Monday, July 16, 2018

Age of Sigmar Campaing - The quest for the Starforge (part one)

The release of a new edition of Age of Sigmar seemed like an excellent time to set-up a small scale campaign. After a bit of a chat at my local gaming club (Sword Brethren Eindhoven) I was warned to tone my ambitions down to make it work (excellent advice, I tend to get carried away). In the end I proposed running three linked scenario's one-on-one, leaving all the more complicated multiplayer campaign planning for some other time...

To start with I picked three scenario's, one from the new Core Book and two from the Malign Sorcery Rulebook and added a victory/loss/draw result to the battles. We'll play using matched play rules. The battles we'll be playing are:

Periphius Gate (Malign Sorcery p. 54)
Objective: take (and keep) control of a Realmgate with your heroes.
Winner - gets to pick the realm in the next scenario.
Loser - will play the custodian in the next scenario.
Draw - roll-off determines who gets the winner/loser result for the next scenario.

The Barrowfields (Malign Sorcery p. 54)
Objective: either defend (custodian) or destroy (attacker) four objectives.
Winner - Is the attacker in the final scenario.
Loser - Is the defender in the final scenario.
Draw - roll-off determines who gets the winner/loser result for the next scenario.

The Relief Force (brb p. 296)
Winner - Wins the campaign.
Loser - Loses the campaign.
Draw - The campaign ends in a draw.

After playing the first battle I decided to spice it all up slightly by adding a bit of a backstory.
"During the age of myth the fabled artificers from the city of Greyguild built the Starforge; a magical workshop with the power to make – and umake – stars. 'the brotherhood', A secretive cult of mages, seers and enchanters, worked in secret on a ritual said to bestow the power of the gods on mortals.  All came to nothing as the cult was slain defending Greyguild during the Age of Chaos. The location of the Starforge was lost to the ages..."
A second duo of player's will most likely be starting the campaign this week. In the meantime I've made my first battle report (2000 points), comic style (of course) of battle number one. If you want to, you can download the story below in PDF format here.

To be continued soon....

Monday, July 9, 2018

Oldhammer fun with the Nightmare Legion and metal zombies followed by a dash of heresy

With the influx of new old models I decided to shove all the other projects aside and have a little Oldhammer fun painting the Nightmare Legion. Now I remember the day my friends and I bought this box set (along with Ruglud's Armoured OrcsSkarloc's Wood Elf Rangers and some other stuff) at the only store we knew that carried GW in quantity. It was about an hour's drive so visits where confined to birthdays and special occasions. After the others left Warhammer I took over their miniatures only to sell them on years later. Now they are back in my possession. I love this unit, particularly the helmet of the unit champion, and I've been dreaming about repainting them for quite a few years now. Here are the results.

Welcome back to my collection Nightmare Legion.
I started of with a basecoat of Vallejo Game Air Skeleton Bone Primer. Then I painted the metal bits Leadbelcher, the wooden bits Dryad Bark and the dark bits German Grey. For the cloth I wanted a washed out greyish blue so The Fang was a logical choice. The models where given a heavy wash of Agrax Earthshade and a drybrush of Ironbreaker. Then I carefully retouched all the bone with Ushabti Bone and then Ushabti Bone with Dead White. The cloth was lit up using The Fang followed by Fenrisian Grey with a third subtile highlight where I added Dead White to the mix. I stuck the shields on planning to snip off the centre orb only to discover this to be more difficult than anticipated. So I switched tacks, masked the painted models and just used an airbrush to make a subtle red transition. This also helps give the Legion a dash of color. In the end these guys looked really clean so I took what I have left of my Modelmates Rust and added some of that - all the while mumbling 'less is more'.

I love the Champion's helmoet. GW should do a full unit of guys with helmets like that. 
I grabbed a picture of their old banner from the Stuff of Legends website and edited it in Photoshop to a washed out black and white, the right size for printing and my banner technique. Then I used paint to paint over the black and white print, thickened the banner with PVA and stuck it on the banner pole with superglue (after cutting it to size obviously). As a last step I added highlights to the commander's and champion's swords making those look sharp within all the rust. I finished off applying a coat of Vallejo Polyurethane Varnish Matt to tie everything together and protect the models. I also couldn't quite stop adding a lot of grass to the bases to add more color.

