I’m a Hobby Butterfly…

… also known as “Where has Zack been!?”

I admit. I’ve been fluttering around between projects now. I think that’s the problem with huge project completions like the Armies of Parade display – you feel so relieved at the completion of the project that you kind of lose some of the discipline that you had earlier.

As a result, I’ve hopped between my Zombie Dragon / Heldrake, my Chaos Centurions, a Dwarf King Belegar display piece and Tauriel. And I’m also happily imagining how to build my Boarding Marines / Sternguards unit.

Certainly doesn’t help that I’ve been distracted by Android: Netrunner too. (Wotan must stay within our borders…!)

Anyway, gotta get my ass back in gear. I went to a painting session a LGS last evening, and started to get back a bit of momentum by doing up the red armour of my Centurions. The place was pretty quiet – but it was a productive sort of quiet (the kind where it ain’t so deathly silent where you can hear ringing in your ears. The kind where there isn’t a lot of noise going on around you, but you can still hear the hustle and bustle of life going on outside. I think there’s a study on why people are most productive in coffee houses. It’s that same kind of environment.)

This Saturday, I’m also crashin’ Steve’s place to try and get some more paintin’ going on. By the way, Steve has a blog that I think y’all should check out too. I will update the blogs link in the sidebar innabit – but he’s goin’ for a different approach, far as I can tell. A little more focus on the narrative gaming methinks.

In the meantime – pictures of WIPs! These will be uploaded in their respective ‘completed’ posts as well but hey – just to show that I’m still painting, mmkay. Just… very slowly.

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Aaaand it’s done – Aegis’ Armies on Parade

Yeap, presentation day has come and gone. Four people turned up with completed display boards – three of these participants come from this gathering of gentlemen. Great job to Warrior and Longrod! xD

Time for some reflection.

I think the biggest problem I had with this project however, was how seriously I was taking it towards the end of the journey. On the one hand, it’s perfectly fine to schedule your tasks which tasks needed to be completed when. But when there’s a looming deadline, it stops becoming a leisure hobby and becomes a -job-. Which is, as I realise now, is potentially a hobby killer.

The whole point of a “hobby” is to after all, do it at one’s leisure and pace. Trying to force something out, and especially when you have standards for your own performance, is but the second step towards disappointment. As I was nearing the deadline, I figured  there was going to be parts of the display that I would not be happy with.  The comms antenna was a basecoat+wash drop with no detailing, and the gothic gates… was not what I had in mind. I was also rushing out a Heldrake on the day before – but thankfully, during one of my painting breaks, I took the time to arrange my available models and realised that I didn’t need -so many-.

The Heldrake is back on the schedule, but I will take my own time with it. I think the wing membranes could be done better.

That said, I think my sleep debt is catching up on me. At the same time, I don’t quite want to have to force myself to paint, but I know that the moment I relax even slightly, it will be hard to keep up that momentum. Android: Netrunner serves as a good break and distraction, but at times when I become too focused on the game, I do find it hard to swerve myself back into painting.

I think it’s the whole, instant gratification versus delayed gratification thing.

Anyway, gallery~

Finally Back on Track – Firestorm Redoubt

Finally, back on track.

Well, okay, I did finish this before I did the Hellhammer, which was last week – so I never really was off track!

Pfft. I just took the photos in the wrong order, mmkay.

Anywho, this is the Firestorm Redoubt. Ages ago, I got it when Games Workshop announced that they were releasing the terrain to match the Wall of Martyrs set. I counted 8 lascannons and I thought I had to get it. Surely it means eight lascannons that can be used as an Interceptor for Flyers and FMCs! So I ordered one for myself.

It came in and I, very eagerly, broke open the set and pored over the rules. 200pts? Mmm, I suppose it’s nice for a 20 capacity building with AV14 all around.

4 Twinlinked Icarus Lascannons? Okay, so I might have been too greedy with eight lascannons.

BS…. WHAT!? Automated WHAT?!

I nearly benched it. I did give it a chance but a plucky Vindicator shot took it out in the second turn, so nope. Benched.

Then the AoP project came about and I thought – maybe it isn’t gone to waste after all, I could re-purpose it as part of the terrain. So I did – I designed the board with the Redoubt in mind. Shortly after, Stronghold Assault was released and breathed new life into the fortification. I could now improve its terrible BS, and I could also get a one-off Void Shield to give it a turn to do something. Like, shoot down the Harpies, Crones and Flyrants that are sure to make a more regular appearance now that the Tyranids codex has been released.

