Sunday, 14 December 2014

Tyrannocyte transformer

Ok, its not actually as good as a Transformer but I finally figured out how to make the carapace open and close without using a bajillion magnets.  And it does transform into a Sporocyst. However, I forgot to take a picture so you'll just have to trust me when I say that I didn't glue its bottom on.

I started without building the kit.  When I attempted this last time, it was just too fiddly and difficult to cut holes in the body after it was glued together.  This time, I cut 'half' a hole into one of the 5 upper body pieces and used it as a template for all the others.  The hole is actually quite a bit higher than the joint that the arm should fit into.

I glued the 'arms' into the carapaces for stability and made sure that they would slide through the hole at the correct angle

Then the kit was put together.  I drilled into the bottom section of the arm and embedded a 5 x 1 mm rare earth magnet into it.  The opposing magnet was embedded into the body.  This allows the carapace pieces to be placed in the 'open' configuration.

However, I also needed to make the carapaces fix in place when they are 'closed'.  So I made a cylinder out of old sprues and glued it inside the body.  I added more magnets on more bits of sprue to get the carapace arms to click into place.

And it's done!  With a grand total of fifteen magnets.  I have now run out of magnets.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Q: When is a Broodlord not a Broodlord?

A:  When its The Spawn of Cryptus.

This bad boy is significantly larger than the Space Hulk Broodlord and about twice as big as the Finecast Fonzie version.  The model itself is superb and the base is a great idea (the base size is... unusual).  Many thanks to Matthew, the Blood Angels player in GW yesterday who agreed to split the cost of Shield of Baal: Deathstorm with me and effectively let me have the mini rules and campaign book for $5 (and Nathan for playing mediator :)

I've repositioned his arms so he is no longer telling fishing stories but the standard pose is still great and very menacing.

The evolution of Corporaptor. The evolution from 5th edition anyway.

From what I can tell, the ultimate product of Genestealer evolution in this campaign supplement looks very much like a Broodlord but stands apart from the Corporaptor Primus in subtle ways.  Well, not so subtle actually.  For starters he's a warlord and you have to take him with the 'Children of Cryptus' formation (a psyker warlord without synapse? Does he write down his orders on a tablet?).

The base size is odd but you've got to admit, that Capillary Tower is cool.

Its very similar to a bog standard genestealer unit with scytals. However, for 11 points more you get Preferred Enemy and Stealth without being able to take Biomorphs or additional models.  I'm not sure it reinstates Genestealers as the blood curdling killers of old, but if nothing else, you get a very cheap warlord  with a good, non random trait (albeit with a 144pt troop tax). Is he an HQ choice though? No, which is a shame.  It would have been nice to have a really cheap HQ option (71pts!) and maybe focus on something other than dual Flyrants.  If they'd made him an IC it probably would have been a bit broken but sales of the model would have been very healthy.

Goodbye Finecast Fonzie.  I won't miss you.
It reminds me of a toned down, Tyranid version of the Primarchs in some ways.  Ok I can't play 30k with nids but I can have a bigger, fancier version of one of our iconic units mounted on a cool base.  So maybe he's not quite the quality of say, The Night Haunter, but at least he won't start acting all 'high-camp' like Mr. Curze.

Maybe this is the guy in the SpaceHulk Deathwing trailer?  (Doh, wrong chapter)

"Well now", murmured Konrad Curze, hooking down the corner of his lip thoughtfully with the tip of one extravagant, bloodied claw. "Interesting".

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The care and feeding of Tyrannocytes

Tyrannocytes are an amazing new Tyranid genus and make great pets.  Following these simple steps will lead to a long and happy life for both you and your transport spore.

Your Tyrannocyte should be exercised regularly.  Remember that he is not an immobile pod and should be walked every day.  He is happiest when left to wander around the battlefield after disgorging his breakfast of Brain-Leeching-Devourer-Death upon your foes.

What do they eat?  Well the good news is that your new friend will eat pretty much anything with a pulse. He is particularly fond of squishy cultists and crunchy space marines.  Your opponent may want him to eat Heavy Bolters which is fairly disagreeable and anything with a 'Nurgly' tinge might give him indigestion.  Under no circumstances should you let him play with Tachyon Arrows, solid shot Railguns, Demolisher Cannons, or indeed any strength 10 weaponry for that matter.

Remember that these are monstrous creatures and significantly larger ones than other Tyranids in your menagerie.  You should give careful thought to his bedding and packing him in foam works best.  Although his posterior tentacles look spindly, they will adequately support him for regular activities and are robust enough to survive transportation and accidental dropping, as long as you have used plastic glue to 'weld' them in place.  If your Tyrannocyte is too big to fit in your transport case, you might want to think about keeping his top half unglued and separate from his bottom half.  This has the added benefit of being able to spontaneously mutate him into a 'Sporocyst'.

