Sunday, 20 May 2018

Adaptive Subroutines

 So, the up and coming Maelstrom XI tournament is in three weeks time and I still have to paint:
1 Carab Culln the Risen
1 Culexus Assassin
10 Tac Marines
1 Thunderfire Cannon
1 Techmarine Gunner
1 Primaris Ancient
1 Razorback twin lascannon

Fortunately, I'm so bone idle I haven't submitted my list yet.  I'm not even sure when the deadline is to be honest.  It was pretty clear that my army wasn't going to be finished in time and I really didn't want to rush it anyway.  The thought of taking grey plastic to a tournament fills me with visceral horror so a back up plan was needed.

Having played all of two games with Necrons in 8th edition (and losing both) I have decided it would be a good idea to use them.  I'm not sure what unhealthy impulse drove me to pick up the soulless robots.  (I've had my eye on the Forgebane box for a while now, so maybe that was it). I absolutely should have taken Tyranids but my list was basically Flyrant and Hive Guard spam which just did not get me excited for some reason.  Plus they're all painted so no hobbying to be done.   So I went with the Necrons. 
Pie Jesu Domine

The new codex seemed to have some interesting combinations and I wanted to try out my C'tan Shards.  I reckoned that I'd only have to paint two or three models (a smashed up Imotekh/Cryptek and The Nightbringer) so it would give me a nice easy run in preparation for the event.  All of the unfinished models were finecast, which was a bit of a downer and I'd much rather have the cool, new, skateboarding Cryptek in my army but it seemed a shame to let the old guard rot in hobby limbo for another five years.

Shake ya booty!

I don't think he turned out too badly in the end.  However, by this time, I was list building and wanting to try out new stuff.  I quite enjoyed using the new C'tan rules and big blobs of warriors are as resilient as ever.  They don't kill very much though.

My initial outing against Rory's Orks was predictably a bloodbath.

A deep dive into the bits box revealed that I could cobble together 3 Heavy Destroyers.  I much preferred their no-nonsense, almost spartan use of dice.  They only get 1 shot each but you can re-roll everything with a bit of trickery and burn large, neat holes straight through most tanks.

No!  I'm Alpharius!

So that meant that I would have to convert and paint another 3 models and I decided that, while I was at it, I could spruce up the Doom Scythes too.  I completely edge highlighted one of them in a frenzied, neurotic evening session.  The results were probably not worth the effort (see old vs. new side by side below) but I felt much better.

The base was looking a bit tatty and monochrome though.  So I threw some Agrellan Earth on it.  I didn't want to get rid of the green crystals so I just blobbed the technical paint around them in a sort of spiky pattern.  I'm quite pleased and surprised with the results.  Its almost like I just forgot to finish them last time round.

I'm busy converting one of the destroyers and actually looking forward to painting it.  I should still be able to finish the Red Scorpions in time for Fields of Blood in September, but more importantly I'm still cruising.

Thursday, 10 May 2018


I finished this yesterday but then became violently ill.  I'm off work sick and can't be arsed writing anything.  Hopefully the pictures will do the talking.  The word 'Purge' has a whole new meaning today...

Thursday, 3 May 2018

This week I ha' bin mostly...

Video games will eventually bring about the fall of civilisation.  I went to see Ready Player One the other week and was gushing like a school girl (the segment set in Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' was bloody brilliant).  Someone was prattling on about the dystopian, plutocratic future portrayed in the film but my son and I were too busy Googling "omni-directional treadmill" to notice.  A virtual world where I can be Raziel from Soul Reaver and my boy can be a Phase-Shifter pilot from Titanfall? (I think the other one is just going to be Halliday).  Where I can completely lose myself in immersive unreality? Shit yeah, sign me up!  Credit is good these days, we'll just get a third mortgage!

Sadly, this frame of mind was not helpful when it came to hobby time.  The Stormtalon should have been finished weeks ago and its not even close.  A depressing state of affairs which could only addressed by playing video games and trying not to think about it.  I finished The Last Guardian and Horizon Zero Dawn (well, the story line anyway) on the PS4 in under a week but courageously managed to stop playing Mechwarrior Online when my premium time ran out.  So that was ok but what about the Space Marines?  At this rate, the army won't be finished in time for Maelstrom XI.  I decided it was time for some retail therapy.

After reading the Big FAQ I felt peversely compelled to buy Assassins.  I only bought two because that way I can't take them in a Vanguard detachment and I have to sacrifice a command point to list them as auxilliaries.  I've always considered myself a glass-is-half-empty kind of guy but deliberately buying understrength, freshly nerfed units is borderline psychotic.  Its not like I ever considered taking Imperial soup before the FAQ.  I started to assemble the Eversor Assassin but an image of Skeletor on the toilet kept flashing through my mind and I knew that if I didn't stop and hide the model, I would end up starting a very foolish conversion.  I really like the Culexus Assassin however. Such a cool, iconic profile and he looks fun to play in games too.  An evil little bogeyman, stalking enemy psykers and freaking them out with his complete lack of psychic signature and funny eye.

