Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Project: Chaos Knight of Blood Part 2

Starting work on the Knight of Blood. As I explained last time the Knight of Blood is going to be a counts as Lord of Skulls. The conversion itself will be based off of the Knight Titan kit. Today I'm dealing with the weapons. The Lord of Skulls is armed with a Hades Gatling cannon, a GoreStorm cannon and a Great Cleaver of Khorne. So the finished model needs to have the three weapons to represent these. The Lord of Skulls model has one gun arm, a stomach mounted weapon and the Great cleaver is held by the opposite arm. The Knight Titan on the other hand has one large cannon/gun on one arm, with the other arm being the large chain saber. So first challenge is I need to figure out how to effectively mount 3 weapons on a model that normally has 2. Well, what if I do what the Lord of Skulls model did and just mount the third weapon in the waist?
Um... yeah. That idea doesn't seem like a good one. Well unless I was to build a Lord of Rapage and devote it to Slaanesh. Hmm... files that idea away for later consideration.

Okay, so mounting a third gun at the waist isn't a good idea. What about mount the third cannon on the shoulder maybe?
Eh... okay that's better. But still not what I want. So I kept tinkering around in photoshop and decided rather then having the Great cleaver be it's own physical weapon, I'll mount a saber under each of the cannons and just have it count as great cleaver. Which brought me to this design approach:

It was also at this point that I started looking at the Hades gatling cannon and wondered if the sizing was actually going to mesh up with the shield like it looked like it did in the photoshoped image.

As you can see by the comparison of the size of the cannon to my fingers it's a pretty beefy muther. So it did look like it would fix. But of course the real test comes when you apply the saw to the piece and actually fit it to the shield. So end result?

Yeah it fits pretty darn well. I took a chaos star icon and added some detailing to the edges of the shield. I'm not going for a full out total conversion to chaos with this, rather a Chaos Aligned sort of look. This is after all a Dark Adeptus machine before it is a Chaos War Machine. The rest of the Hades cannon amounted to assembling the back section of the rapid fire battle cannon.

The next challenge came from the Chain Saber and was two fold. Firstly the Knight Titan kit has a fair amount of  imperial Iconography on it in the form of surface details made out to be the Imperial Aquial, Renaissance era style detailing, and other such material. Again this machine is meant to be a fresh built unit, not a captured or converted one. So I had to take that detail off. This was a rather tedious process as it required me to come in with an exacto blade and do lots of shallow carving passes to cut away the Imperial details being extremly careful to not cut off the raised armor edging. In many cases I then had to come back and, using a plastic scribing tool, carve in a panel separation that had previously been hidden by the surface details.

Here you can see an example of the armor plates with the ones on the left still with their surface details, and the ones on the right with the detail removed.  I had to perform this same operation to the sides of the Chain Saber.
The second challenge with the Chain saber was mounting it to the carriage of the Hades cannon. The top of the Chain saber is not actually flat, and like wise the shield the cannon is affixed to comes down nearly 4mm below the bottom of the cannon body. In order to address this I carved down the top of the Chain saber to give it a flat body, and then built a mount using a section of 1/4" squad styrene tubing. This gives it a good solid foundation for the Saber to mount to.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Project: Chaos Knight of Blood Part 1

So I'm embarking on a big project. Well okay, another big project. This is a little different then my normal 'big projects' like the Epyon project for instance, which I need to get back to now that I think about it. Anyway, this project is for my Chaos Space Marine forces, I want to add something big to it. Like Lord of Skulls big, 'cept I hate the Lord of Skulls model. I really want a Knight titan, but I don't want to deal with the allies chart. I want something that I can have right next to my regular Chaos Marines and I don't have to worry about both of them standing around for a turn. So what's a converter to do? Oh right, he converts. In all honestly, my interest in under taking this project was truly sparked when I saw Virtual Strangers scratch built paper hammer Knight Titan over on In The Grim Cheapness. He did a really outstanding job on it and it's inspired me to add something on that scale to my own army.
So short version, I'm going to convert a Knight Titan into a Counts-as Lord of Skulls. This is a bit more involved then my normal projects so I really need to start out by getting some kind of visual approach down on paper for it. One thing I knew I wanted to do with was I wanted to have it's leg crushing down on something, something is normally fearsome and dangerous. A Carnifex seems to fit that bill. I also wanted the finished model to have the same number of weapons as the Lord of Skulls. This was a little tricky since the Knight titan has 2 big weapons while the Lord of Skulls has 3. I also knew I wanted to have this model mounted on one of the Goth Tech bases from Dragon Forge designs, so that it would fit the base themes with the rest of my army.

