keskiviikko 9. elokuuta 2017

Alpha Legion Squad Bravo

My slowly growing 40k army gets some more reinforcements with another regular Chaos Space Marine squad. As I was planning on building roughly a 1800-2000 point army and keep it at that this should be the last regular Core choice, at least for a while before I've played some full sized games. Still a Havoc squad and Terminators to do as well as character models, but outside of that it's mainly just vehicles and Daemon Engines from now on.


As with the previous unit plenty of kitbashing with pieces from different plastic kits from three decades and some 30k Forge World Alpha Legion bits thrown in for flavor. Some minor conversions as well pieces cut off and mixed between kits to vary identical parts somewhat.

Like with the previous unit main colours were done with an airbrush followed by picking out details. I cut down a little on the edge highlights compared to the previous unit as they are just a pain in the **s to do and getting clean  edges just seems nigh impossible at times. Concentrated on the most visible areas  now to save a bit of time, while still keeping the same look as the other minis. Worked out rather nicely so I'm going to continue with the same on the final minis as well.





I bought some new paints in late spring from a fairly new company from Cyprus called Warcolours. I've been tinkering with them lately, but haven't really painted proper until now. They seem to be more gel like compared to the Vallejo I normally use and dry a lot slower as they are meant more for wet blending etc. compared to traditional layering painting styles. I decided to try them out on the banner to see how easy  it would be. Smooth blends are something I've always struggled with, but boy these paints really seemed to make it easy. As they dry slightly slower and are more translucent than Vallejo it was really easy to feather out the edges between layers. In real life the contrast differences are a bit more stark than on the photos, but hopefully they still show the effect. Considering that I did that with 4 different shades in less than 10 minutes the results are pretty nice. With more practice and time really smooth highlights shouldn't be too hard to achieve. I'm really starting to like these paints more and more, the colour selection is aimed more towards fantasy and sci-fi with strong vibrant shades so not that great for historicals, but for other subjects should be amazing. Especially on larger smooth surfaces these are superior to Vallejo and so much easier to handle once you get used to the different properties compared to more traditional paints.

Decal wise I used a combination of Games Workshop and Fallout Hobbies decals as well as a 30k Alpha Legion decal for the unit's Icon. Everything else went on smoothly except  for the Forge World one. I've had issues with their decals previously as well as they are extremely thick, but still somehow they seem to be quite brittle and crease easily as well. Getting that hydra decal on the wavy flag took me nearly an hour to get it to sit straight and set into every crease. It seemed that the moment I though I had gotten everything to stick correctly some corner had moved  and lifted from the flag. With massive amounts of decal softeners and setters I finally got it to sit straight and covered it with a thick varnish layer that smoothed the surface out to remove most of the creases.




With these guys finished I'm probably going for a Daemon Engine next. I have a Helldrake and a Maulerfiend prepped up so going to start with one of them unless something else grabs my attention. We also have a Flames of War escalation league starting in September so I really need to start to prep and start painting for that as well. I'm going with a Soviet Tankovy so plenty of T-34's in store throughout the autumn.








perjantai 28. heinäkuuta 2017

Flames of War Pershings

With my summer holiday over it's time to be more active in the hobby field again. A month away from work was definitely needed as I was really starting to feel fairly burnt out and frustrated about everything. Couple of weeks in Canada and a few weeks back home spending time with friends, going out, watching movies etc. really did a lot to help bring back some long lost motivation for work, and for painting as well. I've been back to work and a normal routine for about a week now and painting has actually been really enjoyable for the first time in a long while.

First up are some more additions to my Flames of War US forces in the form of a Pershing platoon. A late war entry these didn't really reach troops until the final months of the war and even then only in small numbers. Still it's an iconic tank that saw much use in Korea and formed the basis of further US armor development into the Patton series, so I had to have some. From gaming point of view these are pretty bad to be honest. They are very expensive points wise in Flames of War, but still pretty vulnerable to larger late war AT guns. Fielding more than 3 is nigh impossible and they aren't too survivable then.  Still fun to field every once in a while for a themed list.


These guys were nearly done before I left for Canada, but with the mud effects taking hours to dry they weren't quite finished in time for that. Still it was a good way to start getting back to painting by just slopping on some finishing touches and varnish to get these guys ready.