You've got to love the internet for easily providing access to these kind of examples. 
Here is the picture I used to paint my banner, who knows, someone might get a use out of it.

Old zombies are hell to paint, but fun to stick on the table.
As the Nightmare Legion is not quite the only bit of pretty Oldhammer stuff coming my way recently, I also couldn't resist adding a few zombies to my army. These are some of the very first models I bought and also some of the (IMHO) hardest models to paint. I opted to go for a bit of a Nurgle approach to these ones using P3 Traitor Green over German Grey Primer as a base. I had a lot of fun painting bones sticking out and went for added blood to give them some character.

Every time I played undead I've been annoyed at the state of my Corpse Cart, this touch-up should help. 
Last but definitely not least (and most definitely not Oldhammer) was my corpse cart. Before Age of Sigmar and my full return to fantasy I bought a Vampire Counts Army box as a nostalgic holiday painting project. I found Warhammer Fantasy 8th unplayable because of the pervasive meta-list-build-whatever-nonsense and the players it attracted. So the army was just meant to have a bit of fantasy fun without ever seeing a table top. While cheerfully working the box I managed to glue the Corpse Cart together the wrong way round and stuck the driver to a base to hang around as a regular Necromancer. Now that I'm actually playing fantasy battles in the Mortal Realms I have quite a lot of use for my Corpse Cart. Unfortunately it looked like this.

The Corpse Cart pre-touch up with some freshly basecoated Nightmare Legionaires behind it.
As it is rather fiddly I didn't expect it to survive paint stripping so I decided to rebase and (try to) touch up the paint a bit. For the base I used my greenstuff world roller to make some paving stones. I added coarse sand around this, but while painting opted to cover that with Vallejo Dark Earth Paste (I just took a real shine to it recently). Then I went to town on the rest of the model.

I used to see 'just add blood' as a 16 year old's way out, but these days I think that properly added blood does actually enhance a model.
I washed the drybrushed zombies with Athonian Camoshade first and then gave them another wash of Agrax Earthshade, covering the rest of the cart as well. Then I drybrushed the wood with some Karak Stone to make it look a bit older. I touched up all the dead bodies on the cart with a few thinned down layers of Zamesi Desert. I touched up the bell on top with some nice metals and took care to edge the metal bits holding the cart together making them stand out more. I added the driver to the cart again, giving him an interesting position on the front. As the final step I used my favorite method of adding blood and gore to a miniature to make this disgusting looking cart even more gruesome. Now I can slap this model back on the table without feeling a twinge of embarrassment at its state.

Next up: me pulling out hair as I try to decided between finishing up my Moonclan Grots, painting my Necromunda gangs or getting started on those High Elf chariots.....decisions, decisions....oh I could also.....

Friday, July 6, 2018

Quick paint stripping update

I don't think this'll be the most exciting post in the world, but it'll be short (so that's worth something (I hope)). At the start of this week I pulled a bunch of old metal models out of a week long soak in acetone and discovered the ancient paint job wouldn't budge. I ended up tossing the lot in Biostrip-20 (these guys should just get over it and start sponsoring this blog ;) ). That is the environmentally friendly (but don't let that fool you) and extremely efficient goop that safely strips paint of metal and plastic miniatures. This was the result of the acetone (warning re-used picture):

I don't know what paint was used on these models (I know some have very old (Coat d'Arms tub) GW paints). As you can see acetone did not make an impression on them.

After a single evenings soak in Biostrip-20 I could just lightly take an old toothbrush to the same miniatures and these are my results.