Your new pod pal plays well with others and you should always keep him company with a Dakkafex or a brood of Devilgaunts or, well, anything really except maybe gargantuan creatures or another pod.  Remember that your buddy is a transport pod and not just a dedicated transport either so you can change your mind about what to run him with at the start of a game if you want to or even run him solo.  He really is a most agreeable creature!

Toilet Training
The Tyrannocyte, sadly, does not have a very good aim and is somewhat incontinent in the shooting phase.  If you dont want him to make a terrible mess on the board, you should stick to Deathspitters.  It would be very unfortunate if his blast template scattered onto your own troops and accidentally vaporized them.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Grimdark Lego

Holy Throne, I'm going to have to buy several of these.  Not necessarily because of their usefulness on the tabletop; I've got plenty of proxies I could use.  No, I need to get lots of them because the possibilities are endless.  The Tyrannocyte is a sweet piece of kit.  Its like a Kinder Suprise with tentacles and horrid, carnivorous toys inside.  Its grimdark Lego at its best.  I spent most of Saturday just playing with the parts and fitting them together in strange combinations with blu-tac.  I've not even assembled the Spore Mines yet.  I think this might be better than the Mawloc/Trygon kit and I've put together some weird and wonderful conversions with that one in the past.

Air brakes deployed

I couldn't figure out how to magnetise the carapace 'air brakes' so that they can be used both open and closed.  I actually destroyed part of the body trying to make them 'retractable' and had to glue them shut to cover my mistake.  Thats ok, I'll just get another one and try again.

Air brakes retracted.  Which looks best? I can't decide!

I did muck around with the tentacles and the Sarlacc Pit maw at the top.  I've finally found a use for my Dark Vengeance cultists.  As food.

Chewie! Gimme the gun!   Hold still Lando...

In fact was about to order my second one when I saw the new Venomthrope/Zoanthrope/Neurothrope kit in White Dwarf.  Bugger me, its not even like the last sculpts were bad but these are almost too good to be true.

This Kinder Surprise contains chilled monkey brains

New hats for everyone!

Fear the Scrotinator!

What the hell is going on? First a new dual kit is released out of the blue, then our prayers are answered and Niddy drop pods launch a major offensive on my bank balance. White Dwarf starts printing useful content, then the Doom is resurrected along with freakishly wonderful Cthulhuthropes and now there is a full campaign book coming out with new Warlord traits and Formations.  The Tyranids might even win some real battles in it (gasp!). The front cover is better than our codex and simply awesome.  Could it be yet another new model?  Dare I hope that the Broodlord has been resculpted?  Shut up and take my money.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Lizardman with a Lute

Never let it be said that I shirk a challenge. When tasked by a young gentleman in our local GW store to convert one of his Lizardmen into a musician, I accepted readily. The fact that he voted for me in Armies on Parade has nothing to do with it. I am of course open to bribery of any kind, especially if it involves free bits of styrene. Just sayin'.

It was actually really enjoyable to make and I've done bugger all else this week apart from playing a game with my Nids.  Reserve bomb is back baby and I can confirm that 3 drop podded Dakkafexes are a lot of fun to play and very easy on your back.  It took me about 2 minutes to deploy, having reserved practically everything.  Of course, turn 2 lasted an age and my Comms Relay appears to be malfunctioning but my days of slogging across the board are over.

I've already ordered a Tyrannocyte and will no doubt spend many hours magnetising the shit out of it.  I've got to make those airbrake carapace sections open and close somehow.  It doesn't seem right to glue them.

Anyway, my young friend now has a lute playing lizardman in his army and hopefully I've modeled it to look as if he's actually playing.  Bonus points if you can guess what I used for his hands.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

C'tan conversion

This is probably a bad time to start getting into Necrons, what with all the anticipated Tyranid releases.  The Toxicrene/Maleceptor is out this weekend and I should be clearing the decks and breaking out the magnets. I even bought White Dwarf for the first time in nearly a year and I actually didn't regret it.

However I've been kicking around this conversion idea for a while now, so Necrons it is.  I decided to call it a 'Tesseract Cradle'.  Not entirely sure why, but its better than 'Tesseract Gazebo'.

The modelling opportunities for a Tessaract Labyrinth are a bit limited, given that its the size of a clenched fist and a huge Tesseract Vault would be noticed by my better half who would immediately conduct an audit of our joint bank account.  So this one is built out of a Triarch Stalker and the C'tan which comes in the Vault kit.  It has the added benefit of being able to fit in my model case.

In gaming terms, it could be used as either a Shard or a Transcendent.  The idea is that it was developed by the Necrons to conduct dangerous experiments on a live, manifest C'tan. Hence all the tubes and manacles.  I wanted to pose it hovering above it's prison, suspended by cables but my grey stuff wasn't really sturdy enough to provide a firm anchor.

