Saturday, 28 December 2013


Work on the Exocrine conversion continues.  I decided to call mine an Endocrine.  Possibly because I'm feeling hormonal.  I had a lot of fun building the gun (bio-cannon?  I don't even know what they're called yet) which is a heavily kit bashed Tyrannofex Rupture Cannon.  The stickman arms were less fun.  Scratch building with Grey Stuff is interesting but its a bit like clay and difficult to do sharp edges well.  Its easier to just use bits of old models for spikey bits or carve the dried resin into the desired shape.

Fire in the hole

I used a mixture of Grey Stuff, Green Stuff and Liquid Green Stuff throughout.  I found that Grey Stuff dried faster and harder, like plastic.  The Green Stuff was stickier and produced a more rubbery finish. It was harder to carve and tended to crumble.  Then I realised that I was mixing too much yellow and not enough blue.  When I use more blue (60/40 mix) it dries much harder and is easier to work with.  Unfortunately, the strip I got in the package contains more yellow.  Nice one, GW.  The Liquid Green Stuff is dead handy though and I use it to plaster over the cracks and smooth out my knobbly bits.

Dr. Frankenstein would be proud

Overall I'm pretty pleased with it.  I definitely want to paint it up to see what it looks like finished and it will probably see some tabletop use.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Stickman Exocrine

Well, the Hormagaunts are languishing in hobby torpor.  I have been compulsively viewing Bell of Lost Souls and The Tyranid Hive forums for scraps of rumours about the Nid release in January.  There aren't even that many, just rehashes of models already leaked and endless speculation.  Its embarrasing really, but I kind of wish Christmas would just go away so that "Niduary" (as the forums call it) can arrive.  It doesn't help that I'm working all over the festive season and on out-of-hours support.

More leaks from White Dwarf started appearing, including very grainy reproductions of the unit stat lines.  There was a 2 page debate on the forum over whether Rippers were toughness 5 or toughness 3 according to an extremely poor quality picture of a picture of the codex.  I got bored wishing my life away and started calculating how much it would cost to buy all the models I wanted.  This made me feel a little nauseous so I decided to do something constructive.  I figured that there was no way I was ever going to build an Exocrine given the "rapesplosion" awesomeness of the Haruspex, which is the alternative build.  At the end of the day the Exocrine is basically the fat bastard big brother of a Biovore.  Except that his gun somehow manages to look like both a penis and a vagina.  Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that this was possible.  Props to the modeller.

Exocrine next to a Tyrannofex.  Thanks to The Tyranid Hive for this

If you follow this blog then you'll know that I don't like Biovores very much.  I still have 'Ugly Nid Joe' from one failed conversion attempt and I reckoned it wouldn't take much tweaking to turn him into an Exocrine.  So this should keep me busy over the Xmas period:

Tubbs on the right for size comparison.  Its a bit small but it will do.

I have to build the middle pair of limbs from scratch since there is nothing currently similar to those big stompy legs that the new models have.  Hence the stick man effect.  I have a boat load of Grey Stuff lying around though and I'm going to try my hand at sculpting. Scary stuff, but I wasted 0 dollars if it turns out to be 'Plan 9 from Outer Space' rather than 'Starship Troopers'.

I did get around to painting 10 Hormagaunts but I made the mistake of believing the rumours that they will not become Beasts in the new edition.  They might get Fleet and some crappy +3" run move and they look to be a point cheaper.  I suppose I should be happy but its not as good as the Beasts rule.  I have a horrible sense of foreboding about Genestealers too which look to be exactly the same (sigh...).  There's no pleasing some people I guess.

Look fast, don't they?  Fail.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Out with the old, in with the new

I started getting caught up in the hype surrounding the forthcoming Tyranid release.  There are so many different and sometimes conflicting rules postings that it all becomes white noise and I try to just look at the pictures.  I decided to dig out my conversions for comparison.  If the price of the models is anything like the rumours portend then I'll be using my 'counts as' for some time to come.

