Monday, July 28, 2014

"Here, you can have this Land Raider,"

It has been a depressing past 2 weeks. I will spare you the details, as obviously you clicked the link expecting to learn about a Land Raider, not to read my tales of personal woe. To sum up, I was tired. Beaten down, and really just worn out from life. And after completing a 14 hour work day, I decided to make a cameo appearance at the local game store to see what was being played. I really hadn't intended to stick around. And as I'm stumbling about the place, everyone's pal Brian (yes everyone's. If you're a local gamer and you're not at least on civil terms with Brian, the problem is probably you!) spotted me and got my attention.

The following is my inaccurate recall of how the conversation went:

"Hey Joel! Hold on--" he breaks away from whatever he was doing and goes to retrieve something. He comes back "Here, you can have this Land Raider."

Naturally, I was stunned.

"Wow, but I don't have any cash--"

"It's OK, you can have it. It's yours."

"Do you want something in trade?"

"Nah, I got this as a bonus in a trade, it just doesn't fit in with my armies. I run the newer style Land Raiders and Rhino chasis."

Naturally, only a fool wouldn't take such a generous offer. Essentially, Brian was pleased with the Land Raider I built and painted a few months ago for my World Eaters, and deciding it didn't fit his needs, would rather see what I could do with it. He included some khorne bitz as well with this generous, and unexpected gift which I am quite happy and humbled to receive!

So thanks Brian, you ROCK!

This Land Raider has been modified. The original guns are gone, the twin-linked lascannons having been replaced by a strange combination of kit bashed weapons, the origins of which I am uncertain of. So, while pondering this Land Raider, it strikes me as reasonably clean otherwise, and not too terribly damaged. Naturally, I will replace the guns, but which army will get this tank?

This just won't work with my Space Wolves as I run the newer style with them, despite all the anachronistic models in my army.

I could give the Ultra Marines a 2nd one, but that seems like overkill for the way I like to run that army.

My Celestial Lions and Dark Angels, the two armies I have hardly started, I was planning to run the newer style with them as well, and neither one really had a Land Raider in my army design. So back to Chaos. I could paint this as Black Legion (heck, it's halfway painted already if I do! hehe), another Khorne one. or Emperor's Children.

So I shall ponder this in the coming weeks as I rebuild my studio and seek out time for this hobby.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Review: Path of the Archon

And now we have the third part in Andy Chamber's Dark Eldar Trilogy: Path of the Archon. And what a brilliant conclusion that it was! A very satisfying finale! And all-in-all, a very satisfying trilogy. Especially after reading this after I completed the reading of Ravenwing, This was superior writing, superior pacing, and just, well, superior.

+++Possible SPOILERS ahead, so beware!+++

This books begins pretty much were the previous book, Path of the Incubus, left off. Path of the incubus dealt with our assortment of protagonists (or is every character an antagonist? -it's really very debatable!) venturing on separate journeys through the war-torn Eternal City of Commorragh in the aftermath of the reality disturbing event called the Dysjunction. In Path of the Archon, we're picking up right where we left off as the tyrannical leader of the Dark Eldar, Asdrubael Vect, is tying up loose ends and killing those that defy him. Especially those who caused the Dysjunction in the first place. One suspect in particular is the Archon of the White Flames, Yllithian, who is returning to his fortress having just completed the mission he was sent to perform for Asdrubael Vext, and having failed to have been killed by his would-be assassins, is preparing to openly defy Vect, thus setting the stage for the rest of the book.

Unlike the other two books, this book never leaves Commorragh, and we focus on what will become a civil war between the forces aligned to Vect and those who have thrown their lot in with the upstart Archon of the White Flames Yllithian. I really liked how Andy described and brought to life this merciless and cruel ancient city. More importantly, how he described the machinations and schemes that Vect uses to hold onto his power and the ruthless methods in which we see him employ them. Vect is illustrated quite well in this book and we actually get closer to him than we have in this series so far. Indeed, he's virtually unattainable in the first book, only making a public appearance via hologram. In the 2nd book we see him when selected Archons are requested to meet with him in his palace in Corespur, way up in the dangerous reaches of High Commorrah. 

But in this book, we see lots of Vect, and get a sense of why Commorragh needs him. Much like in modern times where we see dictatorships ruling in opulence over a beaten down nation only to see said dictatorship end and the now divided nation falls back into age old feuds and rivalries. It's pretty clear by the end of the book, Vect is that allegorical dictator. Vect keeps the "peace" by sheer fear and presence alone. Without him, the Dark Eldar would gleefully slaughter themselves. Not that Vect truly cares about Commorragh as much as he does his own power, again, like that modern dictator. We are shown also the amazing lengths and the level of power-plays that Vect will resort to in order to hold on to his rule. Death-toll be damned. 

