Thursday, July 19, 2018

Magnetic Flight Stands (Review)


Magnetized to terrorize.

In my last post regarding the Reavers of the Obsidian Rose (part 3), I talked about magnetizing these jetbikes for easier storage. I wanted something that wouldn't be a customizing nightmare or take an agonizing amount of time. At first I found some customizing tips using a screw, but with some of my models already painted I feel this would be a disaster to attempt. Warfrog has some amazing flight stands that he uses with his Eldar but apparently the company that makes those has stopped producing them.

Shopping around online I found a vender that I thought may do the trick: The Magnet Baron. His catch-phrase is: Your DIY Super Magnetic Home. Seems like a tall claim, but after perusing the site, I was impressed enough to try it out.
"Your DIY Super Magnetic Home."*

The magnets I chose were the Medium ones. It was easy to choose as the Baron, wisely, used GW models for scaling purposes. I ordered 3 sets, enough to do all of my Reavers and with a few left over. And I waited.
My chosen selection.* 
Shipping was fairly quick and the package even arrived sooner than promised, which is always a small victory, yes? And here is what each kit has.

4 ball bearings, rods, and indented magnet and 8 flat magnets.
However no base was provided which is understandable as it is assumed that you are buying this kit to replace the rod for your kit's provided flying stand. But it is something to be aware of. Also, beware that there is no instructions provided, or on his site, so unless you're great at puzzles or just highly intuitive, be ready to correspond with the Baron like I did. I asked his lordship** for instructions and this is what he relayed back to me:

"for every rod there should be 2 flat magnets a ball bearing and a indented magnet. One flat goes on the models base. one goes on the bottom of the rod. the indented magnet goes on the model. The ball bearing goes in the indention on the rod."


I decided that I did not want to glue the two flat magnets to the base as I will not need this for storage purposes. Although in hindsigbt this does give the base a bit more weight so there is an added bonus for doing this other than making the rod detachable from the base. So, let's get to it then: First I glued the rod to the base using plastic cement.

Rod glued to base.

Next I added the ball bearing to the rod. Note that one of the rod is concaved so that the ball bearing fits perfectly when super-glued in.

Ball bearing attached. 
Ran into a slight snag with the concaved magnets as one broke when I attempted to seperate it from it's family. I think I can fix it with superglue but we'll see.
The damaged concave magnet.
Next I glued a concave magnet to the bottom of my model.
Concave magnet attached.
And presto: the model is done!

Done! Stable and balanced.

The ball mount allows you to make model poseable if you choose, which is a really cool bonus. The bikes seem to be a bit higher that I had anticipated, but I am OK with this. Additional bikes may be lowered by just cutting a 1/2" or so off the stand's bottom.

Zooming upward!
I am trying to decide if I want to paint the magnet or not. Since the ball bearing can not be painted after it is mounted, the whole point may be moot.
Angled down to straff ground targets.
Over-all I am pleased. It beats customizing my own and is also faster. I like the added bonus of being able to swivel the models as this was not a goal when I set out on magnetizing these things.  Also I'm pleased with my first purchase from the Magnet Baron and I will likely use him again. My only criticism is the lack of included instructions or guidelines. For that I give him a 'B-' grade instead of an A- grade for this product and for quick communication.

*These images are from Magnetbaron.com, used here for review purposes only.

**Just in case the Baron is truly a Royal (and not just a cool and catchy business name) I felt it safest to address him as such to avoid any disrespect. 

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Bad Moon Mega Armor Orks (Part 1)

This is a unit of orks in mega armor (armour) that I have been keen on finishing for a very long time now. The first model here was finished about 20 years ago in the late '90s. That model is below. I was pleased with how it turned out and had always hoped to replicate his paint job however some of the paints I used at the time are no longer available. I was pleased with it, and I feel it still holds up well.Although a few years ago I extended his base onto a terminator sized base. I still like these miniatures. Yeah, I agree, they aren't as bulked out and awesome as the later versions, but I figure the Bad Moons can afford the miniaturization of technology.