Size does matter.  But so does price.
The Harpy is rumoured to be £48.  Given the New Zealand markup this will make it around $155.  Holy Shit.  You know what?  My poxy conversion is looking better all the time.  I wasted a monumental amount of time and effort (and money) on it.  I was never really happy with the result.  I nearly poisoned myself doing the water effects (pro tip: don't use Norski Kleer-kast, its like modelling with napalm).  But I might as well use the damn thing.  I'll probably pick the new one up at some point, but its likely to become the alternative build (the "Crone"?).

Now, this monster is another matter entirely:

Sadly, my Mycetic Spore will have to become a piece of scenery.
I don't even know what it is, but I want one.  People say its a Haruspex/Exocrine model or something.  The rumours are that it replaces the Mycetic Spore as a transport which is being dropped entirely from the codex.  My spore has seen a lot of action and was built specifically to hide the Doom of Malan'tai from LOS (modelling for advantage, yay!).  However, I'm quite happy for it to be put out to pasture.  Apparently the Doom is doomed anyway and will become a 5th Edition artifact and talking point.  Mine will become a slightly odd looking Zoanthrope in future games.

The new Tyranid Prime is a no-brainer too.  Yes, I will be getting one.

Oh dear.
Finally there appears to be a new Tyrant Guard model.  I never did a conversion for this one but I'm happy to say that Fido is not going to be replaced any time soon.  I'm quite content with the look and feel of the Old Guard, thank you very much (I still have one unassembled. Damned if I need a new one)

Gardez l'eau!!  I refuse to use a model wearing a toilet seat round its neck.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Mo Gribblies

Hormagaunts are less exciting than I first imagined.  There are only two poses for all the bodies and legs.  There are 4 different head types but the scything talons are essentially all the same, just posed at different angles.  So after building a couple of models I got bored and started chopping them up.  I didn't want to go too mad, they need to be finished after all, but I found that you can get very different results by just re-posing the legs.  This is relatively easy to do without resorting to green stuff (styrene models are the best!).  Unfortunately I got a bit carried away with myself, attempting increasingly silly, legs akimbo type stances.  When I began to pull the legs off the base entirely and stand them on their tails I realised it was time to stop.

Some of the more notable poses include the "Thriller","Chuck Norris" and the "Morecambe & Wise Christmas Special".

I guess I'll have to paint them now.  This is not an entirely 'thrilling' prospect and puts me in mind of my 'zombiefied' state when I last painted Termagants.  At least there aren't 72 of them.  I ripped all the water pistols off the remaining 20 unpainted Termagants and replaced them with devourers.  I ought to paint them too at some point, especially when GW bring out a sexy new Mycetic Spore model to combat drop them in.  Dropping Devilgaunts into enemy lines is enormous fun (well it used to be, before 6th Ed Tau and Dirty Coteaz).  They'll probably change the transport capacity from 20 to 30 though and I'll have a mental breakdown.

All I need now is a Michael Jackson model and the ensemble is complete.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Bringing a knife to a gunfight

I pulled out my box of poor, neglected Hormagaunts today.  They were the first Nid models I bought and I've always had a soft spot for them.  They were only used (disastrously) in a couple of games where I quickly realised that fielding a brood of 12 just wasn't enough.  I bought more, but I never even finished building them all.  Shame on me.

I need to spend some serious hobby time with these poor wee fellas
They need to be run in skittering hordes but they are 6 points each, have no ranged attack and are nowhere near as good as Tervigon/Termagant synergy.  You need Termagants in order to spam their pregnant mothers and that pretty much uses up all your troop slots.  I always preferred the Hormagaunt model though.  Its more spiky and insectoid, hurling itself forward with ravenous glee.  Termagants in comparison look like gamboling puppies with water pistols growing out of their arms.  Its faintly ridiculous but you can't get more points efficient than free, which is what Tervigon spam gives you.

6th edition came around and everyone said it made Hormagaunts better with the changes to the rage rule.  Ok, so they don't chase parked cars any more. They still have to fail their leadership test to get that extra attack and being out of synapse means they're no longer fearless. Meh.