One such weapon, that I am eager to spoil -but won't- is so awesome, and so obvious, that I will be shocked if these don't become a unit type in the next version of the Dark Eldar codex. If it did, it would be an instant "must-take" unit!

Also there is a lot about the mysterious Mandrakes and the Shadowrealm of Aelindrach where they dwell. Indeed, the Mandrakes are having a civil war of their own which climaxes when we have a cameo from a character from the game, the Decapitator, who has a jolly good time doing what he does best!

  • Did I like it? I loved it! And the whole trilogy as a whole was quite good, even though the 2nd book had some sluggish moments getting at the characters from their points 'A' to their points 'B', it was satisfying as well, and allows this installment to move very quickly.
  • Was it hard to put down? It was! And I started it during a tough time and it was a well needed escape. 
  • Could I care about the characters? To a degree, yes. But understand, Motley the Harlequin is the only character resembling a "good guy" in these books, so by default I found myself rooting for his survival. 
  • Did the writer truly grasp how the 'world' of the 41st millennium works in the sense that it doesn't betray or retcon previously established (as I know it) lore?  Same answer as last time. I will say that with most of this lore released to the buying public after Andy left, it is amazing just how firm his grasp is on conveying how the Dark Eldar function as a society. 
  • Was I being talked down too? No. The tone in these books, as well as the pacing, are just right. 
  • How predictable is this story? To a degree, you got to sort of foresee the outcome here, just for the sake of status quo, however Andy throws enough twists and turns to keep you second-guessing the outcome. 
  • Do I recommend this book? Absolutely! 

    Sunday, July 13, 2014

    Bloodbrute part 2

    Welcome back.  Since last time I have completed the Hellbrute model that I have dubbed "The Bloodbrute". 

    The finished Bloodbrute in natural light.
    In the first part I show how I started the model and here I will talk about the final stages.

    After finishing painting the Brute's head and completing the "gums" that surround it, I glued it into position and then glued the front onto the model. I used rubberbands to secure the bond.

    Not so unbound...

     After some additional touch-ups it was time to finish the whites on the horns and teeth that heavily adorn this thing.

    After I mounted the front piece I finished the fleshy bits and the weird warpy gut bits. I used an assortment of colors to achieve this look, which I am ultimately satisfied with.

    The belly of the beast.
     Having painted it in parts I had some strange spots where the colors didn't match, so I had to blend all these together.

    The pink gut bits were mostly done using (Khorne forgive me) Pink Horror, which is one of the current line of Citadel paints. I used some Aileene's paint (Dusty Rose) for the high lights.

     I then added another solid coat of Ruby Red to the red areas on the model, matching it up with the other World Eater models.

    I next finished off the metal on the exhaust and the barrel of the Multi Melta.

    The back of the Brute

    The tentacles that a bursting from it's side were a bit of challenge, but after a few purple ink washes I got a look that I liked.
    Done except for the flocking.

    The finished model: flocked before sealing it.
    And the finished model can be seen in the first picture in this post. I am thinking that I might want to add gloss varnish to the fleshy bits, but I hesitate to do that as I have seen how gloss can attract fuzz and dust in the long run, so I am not sure if I want to do that yet.

    Next up, more World Eaters!


    Sunday, July 06, 2014

    Waaarghgasm in Johnson City

    Last night I have the opportunity to head over to Hobbytown in Johnson City, and although I didn't have time to play I did get to see some old friends and meet a few new ones. I got there after the usual pre-game discussions, and when I arrived most of the tables were already full and gaming was well underway.

    The Pleasurebrute lives!
    There were two Ork armies being played in separate games, as Rob and Da Masta Cheef were each coming to terms with the new codex. This was my first opportunity to even hold the book in my hand, in addition to seeing the 7th edition in action, so I was fascinated to hear their feedback. One of our players, Scott, gave me his feedback: after his first game with the new codex he sold off his Ork Army! Well, I will leave it to the Cheef to tell his tale, and how he dealt with the "Pleasurebrute" above, so wander over to his blog to see that discussion.

