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. 

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Tyranid Infestation - Stage ..whatever.. complete

Sometimes you've got to stop over-thinking things and just get on with it.  I'm a terrible procrastinator. So, on Thursday evening I found myself with a ton of half built terrain, having promised to deliver a full Tyranid board to the CTA tournament venue by Friday night.  Another one of those 'Oh Shit' moments followed by another one of those 'Painting Till 3am' sessions.

To make matters worse, my Zuzzy gaming mat had still not arrived (still waiting Zuzzy.  8 weeks now.  Hello!  Hello?) and the water effects weren't fully dried out.  Norski Kleer-Kast is the very devil to work with. You could still detect the stench of chemicals emanating from my board during the tournament.  Now you know what the Hive Mind smells like.

The first step was to fill my Digestion Pools with acid.  I was using GW's Quake Cannon craters for this.  Its a really good kit and comes with 8 'half' craters which you can join in any combination.  Four little craters looks a bit samey, so I glued and grey stuffed 3 halves together (centre crater above) to make a big crater.

I added some 'Green Weed' and Tyranid body parts to the debris because Nids hurl themselves into their own digestion pools once they have outlived their usefulness.  The beasts are then absorbed into the biomass to be rebirthed another day.  The 'underwater' surfaces were painted with Caliban Green and drybrushed Elysian Green -> Nurgling green over the top.  The outside of the craters were painted in the same way as my infested ruins (Drybrush Thunderhawk Blue -> Codex Grey -> Celestra Grey)

Next came the messy part: adding Clear Embedding Resin.  I'd asked around to see if any of my neighbours had a spare Nuclear/Biological/Chemical environment suit but was met with blank stares.  So a pair of Marigolds and a paper filter mask had to do.  Norski's embedding resin is actually quite good if you prepare, mix and leave it to dry properly.  I didn't have time to do it properly and put twice as much catalyst in than recommended followed by a stint in the airing cupboard.

After several complaints about the smell from various family members I removed the craters from the airing cupboard and repaired to the garage.  All 3 were balanced on top of Jenga blocks directly over an electric fire.  They dried very quickly.  So quickly in fact, that the resin shrank and peeled away from the sides.  Some green stuff repair work was needed to fill in the gaps and Nurgle's Rot was slopped all round the edges.  Done.

The last piece of terrain I wanted to do for the table was a big line of sight blocker.  I was rapidly running out of time and decided to just plonk a smaller piece of insulation foam board on top of a larger piece of insulation foam board, spray it grey and call it a 'hill'.

However, this seemed a bit of a cop out.  Additionally, Chris had given me 3 unassembled Chapter House Mycetic Spores (ahh 5th Edition) with vague instructions to build some terrain out of them.  I decided to create an 'Evolution Chamber' a la Starcraft II.  I would use the base of the hill as main body and add all sorts of interesting tentacle and spikey bits to it.  Then stick the 3 spores on top.

Sadly, at this point, it was midnight and there was simply no time to complete the piece.  In fact, I gauged that I would not even be able to paint it, as is.  I dug out my airbrush, which was completely clogged up and unusable, dropped it in some nail varnish remover and washed it out with hot water.  The airbrush was now usable.

Undercoating the base of the hill with too much Primer produced a passable melted effect.  The rest was airbrushed with Khorne Red -> Elysian Green -> Nurgling green to finish.  It looks like a Nurgle birthday cake or a rotting meringue but it definitely blocks line of sight.  You can see it in action in my previous post at the Call To Arms tournament.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Call To Arms 2014

Call To Arms in Wellington was a bit of a rollercoaster ride this year.  Day 1 is probably best forgotten entirely.  I took what I thought was a decent list:

2 x Hive Tyrant - Wings - 2 Brainleech Devourers- Electroshock Grubs (I never fired the grubs once)
2 x Zoanthrope
1 x Venomthrope
2 x 12 Termagant Brood - 7 Fleshborers 5 Devourers
2 x 3 Ripper Swarms
3 x Warriors - Stranglethorn Cannon
11 x Gargoyles
12 x Gargoyles
2 x Crone
1 x Carnifex - 2 Brainleech Devourers