But wait!  There's a new codex around the corner.  Rumours abound of the 'Beasts' rule replacing the out-of-date 'Bounding Leap'. Assault grenades too!  Not brilliant but it would make them viable.  Ah, but I shouldn't start wishlisting.  That way lies madness.

Regardless, I fervently make supplication to The Hive Mind that Its lowly minions suddenly mutate some form of assault grenade biomorph.  Its bad enough turning up to a gun fight with a knife. Having to swing last with initiative 5 takes the biscuit.  I have faith.  I think I'll try to finish those 'gaunts before January.  Unless I get distracted.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

The trouble with Zoats

Karl down at the club gave me some ancient GW models the other week (I now yearn to build 'old school' Necrons).  Amongst them was a metal miniature called a 'Zoat'.  I had never heard of Zoats before but he assured me that they were the forerunners of the Tyranid race. I was intrigued.

What the hell is it?
It turns out that Zoats were included in the original Rogue Trader release as a cross-over from Warhammer Fantasy Battle but they never made it into 2nd edition. I think the fluff may have been retconned to gloss over the fact that these beasties don't fit with the eventual Tyranid modus operandi and weren't that popular. So I could have just left the model in the back of a cupboard and forgot about it.  But I resolved to investigate further (i.e. Google it)

Zoats were an ancient race conquered by the Tyranids.  Rather than being absorbed into the genetic Tyranid soup, they were enslaved.  They were powerful psykers and retained the ability to communicate telepathically with other species after their induction into the Tyranid ranks.  Therefore, The Hive Mind used them as 'diplomats', although negotiation was never really the intention.  Their role appears to have been as advanced scouts, seeking out potentially useful host races for the next incursion.  The Zoats eventually rebelled against their masters (or outlived their usefulness) and were eradicated from the Hive Fleets. The remnants fled to Imperial space where the Emperor's finest more or less finished the job. Apparently, they were last seen in Hive Fleet "Colossus" in M39 which was news to me.  I always thought first contact with the Nids was in M41 and Hive Fleet Behemoth.  But I confess that I didn't read all the 5th edition codex fluff.  Watching every single Hive Fleet get its arse kicked becomes tiresome after a while.  I reckon the Imperium has destroyed more planets with Exterminatus than the Nids have consumed.  Its almost as bad as The Black Crusades.

I replaced his missing fleshborer with a mace.  Not very 40k but WFB Zoats used 'em.
Anyway, all this new information got me thinking.  What with the galaxy being under threat of total extinction by the 'Great Devourer', any surviving Zoats would be considered something of a prize.  Having lived under the yoke of the Hive Mind, they might hold vital information about the invaders and even be aware of a potential weakness that could turn the tide.  I imagine that most of the other races would be very interested in capturing one for interrogation.  Conversely, the Hive Mind would absolutely want to remove any potential source of information that could be used to exploit it's weaknesses.  All of which means that a Zoat could be a good objective marker in a narrative game.  So thats what I'm going to use this one for.  I painted it up to be similar to my Nid colour scheme.  Emboldened by my success with airbrush medium I decided to have a play with glazing medium.  Experimentation is great until it all goes wrong.  It does bring out the colours and blend them in, but its shiny.  I probably used too much glaze and I've heard you can add water to make it more matte. I think this consistency would work quite well on armour though.

Pumped and glistening.  Ooo-err missus.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Nailed it

I resolved the wobbly model syndrome on my Ghost Ark by nailing some sense into the flight stand:

Best thing the Romans ever did for us
Trouble is, the model is so awkward and delicate that bits keep falling off.  I really will have to stop playing with it (as in driving it past the Grey Knights on the shelf, humming 'Gansta's Paradise' and making pew-pew noises).  I sorely wish I hadn't glued the gun emplacements too.  I could have folded the gauss flayer's up into the stanchions when not in use and made it much less likely to snap them off in transit.  The model would also have taken up less space.   The Wraiths are a nightmare to transport as well.  Those whip coils are horribly fragile. However, I managed to solve all my storage and transport problems with cut up foam.

Look at him in his cute little bed.  Aawww.