I can't wait to get started on the Nightmare Legion. They will form a proud unit of Skeleton Warriors and return to the battlefields (albeit in the Mortal Realms) as soon as I've painted them. Still quite unsure whether I'll sell or paint the Undead Horesemen....
A plethora of High Elves....
Skarloc's Wood Elf Archers, the banner bearer is missing for now but has already been localized. I'm a bit worried I don't have the skill to do these guys justice.

Two chariots, I wonder what insipid red paint managed to colorize a grey plastic wheel (and lucky escape these didn't fit in the acetone pots first time round).The dragon is missing a wing, no idea how I'm going to solve that problem...
Now if painting was as easy as stripping unpainted armies would be a thing of the past :)

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Rebasing and painting Moonclan Grots

Of the many Warhammer Fantasy starter sets over the years I have to admit liking the Battle for Skull Pass (7th edition) the most. It featured an intersting Dwarf army including some fences and a cart for the miners. On the Goblin (Grot) side it had a tied up Trollslayer and a Shaman's hut. It had a lot of miniatures (32 Dwarves and a cannon and 73 Goblins). Nicest of all: it frequently appears on second hand sales for rather reasonable prices. I have at least two Battle for Skull Pass sets (and maybe three). When Age of Sigmar came along the Night Goblins turned into Moonclan Grots (and the Spider Riders became Spiderfang Grots) and basing was left up to the person with the paintbrush. To save time sticking models on the table I based my Moonclan Grots like this.

Multiple models on a base speeds up play, but turned out to become a nuisance around terrain.
This speeds up play a lot but it makes piling into combat and moving around terrain a complete nightmare. As I walked by my display case I decided my Grots deserve a base of their own. So I took a bunch of sparkling new 25mm rounds and a big pot of Vallejo Dark Earth paste.

If only Vallejo had a Stirland Mud colored dark earth, I'd buy another pot as this amount lasts you a lifetime.
Now the trick to owning a (painted) Grot army is to lower your standards (well, to me it is). So I can't really do anything to horrible to these guys. I used my thumb to snap them of the old base and laid them out in rows of ten.

Don't forget to stick the goblins on while the paste still wet, otherwise they'll look floaty.
Next up I stippled some Dark Earth Paste on the bases. It's a lot quicker then painting :)

Now that is some precision work here..
After that I dunked my goblins into a blob of PVA. I later adapted this step and just put a drop of PVA onto the model (it turned out to be a neater AND faster method).

Blob, next Grot!
And poof another Grot is proudly sitting on his base.

They may have been painted at high speed and low quality, but quantity does make up for the worst transgressions.
In slightly above an hour's work I have separated both the spear and the bow wielding Gits. Now all I have to do is wait a day for the Dark Earth Paste to harden completely, add some Agrax Earthshade to them and finish up with some fresh tufts of grass and these guys'll be ready to terrorize the Old World.

And another bunch of Grots is almost ready to join there brethren (and die badly on the tabletop).
All this rebasing reminded me I still had a bunch of Moonclan Grots with only airbrushed black capes. I took them out of storage and spend the rest of the evening (and the two after that) globbing on some green and brown paint and a bunch of washes. And tada another thirty Spear carrying Moonclan Grots are just a liberal application of rust (and yellow moonfaces) away from the tabletop. As I started these guys in 2016 do I say I painted them over the course of several years or over the course of about a week's worth of work? The answer to that will probably depend on how much I want to irk the person I'm speaking to. As an interesting sidenote, the project box featured in the post linked at the start of this paragraph has been almost completely painted by now. Anyways, back to my other projects (Adeptus Mechanicus, Stormcast, Nighthaunt, oh if only I could pick a direction and keep going....)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Stormcast, Ministorum Priest and old lead or how to keep busy doing many things at once

Almost two weeks have come and gone without posting. Time flies when you're having fun. I've actually been kept rather busy with work by day and happily smearing paint on unsuspecting miniatures by night. I just regularly forget to take pictures. Well let's have a quick run-through of some of my projects right now.