The first completed Bad Moon Mega Armor Ork. 
In fact the rest of this mob has been placed onto larger bases also. This happened circa 2009-2010-ish prior to start of this blog, and for one reason or another I have left them alone. But they were placed back into the queue when I started working on my Bad Moon ork dreadnought this past Dreadtober. I was very pleased with how that project turned out and I have been keen to finish these guys ever since.

The whole mob, in it's unassembled glory.
The leader of this mob is represented by the old Nazdreg Ug Urdgrub miniature. I will discuss this model more below, but for now here are some stage-by-stage pics.  In this first pic I had decided that there was too much black paint on it and added some more yellow areas. I base coated these areas in Fiery Orange.

The Nob, with additional basecoats. 
Here he is with Sunburst Yellow applied over the Fiery Orange. His flesh is done now too and I am about to start on highlights to the yellow and black areas.

Progressing along nicely...
All of the other boys have had their bases completed, including the original chap from the '90s, who is now done again. Note that this ork's flesh is more pale than the others. I have pretty much perfected my ork flesh paint scheme and don't want to deviate from it on the rest of this unit, so this one ork will just have to stand out a bit. To be truthful, I am not too sure exactly how I got this look on him so many years ago, but I suspect that I added white to Bilious Green instead of the Sunburst Yellow that I do now.
Done again!
As with the Nob, the other three boyz have their flesh done and it is time to start on highlights and detailing. We'll see how far this gets in part 2.

Progress continues...
Ok, now back to the old Nazdreg Ug Urdgrub miniature: Nazdreg is the Bad Moon Warlord and is simply a bad-ass. His entry in the 2nd Edition Ork Codex describes him as "rich, ostentatious, over indulgent, and overweight." and that Nazdreg "is easily the most cunning and intelligent battlefield commander the Bad Moons have ever had." It goes on further to describe his massive space hulk warship  as well. Truly he is something special and unique in the 40K universe. And the John Blanche art that accompanied this entry surely set the expectation that if a miniature were to be made of him, that he would be massive.

Nazdreg by John Blanche. 
 Seriously, really take a minute to go over that picture and take in all that detail. Study those weapons.  Count the moons! Try to find his head! Note also that he is kneeling in that illustration as well, further implying that this would be a massive model on the table top. But instead, released in the waning days of 3rd edition, we got this:


From the GW catalog. 

OK, It's an alright model of an Ork Nob in this style of armor, but a horrible and woefully underwhelming model of Nazdreg when compared to the Blanche illustration. I couldn't take it seriously at the time of release, and when the orks got a size boost in 3rd ed this model was just...wanting. So, a generic Nob he became to me then and will remain so now.

And still I dream of a proper Nazdreg...

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Wizzzard!


Wizzzard!!!
My list of unfinished projects would make Tolkien jealous. One such project is my old Warhammer Fantasy Empire army. Recently Da Masta Cheef asked for some pics of my old Empire models for reference (uh-oh, it can't be good...) and I dug out some models and sent him the pics. While looking through this virtually abandoned army, I couldn't help but feel sad or even guilty for having never finished that army. I decided I should paint something from it, so I selected an old plastic wizard that I haven't touched in pretty much 10 years.

Around about that time I had posted a pic of it on a thread on Warhammer-Empire in which I proclaimed that I would share a pic of the model when I finished painting it. Haha, Gosh, I really hope no one was holding their breath! By the way, fun fact: the title of that thread (and this post) comes from an old Alltel commercial that was popular at the time.

Screen shot snippet from Warhammer-Empire. 

He stayed as he appeared in the pic above for about ten years. So I started off slow, painting the gem stones first. Then I added a highlight to the skin.
Gemstones painted. 
Next I painted the scrolls....and it was an avalanche from there. Before I knew it, he was finished!

Gray Wizard- Finished but the flocking.

Due to how much, or in this case how little, surface area I had to work with I opted to use static grass and leaves for the base. I think the leaves look great on fantasy bases, especially on terrain pieces.

Gray Wizard- now with flock!
 I left the feather white. I had orginally planned to make it a lot more colorful, but I decided that there was too much color on this already and that I needed to keep it simple.

And from the rear. 
And with that, he is done. And he turned out pretty close to how I first imagined he would. I sort of based his color scheme from my memory of the first Hobbit book that I read. That edition was oversized with color illustrations throughout it, and Gandalf was colored close to how this wizard turned out. It was fun to revisit the Empire again and I am pleased with how it turned out. I may look at some more fantasy pieces to distract myself with soon...

