Freitag, 18. September 2015

Tag Team Tournament - Let's play together

It has been two month since my last entry in this digital hobby diary (even though I had the intention to post more often). I was busy building Zombies to have them ready for a Tournament. Yes, after being at a 40K Tournament in June I joined the forces with a friend of mine to enter a Tag Team Tournament. I brought my Cult of the Maggot Chaos Space Marines (of Nurgle) and Chris his Orks.

Both, getting ready for the event, as well as the event itself were interesting experiences. Having a hard deadline to work against is definitely something beneficial to stay focused. At the same time you are so busy getting everything done that you are losing touch on other hobby aspects that you enjoy, like updating the Blog or simply picking up something different that you have on your work bench for some diversion. In the very end I won’t complain as I got 47 custom Plague Zombies ready for the table (more about them in a different post).

The tournament was all in all enjoyable. I personally just wanted to, even though it was a competitive event, play some games, meet new people and talk about the hobby. A nice side effect of tournaments is that you play against armies that you normally don’t face and that you are getting better in both mastering the rules as well as your own force. Chris has been to a lot of tournaments and is more experienced in this kind of (more) competitive environment.

We had to play three games in total, each game had a different scenario with different ways to score points. There were primary, secondary and tertiary objectives. You had to take care of a lot of things and it was a lot of fun. The very first game (against two allied Chaos Daemon armies) and the last game (against two allied Khorne Daemonkin armies) were both relaxed and enjoyable, the kind of games I would have at home with friends on a weekend. There were some minor rule discussion to get clarification on how things should be handled, but also a lot of great moments and laughs.

The second game we had was something very, very different: we faced a combined Necron force, let by two – as I call them – Hardcore Tournament Players (picture above). Their list wasn't too over the top, but the way they behaved made me feel uncomfortable from the start: they were very confident, (unintentionally) arrogant and, as they faced not so Hardcore Tournament Players, awkwardly childish. Of course they dominated us – they are among the best players in Germany/Europe and definitely know the game inside out - but this wasn't the main reason the first round of the game was annoying for me. It was because they play the game in a complete different way than I am. Once I realized this, it wasn't that annoying any more at all. It is actually quite easy to explain:  

When I look at the table I see this:

When "they" look at the table, "they" see this:

For me playing 40K is all about visuals, the background of the armies, the narrative and cinematic moments, to "them" it’s about numbers and statistics. We are not only on a different level with regards to actual gaming experience, we also have very different gaming culture. I am generalizing here, I am very well aware of that and I am sure that a lot of the more competitive players are also in the narrative aspect of 40K, but what I have witnessed during the Tag Team Tournament (there were more Hardcore Tournament Players) the Artwork vs. Matrix was the most straightforward (even though subjective) comparison for me.  

I learned a lot in this game, not only about my army, but also about me and how other people enjoy the hobby. Some things might be better, more efficient and effective – like positioning models or units in a specific way (like some other Hardcore Tournament Players did like in the picture below) – but I would never do it nonetheless, because “in my 40K universe” no army would act like this on an actual battlefield. And for me playing 40K is all about the narrative/cinematic feel.

This doesn't mean I won’t attend any tournaments in the future, on the contrary. I will of course face players that only see numbers and statistics and they will stomp me into the ground, but I don’t care as I will still have the chance to learn a lot during those matches. But most important I will meet other 40’K enthusiast that want to have a great time while playing the game together (and not against each other). 

Donnerstag, 16. Juli 2015

Hobby Dungeon

So far I used the dining table in our living room for the hobby. This is not ideal for various reasons (setting everything up, stowing it away, working with resin, etc.). In May I asked my landlord if there is a spare room in the basement which I could use as a workshop... and he said "yes, there another room that is empty" and so I came to my dedicated hobby dungeon.

It took me some time to clean it up and arrange it properly. It is just 1m wide and it was a little challenging to set everything up in a way that I can store (and get to) everything and to have sufficient seating space at the desk. I have it in use now for almost two weeks and I am more than happy. I have enough space space to sit comfortably to build, convert and paint. All the tools and paints are in arms reach and I can leave everything when I am done for the day without having to worry that the kids might eat a hobby knife or sniff some resin dust.

