Montag, 30. Juni 2014

Herald of Nurgle: The Corpse - Conversion

The unit of Plaguebearers is done, I just didn't manage to make some proper pictures. Overall I am more than happy with the result. I will post an update as soon as I am able to take some good photos.

As I need a little break from mass producing Plaguebearers I started working on my two Heralds of Nurgle. The first one is the basic Herald of Nurgle from GW; in my army he is called The Carcasse. He will be put on one of the swamp bases from Secret Weapon Miniatures I got for the Plaguebearers. This needs some minor fix ups with green stuff.

The second Herald is based on the Warhammer Fantasy Champion of Nurgle. His name is The Corpse (the third Herald will be called The Cadaver). It's a great miniature that offers a lot of possibilities for conversions. For The Corpse I planned some minor changes that turned out to be quit fiddly. So far I did a simple head swamp, exchanged one armored boot with a Plaguebearer foot, exchanged the horns on his shouldpad with some crooked ones and added some details like a raven. What is still work in progress is the weapon. The axe looks great, but I want him to have a flail that has the same twisted style as the Plaguebearer swords. I have to admit that I thought it would be easier to get this very specific shape modeled, but it is a bit tricky. But I am confident that it will turn out well.

Dienstag, 24. Juni 2014

Thoughts on… Daemonolgy in 7th edition

I have to admit that I haven’t played any game of 7th edition yet. We are currently running a campaign and switching rules in-between doesn’t make much sense. Also the people in my gaming group are unfortunately not very keen on reading and learning rules.

As everybody might have noticed, there was some buzz on the internet regarding the new Daemonolgy psychic powers, and even tough I haven’t got the chance to test them hands-on I still have some thoughts on them. I personally welcome from a narrative and gameplay point of view that daemons as well as some other armies are able to summon daemons. I always have problems with my mono Nurgle force, also because I don’t run a horde of flying daemon princes, which I personally think doesn’t make much sense at all. Even though Plaguebearers are quite tough they normally get shot to bits and pieces rather fast. So having the possibility to summon more daemons to fill those gaps is great. Also having daemons appear out of nowhere during a fight also feels right to me from a pure atmospheric point of view.

For my mono Nurgle force I don’t see any balancing problems with having the possibility to get additional support; on the contrary: I see the chance to be a bit more competitive and maybe even finally win a game. With army lists that are designed to be ultra competitive things might be different as a lot of armies will have a hard time dealing with the vast amount of psychic powers that most likely will be played and the additional troops that are going to be brought to the table. At the same time, isn’t this overwhelming psychic ability not one of the trademarks of daemons? Same as Tau are feared for their superior firepower or Dark Eldar for their maneuverability? As said in the beginning, this is all hypothetical. However, even though it is a challenge to deal with a horde of Tzeentch daemons that reproduce faster than rabbits I am sure that competitive players - they tend to complain the most about new/changed rules - will find a way to deal with this new facet of the game. For narrative gamers like me this brings a lot of options, also when it comes to the set ups that might sound extreme from a pure gameplay point of view. However, having for example a total psychic overkill in a battle between Grey Knights and Tzeentch daemons sounds totally awesome to me.

I general having more weight on psychic powers isn’t bad as it adds more flavor and options. It’s just important to acknowledge and adapt. So, when you make your army list take into consideration that there are some nasty guys out there that are drying to fry your general’s brain with just a thought. Simply put: don’t bring just a knife to a gun fight. For Tau, Dark Eldar and Necrons this will be more difficult as they are lacking psykers, but they have other tools at their disposal to compensate like a lot of ballistic weapons that can kill psyches at long range.

One last word on the fact that every army except Tyranids has access to Daemonolgy: I don’t like it. Yes, rolling doubles will cause perils of the warp, so it is very dangerous to use, but it still doesn’t feel right for me for some armies. Having for example Dark Angels summoning daemons is just not right, Exorcists on the other hand is something different. For the Astra Militarum it is okay even though you can’t have them as battle brothers for Chaos Space Marines or Chaos Daemons (but that’s another topic). Overall I like what the Games Workshop Design Team has done, I just hope that the players will be reasonable and rather stick to their background than trying to just build ultra-competetive list just for the sake of any benefits they may or may not get from the Daemonolgy.