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Anachronistic 40k: Dark Eldar

The first Codex: Dark Eldar. 
Hello, and welcome to our retrospective on the Dark Eldar. In particular we are going to look at the original launch from 1998. Yes, this year will mark the 20th anniversary of the fiendish cousins to the Craftworld Eldar. Twenty years!


Karandras art by Mark Gibbons. 
The launch of the 3rd Edition of Warhammer 40,000 was an exciting time. It was the reveal of a faction that had been subtly hinted at for many years. Particularly in the 2nd Edition Codex: Eldar's entry for Karandras the Striking Scorpian Phoenix Lord. The entry speaks of how the founder and first Striking Scorpion was Arhra the father of the Scorpion Shrine, not Karandras (the guy GW actually produced a model of), and that Arhra had turned to chaos and was said to have gone into the webway. The Codex had a lot to say about individual Eldar who turn to Chaos, and how they are the ultimate outsiders and pariahs to their Craftworld dwelling kin, but nothing to indicate an actual faction.

 Since the very basic concept of Warhammer 40,000 was that it was a Sci-fi adaptation of Warhamer Fantasy (the Empire = Imperium, Dwarves = Squats, High Elves = Eldar, etc.) It made sense from a meta perspective that the Dark Eldar = Dark Elves.  But that was all we had. Unless you went back to the earliest releases for Rogue Trader where you could find that a Dark Elf Space Trooper had been released. But clearly whatever vision (assuming there was one beyond sculptor's whimsy) there was for that range was set aside.

The first Rogue Trader minis. Find out more at Rogue Heresy.

Almost ten years later, in the waning months of 40K 2nd edition, a few images appeared on the rumor site called Portent that claimed to be Dark Eldar minitures under development. "The Dark Eldar?"* That sounded awesome! Who were these Dark Eldar?  They were weird, gangly, spikey things with a strong hint of menace. While those minis were ugly, and ultimately unreleased, they did give rise to a mountain of discussion, speculation and rumors. Going by the lore established in White Dwarf 126, and later updated in Codex: Eldar, most people assumed that they were evil Eldar that were aligned with Slaanesh, Slaaneshi Eldar if you will, and there were many conversions posted online by fans of the idea as well as painting competitions, tournaments and even printed in White Dwarf.

WD 126. My copy looks almost as mangled as this one...

 The speculation, rumors and theories continued until the ultimate rumor was unleashed on the world. And that was that the Dark Eldar would be featured in the 3rd Edition starter box! This rumor turned out to be very true.

The back if the 3rd ed starter box.

When the box arrived we dove into the lavish new rulebook (before if fell appart) and sought out the Dark Eldar info. And, even though there was some cool illustrations, there wasn't much info. Their weapons had surprisingly simple names like Blaster, Shredder, etc. and didn't feel very Eldar-like. The background text mostly focused on the idea that they were pirates who conducted slave raids and enjoyed gladitorial combat.
A lot.
And that they "got off" on pain.
Also a lot.
And they seemed to have a like for razors, spikes and gimp suits ...perhaps a bit too much.

But nothing to indicate that they were the "Slaaneshi Eldar" the community had speculated that they were. Well, maybe the gimp suits. Indeed, their models were also shockingly plain when compared to their Craftworld counterparts with not a Mark of Slaanesh (or any chaos icon) anywhere in sight.

The standard Dark Eldar trooper: Warriors.
As an aside: I don't think I was the only one that thought that the Warriors were, to some loose degree, designed to resemble The Shredder from TMNT comics and cartoons. The paint schemes the design studio chose didn't exactly dispel that notion. The Reaver and Raider pilots resembled the Foot Ninjas also. They even have a weapon THAT's  called a Shredder. It's weird, and I have nothing to back this theory up that there was any intent by the sculptors in anyway beyond a coincidental design gestalt. But I can't help but see it.

Much of the line was designed and sculpted by Chris Fitzpatrick and Gary Morely. And compared to the energetic spot illustrations in Codex: Dark Eldar, too many of these models have not aged well at all. Too many of them are static and stiff. The worst violators here are arguably the Scourges.