In the end, I solved the problem by rolling gardening wire inside the grey stuff (above right) when using my tentacle maker.  It works really well and you can constantly make minor changes to the cables without worrying about it snapping or becoming damaged.  Really handy when you are trying to position a model in mid air with 9 different cables coming out of it.

No idea how I'm going to paint this one.  I don't want to use my Rusticrons scheme.  They are all senile and demented anyway, having been woken from stasis too early by an ancient catastrophe.  They wouldn't have the resources or the enterprise to engineer something like this.  Its likely that they stole it from a neighbouring dynasty.  But how?  Hmmm.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Losing your Mojo

Hobby motivation is a funny old thing.  One minute you're skipping along happily with a ton of painting and modelling on the go. Next minute, you're Austin Powers.  The well of inspiration appears to have dried up. Most of my time at the hobby station during the past 6 weeks consisted of getting drunk and smoking wistfully.  I've played one game of 40k and managed to paint one model.  I couldn't even bring myself to look at a Tyranid for the most part.  Maybe I'm having a mid life crisis. I tried to kick start my enthusiasm and get the muse salivating by doing something different but my attempts were all over the oche.

The first failure was my new Space Marine army.  I bought 10 marine and 5 terminator shoulder pads with the Red Scorpions logo when purchasing Imperial Armour 4: The Anphelion project.  The idea was to resurrect my old Grey Knights army and re-purpose them as the Forgeworld chapter, maybe even play a few campaign games from the book against the Nids.  The project got this far before being consigned, indefinitely to the 'hobby pending' bin.

I sought solace in video games, the old stand by. Playing Alien: Isolation obsessively on my PC, alone for several nights scared me half to death.  But there's only so much time you can spend hiding, breathless in a cupboard watching the Alien stomp around the room before it becomes banal and frustrating.  The grisly, chest-bursting death animation is exhilarating for the first couple of dozen experiences but you wish the creature would just f**k off, in the end.  Additionally, I appear to have blown my synapses somewhere along the line and twitch gaming is beyond me.  My days of clocking Robotron in a Zen like state of violent bliss are definitely over.

Maybe a break was needed from 40k.  I tried playing D&D with my son and decided to buy some fantasy figures to use in the games.  Dwarf Hammerers have always tickled my fancy so a few were built, along with a Vampire Counts Necromancer.  I didn't even finish them all.

My boss at work asked me to paint an Otherworld miniatures Shambling Mound several months ago.  It had been sitting, forlorn and undercoated for so long that the situation was becoming embarrassing.  I resolved to finish it and... nothing.  In the end, I had to force myself to sit down and spend 20 minutes per night on the model, counting the seconds before I could escape to bland TV shows and mundane evening activities.  Thankfully, I eventually got into a sort of groove and the finished product isn't awful.  I sincerely hope so, since it's owner will have power of veto over my pay rise and bonus next year.

Games Workshop's 'Armies on Parade' day loomed on the horizon.  I had absent mindedly signed up for it in August when the Green Weed scenery project was in full swing.  My preparation for the event amounted to doing absolutely nothing, but I've amassed a fearsome collection over the past 3 years and decided to hide the featureless display board under a veritable carpet of Nids.  My wife suggested the Mawloc as a centrepiece, surrounded by every singe gaunt I own in a sort of radial symmetry.  

It worked very well and I won the gold medal despite an alarmingly superior 'Chaos Mountain' display which was, fortuitously, placed at the opposite end of the room to my own.  I didn't even bribe anyone to get it.  Well, mostly. I did agree to model a green stuff 'lute' onto someone's Lizardman army musician (wtf?!) but I didn't outright tell him to vote for me. 

This win might have been the watershed moment I needed. I have rewarded myself with a Triarch Stalker which produced a vague inclination in my underbrain to convert a Necron version of The Crucifixion Scene.  What the hell, if it gets me modelling again with some sort of serious intent, then I'll do it.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Fun with magnets : Tervigon/Tyrannofex

I now own two different versions of Imperial Armour 4 thanks to Chris who gifted me his 1st edition copy, knowing that I'd enjoy the old rules and artwork for the terrain (that Anphelion base is insane).  I thought I'd better hurry up and finish magnetising his Tervigon by way of recompense.

When I built my own GW Tervigon I distinctly remember thinking to myself, "I'm just going to glue this together.  There's no way in Hell that I'm ever going to use the overcosted shite that is a Tyrannofex".  Glue in Haste, Repent at Leisure as they say.  Well, they don't say that but whatever.

