Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in Review

What a year!

A year that saw me switch jobs (twice) and which saw the arrival of our first child, Son of Neverness, scourge of diapers! Not a lot of time for gaming or modeling but I squeezed some in where I could.

The first project of the year that I completed was this Sherman Firefly Tank for Bolt Action. It was a fairly simple paint job and I love how it turned it. During the spring I switched jobs and began working at one of the local hobby stores, where I was inspired by some of the local players to really get my British Infantry painted, but circumstances (not sure what those are at this time,, "circumstances!") have kept me from finishing them.

Still on a bit of fantasy kick at the start of the year, I focused on finishing the leader of my Orc & Gobo army this Black Orc Warboss.  This was immediately followed by a runt,squig and a gobo. The gobo being a testbed for my entire night goblin army, however with the uncertainty leading up to the release of Age of Sigmar, and the release of it as well, my WHFB armies are all in "pause" state.  Sad, I was really enjoying that project too.

Much of my hobby projects in 2014 involved my Chaos Space Marines, particularly the World Eaters of Khorne, which I declared in the 2013 review. that I wanted to start on these guys and it's been a lot of fun, so 2015 saw this project continue. One of the hold-overs from the summer of 2014 was Kharn the Betrayer which I am thrilled to have completed and to have used in a few games, one of which was against the Khorne Daemonkin which proved to be a bloody good game.

My chaos army was always intended to be a large smorgasbord of options and incorporate all 4 chaos aspects, with the Black Legion being the unifying factor that holds them all together. So these first two marines were to see how well, and how fast, I could paint up Black Legion guys. I intend to do more work on the Black Legion chaps soon.

After that tussle with the Khorne Daemonkin (linked above) I was inspired to build and paint up my old juggerlord-of-khorne so that I too could run my own Khorne Daemonkin army. I am please with how he came out, and I look forward to doing more with this army.

As a backlash to both AoS and the current edition of 40K, some of the local players resurrected the old game Gorkamorka and have been playing it. I had hoped to join in with that ruckus, with inspired me to paint up this ork-nob. I am still working on his fellow gangers.

The big project of 2014-15 was this Khorne vindicator, which if you follow all the pieces you can see if go from a solid glossy black take to what it eventually turned out to be. I am pleased with it, but I was sad to realize that the Vindicator was left out of the Khorne Daemonkin list. Never-the-less, it will enjoy a support role in my regular Chaos army.

Also inspired by the local Gorkamorka craze, I decided to finish up my model of the original weird-boy. He shall inspire both fear and cries of "WTF?!" when he hits the table.

I got Codex: Harlequins for my birthday and I couldn't resist the urge to paint a few of my old models up. I want to paint up a few more and even play a few small games with these Harlequins.

I have started a massive project to refurbish some old 3rd hand Chaos bikers that I have been holding onto forever. The first one was this Khorne champion chaos-biker.

And to finish out the year, I completed a Daemon Prince that I can use for either Chaos Space Marines, Chaos Daemons or Khorne Daemonkin.

Looking into the New Year, I hope to complete more Black Legion models, and eventually move onto Nurgle and Slaanesh aspects of Chaos Marines and Daemons. I am also itching to do something with my Space Wolves and Orks. I would also like to finish up my British army for Bolt Action. And the Gate of Antares is truly beckoning...

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Daemon Prince (Part 4)

I have achieved my goal of getting this model finished before xmas, with almost a week to spare! Yay!

I shall review the final stages of completing this model, continuing from where I left off in part-3.
After a few touch-ups, I went ahead and added the dropped Space Marine accessories -a combat knife and bolter- onto the base, and then applied Blood for Blood God on the rocks as well as all over the hand of the DP holding the helmet/head of the dead Dark Angel.

With that out of the way, it was time to attach the wings.

Left wing attached. 

Right wing attached. 
 Thus completing the assembly of my Black Legion/Khornate Daemon Prince!

 I like to imagine that this Daemon Prince is talking to this head, not unlike a familar or a companion.

I also visualize that he just tore this marine apart and is gloating at the severed head, so I guess either idea works. I'm sure my opponents will care not as they bring whatever they can to bear on it in an attempt to destroy him!

Next, and finally last, I added the static grass tufts. This is a mix of GW and (another company that makes railroad scenery-I'll probably edit that in later when I recall it)'s product, and I think they worked well together.

And ta-da! He is complete and ready to terrorize my unwitting foes! (Unless, of course, they read my blog, in which case they're probably very witting and pretty much anticipating him).

Arriving on the Daemonworld of Unicoi, where the temperatures are unseasonable for this time of year...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Book Review: Titanicus

This is my review of Titanicus by Dan Abnett, the epic that centers around a forgeworld that is being invaded by chaos renegade titans of the Dark Mechnicum. The book promises a lot of titan on titan action, and boy, it doesn't disappoint!

Forgeworld, Orestes, is being attacked by the titans and skitarii of the Dark Mechanicum. The forge world is home to the Titan Legion, Legio Tempestus and they quickly determine that they need some support, so the forge calls in Legio Invicta. So we get to see the arrival and mustering of a full Titan Legion to this Hive World. We get to see it from the point of view of the engine drivers themselves, their commanders, the front line tank crews, the activated Planetary Defense Force (PDF) and even a few common folk who dwell in the hive.