We can fly if we believe hard enough! 

At the time the Wyches seemed exciting and vibrant, but then there wasn't a lot of scantly clad gladitorial warrior women miniatures to really compare them against in those days. However, when compared to the current Jes Goodwin sculpts they are just awkward and stupid looking. The worst transgressions, in my opinion, being the metal riders that were sold as the Reaver Jetbike Squardron.

Squatting at higb speed.

Another prime example of the illustration being vastly superior to the finished model has got to be Kruellagh the Vile.

Kruellagh the Vile illustration.
The model of Kruellagh. 

 As if the punny name wasn't a harbinger of disappointment already, imagine setting that miniature up to take on Abaddon the Despoiler, or Commander Dante or whomever. At least this miniature's bent leg is raised! Too many of the metal miniatures in this range had bent legs that were supposed to either imply a battle stance or a run but instead appear as if they are about to fall or break a leg. Also, too many people have painted this model to appear to be nearly naked as opposed to being in a bodysuit, which for some baffling reason really works against this one.

I know it seems as if I'm picking on these models, (because I am!) however not all of these Dark Eldar models were bad. Indeed, there are some clear winners that I feel do stand the test of time and some of these I will be keeping in my incorporated Dark Eldar force.

The Talos Pain Engine, in my opinion, is still freak'n awesome and I will happily use it today.

Talos, still can bring the pain.
The original Incubi, despite some models having the weird bent legs, still look impressive over all. However the two Incubi bodyguards from Asdrubael Vect's Raider are the best in the range. I almost considered bitz ordering them from GW Mail Order back in the day, but somehow  resisted it (OK, I was poor) and I was bummed that I did.

Original Incubi
The crowning achievement of the entire range was Asdrubael Vect and his Raider. It was a very impressive model, and concept, in it's day. So much so that current Dark Eldar players can not help but wonder and dream as to what an updated version of this would be like.

The one and only, Asrubael Vect

The original Lelith Hesperax is definitely the best Wyche from the old line, and the only thing keeping this model from being used today is that the current Juan Diez scuplt is indisputably superior.
The original Lelith...does grass grow on Commorragh?

But the winner from the original range has got to go to Drazhar. The bad-ass of the demi-knives and leader of the Incubi is the only miniature from the original range that survived the 2010 revamp and is still in production to this day.

Drazhar.

The original Codex: Dark Eldar really didn't expand too much on their background hardly at all. Were they the Pirate Outcasts as defined by the 2nd edition Codex: Eldar? It sure did seem so. Were they in any way associated witb Chaos? There was no evidence to support that. There was a lot of description about the city of Commorragh and it's arenas but only hints about it's origins and why the Dark Eldar were the way they were. We know they lived in the webway, a place Arhra was said to have hidden in, but no mention of Arhra depite the Incubi clearly having design similarities to the Striking Scorpions.

The Dr TSG and I interviewed Rick Priestly at the Baltimore Games Day in '99, for a fanzine we were working on, and we had asked him "Who are the Slaaneshi Eldar?" To which he responded: "The Dark Eldar are the Slaaneshi Eldar." We looked at each other in a baffled confusion and asked him to explain this to us as we saw no connection to this in the Dark Eldar Codex. He almost seemed disappointed that this didn't seem obvious. He blamed this on the abridged format they were using for 3rd edition as they wanted a fairly low cost buy-in for those existing players upset that their 2nd ed books were now invalidated (gee, where was that attitude for 6th and 7th ed?). As a result, the overly explained essay-like prose of the 2nd ed books were replaced by sidebars and innuendo. He went on to explain the Dark Eldar's relationship with Slaanesh and their Eldar kin to us. Had we published that interview at that time we may have had a heck of a scoop on our hands but regrettably the fanzine never came to fruition. Maybe one day, if we can find a micro-cassette player, we'll finally transcribe that interview.

It would be 12 long years before the Dark Eldar would get a new Codex and an updated model range. The new range would be headed up by Jess Goodwin who oversaw the project. And the back ground would be updated by Phil Kelly who, thankfully, would answer some of the nagging mysteries of the Dark Eldar and actually establish, codified if you will, a real working background for them. Thank goodness!