The dedicated hobby space also allows me to finally look into airbrushing, something that simply wasn't possible in our living room.

Sonntag, 5. Juli 2015

Nurgle Heldrake - Blight Drake – Coversion WIP: Brownstuff = Greatstuff

I finally got my hands on the Brown/Aluminium Putty by P3. It is indeed like Greenstuff: all you need to do is kneading the two components together until they are mixed up evenly (and the putty gets a brown-metallic look) and then you are good to go.

The difference to Greenstuff is noticeable right away. The Brownstuff is firmer and not as sticky, this way you can start even with some more finer modeling right away. I sculpted the carapace shape with the pluggers and it stayed... more or less. The Brownstuff has a "memory effect", but it is not as drastic as with Greenstuff, and the readjustments are easy to do. What is also easy (and fun) to do with the Brownstuff: corrosion.
Even though this was more or less a test I am very happy with the result, and assume that the next segment is going to be even crisper.

I am not sure if I can replicate this very specific look of the original carapace 100%, but I am confident that it will be close. Once the Blight Drake is painted and all the rust and weather effects are applied it will look consistent for sure.

Mittwoch, 1. Juli 2015

Plague Zombies - Hollow Bases

Before starting the mass production of the Plague Zombies I have to build 70 hollow bases first. Yes, I could just have bought some more of the scenic bases I got for my Plague Bearers, but this would have been too costly. So I went the cheap way and turned a bunch of old 28mm round bases into hollow bases for creating the swampy subsoil.

Creating hollow bases isn't too complicated.

1. Take a standard base and drill small holes on the outer edge of the upper base part. Make sure that distance between each hole isn't too big (I drilled around 20 holes per base)

2. Take a hobby knife and cut out the top part of the base. The drilled holes will help you not damaging the rim (it might dent or even break when you put pressure on the base)

3. Glue the base rim on 0,5mm thick plasticard (with proper plastic glue with solvent that melts the plastic). This will give it support and stability.

4. Carefully remove the remaining plastic flesh with a hobby knife and sand paper.

5. Cut away overhanging plasticard and sand the base carefully to remove irregularities.

1. You can glue the base on the plasticard right away and then start drilling and cutting. Actually, this way you will have the support from the plasticard right from the get-go.

2. For the clean up part you can use a Dremel or similar electric tool to remove the remaining plastic pieces. It is much faster as you sand/melt the plastic away, but you also have to be careful to not damage the rim.

Granted, it took me a couple of hours to get the 70 hollow bases done, but figuring out how to do them in a efficient way was a lot of fun, and in the very end it was much cheaper than buying blank ones.

Montag, 29. Juni 2015

Plague Zombies - Prototype

While waiting for my Brown/Aluminium Putty to arrive I started working on a  horde of Plague Zombies. I was gathering different bits and pieces over the last couple of month to build Zombies that resemble former Imperial Guard Soldiers without using the Zombies from Games Workshop as they are completely out of proportion and simply look goofy.

The different components I am going to use for the 70 Zombies I plan to build are:
- Zombies from Mantic Games 
- Ghouls from Mantic Games 
- Conscript Legs from Victoria Lamb Miniatures 
- Cadian Shock Troops Bits: Helmets, Canteens, Lasguns, Knifes, etc.
- Custom Made Hollow Bases for the Swamp Theme of my Nurgle Forces
- Rivets from a used Water Filter & Greenstuff

I am going to mix and match all the different parts as I see fit: some of Zombies will get helmets, some of them will get boots/not as ragged combat trousers made out of the Conscript Legs, some of them will get a lasgun or other weaponry in their undead hand to smack down enemies, some will get some extra guts hanging out of their open bellies... and all of them will get pustules and stand ankle-deep in swamp water (just like my Nurgle Daemons).

As a little proof of concept - having an idea is one thing, actually implementing is something completely different - I build a prototype:

The Zombie wasn't too complicated to assemble, I just have to make sure that I do the basing before I put the torso/arms/head on legs when I go into mass production. This way it will be easier to get the filling putty and the sand into the hollow base.