Now this guy looks grim enough to fit in the distopia that is the grim darkness of Warhammer 40K.
I stripped the paint of this Ministorum Priest and left his naked metal body within arms reach of my painting station. After painting rather a lot of red for my Adeptus Mechanicus force I suddenly felt the urge to paint white robes, so I put a brush to the man. He's currently lounging in a display case for one of models accompanied by (among others) inquisitor Obiwan Sherlock Clousseau and my Dark Eldar Archon.

I'll just keep trying until I find a color I like for my Stormcast.
Next up is my enduring love-hate struggle with Stormcast. I'm slowly warming up to the lore and I want to own an army of them (I already have the starter set models unpainted in a box somewhere). But just as I'm enjoying the models in Shadespire I look at another set and get one of those 'ugh Sigmarines' flareups. Well, long story short, I bought a whole bunch of the free with White Dwarf models a few years back and I occasionally come back to those to try a paint scheme that works for me. One thing I learned is that I don't like the gold and blue scheme. Can't say why but even the 'Eavy Metal ones look badly painted to me, making my versions trashbin ready. I like the silver guy but as my Ironjawz also have a (albeit rusty) metal paint scheme I want something different. Highlighting black will destroy my sanity etc.

Will it be the guy in blue or the one in white?
Last week I tried two new schemes. The one on the left is in the Stegadon Blue paint scheme of the Celestial Psychopaths (should look up the proper name at some point). The one on the right is my attempt to shamelessly steal someone's thunder. It is an approximation of this beautiful army on Ex Profundis. I love the way people go for the entire Dark Age of Sigmar theme and even though my high fantasy fetish motivates me to keep things slightly more upbeat I want that scheme. On the other hand, the blue almost makes the model look as if I can paint. Decisions, decisions, with the new starter box and magic effects kit arriving yesterday I may have to finally settle on a scheme.

Now there is some ancient history, I've actually given the old box a place of honor in my hobbyzone.
Next up is a story about stripping models. I got my hands on this ancient GW mail order box filled with old metal (and some plastic) that was otherwise headed for the trash. As a number of the models in it used to be mine this was a rather fortunate intercept. Getting my hands on (among other things) Skarloc's Wood Elf Archers, The Nightmare Legion and some chaos champions that I need to own is a nice bonus. Even though knowing myself I'll probably sell some models after reaching the conclusion I can't paint everything.

I used to say: 'When in doubt, pour acetone (check for plastics first)'...
Before that point I separated plastics from metals and dunked the metal lot in Acetone. After soaking for a week I pulled them out, scrubbed them only to discover the paint is not planning to move.

...but only these models came out clean enough.
One zombie and one undead horseman have been freed from successive layers of awful paint.

The rest just ignore my fervent brushing.
This pile is not at all or hardly willing to get cleaned.

Into the Biostrip-20 you lot!
For now I've decided to ditch the Acetone and try and see if Biostrip-20 does a better job of it. This I will get back to as soon as the models have had a chance to soak thoroughly in this wonderful (but decidedly more expensive than acetone) stuff. I've had more projects on the fire but as I've been rambling on for long enough, I'll save them for another post.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

My Imperial Knight Errant stomps onto the stage!

The part of Ferrous Maximus in my Crusaders for Knowledge army will be played by Remulus Ortyllis in his Knight Errant. I had to change the weaponry on my first Imperial Knight as going for cool trumps all considerations of following nice pictures in rulebooks (and rules). With the re-release of Renegade I got the chance to get a nice bit of scenery and two Imperial Knights at a splendid price. As I always wanted an Imperial Knight, getting two was too good a deal to skip. I have to admit I got a bit overexcited by having the kit and started building it between waiting for my Necromunda barricades to dry. Yesterday evening I put most of the finishing touches on the model (excepting a few small details I added this morning before breakfast (I may have gotten carried away by this project).