I followed my normal recipe for US vehicles with a suitable green basecoat with dark yellow modulation. Some chipping and enamel washes for weathering followed by liberal coats of mud. Still haven't really fully figured out the Ammo of Mig mud products that I've started to transition to. They feel a bit too liquid to me and don't really have much texture so building thick coats of mud seems tricky. They've nowadays come out with some thicker stuff as well, so might have to give it a try or then try to mix in some very fine sand to add more texture and grit to the ones I already have.


Aside from the Pershings I've finally received my Skaven Blood Bowl team from a Willy Miniatures Kickstarter and been putting them together. I'd opted for a Deluxe box which included a pitch and transportation foam. After some mishaps those who did so ended up receiving their stuff about three months after everyone else. If I'd known before hand I would have just taken the minis, but originally everything was supposed to ship at the same time.

Alongside Skaven I've been continuing on the next Chaos Space Marine squad. Most of the time consuming work is finished with all the details picked out and the tedious edge highlighting done. I've still got decals to apply and chipping to add before a final panel line wash to make those pop out better. I probably should have gone for a slightly faster scheme to paint, but I do enjoy the look so maybe it's worth the extra time. Hoping to finish them of within a week or so, though a friends wedding this weekend will reduce available hobby time quite a bit.



From a hobby point of view it's forming up to be quite a busy autumn. We have a Flames of War escalation league starting to get new players in and for us older players to start new armies. Also a Shadow Wars Armageddon campaign starting which I was planning to take part in. And finally we are planning to start our 1813 Napoleonics campaign that we'd originally already planned for 2016. So there should be plenty of gaming and painting ahead and hopefully I'll be a bit more active updating the blog as well.

maanantai 26. kesäkuuta 2017

Chaos Decimator

Back to 40k and blogging! Painting has still been slow with computer games like Steel Division and Battlegrounds taking much of my free time lately. But with the 8th edition of 40k coming out and massive hype at my club and online it's really rekindled my interest for my Alpha Legion project so I dug them up and continued from where I left previously!


I started by continuing on the Rhino which was left in a WIP state previously, but like last time I wasn't completely sure about the aesthetics that I went for. Originally I thought a rust base coat and chipping fluids would be a cool idea, but now the vehicle just feels too 'messy' compared to how the rest look. So I put it aside until I figured what to do with it. I hate removing paint, but with an airbrush job covering some of the chipped areas will be a pain in the ass. Luckily most of them are on the lower areas and will be covered by mud anyways, but I'll let that simmer for a while until I get  some inspiration.


So with the Rhino pushed out of the way I went for what is probably my favorite Daemon Engine, the Decimator. It's like a massive mean version of a regular dreadnought that really looks chaotic, but doesn't go overboard like some of the funkier dinobots. Like many Forge World models, fit wasn't always perfect and it was extremely fiddly to put together as it's really top heavy and connection points were tiny. Plenty of pinning and green stuff helped though and now it feels pretty sturdy.


I was thinking about different variations on the green accents with more realistic highlights, random splotches etc. but just ended up going with highlighting panel lines and corners. Outside of that it was a fairly simple job of painting all the steel areas, picking out some cables in different colours and highlighting the demonic features on his armor. I added some dusting and rust effects with pigments, but didn't want to go overboard so left it pretty light. Likewise the base was kept simple, partly not to take too much away from the model and in part, because there  really isn't much room even on a 60mm base as the model really is that huge.


Outside of that I started applying paint on another squad. All the airbrush work is now done, next up it's all the steel pieces and then some edge highlights. That will have to wait a few weeks though, as I'm starting my summer holiday in a few days with a trip to Canada to visit my parents and tour Quebec for a little over a week. Might squeeze in a bit of hobby time before my departure, but that will probably go into some nearly finished Flames of War things. After the trip I'm going to try to get back to more regular painting and blogging, but we'll see how I'm feeling after a short holiday period.



torstai 11. toukokuuta 2017

Dropfleet Commander PHR

Last batch of PHR ships for Dropfleet Commander, at least for a while. I've still got one starter fleet left, but I'm leaving that for until I've gotten more games in and a better feel for how I want my fleet to work. I've already got more than I'll ever use in a single game, so just need to figure out what kind of ships I want more.

Got these done a couple of weeks ago for a game at the club, but took my sweet time taking photos and putting them up here. Painted here is one of the two PHR battleships, Heracles, some corvettes and four support frigates in the form of two Calypsos and two Andromedas.