    Da Long Wayz Desert Group vs. Skylar's Chaos force
     Necron Bob stopped by to see the action and give some gifts to Da Cheef (hint: his marines are going to be happy for the reinforcements!). We watched this game mostly and talked about maybe hooking up for a a game of WHFB. Which would be a cool a refreshing change of pace, especially since I spent a lot of time last year painting and building up my Orc army for it. We'll have to see. We also talked about why a guy called Necron Bob doesn't play 40K anymore.

    Line up and WAAARGH!
     Rob and Amy were duking it out in an Ork vs. Tau battle. Personally I think this is a very challenging match-up for the Orks (as Eldar would be as well) due to those armies superior firepower, and in the case of the Eldar superior Movement options. I think when it comes to figuring out this new edition and codex, I would like to face Space Marines, as to me they are better gauge to determining the strengths and weaknesses of a given army. But, around here it is rare that someone shows up on game night with an "average" marine army anymore. Indeed, 7th edition's "take anything" mantra, I think we'll see less and less of "average". I haven't decided if this is a bad thing or not. Anyway, it was a charge into "no man's land" as reenacted by Orks and Tau, and blood would flow.
    Although I didn't stick around long enough to see the outcome, Rob was looking fairly vexed when I last saw him. Probably the same look I typically have when I fight the Fem Fa'Tau regardless of the army I use.

    I was trying to convince Amy to blog about this battle as I don't think she's ever written a post before about a game, but she has written introductions (preambles?) before. If she does, I will link back to here. 
    The final showdown!
    Screech was in town for the weekend back from his training in the military on a weekend pass. And he was putting together his first 7th edition Tyranid army list against a formidable looking Eldar army. It appeared to me that Screech was about to have an uphill battle! I enjoyed watching this match up as it allowed me to witness the new psychic phase for the first time. I think I like it!

     On another table I witnessed a Space Wolf Wolflord get gunned down in an overwatch charge by a Tau army. It was an example in Strength in numbers, especially against that situation.

    There were at least 3 other games taking place this night that I neglected to snap any pics of, but I am happy to say that the Saturday night gaming event at Hobbytown is alive and well! Hopefully I will be back at it again soon, and next time as a player!

    Wednesday, July 02, 2014

    Bloodbrute part 1

    Hello again. Well since I last presented the progress on my Khorne Berserkers unit, "feeling khorney", I have since built them a sweet ride (Land Raider) and pretty much finished painting that squad. However I have misplaced their decals, and so although I am eager to present them here, I want to show them completed vs. almost done. But the work of a budding overfiend is never finished, so I have begun work on a Chaos Dreadnought, I mean Hellbrute, which I have re-christened (Khornated?) the Bloodbrute!*..

    Assembly stage.
    It's a great model, and although this isn't one where I can easily magnetize weapon options, I think I like the weapons as they are. After dealing with what little flash/mould-lines there were, I began figuring out how it all goes together. I decided in order to paint the thing's head (seems like a pretty stupid weakness to me, even though it looks kinda cool) I will paint it as I assembled it like I do with a lot of my models.

    I wasn't keen on having the Bloodbrute standing on just the one rock that it comes modeled with, and took the time to add some more. Again, using the method that I discussed here, I base my models before I prime them.
    I also thought the thing would look cooler if I took advantage of the hollowed barrels of the Multi-Melta and drilled out the holes along the sides of it.

    Drilled out Multi-Melta
    Next I took advantage of the wargear options in the Codex, and added a Heavy Flamer under the Power Fist. I agonized quite a bit over this, going through all my bits to try to fit every variation of Heavy Flamer I could before settling on using two basic Flamers from the Cadian Imperial Guard kit. I think this looks pretty sweet so far. Some of the other options, although they might look good, didn't make sense as far as how the Power Fist would work.

    Flame on!
    Using the same color palette as I used on the Bezerkers and Land Raider, I launched right into applying the Scab Red base coat.

    Scabby stage.
    And now I am well into the base coat stage. I hope to get more accomplished on this thing soon, and the progress I did make on this was over a fairly short amount of time. Looking at this photo, I am almost tempted to leave the head out and just have a nasty looking maw for it's head!'s tempting.

    Base coated
    *I have two of these models, the other one I will probably make for Nurgle and call it the Pusbrute. or make it for the Emperor's Children/Slaanesh and call it the Pleasurebrute or just Big Brute. It'll be awhile until I get to it so I have time to think about it.

    Also, in addition to this Hellbrute, I have started on the second unit of Berzerkers. This is from the 3rd edition era "Dance, Dance, Dance" boxed set.

    Assembling the reinforcements.
    Until next time!