I know what you're thinking, did he fire at 100.000 gigawatts or 150.000 gigawatts. Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself.
A picture of a Forge World knight has been staring at me from the bookshelf on my new workspace and I wanted to (try to) replicate the armor color on it. As it was The Horus Heresy: Model Masterclass Volume One staring at me, all it took was opening the book to find out how the effect was achieved. The striking red armor is painted using an airbrush to pre-shade with blue and green tints, followed by a translucent glossy red. Unfortunately Forge World has stopped selling its own line of airbrush paints. Understandable as the ancient Citadel/current day Coat d'Arms pots are many things, but 'being useful for airbrush paint' is not among those things (insert rant about GW airbrush line and their pots here). As the paint was not available at all I had to improvise.

Painting the little window on top of this monster was a story all unto itself. Lets just say I tried a lot of painting techniques to get it to this rather basic green.
Tamiya X-27 Clear Red was an obvious candidate to replace Forge World Angron Red but the Tamiya Clear line is alcohol based (I think). Trying to thin it with my usual selection of thinners leads to tears (and those also don't improve the thinning process). In the end I went for an internet hint and ordered a few pots of MiniTaire Ghost Tint (Fresh Blood, Plasma Fluids, Green, Purple and Blue). The Ghost Tint line is an airbrush ready line of transparent  paints that sounded perfect for the job. I followed the Forge World Masterclass starting out with Vallejo Steel and Aluminum airbrush ready metallics and then using MiniTaire Plasma Fluids (light blue) to pre shade panel lines and the MiniTaire Green for the darkest shadows. After that it was a matter of patiently spraying on about four or five coats (I lost count somewhere) of MiniTaire Fresh Blood. The first layer was best described as 'wimpy pink(ish)' but it is important to let the coats dry and keep at it. If you don't the Knight will be called 'Sir Runner' in reference to the paint runs on his armor panels. It's also where the simultaneous work on the barricades (and a new dedicated hairdryer for drying paint) came in handy.

A quick work in progress shot seems appropriate at this point.
For the body I considered trying the Forge World method, but knowing my patience and skill I opted for a bit of Duncan inspired work. I ended up washing the metallic body of the Knight with a thick black wash from a Vallejo (73301) Black Shade followed by a quick drybrush of Ironbreaker.

I just had to add a Thunderstrike Gauntlet, it looks so wonderfully menacing.
To add color and further tie in the Knight with my budding Adeptus Mechanicus army I opted to paint all ribbed cables (Prussian) blue then, still high on at least nearing the Forge Word effect I decided to paint all non-ribbed cables yellow banded with black. It was a chore (and good practice) and you can see two of these cables on the Power Fist Thunderstrike Gauntlet above. Not perfect, but I'm very happy with it. Applying the decals/transfers was easier then with most models as the underground on the armor panels was already gloss (saving a step). After adding them I added a coat of Ardcoat as usual to fix them in place, using Vallejo Matt Polyurethane Varnish on the banner between the legs to restore its non-gloss surface.

I love Vallejo Game Color Fluo Green. It is an almost impossible color to apply but when it works, it works.
Last but not least the base needs a bit of a mention. Following an oddly voiced Painting Clinic video I used Wood Filler to create the basic outline with room for a puddle in the middle and a few small rock to weigh it down slightly. I cut a barrel from the GW Combat Accessory frame (now known as Munitorum Armoured Containers) in half. As with the rest of the army I painted the base Khorne Red and covered it with huge blobs of Agrellan Earth for the crackle effect. The pool with the barrels was painted with a few random greens and then given multiple thin airbrushed coats of Vallejo Game Color Fluo Green. When the knight was finished I discovered the hard way that I forgot to check whether he could actually stand on his base  (in my defense, I was in a painting fugue). I ended up mixing some Wood Filler with Khorne Red to cover the gaps between the Knights feet and the ground. I mixed the filler with paint hoping I would not have to repaint it. Silly me, it turned the goop pink. So next was a new layer of Khorne Red, blow drying and finally adding more Agrellan Earth to the newly formed bits of ground. This morning, to my relief, it turned out reasonably well. I ended up quickly washing the bits with a quick mix of Army Painter Dark Tone and Strong Shade. I sprayed more Vallejo Fluo around the pool to green up the newly formed bits of ground (and the legs of the knight). As a final step I thinned down a bit of Baneblade Brown to dust up the lower legs of the Knight. As a last step I added a few Mordheim Tufts.