The battleships are some of the newer additions to the game and only came out a few months ago. I ordered mine straight away, but unfortunately it arrived with some parts missing which lead to a few more weeks of waiting until I got the items from Hawk. With them still being somewhat overwhelmed with Kickstarter issues it took some time to get replacements, but in the end I have the missing fins and a complete ship. The quality is a bit mixed with the body showing the layers from 3D printing that was used to make the master. Still nothing too bad and a light sanding followed by a heavier basecoat on the affected areas fixed everything.

The resin Corvettes on the other hand were excellent with a super smooth finish and no apparent flash or parting lines. Hopefully when the old moulds wear out on the battleships they'll redo them with a better finish on the master model.

Heracles

Calypso

Andromeda

 Echo
 
Finally I dug out all my current PHR ships. There's surprisingly many now that they are out of the storage box. Can't even fit them on my regular photo backdrop :) Next up for Dropfleet is an UCM fleet, I've put most together and I'm only really waiting for a few online only limited edition light cruisers to arrive and I'm all set for a large fleet. When I'm done with that I need to start running some demos at the club as there's only a few guys playing at the moment and new opponents certainly wouldn't hurt!


perjantai 14. huhtikuuta 2017

Looking for my painting mojo

As is probably apparent from the silence in my blog I haven't really been interested in doing any painting for a while. My rush to the finish line in the painting challenge was bit of a dud with plenty of things on the table, but I just couldn't get anything finished up. Those have now been pushed aside to wait for some inspiration to finish them at some point.

Lack of painting mojo isn't anything new though as frankly I haven't really felt super interested in painting anything since last summer or autumn. I have periods where it's fun to paint up things, but I just can't bring myself to crank out unit after unit of minis in similar garb. At times painting yet another Napoleonic unit or some more WW2 stuff seems too much like a job. This does tend to cause some issues as the games I like the most tend to require quite a lot of minis with an average Napoleonic division coming at around 200-300 15mm minis in our games for example.

Interestingly the thing I'm disliking the most at the moment is painting with a brush. Airbrushing is still ton's of fun, but somehow when I need to go in and pick out details to finalize stuff all motivation goes out the door.

Even though I can't get myself painting, it doesn't mean I've abandoned other aspects of the hobby. I've actually been playing quite a lot lately with version 4 of Flames of War being a ton of fun despite some of the oddities and rules that I disagree with. The old edition and lists were starting to be boring and this really brings a fresh way to play the game without making it too different from the previous editions. Dropfleet has also been fun to play as well as all the different board games that I've gone back to.

So with a plenty of gaming and other activities I'm slowly trying to find my painting mojo again. One thing that I'm not going to do is trying to force myself into painting any larger projects for a while as that's really killed my interest in brushwork. I'm only painting whatever seems cool at the moment and not stressing about even getting it finished. Last weekend was quite fun with some airbrush work on additions to my Dropfleet army as well as on a Chaos Rhino that I'd built up last summer and started on by airbrushing a base layer of different rust shades. I tested a some chipping products from Ammo of Mig that allow you to paint over a previous layer and by wetting it again you can scratch of some of the top layers. Worked out quite nicely and now the Rhino is waiting for some detail and decal work before I can get to washes.



My mancave has also got a bit more furniture and it's starting to look more like what I want it to be. Another desk was bought for the PC so that I don't have to cram everything onto one desk. Some storage solutions for books etc. were also added which aren't really visible in the picture. Finally I bought some more paint racks from Warbases as well as new paint from a  newish brand called Warcolours. Haven't had time to test them out properly yet, but from the test pieces I did they really seem very promising! Not ideal for historicals, but strong vibrant colours and a nice 5 shade colour setup that should prove great for fantasy and scifi stuff.



With that rant out of the way  I'm off to celebrate easter. My parents are visiting Finland for a week so some time will be sent with them as well as the in-laws. Nice to have a four day weekend after a few weeks of working 10-12 hour days.

perjantai 24. maaliskuuta 2017

Final challenge entries

With the Painting Challenge over it's high time I get to posting my final entries! Points wise my challenge wasn't much of a success with only 506 points gathered out of my original goal of 1000. Personal worst of the 5 editions I've taken part in, but still I'm pretty happy with the result. When setting up my target I didn't know I'd be buying an apartment just a few weeks later and spending much of the beginning of the year redoing it before moving in. Even after that I've honestly felt quite exhausted constantly and rather spent my time watching various TV shows and spent my hobby time mostly gaming instead of painting.