One thing about painting this terrain though – I took much, much longer than I had expected. The level of detail was pretty amazing, but I guess a huge part of it was how anal I was being about blacking out every bit before moving on to the next. What, it gives me some semblance of order after the drybrushing work. Even then, towards the end, I was starting to feel the lethargy set in towards the end of it. What, more washes? What, more details I missed out? Urgh.

As such, I can’t exaclty say that I put in my best effort into finishing the terrain. There are some details like wires and cables and lenses that I am sure I missed out.

So one lesson I learnt about myself – spending too much time on a project would only cause lethargy and reduce motivation to complete it. I wonder what I can do to resolve this though, there are just some miniatures out there that deserve the time put into it. Mmm.

So there you go – the story of rags to riches. Enjoy the gallery!

Goodness even more Sidetracks!? – Cadian Hellhammer

So I’ve been busy and sidetracked the past week, what with the Tyranids codex release past weekend. The local games store decided to run a feature match for the day, and requested that I field all painted models I have in my collection. I wrote a custom scenario for the event, and will attach it on a later date.

Anyway, part of my collection included a half-painted Hellhammer. I had sprayed on the green and the khaki, and I did do some of the washes around the rivets. I decided to dedicate a day to finishing it up as a centerpiece for the army.

Not that pleased with how it turned out, to be very honest.

I think it might have been how detached I was from the project before picking it up again, but I felt that I could really have done better with it. It just looked… off. My guess is that it’s the camo-banding. The bands are just too wide that it seems that most of the tank is khaki. A big blob of khaki. Awfully plain.

Lesson learnt I guess – till I get my Shadowsword (if there is one thing I learnt from that feature match, is that I need Str D weapons if I want to take down Bio-Titans more effectively). Meantime, enjoy~

Before you ask, I have finished my Firestorm Redoubt for the AoP display, it’s just that I didn’t upload those photos from my camera. Stay tuned for those.

Yet Another Sidetrack – Blood Ravens Squad and Rhino

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Yes, I got sidetracked again. With legitimate reason this time – I am waiting to get my hands on some sculpting putty so that I can do up the lava flow on the Armies on Parade Terrain board.

Well, you -could- have started work on that Firestorm Redoubt…

Bleh.

Anywho, having just gotten back from the motherland of Warhammer 40k hobby (Nottingham, England), I was really, really inspired to start painting again. You have seen the Wolf Guard I did earlier – the next project I got on was doing up a simple Tactical / Chaos Space Marine squad for the Renegade Blood Ravens.

See – I’m really cheap. I started out playing Chaos Space Marines with a distinct Tzeentchian / Thousand Sons theme. I think you have heard the story before – I played a few games, discovered that some units are just -needed- in a CSM army, and got to work creating a Warband that would fit the theme still. I have a Zombie Dragon Heldrake (which is still unfinished, woe be me), for example. The main foot troops had to be someone who would follow Ahriman or a Tzeentch lord, and I picked the Blood Ravens for that.

I touched on this in the Havocs post – in the events of Dawn of War II, it was entirely possible that the entire chapter be consumed by Chaos following the ascension of Azariah Kyras – their Chapter Master. Also, there was a huge hint in one of the Horus Heresy short stories that the founding chapter of the Blood Ravens was none other than… the Thousand Sons (I could go on and on about this theory). Expanding on that idea, I decided to explore the (sadly) non-canonical ending of the Blood Ravens falling to Chaos.

Oh, I am going to have so much fun when I get to doing up Martellus, Galen… maybe Diomedes? Hmm.

But that was some time ago – I hit a painting funk and couldn’t pick up a brush, so every single project got stalled while I searched for my mojo once again. It would take a ‘pilgrimage’ to the ‘holy site’ of Warhammer 40k to instil the passion in me once again. (honestly, if you have not been to the Miniatures Showcase room of Warhammer World, make it a point to go there. You will not regret it).

So it’s back to painting – and to start things off I did a Tactical / Chaos Marine Squad that was lightly converted from the Dark Vengeance boxed set. I had shaved off the Dark Angels iconography on their shoulder pads, but I left some more ornate details behind to help distinguish them apart from the rest of the army. The idea of a green tabard would come from various inspirations, but the one that stuck is Violet Paint’s Blood Ravens.