I also reconfigured one of my Razorbacks with lascannons plus hellfire missile (thanks Rory!) and converted a Primaris sergeant into a Thunderhammer Jump Pack Captain (thanks Hagen!).  I was so annoyed with the sergeant's bare head that I cut the helmet clipped to his belt off and re-attached it to his neck with the help of some grey stuff.  Hagen gifted me several different shields and I found the Custodes one intriguing but I think I'll go with the vanilla stormshield in the end.  I just need to stop playing videogames before they ruin my life or become so immersed in one that I don't care if my life is ruined.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Easily Distracted

Along with 'erratic and inconsistent', I think the title of this blogpost was the most common summary on my school report as a teenager.  I hated school to be fair and made no real attempt to placate my oppressors, generally preferring to go AWOL. 

Unfortunately, their assessment of me was fairly accurate and my progress on the Red Scorpions is a case in point.  I've just been buggering about for the last fortnight really, listening to audiobooks and playing videogames.  Mechwarrior Online is my current procrastination of choice.  Its like a first person shooter for grandads.  Relying on attrition and load-out more than god-tier reflexes, I actually survive some matches and often lose hours tinkering in the Mech-Lab.  I probably need to nip this one in the bud.

I haven't been completely idle however.  I based my Stormtalon Gunship and actually threw a bit of paint on the model.   I had to break it down into sub-assemblies which always lessens the enjoyment somehow. 

I don't get to see it slowly coming together and can feel anticlimactic when I finally reassemble and realise the colours are all wrong or it looks lopsided.  On the other hand, it sometimes looks better than I'd hoped when finally put together, which is a nice thrill so maybe I should focus on that and just get on with it.

I also finished building the Tactical marines.  The backpacks aren't affixed but I learned from the Primaris marines that gluing them in place makes the pauldrons annoying to paint.  I wanted to make my marines more dynamic and attempted some running and jumping poses rather than the partial squat 'I've just soiled my armour' stance. 

It was trickier than I thought and I lost motivation after stabbing myself repeatedly with the craft knife.  All pretence of hobbying disappeared and I mucked around in Photoshop creating the title picture, warning modelers about the dangers of converting.  Oh well, I've wasted pretty much the entire Easter break but hopefully this blogpost will get me back into the groove.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

All Systems Nominal

 The defence platform from Forgeworld arrived with the sexy missile pods and my MadCatLite is up and running.  There's definitely a faint whiff of heresy about it though so I'm not sure the Omnissiah will be pleased.  Can CSM use Stormtalon Gunships?  Probably not.  I suppose Blight Drones are their gunships of choice.

Torso twist comes as standard

Anyway, the mini mech ended up being a lot more spiky than originally intended.  The boxy, utilitarian look of SM vehicles isn't carried over to the legs here and my chicken walker is much more curvy.  I doubt that the blueprint is STC at any rate.  This looks more like experimentation by Mechanicus radicals.

The model stands an inch or two shorter than a flying toaster mounted on flight stand and its weaponry is not entirely WYSIWYG.  The twin Assault Cannons are ok but the missile launcher is a bit of a mystery.  Forgeworld didn't bother to include the rules in the kit so I'm not actually sure what it is.  A Hyperion missile launcher?

Whatever, I'm using it as a Typhoon launcher and fervently hope that 'rule of cool' overrides any concerns that my opponents may have.  I'll just remove it from the list if anyone objects.  Should make for a short game and it will free up an hour to wander around the hall taking pictures and chatting to other gamers.

From a Battletech perspective its not really optimal either.  I decided to do a bit of research by playing Mechwarrior Online (yeah right).  I did so much research in fact that it took a week longer than it should have done to finish the model.

Mechwarrior Online is free to play. I just had to buy this ShadowCat Hero Mech however.  Still cheaper than plastic crack addiction tho

In the Battletech universe, a MadCat Timber Wolf weighs in at 75 tons which puts it firmly in the heavy mech class.  In 40k terms, I estimate that my little MadCat has a bit more mass than a Chimera or a Rhino which weigh 38 and 30 tons respectively.  It definitely looks lighter than a Land Raider at 72 tons.  So I reckon I've built a 35-45 ton mech which puts it in the light/medium category.  Too small for a MadCat.  What I've built is probably closer to a Bushwhacker or a Shadow Cat although I can't find anything which matches my weapon hardpoints exactly.

Now thats an AC-5 Ultra

I think AC-5 Ultras match the Assault Cannon best and the missile pods are LRM-10s.  I've fitted ammunition in the arm slots which is probably a bit silly and will get my arms blown off.  Also, there don't appear to be too many heat sinks on this variant.  I've mounted ECM on the centre torso which can be switched out for another AC-5 Ultra that actually looks like the Mechwarrior version.  The mech has got 360 degree torso twist as well as extra elevation on the missile pitch angle.  So thats a bit of an advantage.