Enough rambling and onto the things that I actually managed to paint up!

First up the cast of Danger 5 and their arch nemesis Hitler with some of his cronies. I'd planned submitting them for the final bonus round as they were perfect for the theme, but seriously underestimated how long it would take to paint them up and missed the deadline. Still when I accepted the inevitable it did allow me to paint up the accompanying human and lizard soldiers for Hitler that would otherwise have been left for another entry. Great sculpts from an even better TV show. Now I just have to figure out how to actually use them in some game :)






For my final entry it was time for my entry fee. The wednesday crew had decided to paint up some Spanish Civil War minis for Curt's collection and I decided to join them. SCW has always interested me, but never enough to get me started on collecting any forces. So this was the perfect opportunity to get some painted without having to commit to a project. Luckily my fellow Finn Teemu (Vain Vader) was organizing the group entry and had ordered plenty of extras so I was able to source a mini from him. I went with a Miliciana as what sane man could resist a fiery southern woman! Like all Empress offerings the pose and general sculpt was great, but the face was bit of a let down. All the minis I've painted from them have had fairly smooth faces with little detail, perhaps more realistic in the scale, but it just doesn't look as good as a some exaggerated details.





With the challenge ending I was left with a few projects on the table in varying states of readiness. Different fantasy miniatures had paint thrown onto them as well as two battalions of Napoleonic Saxons that got about all the base colours done and were only missing a final highlight and a wash. I just couldn't get myself to finish them as doing large groups of nearly identical minis just started to feel too much like work and I had to force myself to pick up the brushes. So I felt better leave them on the desk and continue when I start to feel like painting again.


Finally part of the reason why I've been fairly quiet on the blogging and painting front aside from the renovations. A product development project on which I've been working on as one of the lead designers for the last couple of years has more or less reached it's conclusion with the first production runs and project delivery to our customer. As we are using a subcontractor outside of Finland there's been quite a bit of travel to inspect and approve work. Still quite nice to see things in real life after looking at them on the computer screen for such a long time! Hard to realize the scale of things as well considering that the smallest sizes weigh about 17tons and take roughly 100 cubic meters of space. As you can see I'm also pretty adept at playing the part of the inept office worker. No helmet and taking a selfie while hanging at 4 meter height with no proper walkways is something that is exactly what they tell you not to do at the occupational safety courses that I've gone through :) I probably should write a hazard report due to that...


tiistai 21. helmikuuta 2017

Renovation news, secret santa and painting challenge entries

Phew it's been quite a busy 6 weeks. Apologies for my absence and lack of comments on other blogs as well. We got the keys to our new apartment in the middle of January and since then I've been there every single day after works and all the weekends except for a Flames of War tournament. Finally there's light at the end of the tunnel and our renovation is starting to be finished and we are moving in on Friday. Practically every single surface in the apartment has been redone except for the bathrooms which I'll do later on in the year when we've settled in. Walls and ceilings were painted, I've installed new wood floors and redone the stairs. In addition we tore down a wall to open up our living room and gotten a brand new kitchen. We ended up hiring a company to do the kitchen, but I did the rest myself with help from friends along the way. Quite an exhausting experience with practically no free time for a month and a half, but still quite rewarding to see the whole thing being finalized.

Now that we've been packing things away the whole scale of my hobby seems to show itself as well. I was actually pretty surprised myself as well with just the board games taking 5 large moving boxes straight away and the miniatures even more. I ended up taking some to the new place already to put them on the shelves to make space for packing dishes, clothing etc. I'm starting to think that thinning out the collection might be a good idea sometime...


Also I ran into a slight issue with transporting all my painted miniatures! Normally I store quite a lot on showcase shelves and when I started to pack them away found that I ran out of foam trays to pack them in. So I had to empty one tray out in my new wardrobe to make space for more stuff from the shelves ;)


With that out of the way it's time for some of the Painting Challenge entries that I managed to finish before our renovation kicked of properly. First up a pair of King Tigers and Wirbelwinds for my Flames of War Germans. The later model without Zimmerit was my Secret Santa gift and definitely came in handy as I needed one for the tournament in late January. So thanks to my mysterious benefactor once again! The other one was dug up from my lead pile. It was bought used as part of an eBay auction. One of the only minis that was actually useful from the lot as most were put together wrong, missing parts etc. Definitely the last time I'm buying anything just looking at a tiny picture online.