Sonntag, 28. Juni 2015

40K Tournaments: A Blast From The Past

Back then (almost 20 years ago) I used to attend tournaments. Since then my hobby focus has changed: for me it's all about the modelling and painting, about interesting scenarios and about the narrative - I am a fluff player.
But I am curious - especially after hearing/reading all the rants about new and overpowered codex-books (I couldn't care less) - and so I joined a couple of guys of the local gaming group and went to a tournament last weekend. I didn't play, I was just there to watch, listen and to take photos. And it was very interesting.

Yes, there were - in my opinion - awkward armies: I never ever would for example allies my Raven Guard with another Space Marine Chapter to get the benefit of a specific unit or special character. I have noticed that a lot of tournament players are solely focused on optimizing their army (while dealing with tournament specific restrictions) and to me it is a pity as it means that you miss out on a lot of all the great things of the hobby like campaigns and scenarios, formations or the extra bits like Kill Team or Zone Mortalis.

Two things I didn't understand at all
1. Messy gaming tables: I really don't get why there is food and drinks or stacks of paper on a table. There only should be aside of the armies (of course), terrain, objective markers, some dice, templates and the measuring tape (and even those I put aside when it is not my turn).
2. Bad treatment of miniatures: I saw miniatures just thrown in a box or piled up to a heap like if you didn't had to invest any time or money to get them on the table. This actually made me very sad.

Nonetheless it was a positive experience. The atmosphere was, even though it was all about the competition, friendly, and it was great to see some well painted armies on the table and to have some really nice conversations. Being at the tournament, even though I was just a fly on the wall (how fitting for a follower of Nurgle), definitely fired up the hobby engine to get "stuff done", and maybe I will even attend one in the near future as an active player as well.


Donnerstag, 25. Juni 2015

Nurgle Heldrake - Blight Drake – Coversion WIP: Greenstuff vs. Brownstuff

I started modelling the carapace using Greenstuff and ball-shaped pluggers. The goal was to reproduce the "hammer finish" look of the armour of the headpiece of the drone.

It all went off quite well; I was able to sculpt the basic shapes and get some proper dents into the putty. However, the end result wasn't satisfying at all.

Even though I worked with Greenstuff before on various miniatures I wasn't aware that it has some kind of "memory effect" - that's what I have learned after doing some online-research. So, Greenstuff tends to forms/bounces itself back to its former shape; it is not a lot, but enough to soften up modelled hard edges. And this is exactly what happened to the "hammer tends" on the carapace: they turned into some soft organic looking mush that has nothing in common with how the headpiece looks like (I am frustrated, so I am a bit exaggerating).

I did some tests and in theory I could wait 90-120 minutes until the Greenstuff has tried up to a state where it is not forming back, but then it also will be difficult to get into shape in general, and it is not guaranteed that I will get the hard edges that I want/need. Waiting that long to try hope that it will work out for each segment of the carapace is too risky: I need a procedure that I can reproduce to create a consistent look.

I started with looking for an alternative modelling putty. I ended up with ordering a pack of Brown/Aluminium Putty by P3. Due to aluminium particles it's supposed to hold up sharp edges and therefore is "ideal for modelling armour or weapons". I hope that this is case.
All I have to do now is waiting for the Brownstuff to arrive.

Dienstag, 2. Juni 2015

Nurgle Heldrake - Blight Drake – Coversion WIP: Carapace

After my short excursion with my Raven Guard I am back on track with the Blight Drake. After finishing the body I started working on the carapace. As a first step I mapped out how I want to create the carapace using Photoshop. Doing some mock ups digitally gave me a good idea on the ideal number (and size) of segments as well as on the concavity of the carapace.

I then started modelling the carapace with green stuff, starting at the very with a small segment as a proof of concept. To make sure I am able to reproduce the same "hammer finish" look of the armour of the original drone I bought some ball-shaped pluggers on ebay. I was quite happy with the result of the armour. Something I wasn't happy with at all were the edges of the carapace segment. The resin parts are too thin and fiddly to reproduce them with Greenstuff in a proper way (at least for me).