Codex Dark Eldar (5th Edition).

* After speaking to a few of my friends we tend to think that the Dark Eldar were mentioned in passing in another Codex during the 2nd ed Codex run. If this is so, does anyone recall what and where this was? Leave a comment if you know!

All of the images in the post are Copyright Games Workshop Ltd. and are used here for the purposes of review and not as a challenge to their individual copyrights. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Reavers of the Obsidian Rose (Part 3)

Since last time I have finished these Reaver Bikers. And really, the only thing that I had to do was the painting on the riders themselves. Which I did following the steps taken for the Kabalite Warriors shown on this blog and the skin tone steps as laid out in the Raiders of Commorragh book.

Head'n straight at you! 
Anyone with even a fleeting familiarity with these models will notice that I have yet to mount them onto their flying stands. Like I did for the Venom, I want to magnify these things for easier storage. At this time I am seeking out options, so hang in there, it will happen!

In hindsight...
Da masta Cheef, when I sent him some of these pics, said to me:
 "Looking good! So are you going to add a NSFW* tag when you display pics of them from the thong side?😆"

Funny! But he does have a point, the Dark Eldar are a bit naughty aren't they? Is it weird that he was more concerned about thongs than he was Daemonettes boobs? Of course if he was actually working instead of goofing off there wouldn't be an issue, right? 😉

NSFW?! Dude, we ARE working! 
Speaking of working, I have got more work to do before we wrap up this thread:

Lots of work to do! 
Out of this pile 'o sprue I need to build some special weapon Reavers and at least one Sybarite rider. And, again, magnets. Look for these in furture parts!


*Not Safe For Work. 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Deadly Assassins (Part 4)

Here we are again with the annual (-ish) feature on the Imperial Assassins. This time around I decided to finish this Culexus Assassin that has been halfway painted for sbout 15 years now. Unlike the two previous Assassins (Vindicare and Eversor) that were painted following steps from the White Dwarf Weekly issue that focused on the Execution Force boxed game release, this guy was painted in grey tones.

Culexus Assassin taught me to point at my target when I throw things. 


When I dug him out and compared him to the other two, I found the contrast to be a bit too intense, so I toned it back with a conservative wash of Nuln Oil.

Does he need a skull on that base? Hmmm...
The straps were painted using Khorne Red, Nuln Oil and Pink Horror. I picked out the cables using contrasting colors and applied Nuln Oil to the recesses on the helmet. After painting the psyche-out grenades I added grass tufts to the base and it was finished.

Vs. The Psychic Warp Mushroom! 
Just the Calidus left and I will have my old school Execution Force done!

Just a quick story about this guy before we sign off: I used to use the Culexus with my Space Wolves back in 3rd Ed. His rules back then would reduce the Leadership of all within 12" of him. And I used that rule with cunning efficiency. It was especially helpful against the Necrons at the time as they would be forced to take a LD test after so many losses to see if they would Phase Out of the battle. Using the Culexus I was able defeat Necrons at least twice due to the differnce he made in LD. Ahhh, It was a glorius time!


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Reavers of the Obsidian Rose (Part 2)


Continuing on from the Part-1, I got the second Reaver up to the same basecoat level as the first one.

Basecoated in Khorne Red. 
Then I painted them up to the next level using Blood Red.

 Blood Red. 

 The next two layers were Wildrider Red and final highlight of Sunburst Yellow.


Here they are being compared to the Venom that I painted last month. Note that the curvature of the Reaver Bikes are exceptionally good at catching a glare so photographing these things is a bit tricky.

Venom comparison.
 Using a bit of sponge I dabbed on some areas to give the impression of scratched paint. This was done primarily to the Bladevanes and sharp edges.
Scrapes applied.
 A further highlight of Mitheril Silver was added to the edges of the blades and randonly added to a few spot to look like fresh gashes.

Mithril Silver added to the blades. 
Notice the bike with the overhead gun; I just couldn't allow the illogic of having the blade nearly touching the rider's head to continue. So I trimmed it off and together with another blade glued it to the side of the Splinter Rifle to give a sort of pronged claw-like look. I think it improved the look of that bike also!

So these first two Reaver Bikes are done, I just need to finish the riders next.