especially now that they have changed the makeup of Deathwing forces. Keep the drop pods (one was a gift). Bundle up all the Land Raider stuff into the one box and find it a new home. Keep the plastic Dread, get rid of the metal one. Keep the Rhinos and the Vindicator kit, think hard about the Whirlwind sprue.Keep the Techmarine box and one servo-arm Techmarine, plus a full compliment of Servitors. Liquidate the extras. Shed the Legion of the Damned stuff (I love them, but they're pointless for now), and the Storm. Keep the regular Landspeeder kit, and anything bike related. Liquidate EVERYTHING else.

That should bring in some good money no matter what channel I use to sell it (eBay, Bartertown, or local). It'll pare my backlog of Marines to a manageable level. The biggest thing I have to deal with is the doubt. The feeling that all this stuff might be useful "some day." A new Marine codex WILL be released, and it likely will make some of the stuff I'm shedding awesome or fun. I'll have to deal with that as it comes. Hell, with the money I'll have made from liquidating my backlog, i can afford to buy a new box of Marines if I want something new, obviously. It's the hoarding, the mass buying that will murder me. I'm already seeing it with my Tyranids. I've bought several things already, and only one set of scything talons have paint on them, and even that is a work in progress. I have to stop amassing a backlog, ASAP!
I'm getting motivated just planning this out, so maybe I'll spend tonight watching the Bruins game (debut of Jagr in black and gold...), inventorying, and pricing things out...