perjantai 30. joulukuuta 2016

Christmas gifts and first challenge entries

Christmas has been celebrated and it's time to start easing back to normal life. A busy festive season again as we were visiting different relatives and both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were spent with our parents. It was the first time in years that I'd been at a Christmas  celebration with smaller children in years and boy had I forgotten how hectic it can be when you have a bunch of preschool aged children going crazy while waiting for Santa :)

With a massive renovation of our new apartment looming in the horizon we had asked relatives and each other not to give any gifts expect for help in the construction work. There were still a couple of nice gaming and hobby related surprises. The missus bought me Shooting Up by Lukasz Kamiensky which is a history about substance use by militaries throughout the years, both as recreational and in trying to improve combat performance. The psychological aspect of warface has always fascinated me so a very welcome gift. Only gotten through the first third, but it's definitely turning out to be a great book giving a good overview on the subject.

My Secret Santa was also very generous with a Königstiger popping up in the mail! A very welcome addition to the Remagen force that I'm working on for Flames of War now. Thank you very much for an amazing gift!

With the christmas fuzz over I had a couple of days of uninterrupted painting time as the better half left with her family for a short vacation at a holiday village also taking the warhound with her as well. In addition to the Panzergrenadier platoon that I just managed to finish before setting of for Christmas I managed to squeeze in further reinforcements for my Dropfleet Commander PHR fleet as well as an AA platoon for the Jerries. 176 points out of my goal of 1000 achieved within a week, so I'm pretty pleased with my output. Still I'm going to have to get quite a bit done before February as we'll start renovations then and I'm probably not going to get any painting done until mid-March.

With this post done, it's back to painting. I'm still hoping to get one more entry out before the end of the year. I've got base colours more or less done for the new Blood Bowl Orc team so hopefully I'll have enough time to get them finished in time for 2016!

Entry #1 - Panzergrenadier Platoon

Entry #2 - Dropfleet Commander PHR



Entry #3 - 2cm Flak38 Platoon


lauantai 24. joulukuuta 2016

Happy holidays!

Merry Christmas to each and everyone of you! Thank you for all the nice comments on my sporadic posts throughout the year. Feedback from other bloggers and on forums really does give that extra motivational boost to paint!

With this I'm off to spend the Christmas with relatives. Few days pause from gaming, but after that back to the brushes with renewed energy!

Have a good one everyone!

lauantai 17. joulukuuta 2016

PHR Starter fleets for Dropfleet Commander

Change of subjects again, this time with a switch to a completely new game for me, Dropfleet Commander. I've always been a massive fan of different space movies and tv series with fond memories of Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and some of the Star Trek series like Next Generation. Naturally space combat fascinated me and I've played multiple games including Battlefleet Gothic and lately X-Wing and Armada. So when Hawk came out with their Dropfleet Commander Kickstarter about a year ago I immediately jumped on board with a pledge. With the Horned Rat, Andy Chambers, behind the rules there was no way that I was going to miss this especially since the aesthetics of the ships are brilliant.

Little over a year has gone since the Kickstarter and I still haven't received any of my toys. Bit of a shame as some people got their stuff already in September and they've been in stores for a while, but I don't back Kickstarters thinking they are presales, rather to make sure that a cool looking product gets made and gets a good start on the market. I doubt Dropfleet could ever have become so big straight from the start without the Kickstarter. The only thing that I'm a bit pissed about in the whole project is the initial lack of communication from Hawk's side. Most backers were kept in the dark and when stuff started to show up on sale in online stores with only a few backers having received stuff, it's pretty understandable that people got angry. But luckily their communication has improved  greatly with updates coming in every few days, so I think Hawk have learned their lesson and if they ever do another one I think they'll do much better.

Even though I still don't have my pledge I caved in in November and went ahead and bought two boxes of ships. Seeing people's efforts around the internet I couldn't resist the urge for ships and as I only had a single box of PHR coming from the KS I figured some reinforcements on that sector would be most welcome. So a few clicks and some wait for the postman to bring my stuff, and I was a proud owner of two starter sets.

I don't really have any clue about the rules yet so knowing what to build was a bit tricky. In the end I decided to build one box as the suggested starter composition. The other box was a bit harder, but after browsing some blogs I decided on building all the frigates as Pandoras. Burnthrough lasers seemed pretty cool and I'd think a hunting pack of four of these little ships can easily bring the pain to unwary opponents. The Cruisers were then built as two Ganymedes, which are large ships filled with ground troops ready for landing operations and finally a Bellerophon bringing two Burnthrough lasers and massive strike aircraft wings into play.

On thing that struck me was how massive the models were. To give an idea of the scale the larger Heavy Cruisers come in at around 13 centimeters long and even the smallest ships are bigger than 28mm figures. I'd seen these live at Salute and tons of pictures online, but still I managed to get surprised by the size of these things. As these are something like 1:15 000 scale models I just pictured them to be a lot smaller. But then again they are space ships so even the smallest ones would be massive.

Ikarus, Hector and Theseus

Bellerophon and two Ganymedes

Paintjob wise I tried out a few different schemes with varying colours and camouflage patterns done with the help of stencils. None of them really seemed to do the trick and in the end I just ended up with a simple gradient that keeps the large flat surfaces clean looking. Some smallish decals would probably be a nice addition, but I still haven't found any that I like. Though looking at 40k stuff Tau decals would probably look quite good on the sides of the PHR ships as there are some similarities in the design aesthetics as well. Rest of the ships were painted with a metal colour then washed black to bring out details, before finally painting the engine lights red and picking out things like ends of guns with the same colour. Finally I painted the bases to highlight the front and side sectors to make playing a bit faster.