These points of view break up into the common stories that we follow in each chapter, and each one could have been a novel in itself, but in the capable hands of Mr. Abnett, we are treated to a vast overall story that doesn't rely on cheap plot ploys or gimmicks to tell or complete it. His handling, again, is what makes his stories so charming and "real" to the reader.

We follow a PDF force, Activated 26th, and a particular member of it, Cally Samstag, whose experience is little more than weekend warrior hikes when the war starts, and she finds herself as an unlikely leader when shit hits the fan for her PDF,

Erik Vargo, a tank commander, finds himself and the survivors of his tank division in situation much like Cally did when their tanks are wiped out by a rival titan. We follow this motley band's attempt to get back into the fight throughout the course of the novel, and this story has a very satisfactory conclusion. I say no more on this point to avoid spoilers.

We also follow an assortment of different Titans and mechanicus members, some live and some die. But the more important one that we follow, I feel is Princeps Gearhart, leader of the Titan battle group and of Legio Invicta. We see his fight to hold all the groups together, to win the war, and to win his war for his own humanity.

Adept Faust's story is particularly fascinating for it's inner look at the Mechanicus and how his research is conducted. Prior to this past year's release of the Adeptus Mechanicus Codex books for Warhammer 40,000, this book was probably one of the more in depth reviews of the Mechanicus side of 40K lore, and Faust's story is particularly revealing in that regard.

These stories all tie together, but distantly, and we get to see the good, bad, and ugly of this massive war from all these perspectives to get a big picture that few of these protagonists ever realize themselves. I have always been fascinated by the concept of Hiveworlds, especially what goes on outside them and the ash plains that surround them. What type of people live there? What are their lives like? Etc. ever since we gamers were first exposed to the idea back when White Dwarf (vol 1) #130 was released with the introduction to Confrontation, the game that became Necromunda). This novel shows us what life is like in these industrial suburbs, and what warfare does to overturn this life. On the flip-side, we can see how life in the central hive is effected as well, and it indeed becomes something of a concern when the Hive almost tears itself apart for reasons not concerned with the war.  
The French get the better cover for some reason.
  • Did I like it? Hell yes I did. The start was slow, but the build up was very much worth it.
  • Was it hard to put down? I picked and poked at this book for a few months, when I could find some quiet time read, usually before bed. And yes, it was a difficult book to put down. Every plot is quite riveting and the curiosity to see what comes next was addictive. 
  • Could I care about the characters? You really can't help it, even though it's an Abnett novel, who is famous for introducing characters and killing them a few chapters later (Fell Cargo is a great example) but damn, you want to see these people make it through the book. 
  • 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? Abnett is the master of it. This book only affirms it. 
  • Was I being talked down too? Not once, I like Abnett's style, and whether he presents the story in 1st or 3rd person it doesn't matter, it feels right to read his works. He is writing about some serious and intense combats but they never feel like "war porn" to me. Knows when to gloss over it, and get on with the story, a trick I wish McVey would figure out each time I read his Dark Angel bools. 
  • How predictable is this story? It's not really, another reason why this book is so satisfying to me. 
  • Do I recommend this book? Highly. 

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Daemon Prince (part 3)

I am determined to get this beastie done by xmas!

I painted the marine helmet/head that the Daemon Prince is holding, and in honor of the last game I played (back in May! Yikes!), I chose to make this defeated marine a Dark Angel. Also, the green contrasts well with DP's red color scheme. Also it occurred to me that the Skippy the Bloodthirster, a Slave to Darkness era original model from the late '80s, also has a Dark Angel shoulder pauldron on his base. I swear it's an unintentional theme, but what the hell, I might as well run with it now!

The pic above was an extreme zoomed in close up that I took to see my details better. The helmet appeared fine to me at normal size but this close-up revealed many flaws I otherwise would have dismissed. Me being me, I took this as an opportunity to try to fix these flaws, and here's what it appears like zoomed out to normal size.

It's a little better but I most likely will keep messing with it until I am satisfied.

I probably need to take a better pic, but discarded on a rock behind the DP is a severed hand from this poor unfortunate marine. I plan to add a lot of Blood For the Blood God paint on the rocks and the DP's hand which is holding the head.

And now the braying masses can rejoice: he now has a head!!!

Work progresses...

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Daemon Prince (part 2)

I got to spend this last Sunday home with my kid, and when the windows of opportunity briefly opened I was able to make progress on this beastie.

The pic above shows where I was working on the burning light that is errupting through his shoulder armor.

However the bulk of what I did was on the wings. I wanted a more fiery-orange effect to contrast from the darker skin tone on the body. Using an old orange color from the old Citadel Epic Paint Set, I applied this over the Bloodletter Glaze that I had applied already (see part 1) and I really liked how the intensity of the color was kicked up.

Here is a test fitting just to get a sense of how these colors are working together, and so far I am liking it. The color added a sort of glossy sheen to the wings, but I think I like this result as it conveys a sense of wetness.

Next, I highlighted the wings further by adding streaks of Fiery Orange. This really makes the wings appear more dynamic and I am considering painting my bloodletters like this when I finally get to them.

I proceeded to work on the flesh and armour. I added another old Citadel color, Red Gore, to the skin. I am reluctant to take the color up any further in highlights, but I am pondering it still. On the armor I painted the rims with Brass and Gold which corresponds with both my World Eaters and Black Legion chaos marines.

And here is the state he is in for the moment, but work proceeds...