Let the Chaos Gods decide

It certainly packed a punch and I think I got First Blood in almost every game.  Unfortunately it had no real stamina and I was inevitably whittled down, losing all 4 games in the first day.  I probably should have taken a Tervigon for more staying power but that would have made my list almost identical to Blaise St-Laurent's.  This would have been frightfully awkward (He was the best Nid player overall, as opposed to Phil Darby and yours truly who were rocking along the bottom throughout. We even played each other in game 5, being tied for last place.  The difference being that Phil was literally playing all the Tyranid models he owned (Genestealers are bad, mmmkay?) rather than trying to craft a good list)

A bit grainy I'm afraid but I was rather proud of it.

I did manage to get all my terrain finished in time.  You can see some of it in the shot above which was my display board.  I'll  have to post my frantic attempt to finish it in time separately, suffice to say that my 'Evolution Chamber' looked more like a meringue than a sinister alien terrain feature.

My first game was a bit of a sickener (no reflection on my opponent Peter Rundlett) and set the tone for the day.  The very first mysterious objective I uncovered was 'Sabotaged!' and predictably blew up in my face, killing my Zoanthrope in the process and leaving my left flank without synapse.  Conversely, Pete's first mysterious objective was 'Skyfire Nexus' which he uncovered with his Devastator squad and Librarian.  I have 4 flyers in my list constituting over 50% of my army points.  Game Over.

Josh realises that he can ground and pound my Warlord in turn 2.  Happy face.  I was crying salty tears however.
Having just lost to Dark Angels I was in no mood to face them again, so thats exactly what happened.  Josh Evans was playing a Deathwing list composed entirely of Terminators.  He deepstriked onto all but one of my Maelstrom objectives in turn 1 and beat the snot out of me.  Fair play to him, I thought it was a surprising, unconventional list and he ended up coming in 3rd overall.  Thats pretty cool but in future, any Dark Angels players who bemoan that their army is under powered will be met with scorn from me.

Crazy Gundam conversions.  Loved it
I faced Alex Neil in Game 3 which was kill points. Alex had 2 huge blobs of zombies, some Plague Marines, Heldrakes and a Maulerfiend.  I'd never faced this before and its true that ignorance will kill you.  I went after the Maulerfiend and the Plague Marines.  They simply would not die.  The Maulerfiend even had the rule 'It Will Not Die'.  You'd think I would have taken the hint.

As much as I despise Deldar, they were so beautifully painted I just had to snap a picture.  Thank God I didn't face them.

Game 4 was against Mike Talk's Space Marines.  I was absolutely knackered and depressed at this point (8 hours of 40k is too much for me.  I think I'm getting old).  Fortunately I know Mike personally and we decided to have a bit of a leisurely game.  Once again, my target priortiy was terrible though and Mike completely outmaneuvered me to win the Crusade mission.

Glen Burfield's dreaded Iyanden list.  He went on to win best General.

I was tired and emotional at this point and pretty much went to bed as soon as I got home.  I may also have been suffering from some sort of intestinal malaise attributable to one of the pies I ate.  Whilst the cakes and cookies served at the hatch in the St. Patricks venue were delicious and the coffee was a life saver, I strongly advise you never to try the pastries.

Carson Turnbull's Necrons were awesome.  I'm so going to steal that Warscythe idea.

I briefly contemplated not bothering to turn up for day 2 but berated myself for being a complete wuss and was buoyed by the notion that things could not possibly get any worse.  I managed to win against Phil Darby's Tyranids despite the fact that it would have been a draw without the most amazing dice rolls.  That's the thing about luck.  Or should I say probability.  It always evens out in the end.

Blaise St-Laurent's Tyranids.  I loved the colour scheme and paint job, he had Forgeworld Rippers, a 3rd edition Zoey and a brilliant Tervigon conversion.  Just Awesome.