So I went back and segmented the carapace of the Blight Drone using Plasticard. It took some time to get the shape and size of all the different archs right, and a little bit of more time to actually to fit them into the back, but it spending the time was worthwhile. Now I not only have a proper template for each segment, the Plasticard also helps to reproduce the same look and quality of carapace of the original model. 

Next step is actually (and finally) start modelling the carapace. I am really looking forward to it, especially when it comes to modelling all the corroded elements - I assume it will just as fun as working on rotten flesh (this sounds weird). 

Sonntag, 31. Mai 2015

Spreading the Focus: Raven Guard Centurions and Land Speeder Storm

I am fiddling around with the Blight Drake for quite some time. Good thing is that I am getting there. The Underbelly is done and now I have to work on the upper carapace (to then do the detail work on the belly). Bad thing is my progress is slow... simply because I don't have that much time for the hobby at the moment. It is exhausting and because of that I had to do something else, something were I can have something done rather quickly to have the feeling to have something accomplished.
So I did a little break from the Blight Drake and worked on some support for my Raven Guard. I started building a Landspeeder Storm (the more Scouts the better) and Centurions. Even though I couldn't resist to some minor adjustments to the models - I am going to remove all heraldry, icons, purity seals etc. from my Raven Guard - I was able to put the miniatures together rather quickly. And it was a joy not to worry and wonder about how you are going to put something together or how to model it, but to just glue it in place and its done. The only thing I still have to do building wise is to magnetize the weapons of the Centurions... but this is going to be a different story. 

From now on I definite will work on two or three things in parallel to make sure to get some diversion. I always thought that this is bad, but with projects that drag along over weeks and months it is good and healthy and to be able to jump on something else to get some distraction and the feeling of having actually something accomplished. 

Sonntag, 19. April 2015

Nurgle Heldrake - Blight Drake – Coversion WIP: Building the Body

As I have promised myself, here is a recent update on the so called Blight Drake. I am currently modelling the main body, which mainly consists of bloated, rotten and torn open old leathery skin. The more I work with greenstuff, the more fun it is. What is important, at least from my experience, is patience: the longer you wait/the more time you have to work on the sculpt constantly, the better you can work out the details. Wounds for example: I wait around 2 hours before I start sculpting them. By this time the greenstuff is firm enough to be cut and ripped open without damaging the base form; at the same time you still can shape it good enough. Same goes for the leathery texture of the skin, which I, in order to get the same look as the skin of the Blight Drone has, created by cutting the putty with a knife over and over again.

There are are some parts I am not so happy with, but once the base modelling is done (including the carapace) I will come back and fix those issues: it's minor things most people won't notice like wounds that are shaped too similar or wobbly body parts that don't hang correctly taken the slightly tilted stance the Blight Drake will have on the flight stand into consideration.  

Donnerstag, 16. April 2015

Nurgle Heldrake - Blight Drake – Coversion WIP: Foundation

My focus right now is to get a Nurgle army ready (again). Even though it should be painted I am currently more eager to get the troops ready for the table so I can play with them. The building will take time as I basically going to convert every miniature in the core army, which is based on Codex CSM. So before I start the painting, I will do a lot of building.

Something I was playing around in my mind is to build a “proper” Nurgle Heldrake. The dragon works for the Alpha Legion (just add two more heads), Iron Warriors or maybe even a Khorne army… but not for a Nurgle force (at least from my point of view).

I am a big fan of the Forge World Blight Drone, but unfortunately it is too small to be used as a Heldrake. So, why not let it grow into a… Blight Drake? That’s basically what I am trying right now.

The foundation of the model is a Blight Drone with a Tervigon’s spawning sack in the middle. I got the Blight Drone cheap on ebay… and it turned out to be a recast, which sucks. The quality of the cast is bad and the resin is brittle as hell, so all the details like the cables broke of by just looking at them. Not good at all. At the same time, I will have to do a lot of sculpting work anyway, so I will “just” spend some more time on fixing the crappy recast issues. One thing I learned already for the future: I will only order direct from Forgeworld again, even though I might hack and cut the miniature to bits and pieces for a conversion.