They were all painted with colour modulation using 4 different shades going from dark yellow to an ivory shade. Camouflage was added on top of that with some further modulation on the camo shades on the later Königstiger. Enamel washes, chipping and mud were the used to weather them.







As my final Flames of War German entry for the challenge I painted up some Sturmgewehr armed infantry. I'd originally planned to field Panzergrenadiers, but in the end ended up switching to Volksgrenadiers so I need to paint up a few more stands armed with assault rifles. I still haven't really figured out how to get camouflage clothing to work at this scale, but from your normal gaming distance you can't really see it anyway.


And finally some refs for Blood Bowl. When I saw Forge World bringing out limited edition referee sculpts I couldn't help myself. I'm a sucker for everything that says limited and with them being such nice sculpts I immediately placed an order for them. They were a nice little side project to paint up. Certainly refreshing between the Flames of War stuff.



With this post done it's back to packing our stuff. A couple of more days to endure and then I can hopefully have some desperately needed hobby time for myself. At least at the new place I'll have a small room for myself and all my things so it's an improvement!

keskiviikko 18. tammikuuta 2017

Painting Challenge: Blood Bowl - Da Jestaz

Time to get my latest entry from the Painting Challenge up. Blood Bowl Orcs from the new plastic box set from GW. I had originally planned to get these done before New Years, but as it would turn out these were deceptively simple looking and took way more time than expected. I almost got them ready for last week, but couldn't get the decals and basing done in time. Well at least they are ready now!


Thinking about colour schemes I decided to go with my local hockey team, Jokerit (Jesters), which is currently playing in the KHL as the only Finnish team. They used to be one of the top teams from the Finnish league, but a couple of years ago they signed up for the Russian equivalent of NHL. First two seasons went pretty well with them being one of the top teams from the league, but honestly this season has been pretty embarrassing. I was thinking between this and the team I played most my years in junior hockey, but in the end decided to leave that scheme for the human team. As Jokerit was the local rival back then for us it felt better to picture them as the brutes.



As I said they ended up much harder to paint than expected. As they are push fit models with connecting points in visible areas they really had to be put completely together before painting, which made reaching some of the detail extremely difficult. My method of painting them was also pretty suboptimal. I normally paint all the areas with a base shade before washing and then doing the highlight layers, but I guess on these picking a proper order and doing an area from the start to finish starting from the recesses and working up would have been far better. There were countless times when I messed up some area I had already gone over when I tried to do something in a small crevice and had to go back and touch it up again. Also the combination of red and yellow was far from ideal. It's pretty unbelievable how you can get a shade that doesn't cover a lightly washed version of itself  in under 4 coats of paint. Needless to say they were a pain at times to paint.



I was thinking quite a while about adding weathering on them, but in the end I ended up with leaving them cleaner and with a more cartoony look. Just seems to suit Blood Bowl minis better. Plus if I get fed up with it it's always easy to go back and add scratches etc. on them. However to break the monotony of the armour I decided to paint the checkerboard pattern that somehow is so iconically orky. Another thing that got left out was the team logo. I tried to freehand a suitably Orkyfied version of the Jokerit logo on them, but my brush skills just weren't up to it. Luckily it was easy to remove the shabby tries from a varnished surface.The logo will be added at a later time when I've gotten around to ordering suitable custom decals for them. It's just so much easier to design it on the computer and get it printed out. I'd do it myself, but I want it to be white and haven't  found any place where I can use a printer that is capable of printing white. Luckily Fallout Hobbies does custom decals for a reasonable price and I've used them in the past and liked the quality, so I'm gonna get a sheet from them when I've figured out the logo for the human team as well. Player positions and numbers are from the normal GW sheet that comes with the box. As a more ideal team composition would have 4 Black Orcs and 4 Blitzers I left my player numbering empty for them in preparation for the future whenever I end up buying reinforcements.



Since taking these pictures I've gone back and added some pigments to their boots to vary the tone as suggested by Martin on the challenge blog. Definitely ups the look of the minis. With these done it's back to Flames of War for the last couple of vehicles I need for the end of the month. I've also got the two Blood Bowl referees to paint up that are about half way through, but that I didn't get ready for last weeks entry. We'll see about this week. Painting time is a bit limited with a business trip and the whole renovation thing disrupting my free time.