I'm not going to bother with a tutorial since its been done many times before, utilising the far more entertaining and effective media of YouTube.  However, I did add my own twist to this one by including both the Tyrannofex spines and the Tervigon egg sac on the thorax.  I just used small magnets to affix the spines and then grey stuffed the opposing magnets inside the egg sac.  Easy! (actually it was incredibly fiddly and annoying but in the best tradition of Blue Peter I'm just going to show you some I prepared earlier)

Chris can now happily field 5 different versions of this beast whilst I'm safe in the knowledge that, if Tervigon spam ever comes back into fashion, I can put 3 of the buggers on the table whilst simultaneously owning zero Tyrannofexes.  You have been warned.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Painting Mr. Burns

As requested, a painting tutorial on how to paint Hive Fleet Nidrot.

Today, I'm going to paint Mr. Burns.  A picture tells a 1000 words and all that so...

1) Model is primed black. 2) A thin coat of Khorne Red is applied to the skin parts. 3) Skin is overbrushed with Elysian Green but you can still see red in the recesses. 4) Nurgling Green is drybrushed over the previous coat.

5) 1:1 mix of Ushabti Bone/Nurgling Green is drybrush highlighted on the skin. 6) An equal mix of Biel-Tan Green, Water and Glazing Medium is washed onto the skin. 7) The tentacles and sacs are drybrushed with Cadian Fleshtone and then Ushabti Bone.  (note that this is how I do the wings on my flying creatures except I only highlight with Ushabti Bone so that far more flesh tone is showing) 8) Equal mix of Reikland Fleshshade/Water/Glazing Medium is washed onto the tentacles and sacs.

9) Carapace parts are tidied up with Abaddon Black, then lines of thinned Khorne Red are applied to all edges with a detail brush.  10) Evil Sunz Scarlet is painted, slightly thinner on top of the Khorne Red staying carefully in the lines. 11) An even thinner stripe of Tau Light Ochre is applied over the red (I much preferred it when this colour was called Vomit Brown).  12) A 2:1:1 mix of Glazing Medium/Carroburg Crimson/Water is washed over the carapace, trying to get a sheen, like chitin.

13) Rhinox Hide is painted in stripes over the talons/spikes/pincers.  14)  XV-88 is striped over the Rhinox hide (similar to the way the carapace is done).  Eyeballs painted Khorne Red.  15) Tau Light Ochre is striped over the XV-88.  Eyeballs highlighted with Troll Slayer Orange.  17) A 2:1:1 mix of Glazing Medium/Reikland Fleshshade/Water is washed over the talons/spikes/pincers.  High Gloss varnish applied to tentacles and sacs  (I don't normally do this but I wanted it to look really slimy).

I have no idea what happened to step 16).   It may have been consumed by Rippers. Or perhaps the Chaos Gods reserved it because I was using two many eights.   

The rubble was drybrushed Thunderhawk Blue, The plating Tin Bitz. Brass Scorpion was used to highlight the Tin Bitz.  Then everything drybrushed Codex Grey except the edge of the plating; then Celestra Grey.   The 'water' was painted Caliban Green and heavily varnished.  Finally, Nurgle's Rot was smeared over it.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Malanthrope Conversion

In between games at Call To Arms last week, Blaise St-Laurent walked up to me and said, "I've got something which I think you'll like".  He held up what looked like a small, perspex box.

"Its a tentacle maker" he explained.  I resisted the urge to snatch it out of his hand but he must have noted my covetous expression.  He told me that he'd bought it from Green Stuff Industries and this was a spare, which he was willing to give me at cost price.  I immediately coughed up the cash and pocketed it.  I have been itching to try it out ever since.

Recently, I've been thinking about using a Malanthrope in my games.  The model itself is awesome and the rules are better.  Although I'd happily pay for the Forgeworld version, I have a spare Hive Tyrant kit just lying around doing nothing.  It was bought solely to put wings on my Swarmlord and the rest of the kit was wasted.  However, I've seen numerous enterprising people on the internets using the body and tail of a Flyrant to convert their own Malanthrope.  Coupled with my new acquisition, it seemed like an ideal time to make one for myself.

The device that Blaise gave me is actually 3 tentacle makers which make different sizes of cable and/or tentacle out of green stuff.  I had absolutely no idea how to use it.  Lucky for me, Green Stuff Industries made a handy video which tells you exactly what to do.  Click on the Tentacle Tutorial to see it in action.

In terms of cost, its about the same to order one from Forgeworld as it is to convert one, but if you decide to convert then you will have an absolute ton of spare parts to play with when you're done; including those fantastic wings, which look just as good on Daemons and Dragons as they do on Nids.

I am extremely pleased with the results of my tentacle maker and it is ridiculously easy to use (getting the blasted tentacles to stick to the model and not your fingers/craft knife/sweater/light fitting is another matter entirely).  My wife says that the Malanthrope looks like Mr. Burns, so thats what I'm going to call him.