I am actually not old enough to enjoy Bingo this much.
Even though typing this I see some details I might want to improve, I will call this Knight Errant finished (for now). I don't think I have ever painted a huge model this fast (in four evenings) and I have to admit being rather happy with (most) of the results. As for the ongoing challenge of filling up my Wargame Bingo Card I (think I) can decide between 'Paint a vehicle' and 'Paint a monster' but I will pass on both as they will be easily achieved later this year. For this model I'll pick 'Paint a model and incorporate a technique you haven't mastered'. While I don't think I've mastered any technique, in the spirit of Bingo (I never expected to utter those words ;)  I think using pre-shading with transparant paints was definitely something new and therefore utterly unmastered. So that is where I'll put my stamp this time. Only 15 more spaces to go...

Now on with more painting (oh and work, family and all those good things that take you outside into the sunshine (or so I've been told...)).

Monday, June 18, 2018

Necromunda bulkheads finished (or: rusting plastic is amazing and therapeutic)

The announcement of a new Necromunda made me (almost) as giddy as the (still teased) return of Adeptus Titanicus. I pre-ordered the box and it arrived just in time for the december holidays. Unfortunately (aside from the hassle of moving) I find a curious handicap when it comes to Necromunda. I'm victim to a variant of the Paradox of Choice. Knowing I can do anything I find myself unable to choose. Last week I solved my Necromunda problem by dropping choice from the equation. I'm going assemble the boxed set exactly according to the suggestions in the manual. I can always pick up more models to start converting later. But, as with any other boxed game, I will follow my stern rule to paint scenery first and the models second. I find it reduces the risk of having pretty models running through a grey plastic world. For Necromunda this means painting a bunch of bulkhead doors (and some booby traps and consoles). Here are the bulkheads.

The sad thing about rusted terrain is that (if done properly) it tends to look like a zero effort job that belies the actual effort that went into it.
I like rust. There are a million ways to paint it and (almost) all of them are cool. Rust adds color, from deep red-brown to bright orange. You can even get away with adding some blue/green to it. It is (almost) impossible to paint unrealistic rust. You can water down some random orange or brown paint and splash random rust splotches on models (preferably on the metal). Painting rust is quite therapeutic in my book (you can't really mess it up). As there is always more to learn about rust (and I want to up my airbrush skills) I decided follow this tutorial by Kenny 'Yo Dawg' Boucher about weathering terrain. I may make light of his introductions, but his tutorials are downright amazing.

I won't mind if I don't have to dot rivets in the next few months.
After airbrushing, washing and taking rather more hours then I want to think about dotting the tops of rivets with GW Ironbreaker, I could safely spray the bulkheads with some Vallejo Polyurethane Satin varnish. Then I decided to add hairspray and put weathered paint on some of the doors. Unfortunately I discovered that a) you can spray too much hairspray on a model (it turns white) and b) while removing hairspray you can scrape off paint under the tap even when it is 'protected' by a layer of Vallejo Polyurethane Satin varnish. In all I had to wash most of the doors and I'll have to stick to pretending the grayed bits on some of the doors and bulkheads are 'just as planned'. I did add a few bits of paintwork on some doors and barricades and I think it looks reasonable.

In the 40th millennium the day of the tentacle draws ever closer....
A special mention has to be made for the tentacle. I love that one bit of scenery to death. It also gave me a chance to add a bit of pink to the autumn valley of rust. Between airbrushing and edge highlighting I decided to try a precise application of wash to the recesses for a change (my usual preference is one humongous blob of wash). I think it worked. All in all, my bulkheads are done, the tentacle is done, the skull coin (I don't know what it's for yet) is done and all that remains are some boobytraps, a few consoles and pre-painting all the bases (and all the miniatures). In other words I'm well on my way to trying this game (assuming I don't get distracted halfway through painting this).