Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sisters of Battle Tactical Squad, Immolator and Tribute Figure for Iain

The first 40K army I collected was Sisters of Battle way back in 1997. They were an all-metal range and so quite expensive to create a viable force (though I understand new plastics are now on the horizon). Nonetheless, I slowly amassed a decent sized 'army' and spent many hours painstakingly converting and painting them. 

I had a real soft spot for those gals, even though they almost always got zapped on the tabletop - I think the sculpts are still some of the best GW has produced and they just fit so well with the whole grim-dark 40K backstory.

A few years later, Lady Sarah and I were planning to take our first European vacation together as a married couple. At that time we were poor as church mice and were struggling to save our pennies for the trip. Anyway, some unforeseen expense came up that pretty much ate the piggy bank and threatened to force us to cancel our plans. Well, I did something that I'm sure a few of us have done and that's look at what's in the collection could be let go for fast, ready cash. 

After some hand-wringing I sold my Sisters collection on eBay. I remember they fetched a fairly decent price, which allowed us to have a wonderful couple of weeks loafing around France. While I wouldn't change my decision for the world, I've keenly missed those figures ever since. 

C'est la vie. 

During Challenge VII DavidB posted a wonderful force of Sisters to which I waxed nostalgia for my long-lost collection. IainW commented on the same post, complimenting Dave and saying that he had a box of unpainted Sisters that had been sitting in storage for years - I  quipped that he was a lucky sod.

Well, to my great surprise, this past summer, out of the blue, I received a large parcel from Iain containing not only his Curtgeld, but also a sizeable collection of unpainted Sisters and their attendant options. Yeah, I know, wow. Iain refused to take a penny for them - he said he just wanted to see them painted up. As you can imagine I was pretty humbled by his generosity and so was committed to getting some of them done for this Challenge - and so here we are.

Here is a Tactical Squad with an Immolator APC tagging along as support.

When cleaning up these figures for painting I was considering what colours to go with. While perusing the web I found many very interesting and vibrant schemes, but you know, I have to say that I still prefer the bog classic black and red livery. It just seems to work so nicely with the figures. 

I based the troops on 32mm MDF rounds, with a square base reserved for the Sister Superior (thanks Byron!). I then glopped on some GW texture medium to give the parched ground effect and then coloured and drybrushed to taste.

In order to give the black armour a bit of contrast I did a highlight with P3 Denim and then applied a wash mix of diluted GW Drakenhof Nightshade and Vallejo armour grey wash. 

The Immolator was good fun to put together, but I still find I'm very much hit-and-miss with vehicles, so I'd call this clanker 'functional'.

Finally, as a HUGE THANK YOU to Iain, I painted up another Sister Superior for him to have as a memento of both his minioning this year and as a nod to his very generous gesture. Thanks again, Iain! 


Friday, February 22, 2019

Casualty/Status Markers (Crows and Stiffs)

Just a small post from me to top off the workweek.

A few years ago Paul posted some fabulous crows from Zombiecide and I knew I had to get a set for myself. I managed to pick up a box on sale this past summer and then duly forgot about them until a few days ago. (Don't you love finding cool stuff in storage that you almost bought again, but caught just in time? It's like an impromptu Christmas.)

So, five bases of creepy crows. You get around 15 bases in the box which seems a little overkill.

Anyway, as you can imagine these were pretty much a doodle to paint-up. I primed them black (gasp!) and then oversprayed them a light grey. I then blasted the batch with a mixture of Drakenhof Nightshade wash and a bit of glaze. As they are fairly light plastic, I glued in some small washers in the bases to give them a bit more stability. Squawk! Done.

What to do with these? Um, well, I thought they'd make great markers to denote when units are routing. You know, 'In flight'. In. Flight. Geddit? <Sigh.> Or maybe to highlight a spot on the table where something especially horrible has occurred. Like where Sylvain has dreamt-up some fabulously clever (read: suicidal) strategy, or where Peter has accidentally dropped/toppled/smashed some miniatures. Sometimes both of these happening at the same time. Sometimes repeatedly over the course of a game. 

Come to think of it I may need some more crows...

Next, we have some casualty markers for my Italian Wars collection. I did a few of these last year and thankfully had a few unused bases waiting in the wings (thanks Byron!). I believe the two flanking ones are from Eureka Miniatures' Colonial Portuguese range, while the center one is from Artizan. Poor chaps.

Thanks for dropping in and have a great weekend everyone!


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

1/300 Freighter and Explosion Markers

We've been enjoying 'Cruel Seas' and so I thought I'd finally finish the freighter that came with the initial expanded release. So, I give you a poor stricken freighter, with a violent explosion amidships, soon to be added to the tonnage tally of a luck U-Boat captain.

For the water spume effect I used the same 3D fractal model explosion that I used a few years ago for my exploding Star Wars ships

I sectioned the fractal model into several pieces, switched them around, affixed the four 'boom bits' to pennies (to add a bit of weight) and was off to the races.

The airbrush made fairly short work of them, with only a few layers of green and white added with the brush. Blamo-Presto: Water Explosions!

The freighter is fairly stock work, but I did drill out the stern deck to provide a magnetised mounting for a deck gun to be swapped in if a scenario required it. Sadly, the painting is a bit uninspired (I blame the rush to finally get it finished) and it frankly shows. Nonetheless, it's done and we have a juicy target for future torpedo/bomb runs.

