Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Space Marine Dreadnought: Brother Deimos

I suppose that sooner or later as a space marine collector you find yourself in possession of a dreadnought regardless of wheter or not you really planned it or not, it's just one of the things that seems to appear in your collection after a number of years. I never really intended to buy one myself due to the expense and the fact that I spent years moving about from one place to another and as a result I was forced to keep my collection as potable as possible so I limited myself to smaller miniatures that would fit into standardised carry cases.
Assault on Black Ride came along years later and left me with a dreadnought that sat in the box, as if taunting me to take him on for more than a few months before I finally got round to it. I assembled this guy, undercoated and drybrushed him and then left him on the sidelines again for a while before I got that perverse urge that I sometimes get to try something different on a whim. So in the space of a night he was completed.

I named him "Deimos" after the Greek of the rout in battle and intend to eventually have a twin for him called "Phobos" after the god of fear. Both were sons of Ares and fed on warriors fates and emotions on the battlefield. The scortch marks on the meltagun and the tarnished metal of the sarcophagus represent some of my attempts to mix the arts of drybrushing and the use of washes to add life and grime to my marines.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Chainsword Surgery: Apothecaries Part 1 - Rouge Trader Era

My apothecaries ended up being red for the same reason that my chaplains ended up slate gray, I simply have no ability when it comes to painting solid blocks of black and white and making them look like anything but an undercoat. The upshot of the red armour was the fact that I flipped the colours for the weapons and eyes of the helmet.

I know that I have a real thing for the RT era marines, but the apothecaries really stretch that affection to its limits. I'm grateful to have these guys in my collection and enjoyed painting them, but the proportions and detail on this miniature really highlight some of the worst aspects of that period for GW in terms of uniformity and general quality. Take the chainsword for example; it looks as though it was made by a drunken squat on his lunchbreak. And what's the story with the massive crotchplate and no discernable waist? The marine equivalent of nappies?

At least this guy has a waist, but it seems that he's been afflicted with some strange wasting disease that has left him with the legs of a sickly teenage eldar. You'd think that an artificier would have been able to make his legs look more manly in power armour, not leave him to be the laughing stock of the battlefield. And what's he got in his right hand? I presume that it's some kind of medical device that eventually evolved into the narthecium. But to my eye it always looks like some random engine part the guy just found lying about on the ground.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Psychic Warfare: Librarians Part 1 - Rogue Trader Era

I tried an alternative colour scheme for my librarians as I had with most of the other speacialists, but for some reason I chose to paint them in Deadly Nightshade, which is one of the prime colours of the rank and file marines. After having a long rethink, I decided that this was one case that sticking closer to the more traditional approach might be the answer. So I adopted a base of Mordian Blue and have been very pleased with the results.

One thing that I hate is to paint a miniature and do nothing original with either the way the model looks or the colour scheme. In the case of the librarians I settled on the idea of trying to make their helmets resemble the halos common to religious icons common in the eastern orthodox church. The aged white of the outer parts of the headgear was a simple double coat of white washed with Devlan Mud. The interior gold consists of a basecoat of Graveyard Earth drybrushed with Burnished Gold and then highlighted with Shining Gold and finally washed with Badab Black.

Though these are miniatures from one of the earliest stages of the WH40k history, you can still see some of the themes that carried on into the later librarians in the 90's and beyond. The horned skulls adorning the shoulderpads and the writhing patterns on the power weapons are probably the most noticable. I've tried to keep these details on the weapons a uniform red for every librarian that I've completed.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Guardians of Faith: Chaplains Part 1 - Rogue Trader Era

Some newer collectors and painters that I've come across seem to have an issue with the marines that came out during the original RT era. They dislike the fact that the marines often seem too small in stature, badly sculpted and look to have been given the most unlikely poses possible. But as a collector myself I've managed to amass quite a number of marines from this era and when painting them always find that the experience is great due to the quirks and odd little touch that the sculptor gave them back in the day before marines were acknowledged to be ten-foot demigods.

For most of the specialists in the chapter I wanted to use a non-codex colour scheme that still fitted with the function of the marine and kept with the darkling feel of the chapter and their medaeval homeworld. To be honest, I've never had much luck painting marine armour black and so after spending a holiday in the Lake District surrounded by buildings made from the amazing local slate stone, I settled on that shade of grey for my chaplains. A coat of Charcedon Granite provided a perfect slate effect allowing the bone highlights to stand out more than would have been possible with black.
It would have been an idea in retrospect to replace this guy's rather unimpressive chainsword with something from a later marine or paint it in bone as well, but I'd already removed his bannerpole and it just seemed to slip my mind. The bannerpole was pretty dreadful anyway, so good riddence.