Samstag, 21. Juni 2014

Plaguebearers: Bases - 2nd round

All bases have been cleaned up, repaired, repainted and "releafed", and are good to go for the second attempt of adding still water. I did some additional research and now I have (hopefully) proper two-component epoxy; it's from Noch. I read good reviews about it, even though you need to be careful: the mix has to be correct otherwise it gets a brownish tint and it tends to "crawl up" any objects that stick out of the water.

As I had some really bad experience with the Still Water product from Vallejo I did a test run with the two-component epoxy first; yes, I should have done it with the other stuff as well. Lesson learned: Test, don't trust!

I prepared another upside-down base with some leaves and a stone. The leaves got different treatments to see how it would react with the epoxy. One of the mini-heaps got a coat of varnish to seal it - with the Still Water from Vallejo I noticed that the white glue that should be transparent gets milky. I also overpainted some of the spots where white-glue was on the base with black, to see if the paint would provide sufficient protection. 

Mixing the two components is a bit messy as the epoxy is quite sticky. To make sure I get the right amount I used two small syringes. After I poured the epoxy into the base I noticed a lot of bubbles (I read about this effect). Most of them I got removed with a tooth pick, the remaining ones disappeared after a couple of minutes completely. Good news is that the epoxy doesn't care about the white glue at all: there is no milky effect, the glue stays transparent. 

After five ours I checked again and it still looked great. There was a bit of the "up crawling" on the rock, but as the epoxy is still viscid I could push it down with my modeling tool easily. Any dents in the water evened out within a couple of minutes again. 

As said, the Plaguebearers are ready and the test seems to be a success - I will wait until tomorrow afternoon before I start celebrating. But I got high hopes that it turns out well, and then I can finally get the squad done once and for all. 

A single leaf was put on top of the epoxy after one hour to test if a "floating on water" effect could be achieved

Sonntag, 15. Juni 2014

Raven Guard: Test Bases

Aside from my Nurgle Daemons I am also working on a Raven Guard army (and then there are some old 2nd edition Space Wolves and Chaos Space Marines waiting to be brought back to life. Not not mention that I really like Necrons.). As I am on the road right now due to my job, with none of my miniatures at hand, I will share some other none-Nurgle related thoughts.

I wrote in one of my first posts that the I am a narrative player and the background story and theme of an army is very important to me and should be reflected on the bases. The Raven Guard for me is everything about scouts, hit and run attacks and being not seen until to appear out of nowhere to strike of the snake’s head. For some reason I always imagine the son’s of Corax stalking through a autumn forrest, being barley visible because of the dense fog and their incredible skill to blend into the surrounding of dead trees and leaves. Catching that with a static miniature is challenge (the part with the fog I might have to skip).

Before getting all in I wanted to do some tests. I collected some branches for the dead trees, dried and glued them to bases to represent toppled trees. While putting them on I carefully twisted the bark to break it a bit open so it is possible to see the actual wood. In order to make sure the bark is not splintering off I applied a layer off thinned down white glue. For tree stumps I bought the resin pieces from Secret Weapon miniatures, same goes for the dead leaves. I could have used the twigs for the stumps as well, but I wanted proper roots. Modeling them is of course possible, but this also takes time (which I haven’t a lot of). For the the ground I tried different materials like static grass, rooibose tea (it makes great forest scatter), small rocks and modeling compound. I got the most of the materials for any of my bases from Basecrafts.

With the bases themselves I was quite happy; even though I wasn’t able to get a wet look on them. However, I put some of the Marines I had painted but not based yet on them and it look wrong. The whole appearance was too clean and somehow too colorful. I am quite grumpy with myself when things don’t turn out the way I would like them to. This time it wasn’t an exception. But this time I also had a solution/different option at hand quite fast: city terrain. Yes, it is not something very creative and unique, but with some cardboard, modeling compound, sand and a hand full of old plastic bricks I still had in my bits box, I managed to get some nice looking bases done. And most important: the Raven Guard doesn’t look so misplaced on them, like they did on the forrest bases. So as it stands right now the Raven Guard will be not fighting in a foggy autumn forrest, but in a destroyed city.

