The Horror in the Dark

My first set of five Genestealers is complete! Here's proof:


Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with these guys. They're not as intensively blended as my Hive Tyrant, and the lack of armor plates makes them much more monochrome. One thing I do not like about them is the bases. The sand and such is good, but in order to use all parts of a given model and eat up some slotted bases, I cut the slotta tabs off of the models, then glued them into the bases. I left the little decorative pieces on the bases. Each one includes a little rock and some sort of Nid-flesh spike or growth. At first I thought they'd look neat, but after I painted them up to match the green I use, they looked like crap. For the next batch, I'm just going to trim those off and throw them in the bitz bin.

You'll also notice that all of the models (except one, see below) use Hormagaunt talons instead of the humanoid secondary claws Genestealers normally use. Something about those hands bothers me, so I decided not to use any. But because I only had four spare sets of Hormagaunt talons, I needed another set of arms. I blatantly stole an idea I saw over at Warpshadow. I cut the hands off the arms and attached Daemonette claws in their place. I think they turned out pretty well.

Genestealers are my favorite Tyranid unit and model, so I decided to make up another batch of five to bring this to a respectable brood size while also giving me the option of a super tiny playable force when combined with my Tyrant. The next batch will also have one model with Daemonette claws, as well as one of the biomorph heads (the toxin sac head aka "Ballchinian"). I ran out of the normal heads, and didn't feel like waiting to trade away the biomorph heads I do have for plain ones. Before the new codex dropped, I had planned to turn all of the old implant attack heads into Ymgarls with custom-made Green Stuff tendrils (another idea blatantly stolen from Warpshadow). I'll probably still do that at some point, but the strong incentive isn't there any more. Instead of full broods, you'll see one-offs here and there.

I'm also still slowly picking away at my drop pod. I put the first few licks of paint on the fin assembly last night, so I'm inching forward on the Marine front.



Review: Tyrannic War Veterans Dataslate

I downloaded the Tyrannic War Veterans dataslate last night, as I'm a sucker for anything Ultramarine. This unit used to exist in the 4th Edition codex, and it was one of the main reasons I started playing Ultramarines. Combined with an old article on the GW website about converting TWV models using Tyranid parts, it was the coolest theme I'd ever seen for Marines.

Sadly, the creation of TWVs faded out of my mind when the 4th Edition codex died. I moved on to other things. With the release of this dataslate, I might go back! I have all four of the TWV models in metal, just waiting for paint.

The dataslate consists of three parts: the background material, a new unit entry, and a formation.

The backstory is good stuff. While it contains a pretty standard writeup of the FirstTyrannic War and the Battle for Macragge, it also introduces some small additional details. I won't spoil those for you, as they're a fun read.

The new unit entry is an Elites choice in a Codex: Space Marines army: Tyrannic War Veterans. They are essentially Sternguard with only Hellfire rounds, Preferred Enemy (Tyranids), and a special rule that gives them Zealot (Hatred+Fearless) when facing Tyranids. The unit also starts at 4 models (to coincide with the number of TWV models GW produces), instead of 5, but can still go up to 10 strong. They can select a Drop Pod or a Land Raider (any type) as a dedicated transport, and the only wargear option is to give the sergeant meltabombs.
Nothing earth-shattering, but flavorful and interesting. The ability to run four models as a unit is definitely an incentive to get mine painted up.

The formation is a non-slot detachment, like all other formations. it consists of Chaplain Cassius, 1+ TWV squads, and 0-6 Stormtalons. Yes, you are reading that right, up to SIX Stormtalons. The TWVs are prohibited from taking Drop Pods. However, the formation does have some special rules. I forget the exact name of the first rule, but it states that any enemy unit hit by a Stormtalon in a given Shooting phase to be shot at by TWV squads using the Ignores Cover USR. This isn't limited to Tyranids, either. The second rule gives the Stormtalons Infiltrate and the ability to start on the board in Hover mode.

Overall, I felt the background and TWV unit entry are worth the $7 I spent. I was/am not a fan of formations in any way, shape, or form. I hate the fact that formations don't take any FOC slots or Allied detachment slots. Hate.
One nice thing for those that DO like the formation rules and plan to use them, is that the dataslate contains the complete rules for Cassius, TWVs, and Stormtalon Gunships right in the file. You don't need to run out and buy Codex: Space Marines to add the formation to your army. It even contains all the supporting rules like Chapter Tactics (though only CT: Ultramarines).

On the painting front, I have gotten a tiny bit of work in, and do have pictures to share in my next post. I've been spending all my free time working on building my son's birthday present (a four-unit play kitchen with fridge, stove, sink, and cabinets) so 40Kpainting has taken a backseat until that's done. It's a crazy ambitious project for me, since before this project I wasn't exactly what you'd call a carpenter. I'm doing the bulk of the work on a table saw, alongside my hand tools, power drill, sander, and a jigsaw. The most ambitious part is the lighting. I'm planning to put orange and red LEDs under the stove/over the oven that turn on to make the burners light up and the oven to illuminate. I also have plans to put in a fridge light that turns on when you open the door, and possibly a small fan in the freezer that blows air when you open that door. Things should return to normal in the next week and a half.


The Shadow in the Warp Arrives...

At long last, I have pictures of my Hive Tyrant! Yeah, after a year of working on this guy, he's finally been photographed.

And there you have it. Effing FINALLY.