4 Pandoras

 2 Medeas and 2 Europas

With these done I'm probably not going to paint anything until the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge starts again. I need to prep stuff for it to have at least something to start on when Curt blows the whistle. Christmas holidays should provide ample time to paint my first few entries.

tiistai 6. joulukuuta 2016

Alpha Legion Marines

Time to break another few weeks of silence!

These guys have taken a while to finish with some of the minis built around a year ago and the first painting steps taken during summer, but they are finally finished. As I said a few posts ago I had a mishap with varnish leading to all of the minis having paint stripped and redone. Suffice to say I've learned my lesson and won't lazy out by using a spray can if I have the airbrush available and using spray varnish outside after rainy weather is definitely not a good idea.

My comeback into 40k started about a year and a half ago when I dug out some old plastics that I had lying around from early 00's and found my old bits box. I like kitbashing stuff and slowly found myself with an assortment of miniatures that didn't really have any use for gaming for me so probably wouldn't get painted. I remember loving 40k as a youth playing tons with my IG and later on Death Guard armies. So I figured it might be a good idea to build a small army to kind of have a target to strive for. Sometime late last year and early this year I put some smallish guidelines for myself about what I wanted to do with the force and what to aim for when putting together models.

I don't know what it is about Chaos that always pulls me in, but once again I couldn't resist it's lure. What I originally put together was mostly renegade guard and some mutants with a few Chaos Space Marines thrown in for good measure. However I figured that I'm not going to be painting a few hundred renegade guardsmen to get into gaming so I decided to build a smaller CSM force first to get into gaming faster. Choosing my legion wasn't going to be easy though. I had a reasonably sized Death Guard force previously, but it's been sold long time again. I did have an urge to build a new one with the modelling opportunities, but decided otherwise as I've done multiple Nurgle armies over the years and  always seemed to lean towards the loving caress of Papa Nurgle. Khorne worshippers were out of the question as I find them a bit dull and I didn't fancy painting all that red armor. After days of research I finally decided Chaos Undivided is the way to go and what better Legion to go for than the infamous Alpha Legion.

The Command team with a Power Sword and combiplasma wielding Sergeant, two Plasma gunners a standard bearer and the squads very own Rambo going at it with dual-wielded pistols.

With Alpha Legion's mysterious past and and slight doubts about their allegiances even after the Heresy offered a nice backstory to pick from. The fact that they are operating as small cells outside of the Eye of Terror would open some possibilities to differ from the normal add spikes to chaosify approach that is predominant with the official Chaos miniatures line. After all the legionaries would have to somewhat blend in to achieve their tasks and aid in subterfuge.

With the Legion chosen I set about choosing some design guidelines to have somewhat of a plan regarding my building process.
  • No spikes!
  • Every miniature must contain parts from at least two different kits or have some clear conversion done to them
  • Equipment from different eras should be used when possible to achieve a look of a veteran unit that has kept whatever equipment worked best for them.
  • Every model must have something distinctively chaotic equipment
  • Regular Space Marine backpacks instead of the weird looking Chaos ones.
The first unit that I did were the cultist and there I did cheat a bit as the push fit minis were quite tricky to convert. Only some weapon swaps were done on them. Maybe sometime in the future they will be replaced by some suitable Planetary Defence Forces models. However with these guys I more or less stuck to what I'd planned and I'm quite happy with how they turned out. I'm not even sure from how many different kits they are built from, but the major parts come from the CSM box, Horus Heresy box and some Alpha Legion 30k resin parts thrown in. On top of that there's parts from a few different loyalist space marine boxes, some early 90s CSM stuff. I counted at least 8 different kits used, but with stuff scrounged from a bitz box that I've collected since the 90s and which also has bitz lots that I bought from other people it's quite hard to keep track what's from where!

Painting scheme wise I went for a look similar to the one in the mid 90s Codex with a blue base colour and light green highlights. The base shades were painted with an airbrush and light green edge highlights were done with a brush. With details being picked out I decided to try Tamiya Panel Line Accent to define the edges. Not sure if I'm totally sold on the product as results were a bit mixed. On areas of the newer kits which had sharp detail it worked great flowing into creases and corners to make them pop out, but on the older ones with soft detail like the Chaos Space Marine plastics it had a tendency to just run everywhere and had to be cleaned up using mineral spirits. A thicker satin varnish layer would also be required to help the wash flow and make cleaning up easier. Now I had practically no varnish in some harder to reach areas as I only did a thin coat to protect the minis in between.

The regular Joes of the squad.

I finished painting them a few weeks back, but only got around to basing them now as I had a few days of from work. Basic rubble themed basing with some tear plates and discarded imperial equipment thrown in to spice them up. Plenty of different coloured pigments were thrown in to add variety to the otherwise monotone finish.

With them out of the way I have the squads Rhino up next. Though with the speed I've been painting these guys it will be 2018-19 before I have a whole army together so don't hold your breath.

In other news it's the Finnish independence day today so a busy evening ahead filled with the traditional spectacle where we watch our president shake the hands of thousands of guests at the Presidential Independence day party. Plenty of judgment will be dealt out with most of the nation tuning in and admiring and berating the dress choices of guests. At least the afternoon papers will have plenty to write about for the next few days.

With Putin in charge of our neighbouring country our President has also had to step up his game with photoshoots. Being a classy guy he at least has his shirt on unlike Putin :)