Test Bases: Autumn Forrest
Test Bases: Destroyed City

Samstag, 7. Juni 2014

Plaguebearers: Still still water

This week there was no real hobby time available, but the problem with the still water kept floating around in my head. I prepared some tests three days ago in the evening and yesterday I finally was able to get to them.

I filled up an upside down turned base to the absolute max with the Still Water to see how it actually dries. The medium shrinks in the middle around 60-70% which gives the whole surface a concave shape. When drying it could happen (I assume when the medium is too thick) that the water scale’s off the ground of the base. This is what actually happened around the leaves and roots of the swamp bases, and the small air bubbles between the dried medium and the base gave the impression of crystallization.

I was able to take the dried water medium out of the base pretty easy. The material is rubber-like, so you can bend and cut it. It doesn’t react to white-spirit, acetone or break fluid (which I use to remove colors from plastic miniatures) at all.

Aside from the the test with the base I also applied some of the medium on two bases with leaves and putty/rocks to try out what happens if I try to remove it. As said the white-spirit didn’t do anything - I didn’t try acetone or break fluid as the effect on a paint is foreseeable. What is possible however, is to peel of the dried medium with a hobby knife or a needle. Even though it is extra work and there is a risk of collateral damage I am going to clean up all the bases of the Plaguebearers and repair/repaint where needed to get them ready for some proper multi component water resin.

Dienstag, 3. Juni 2014

Supplement: Varnishing

Two things I noticed and forgot to mention with regards to varnishing:

  • The varnish smoothened the transition between the different color layers. 
  • The varnish made the plastic brittle. After the varnish was applied one arm, one finger, one leg and one sword broke in half… all by just touching it. Before the varnishing all those (body) parts were rather sturdy. 

This is, as almost everything on this blog, totally subjective and maybe nothing than a weird coincidence. However, I will be more careful with the next batch of miniatures.

The hand came off at the wrist.
On top of that the musician also lost his little finger. 

Montag, 2. Juni 2014

Plaguebearers: Bases gone wrong

I am a narrative player. Having an army that „feels right“ is more important to me than kick-ass combinations. Fielding a lot of flying daemon princes is for me for example an absolute no go. Part of having a army that is coincident and that „feels right“ is having a background story. The bases are part of this story as they tell where the army is coming from/what they went through or simply underlining the character of the force. My Nurgle daemons are wading through a swamp. Dead trees are sticking out of the angle deep water and here and there bloated corpses and bodies are floating on the water surface.

At first I thought about building all those bases from scratch. But, as time is sparse, I went for the Blasted Wetland bases from Secret Weapon; I am a big fan of their accessories and washes. Before pinning the miniatures into place I painted the bases in dark earth tones (because they are wet). The tree stumps got a grey-greenish coat. To add some more details I glued some leaves on the base; they should be later on covered in water and maybe there will be leaves even floating on the water surface. 

Up to this point things went well, but then I applied the Still Water medium from Vallejo. I followed the instructions on the bottle and the guys from the hobby shop; it was them who recommended it after I explained them on detail what I wanted to achieve: Daemons wading through a swamp.
So I applied the stuff (2mm thick) and waited for 24 hours. The result was disillusioning. Okay, he guys in the hobby shop said that I will need one or two layers. But the medium shrinks so extremely when drying that I would need way more layers (I assume 8 - 10 layers). Even though this would take time - around a week - it wasn’t the worst. On some spots the medium crystalized and cracked which looks like shattered glass or ice.

Right now I have no real clue on how to proceed. I will get some proper two-component resin for getting the water effect. And I will buy my hobby supplies somewhere else (so much for supporting your local store). All that for sure. But I don’t know what to do with those crystalized and cracked spots. I would love to clean them up, but I am not sure how and I don’t want to destroy any of the work I have done so far. On the other hand, maybe it is fine with just putting the resin on top. Decision, risks... how much I despise them. 

Blank Base
Applying leaves
Ready for applying water
1st Layer: far from being truly under water
Crystalized and cracked "water"