First step was to build the frame. After gluing the head- and tailpieces to the spawning sack – they were fixed with aluminum rod – I glued sprue pieces as some kind of artificial bones into belly to stabilize it. I also (something I forgot when I built the Daemon Prince) also inserted a piece of plastic rot for the custom flight stand in the middle of the daemon engine. While going crazy with the plastic rod I also added connection struts for the rotor arms and the exhaust pipes.

To get the base shape I crammed aluminum foil into the body, pressed and squeezed it around until I was happy and covered it up with green stuff – I trick I learned from good friend of mine (thanks Flo!).

After the base shape was established I started with the work on the belly. First I added some metal straps because the Blight Drone has those as well; they are basically holding the whole wobbly body together and I want this to be reflected on the whole model. To make sure they look consistent I removed all the resin studs from the Blight Drone pieces and replaced them with the “water-filter”-ones I used for the big straps on the neck and the belly. After adding some machine parts – I used bits and pieces from the Thanquol & Boneripper and the Stormfiends kits (I have more plans with those guys for the Nurgle force) – I started with the sculpting of the skin.

As with the Daemon Prince I want the look of the skin to be consistent. So I either sand of all the details of the skin of the Blight Drone or I re-sculpt the belly in a way that it looks the same. I go with the latter option. It is more work (and I have no idea if I can pull it off), but it also looks more disgusting.

While glue/green stuff was drying I worked on the rotors. As the whole body is bigger, those need to be bigger as well. At first I was a bit puzzled how to re-build them, but after a visit in the hobby- and the do-it-yourself stores I got plenty of plastic tubes, a drainpipe and a rough idea. Getting the base construction wasn’t too complicated, even though the sawing of the big grey drainpipe drove me crazy: I just wasn’t able to get two similar and (that was the hardest part) straight pieces. Around 7 attempts (including a lot of swearing, the usage of different saws and the building of a weird Skaven-style construction to keep everything in place) later I had two pieces that were good enough…they weren’t perfect, but they will be covered in green stuff anyway.

Building the inner construction with the plastic tubes was a lot of fun and I begin to understand why (especially Ork) players love to build custom vehicles. For cutting the rotors out of the rather thick plastic boards (2,5mm) I bought a special compass (with a knife instead of a needle/pencil lead). I took some time and some additional sanding, but without this tool I wouldn’t have been able to get the rotors the way I wanted them.

That’s it for now. I will continue sculpting the belly and, while waiting for the green stuff to get hard, drill more corrosion holes in the rotors.

Sonntag, 5. April 2015

Daemon Prince of Nurgle: Maggot Spawn - Aftermath

As written in my last blog post, it took some time to get the Daemon Prince of Nurgle done. To document to process – I tried a couple of things with this miniature (I, for example, stripped the color of the wings four times until I found a good formula to paint them) – and progress and took some pictures on the way. As I was busy not only with the the Daemon Prince itself, but also with the „normal life“ I didn’t post any of them here on the Hobby Blog.

So below, there are some WIP images. From now on I will try to post updates more frequently again. 


Daemon Prince Body & Wings

Donnerstag, 19. März 2015

Daemon Prince of Nurgle: Maggot Spawn - Done

It took me almost three month to get flying Daemon Prince of Nurgle done. There was just too much going on in the non-hobby-life. At the same time, when I had some spare minutes to work on him, I experimented a bit with colors and techniques, which also resulted in investing more time than initially expected. As I am quite happy with the result, I don't mind that it took that long after all.
I added for example brown spots on his skin, to make it more diverse and interesting... there was simply too much grey-green as a whole. I applied the first layer to define the shape with a sponge and then worked those spots up with different washes. The use of washes was extensive on this miniature; I never was a friend of washes but I start to like (and understand) them.

The base is another custom piece. The foundation is a Corpse Field Base from Secret Weapons Miniatures, but a changed the ground, added tree stumps, exchanged the heads of the corpses and put some maggots on the bodies to feast on them.

As said, I am overall happy ho the Maggot Spawn turned out, but I hope that I won't need that long for my next Nurgle project.