I did a quick inventory of the piles of Nid stuff I have, and realized that it's not as much as it used to be. I ended up counting 11 or 12 Warriors, 9 FW Sky Slashers, one Limited Edition metal Lictor, one metal Lictor missing a leg, an OOP metal Tyrant Guard (saw a great Broodlord conversion which I was going to steal, based on the body), 27 Hormagaunts, 20 or so Genestealers, 3-4 Termagaunts, a Carnifex, a ton of Rippers, and piles of the weapon bitz that everyone has (venom cannons, deathspitters, spinefists, blah blah blah).
It was a nice reminder that I'm not as heavily invested in Tyranids as I thought I was. Thank goodness. I'll be able to download the new codex Friday or Saturday, and then decide if the Hormagaunts will find a new home or not. There is word that Deathleaper can be an HQ, which would be HUGE for me, as I have wanted to run a Lictor+Genestealer force from the get go. I also have enough Warriors to carry a core bulk of points (plus a set of FW Shrike wings, and a set of wings from WHFB Vargheists for more Shrikes). Actually doing the inventory helped me distress about how much crap I'm sitting on.

I made the decision last night to purge all of the codexes I do not plan to use. I'm also halting my encyclopedic collection of codexes. So, when new books come out in the future, I won't be picking them up purely to have them (and thereby enter into rules debates regarding armies I don't even play). It's time to spend my time and money on other things!

Next post will be the five Genestealers that I'm nearly finished with. I puttered around with their bases some last night, so they're nearly done.


Picture time!

As I promised, here are some pics I took over the course of a couple projects, but that never panned out into anything resembling the tutorials I wanted them to.

First up is a series of WIP shots of my Hive Tyrant's base.

This one is the base with the materials glued down. It's gravel and washdown material from the end of my driveway, resin tree stumps and a doric column chunk from Secret Weapon, and some Greenstuff mushrooms.

Then the same base primed white (very exciting). It took quite a few spritzes from the can at various angles to get all the rocks covered and gaps primed.

After that it was a few coats of Reaper MSP Stained Ivory on the dirt and exposed wood. When that was dry, it got a thinned wash of Gryphonne Sepia on the ground and Thraka Green on the wood. I wanted the wood to look soggy and decayed, and it was the one thing i feel I didn't pull off well. I was generally unhappy with the end result of the stumps, which you'll see in a future post.

I wanted some shadows and a moist soil look around the stumps, so I went with Devlan Mud wash around them. I then added a few more areas of Devlan, Ogryn Flesh, Leviathan Purple, and even a few dots of Thraka Green. I mostly concentrated on the areas where grass and reeds would be, figuring they'd retain and grow in the moist areas.

This final shot shows where I started basecoating the stone grey, and added some purple and brown washes to the stump bark.

And that's where I stopped taking pictures because I was short on time.

I grabbed these two shots of my WIP Devastator Sergeant in order to start a tutorial on how to shade red. Here's the sergeant with a basecoat of red on his helmet:
And then again after washing the red with Thraka Green, which is the proper color for shading red. I abandoned this tutorial because I was painting my ass off for the Standish Standoff.

Then I have this shot of my drop pod being assembled, using slide clamps to hold the fins in place while glue cures. I was going to do a whole article on these and other clamps, but I assemble models far too slowly for that.

 And finally, a shot of one of my Genestealers after I had put a Sepia wash on the basecoated talons. The green skin is complete in this shot.

So, that is make-up picture day. I'll have some more shots of the finished Tyrant and Genestealers next time.


A Vow

I'm back at the blog after a while away, and I'm back with a bit of a vow.

You see, I looked at all the "2013 Wrapup" posts on all of the blogs I follow (and some I don't follow), and looked back at my own year. I'm not going to wrap up here, as most of the year is a misty, foggy blur. The one thing I did notice is that I spent a lot of time talking about painting and projects, and an ever-increasing amount of time posting pictures of that stuff. Talking about painting without accompanying pictures is pointless!

So, my vow for the blog going forward is that I will not post about painting projects and progress without at least one picture. I can't make any claims for quality of the photos, but there will be at least one for every project I discuss.

I had a nice 9 days off from work over the holidays. Thank goodness for paid vacation days! I didn't get (or want) any 40K stuff for XMas, but my wife did find me a really nice old roll-top desk to replace my scrapheap of a painting desk. Seriously, my desk was the remains of a big box store particleboard beast that I'd had since 2005 or so.
This new roll-top is great. It has all the little cubbies in the top, and drawers on each side. The roll-top is the greatest feature. I can now leave the door to the office open without fear of the cat smacking all my projects around. That same cat I posted about in early 2013 that broke half my models continued to knock projects off of the desk, scatter parts, etc. No more of that, stupid cat! Of course, as revenge she learned how to open the drawers on my bitz bin and grab parts out of them. I found a dozen shoulder pads scattered on the floor, as well as a metal Techmarine servo arm backpack. The bin lives in the closet for now, until I can figure out a solution.

I found plenty of time to paint over the break, but in keeping with my vow, I won't talk about it until I can take some pictures. I finally scrapped my desktop computer and switched to my laptop (which is the wife's old laptop, I inherit her old electronics). I had retained the use of the desktop purely for Photoshop 7, but I loaded GIMP onto the laptop instead. This should speed up the picture taking a little, as before I'd take the shots, pull them onto the desktop, edit, and upload to Photobucket. because the desktop was in the office, I had to take a break from whatever else I was doing to edit and upload. now I can just take the shots, and sit on my ass in the living room while watching hockey or a DVR'd show (currently working on episodes of Falling Skies Season 3) while editing and loading.

That is actually my plan for this evening. Load some old photos from the camera that I'd accumulated during October and November. You should see them in the next day or two.