The beauty pageant went well and I got to set up my Nids on my own terrain board which only added to the effect.  I thought the painting standard was really high, exceptional in some cases and have taken lots of pictures.  Most of them are blurry failures but I've posted the ones where my thumb wasn't covering the lens.

Rob Ransom's Sisters.  He was the best of our club players at the tournament.  He didn't like Kill Point mission very much.

Alistair Allan's display board was genius.  I bet you can't guess what he made it out of.

Lots of Tau at the tournament.  All painted/converted to an extremely high standard.

More Tau.  You can see my 'meringe' Evolution Chamber in the background.

My final game was against the tournament TO, Thomas Max.  I drew a bye and thought I'd be able to sit this one out.  No such luck.  Thomas wanted to try out the brand new Space Wolves' codex and I was his test subject.  I was absolutely delighted to discover that the infamous 'Jaws of the World Wolf' in the new edition of the rules ABSOLUTELY SUCKS.  I'm sorry Space Wolves players, but it was the most detestable power ever dreamed up in the dungeons of GW HQ and I for one am overjoyed that it has been nerfed into oblivion.  Anyway, Thomas is no slouch and despite not having time to build and paint a Logan Grimnar dog sled, he terrified me with drop pods and I ended up having one of the most nail biting games of my life.   The mission was Relic and my army is very fast out of the starting blocks.  I basically grabbed it and ran into a corner, hanging on for dear life for 5 turns whilst I was pursued by angry, mutant Space Marines.  Ripper swarms with Feel No Pain are awesome by the way.

This is what tournament organisation does to you (right).  I think Thomas will sleep tonight.  Huge thanks to him for organising a great weekend.

Finally, I won best painted.  I am a very happy bunny.  I'm going to frame this.  I don't care if you call me a nerdy, sad, anorak boy.  Its mine and I'm keeping it forever.

Monkeychuka approves.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Tyranid Infestation - Stage 2 Complete

Spore Capillary Chimney Towers are complete.  I am now officially panicking since all this terrain has to be ready for Friday and Call To Arms, my annual foray into the world of baby seal clubbing (in which I play the seal mostly).   To be honest, I enjoyed it last year and I haven't met a WAAC gamer yet.  There are 4 Dark Angels players and only 2 Eldar this year.  Most of the field is taken up by Tau but there are 3 Nid players who will hopefully enjoy my terrain.  My submitted army list is embarrassingly similar to one of them.  I hope I don't play him.  It will be like both of us turning up to the school disco wearing the same dress.

Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself.  Stage 3 is in pieces on my desk and Stage 4 is a distant daydream.  Ah well, I always work best under pressure.

A lot of people use tournament deadlines as motivation to paint their armies.  My army is pretty much done, thank the Hivemind.  A bit touching up needed but thats all.  Producing a terrain board as well is just masochism really.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Pigs might fly

I always wondered what those little 'seahorse' things on the Termagant sprue were for.  Also, the extra 40mm base you get in the box, whilst nice, doesn't appear to have any function.  Apparently you make Ripper bases with them.

I think I may have glanced over the rules for Ripper Swarms once or twice but hardly gave them a second thought because the other army I play is Necrons.  Doing a direct comparison between Ripper bases and Scarab bases can lead to codex envy.  At first glance they are very similar but Scarabs have double the Leadership value and an armour save which is twice as good.  Much more significant is the fact that Scarabs are 'Beasts' and have the 'Entropic Strike' rule.  This means that they eat Land Raiders.  Add some Canoptek Spyders into the mix and they can be fearsome.

Conversely, Ripper Swarms are plodding infantry with the 'Instinctive Behaviour (Feed)' rule and cannibalistic hunger.  This means that, left to their own devices, they eat themselves.  Inconceivable!  It doesn't even fit with the fluff imho, since they are seeded across the prey world in their billions and are unlikely to be under synapse control most of the time.  Their specific purpose is to consume the target planet, not each other.  Its inefficient is what it is.  They don't even have Move Through Cover which most Nid troops get.  FFS, they are little, squishy, wormy things and they can't move through cover?  And no, the 'Swarms' rule isn't as good.  They can die by crawling up to the surface from underground and template/blast weapons make them pop like maggots in a fire. Idiots!