You might have noticed that I used the term ‘Tactical / Chaos’. It’s simple. I designed the army to be able to function with either codex. Call me cheap, but I consider it killing two birds with one stone. I have also done up a squad of 15 Chaos Marine Raptors that can easily pass off as Assault Marines, and I have plans on doing a squad of 3 Devastator Centurions that can easily become Nurgle Obliterators. Whether I want to play Space Marines or Chaos Space Marines, I can easily use such squads interchangeably. Such is the wonder of playing an army that has -recently- turned to Chaos – they would still retain traces of their previous strategies while the energies and powers of Chaos slowly warp and mutate them.

Insert Steel Rain joke here. I do want to do that army up. Droppods, Sternguard… Mmm, combi-weapons.

The only problem is how I am going to pass plasmaguns off as grav-guns, and vice-versa… maybe I really do need to learn how to magnetize my models. In the meantime, enjoy my gallery of the work-process right up to individual shots of each distinct member. Oh, and of course, their ride.

I guess I should talk about their ride. Rhino. Freehand. Headache when I didn’t plan the bone part and had to repaint, possibly ruining the freehand (thankfully, I didn’t). Felt that I might have overdone the chipping, so I scrapped the Manticore head trophy idea. For another tank.

Ok, enjoy~

Oh, and speaking of Firestorm Redoubt – that IS my next project. 

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A Little Side Track – Space Wolf Wolf Guard for a Secret Santa

Got a little sidetracked from my Armies on Parade project to finish up a Secret Santa gift our Facebook group was doing. I rolled and got a Space Wolf player, who said that it didn’t quite matter what character he got (though he did insist that whoever got him not have to spend too much on getting a character done for him).

So I went out and bought an entire box of Wolf Guard to build his gift. My excuse is that I would be scavenging the remaining sprues for bits, so might as well, aye?

Anyway. This miniature was an experiment in me using… Lahmian Medium. Heck. It is the most amazing thing that I have discovered since I began the miniature hobby. I ain’t exaggerating – that thing solved my blending problems. One thing I had was how annoying it was when it came to thinning paints for feathering / wet blending – there always was that smudge where the paint stops. With 50:50 mix of Lahmian Medium (more medium if the paint is heavily pigmented like Base colours), I was able to layer and do more smooth transitions for my miniatures. The Wolf Guard below is the result of my experiment (and my photobooth).

Thanks goes to Tale of Painters for teaching me this trick.

Side note: I realised just how cheating camera shots can be in enhancing colours. I honestly didn’t think that my miniature would turn out so… spectacular until I shot it.

Armies on Parade Project Log – Day Three

Didn’t update for day two, so this is a double update of sorts. By now, the display board is almost done with construction, save for a few rough edges with the plaster.

I believe the biggest problem I’ve had with the board thus for was sticking the plaster rock formations onto the blue foam. Super glue obviously doesn’t work, the hot glue gun only works when I applied it onto the blue foam itself, and even then there is no guarantee. I think it’s a lot to do with the consistency of the plaster when it dries – after all, all these rocks were done with varying proportions of plaster to water (experimentation, ya know). Still, I got it to stick in the end with more plaster, and even then it’s not exactly the easiest (or cleanest) thing to do. When I messed up on the third day and bought the -wrong- plaster type (instead of Woodland Scenics Lightweight Hydrocal, I got their Mold-A-Scene instead), I was forced to adapt and use my hands to get down and dirty to sculpt the rock formations in place. Well. It’s there now, and I had a pretty decent gap filler out of it too.

So the idea of this piece is that there is a Firestorm Redoubt that has been installed into a cliff face. What is it protectiing? Why would the enemy attack a non-distinct location such as this? Intiial ideas I had bouncing around my head included stuff like an ammo dump, a Skyshield Landing Pad. A really, really ambitious idea I had on the third day was a daring escape – the forces of Chaos were sieging the Skyshield that was harboring a Valkyre that would ferry Lord Castellan Creed away. Well – I think I will leave that to a subsequent AoP presentation.

If I do this thing again >_< (but why not, eh?)