There's even a bit of tech heresy with the extra armour plating.  Those knee protectors are from the Necron Triarch Stalker kit and there's a couple of Gauss blaster muzzles on there too.  Although they are no longer living metal, they have retained their resiliency and hardness.  I had to use them because I lost one of the knee pads from the original Dreadknight kit.  I can still fit the remaining one but it doesn't really look right.

So I've had a ton of fun building this.  I really ought to finish the base off and start painting it.  I might just have one more 'quick play' match on Mechwarrior first.  I can nearly afford a Bushwhacker X1 and that premium time bonus is steadily ticking away...

Monday, 5 March 2018

Standing on the shoulders of giants

I bought some Heresy era legionaries in Mk IV armour the other week.  I couldn't bring myself to finish a previous unit of tactical marines using the old starter kits and bits-box leftovers.  I kept staring at the squad with the firm intention of painting them but the internal muse kept refusing. "Nope.  Not going to paint. Don't like 'em". In any case, I still needed some tactical marines as a cheap troop choice for my Red Scorpions army list.  Since our local tournament scene switched up to 1750pts recently, I probably needed them just to make up the points.   I prefer the look and feel of Intercessors but Tactical marines have their place.

I'd already seen how nice the Mark IV's look next to Primaris when I played Regan O'Halloran at Call to Arms last year.  So I bought a box and body swapped in a few odds and ends to stretch it out to a 12 man squad with heavy weapons.  The 'Dalek' effect on the legs and shoulder pads is a bit funky and old school but apart from that, the Mk IVs have crisp detail and cool helmets.  I set to work and it was all going swimmingly.

further proof (if any were needed) that you should never throw anything away.  Normal people are wrong and crazy-cat-lady hoarders should be put in charge of the world instead of crazy-old-men wearing cats on their heads.

Cleaning mold lines off a model is boring and the mind wanders.  I was scraping away and trying not to fall asleep, when I was suddenly seized by a heretical desire to re-convert my old Nemesis Dreadknight. The model is one of my failed Grey Knights experiments, built 5 years ago and home to a small nest of spiders on the bottom shelf now.  I realised that I needed to turn it into a MadCat.  A Clan OmniMech MadCat D Timber Wolf from the BattleTech universe to be exact.  The tactical Space Marine project was dropped indefinitely and I departed the house to purchase a Stormtalon with my "impulse-buy!" siren blaring loudly.

I didn't realise I still had these.

Converting a walker out of a Stormtalon Gunship is definitely not a new idea and has been kicking around for a while.  I think the first conversion I saw was on SpikeyBits ages ago. What really got the creative juices flowing was seeing one with scratch built legs on Capt. MAGpie's conversion corner.  I was seriously impressed with those but knew that I didn't have the patience to slowly craft every single panel out of plasticard like he does.  Capt. Magpie is clearly insane (but in a good way, take a look at his Damocles Command Rhino interior which is heart-warmingly wonderful.  If the crew were drinking tea at their consoles it would be perfect).

Singing:  Oh, your toe bone's connected to your foot bone. The foot bone's connected to the ankle bone. The ankle bone's connected to the.. arm bone, the arm bone's connected to the... to the...  shin bone?  Now hear The Word of The Lord!!

It occurred to me that if I glued the forearms of the Dreadknight to the ankles, separating the feet from the legs then I could produce a workable reverse-joint 'chicken walker'.  A simple idea, but a good one.  I've been steadily working on it since then.

The original intention to build a Mad Cat has been subverted by practical and personal preferences however.  I don't really like the stubby toes on a Dreadknight and the bulk of the Stormtalon fuselage makes the figure look very top heavy.  Since it was a chicken walker now I saw no reason not to give it chicken feet as well.  I chopped up some decorations from a fantasy ruin and built him some talons.  I'm happy with the results and hopefully it looks more like a raptor than a rooster.

The weapon loadout was a bit tricky.  Particle Projector Cannons don't exist in 40k and whilst Lasers are an acceptable substitute, you have to take twin assault cannons if you want to use it as a Stormtalon in game.  So I guess, in BattleTech terms, I've put Rotary Autocannons on my Mad Cat.   The LRMs are easily represented as Typhoon or Skyhammer missile launchers but the ones in the kit don't look right.  I considered using the jet engine cowlings to convert my own but they don't seem quite right either.  So I've ordered a Space Marine Air Defence Missile Launcher from Forgeworld and will use the pods from this.  Pretty lazy but it should look cool.

Finally, I put a shit ton of jump jets on my version.  I'm pretty sure that Mad Cats dont fly and I think a real BattleTech enthusiast may be horrified by what I've done.  Come to think of it, a 40k enthusiast may be horrified too and it will be interesting to see what the rules lawyers make of this in a tournament (damn right I'm taking it to a tournament!).  In 40k terms, a Stormtalon Gunship is a flyer so I have to add something which represents the fact that it can move across the entire battlefield in one turn.  Jump jets are the answer.  When the beast runs around on terra firma I'll class that as 'hover' mode.