This has led me to remark, on several occasions, that Ripper Swarms are a pile of rancid dog turds and I would never even consider building the model, much less use them in a game.  However, the changes in 7th Edition have caused me to eat my words (literary cannibalistic hunger?).  First off, Rippers are troops, not fast attack.  They are objective secured units and can not only claim objectives but can actively stop your enemy from claiming them.  Secondly, you can make them deep striking troops allowing you to score very easy points in Maelstrom missions and get line breaker to boot.  Thirdly, they are such a piss-poor, low-level threat that your opponent generally can't be bothered to kill them.  If he wants to shoot them off the objectives then take note that they are fearless, have the smallest profile of any Tyranid model and can hide from line of sight very effectively.

I actually used them for the first time ever in a game the other night.  They were my most valued unit, in mission terms.  I got the 'Domination' tactical objective which means that you have to score every objective on the board at once.  Normally I would discard it for the ridiculous nonsense that it is but this time I deep struck my 2 Ripper units onto remote objective markers and actually achieved it!  The fact that I had to suicide my Gargoyles and a unit of Termagants to get all 6 is neither here nor there. They went on to score 6 out of my 10 points in the game by just sitting there and occasionally nibbling each other out of sheer boredom.  Cannibalistic hunger is laughable on ripper bases.  You can even give them wings if you want to.  Pigs might fly indeed.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Tyranid Infestation - Stage 2

Stage two commences with the emergence of Spore Chimneys.  I wasn't even sure what Spore Chimneys were when I started making them to be honest (kept getting them mixed up with Capillary Towers).  I've ordered Imperial Armour 4 - The Anphelion Project which originally explains their purpose.  However, the book is in its 2nd Edition now and Forgeworld no longer produce the model so they have probably been retconned out of existence.  I'll find out soon enough.  I also ordered some Red Scorpions shoulder pads which could turn out to be a financially costly mistake.  Once you pop, you can't stop.

Regardless, I believe that Spore Chimneys are basically Niddy trees with a rather catastrophic reproductive cycle. I built the first one about two years ago out of modelling clay.  I then partially destroyed it and left it in a cupboard for another year.  However, it only really needed sanding down and re-priming to be usable again.  It looked a bit pathetic on its own so I decided to build some more.  I started with an old hill that Nathan from GW generously donated.

  I stripped all the static grass off it first and made the chimneys from Extruded Polystyrene Insulation Foam. Polystyrene is much quicker to work with than modelling clay.  Except when you start drilling and filing with a Dremel and inhaling the dust and then your Dremel breaks and you electrocute yourself because you forgot to unplug it when you took it apart to clear the vents and now your Dremel is permanently broken.

Anyhoo, I finished them off with good old fashioned files, emery boards and a craft knife.  The carapace parts were liberally coated with PVA glue, so that they wouldn't melt when primed and the 'fleshy' parts left bare so that the Chaos Black primer could work it's magic. My son pointed out that they look like an Oblivion gate in the Elder Scrolls game of the same name.  Strangely, this pleased me.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Vermis Giganticus

Just read a post on The Tyranid Hive which asks the question Haven't we all invented a Nid unit at some point?  I was absolutely mortified to answer: "No, well not really.  I've converted lots of stuff with rules and no models but never actually had the imagination to do something completely different".

This will never do!! So after several bottles of wine and much self recrimination about being a WAAC gamer I present the 'Vermis Giganticus'.  Its exactly the same as a ripper base but it gets 'Move Through Cover'.

Ok, so its only blu tacced but I'm pissed and not feeling very manually dexterous tonight.  I promise faithfully to actually build and paint it at some point.  Cross my heart and hope to die.  Yeah, right.   Drinking and hobbying is baaad, mmmkay kids?