Thanks for dropping in folks!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Assorted Miniatures for 'Dark Heresy'

Hi All,

Last week our gaming group started up our second campaign of 'Dark Heresy'.  For those not familiar, 'Dark Heresy' is a role-playing game set within the 40K universe.  The game was originally produced by Fantasy Flight Games which, sadly, lost the licence a few years ago. This is regrettable as the overall production quality of the rules and supplements was superb and the game had a loyal (if sometimes OCD) following. Being a shameless opportunist, I picked up most of the books at fire-sale prices and we've been enjoying the system undeterred.

Rather than the massed combat of 40K, 'Dark Heresy' instead sets its eye upon the gritty underbelly of the Imperium, with players taking on the role of 'throne agents of the Inquisition'. The overall look and feel of the game draws heavily upon Dan Abnett's excellent 'Eisenhorn' and 'Ravenor' series of novels. It's a setting where the main focus is upon the investigation, pursuit and foiling of the nefarious plans of Mankind's myriad enemies.  Think of it as a mashup of Call of Cthulhu, Terry Gilliam's 'Brazil' and Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner'. Operatic + dystopian + grim-dark = great fun.

Anyway, the campaign we've recently started is based on one of the module series called 'The Apostasy Gambit'. Not being able to leave well enough alone, I've worked under the hood to fix some inconsistencies, adjust for scaling and to suit to taste.  

In the opening chapter the players are tasked to bring down a debauched aristocrat who has delved into heretical artefacts, proscribed texts and has neglected to file form R451138 in his Imperial Tax Levy (in of itself a crime probably punishable by inquisitorial torture). 

Being an unrepentant nerd, I like using lots of play aids in my games to help make the imagined environment a little more real. Sketches, maps, manipulated photos of NPCs and drawings of the whacky settings, and of course lots of miniatures! 

For the debut chapter I wanted to have more of an 'open sandbox' that what was offered in the stock module and so encouraged the players to plan their own assault on the target mansion. As part of the preparation I gave them a 3D print of the mansion's grounds along with three wee 6mm Valkyrie gunship models (each, of course, full to the gunnels with Inquisitorial Stormtroopers). I find players respond to these analogue objects, helping to drive conversation and planning

(5 geek points for the first person to guess where this mansion's design is from.) :)

The players' opponents were a large and very well equipped personal security force serving the debauched aristo. For these I used the Elucidian Starstriders from the newish Rogue Trader boxed set. 

Red trousers and mustard coats all trimmed in white. Whew, yes, that is a bit loud! I had a lot of fun painting these in the garish family livery of their patron. 

The security detail was also reinforced by a heavy gun servitor. I used this excellent figure from Wargames Exclusive. Yes, he's a bit of a brute.

Ultimately, the player's will conclude their adventure by travelling to a long-abandoned cathedral which hides a HUGE secret to its origin.  In fact, the cathedral itself is just the tip of the mystery... quite literally. :)

The ancient Cathedral, overgrown by nature over the past thousand years...

Here's a couple visual hints. 

Yes, it's rather, um, 'Epic'.

Sorry to have geeked you out on this little indulgence, but I found it such great fun to work on. 

Thanks for dropping in folks! 


Monday, February 4, 2019

Renaissance French Pike ('Mauvais Garcons') and Great Gun

The French, with a few notable exceptions, were not especially renown for fielding effective pike formations. Where the Swiss cantons and German landsknechts had the pike market pretty much sewn-up, the French expertise lay more in their heavy cavalry and artillery. From reading David Potter's 'Renaissance France at War' it was not uncommon for inexperienced pike French formations to acquire foreign mercenaries, who, being more seasoned in the profession of arms, helped steady the ranks. 

The French liked to muster their troops from particular provinces or townships, which gave each unit a bit of 'local colour'. For example, men from Picardy, led by the reported libertine Mssr. Monclou, were known as the mauvais garcons (literally translates as 'bad boys). A bit of a rude chap himself, Monclou was executed in 1523 for his 'depredations' during campaign (not especially surprising when your employer is the Pope, but there you have it).

Last year, my good pal Millsy was kind enough to paint up a schwack of Perry plastic pike for me so I could field another unit for my Italian Wars collection. After the hurly-burly of the summer, and being distracted by other projects this autumn (I'm looking at you 'Titanicus'), I finally managed to get this mob flagged, pimped-out, and based-up to roll with my other units.

My contribution to this mob is sole mounted German mercenary at its head. This is a Perry-sculpted figure from the Wargames Foundry range of Landsknechts. I love these figures as they are so wonderfully characterful and satisfyingly hefty. The Perry's did such a great job in sharply defining the puff-and-slash of the clothing, which makes them a real joy to paint.

It always seems to take me an age to get the figures placed in some kind of sensible arrangement, and since I like having my pike blocks bunched in quite tight, I found that I was a few figures shy to fill all the bases. Not a problem! I estimated the space I needed to absorb and then printed off a few gabions on the handy-dandy 3d printer. In the end I'm happy with the overall look of the unit, slightly broken up, weaving their way around a line of light fortifications.

Both of these units I've based in an autumnal theme to match with the rest of my Italian Wars stuff. (Thankfully I keep a 'hobby recipe book' as I have a bad habit of bouncing between periods and always, always forget how I did things - so it helps keep things straight in my noodle.)

Millsy also painted me a trio of gunners as gift last year. And so like the pike, I've been holding on to these until the Painting Challenge to get them matched up with an appropriate gun (this one from an old chestnut from Warhamer Fantasy). As I had a spare gabion left over from the pike unit, I popped it on the base for a bit of visual interest.

I want to thank Millsy very, very much for the brilliant figures - they're a wonderful addition to my Italian Wars collection. Thanks again mate!

Cheers for dropping by folks! I hope you all have a great week.