The legs and shoulderpads on this chaplain make up for the fact that his helmet looks like the enbalmed visage of a particularly ugly chimpanzee. With marine plasma pistols I have been trying an approach of basecoating in Enchanted Blue, drybrushing lightly with white and then applying a wash of blue ink in the hope that it will simulate the energy cells of the weapon without drawing too much attention away from the rest of the model.

I'll be posting next some images of chaplains from the mid-nineties over the next few days and then moving on to more contempory models as soon as I have the time to post.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Blood Bowl Orcs: Scoring is Secondary to Carnage

One of the things that always marked GW out as something different in a rpg market that sometimes seemed more pompous than a room full of upper-class twits was the fact that there was always a vein of silly and sometimes quite juvenile humour than ran through the stuff they put out in the late eighties and early nineties. The original RT hardback was full of daft jokes about the hobby and thinly veiled pokes at certain parts of the UK and it's populace. And Bloodbowl was perhaps the game that for me summed it all up most sweetly and with the most fun involved as well.

I'd always had the idea of a BB team in the back of my head, but when a friend found that he had not only his own first edition of the game in his parents' loft, but the three copies that his childhood friends had left with him as well, the chance to play some games seemed too much to resist.

At the time another member of my gaming group was having a birthday and as he's not either a collector or painter of miniatures, I decided that I'd use some of the WHFB orks that I had lying around my study to make a team up for him.

These are my favourite miniatures from the main line-up of the team, huge, mean and beefy greenskins covered in plate armour and intent on doing nothing more than steam-rolling over the opposition. In the second edition of the rules the ork teams had black orks as blitzers and I suppose that these guys are probably part of that strain of super ork.

The linemen are the backbone of the team, the poor grunts who have to form the defensive line, take the punishment from the star players on the opposing side and generally perform any role that a specialist isn't on the spot to do. I think these two sum up the differing styles of ork BB tactics quite well, on the one hand you have the guy on the right with his helmet and head stuck straight out to absorb whatever punishement comes his way and the one on the right who simply doesn't care and just wears his colourful cap and leaves it all up to chance. The guy on the left is also an example of using an ork head from the Assault on Black Reach boxset in order to add variety to the team.

As well as a collection of linemen, throwers, catchers and blockers, I thought the team could do with the ubiquitous chainsaw-wielding loony and a musician to play the team onto the pitch. The loony is the only model that actually comes from the WH40K range, but thankfully the differences between that and the WHFB orks are so small as not to notice. The drummer is a really old WHFB ork with a drum from the Chaos Marauder boxset. I wanted to sculpt a mohawk on his head, but for some reason it just ended up being the most ludicrous quiff I have ever seen instead. But somehow it just seemed to fit with the feel of the model and the team as a whole.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Chapter Badge

When deciding on a chapter badge, the initial temptation can be to go for something very flashy and over the top. When I was working on my first DIY chapter (the Celestial Paladins, more on them another time), my idea was for the chapter badge to be a blazing ball of blue and white flame that looked like a celestial comet. The problem was that it was so time-consuming to paint on every model and my skills were so basic that it took more time to get right than to paint the entire rest of the miniature.

Without doubt the best advice that I can give to anyone who wants to come up with their own chapter badge and is not planning on using either a transfer or supurb painting skills is to keep it as simple as you possibly can.

The star-burst design above was one that I came up for within a matter of minutes some years ago and I still think that it's one of the best bits of iconography that I have ever designed. All in all the design requires nothing more than five brush-strokes, not accounting for corrections afterwards, and still manages to stand out as a stark and unique part of the chapter image.

As for the fluff behind the image, that's a bit more vague. Perhaps it signifies the dropships that brought the elements of the chapter to their homeworld of Basilisk for the first time, descending like heavenly warriors from the skies. Or perhaps it represents the hope of the marines that comes with the dawn. Maybe it stands for the light of far Terra, visible only as a tiny point of light in the night sky.

Who knows?

Tactical Marine Colours

It's been a very long time since I got round to adding anything at all to this blog, but in all that time I haven't been idle and as a result I have a good amount of stuff to post around here to make up for the long peroid of silence.
I thought a good place to get started would be with this, the standard colours for the rank and file of the SOTA chapter.
The most obvious thing is that this is in no way a codex chapter, individual squads are more likely to be marked out by unique badges or heraldic devices than by traditional methods. The helmet, breastplate, abdomen, right arm, right leg and backpack of the power armour are a deep midnight blue and the left arm and leg a dark crimson. The chapter badge is marked on the right shoulderpad, though this may vary for veterans or specialists within the chapter.
There is a bit of fluff behind the choices here and I'll get to that with a later post.

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