So for now, it’s simply a cliff fortress that has been taken over by the forces of Chaos. I had planned for the project to feature my own version of renegade Blood Ravens, but I didn’t have enough time (or the motivation, argh) to paint them up. It will have to be my current functioning Chaos army that will be on display. Which suits me fine – the board was designed with the possibility of going either snow or lava. If it was the former, it would’ve been the Blood Ravens and so on.

But the construction isn’t over. I agonised abit over how I was going to handle the right side of the board, and then upon deciding what I really wanted to feature. I went ahead and built myself a lava river. Yeah. I’m gonna need to do some putty / resin / water effects sculpting as well as messing around with OSL and lava splashes. Sounds like fun xD

A pity that I will not be able to continue on this project for the following week, however. The Gentlemen’s Club will be flyin’ off to England for a nice little trip where we will visit the holy site of Games Workshop stuff, Warhammer World. I’m actually gonna be meeting Kevin Chin, a Singaporean that is workin’ at the HQ for an interview so I’m pretty psyched about that. I’ll be doin’ a writeup on it, so stay tuned, I guess.

Meanwhile, gallery!

Aegis’ Armies on Parade Project Log – Day One

Golly, how long has it been?

Too long. Time to get back to work.

So I got myself involved in an Armies on Parade project that the local games store has got going on. Well, okay – the project was actually launched a good half of a year ago (about June, I think?) and I dragged my feet about when it came to starting it. Well. Nothing more powerful a motivator than a looming deadline.

Exams are over anyway, so no excuses anymore. To be quite honest – this project is another one of those “lots of firsts” projects. First time playing with blue foam, first time playing with rock molds, first time even building a display board. So a lot of it I’ve been playing by ear. Sure, I did my fair share of planning (or daydreaming, rather) and research but nothing quite gets you like actually trying it out for yourself.

:Stuff I’ve learnt – Blue foam makes a pretty loud noise when you smash off large chunks of it. Also, the ideal ratio of plaster powder to water is 2.6 : 1, although if I want to increase drying time I need to reduce the amount of powder. Also, plaster is excellent for sticking other chunks of plaster to things (which is kinda frustrating actually – hot glue didn’t work at all).

Stay tuned for day two, I guess. Meanwhile, enjoy gallery of step-by-step process xD

State of the Campaign Address – Turn 3

Turn 4 Map

While Daemonic forces clashed with the Word Bearers on Char, the Space Marines held back the Tyranid swarm attempting to break free. Two months of peace followed, but it was only the calm before the storm. The Tau had been brokering an alliance with the Orks and combined Ork/Tau forces struck the Dark Eldar and Chaos. Both were caught off guard by the ferocity of the attack, forcing the Dark Eldar to stall their advance and the Chaos to flee into Hoth.

 

This campaign turn took much longer than we had expected – conflicting schedules and having only one day per week to be able to game can do that. It might have slowed things down on this blog, but we’re good, ready and kickin’ to go. Hoth is starting to fill up as Knight grabs the Spaceport, and Longrod, Broadside and Aegis rushes in to grab tiles on the snow planet.

My game with Broadside could’ve gone better, I am now beginning to realise the importance of long-ranged firepower that my Imperial Guard used to offer. If I can combine that with the short-ranged combat potential of Chaos Space Marines… I may be on to something.

Turn 4 Events

Picking was as follows: Spawn, Warrior, Knight, Longrod, Broadside, Aegis, Hammertime.

Spawn picked Ambush
Warrior picked Aggressive Expansion
Knight picked Specialist Troops
Longrod picked Hold at All Costs
Hammertime picked Unlikely Friends.
Aegis picked Dig In
Broadside picked Reinforcements

Matchups are as follows:

Spawn challenges Knight.
Warrior challenges Aegis.
Longrod challenges Hammertime.
Broadside challenges Warrior.

A mind without purpose will channel surf…

Top of the afternoon to you, dear reader. Just a quick update.

Fun Fact:

Through no fault of our own, the air quality in Singapore has dropped to a 16 year low.

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And it’a been advised that we do as little inhaling as possible. So, with that mind, I decided to stay home and map out my painting projects.

I’m about half finished my first squad of cultists with only 15 more to go which I should get out of the way by the end of the week.

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And for the next 4-6 weeks will be a 36″ by 48″ Zone Mortalis board in time for the next phase of our campaign.

I’ve played a few test games with Knight on smaller scales and had a great time… Largely in part to that fact that I pulled off close wins.

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So yeah, that’s about it for now. Back to work.

Warrior.