So the first thing I needed to do was to put some digital pen to paper and get a better idea of what I was going to do. With a $115 for the basic kit before I get anything else this would be an expensive project to have an "Oh, that won't work that way" result come up. So went to the Games Workshop website and grabbed a couple images of the Knight Titan and the Carnifex and dropped them into Photoshop. After a little tinkering and moving around, I came up with this:

So I'm going to convert 2 weapon arms, one will be the Hades Gatling cannon while the other will be the Gorestorm cannon. Mounting a Chain Saber under each gun will allow the pair of them to count as the Great Cleaver of Khorne. The other thing I want to do is I want to wire up some lights in this thing so it's eyes will glow red. But there's a sub-point to that statement: I want the eyes to glow, but I don't want them to have lights in them. There is a difference though it is a subtle difference. I don't want to have a pair of LEDs sitting behind the mask putting the light out. I want to have the light glowing from back in the head. So to accomplish this I'm going to pass segments of fiber optics up into the back of the head. I'm hoping this will allow the light be brought up to the head, but disperse in the eye sockets giving it a more sinister look. Now powering an LED requires... well power. Which in this case means a battery. So I will need to add a spacer of some form to the bottom of the base to provide space for the battery pack and switch.

Stay tunes for updates.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Project brief: King Ghidorah HelDrake

As I said in the post about the Nurgle Mecha-fly, I truely dislike the HelDrake model. And like the Nurgle Mecha-fly I discovered a bit of inspiration for a new HelDrake conversion, though this bit of inspiration did come from a... somewhat different source then the last one. This source of inspiration... well was Godzilla. Yeah I'm a Godzilla fan, but seriously is anyone even remotely surprised by that? So am I going to build a Godzilla style HelDrake? Well.. not exactly. Rather, I'm looking at this guy:

King Ghidorah
So for the Kaiju fans out there, yes this is King Ghidorah. Arguably Godzilla's archenemy. His origin has varied from series to series, ranging from being a Space Dragon under the control of Aliens, to being the deliberate development of time travels to being an immature Tiamat Dragon. Origins aside, I like the three headed Dragon and I want to build a HelDrake inspired by him.

So what am I planning on doing? Well obviously I'm going to need 3 heads and necks. The larger wings without a question. The tail... that one I'm a little less certain about. In order to accommodate the scale and size, think I'm going to use the the body from a Forge Fiend. In order to get the curved necks into it, I will have to completely scrap the neck from the kit itself and build a series of 3 new ones. But I think I know how I'm going to do that.

It all starts with a length of wire coat hanger that's been built into the approximation of the curve of the neck in question (how often is it I have to take about more then 1 neck?). Anyway, starting with a length of wire coat hanger that's been cut to the desired length. I can then attack wooden/plastic balls of the appropriate diameter to one end of each section. This will give me a foundational armature to build up the rest of the neck around. I can then build up the details of the neck by laying in lengths of cable and wires and the like. Once I have the wires and such down and secured, I can come back with either stripes of kneadite or maybe strips of styrene and afix them around the wires and cables. With those in place, I think I can fashion a series of armor plates from styrene and then affix those over the back of the neck. With the plates in place I can cap off the entire neck with a second ball of the needed size.

Actually, this might make more sense. It is a little animation I put together showing what I am talking about.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Chaos Rapier platform

So the Hades autocannon and EctoPlasm cannons, yeah those are real nice options for fire power. Putting them on a daemon that's BS3... eh. Putting them on a daemon that's 175 points... yeah. It can work, but with the release of IA13 from Forge World there is a better option. And that's the Chaos Rapier heavy weapons platform. So I'll just hop right over to the Forge World website and order a set of three of 'em for... $120. Ouch for $30 more I can get a Spartan assault tank. So the Rapier is a bit cost prohibitive. At least the official model for on is anyway. Well I was skimming over some images and I happened across the Taurax for the Astra Militarium and I noticed something.

The treads on it are fairly small. It got me thinking, maybe I can take those, turn them upside down and build a platform between then to mount the weapons on. So I quickly ordered a set of the treads from a Bitz Seller to give it a shot. Well, sadly they are not assembled the way I thought they were. See, I had originally thought it was something like the Rhino Chasis where you laid the treads down and then had a section that covers the treads. Well... that not how these are built. The tread mounts themselves including the covers on top are 2 halves that join together. The respective treads then attach to those halves. So.. yeah. Can't do what I originally thought I would be able to do.

But, didn't give up. If I can't turn the treads upside down and build a rapier maybe I can just build the platform with the treads right side up. Which, I think I did pretty well:

I used 2 sections of 1/4" styrene square tubing to build a base connecting the two tread units. This gave me a foundation to build the rest of the platform from. To help with the detailing some I used a section of diamond tread plate on the standing ramp. I then came back in and edged it out with some 1mm striping to the edges around the diamond plating. This give the platform a much more solid and rugged look to it. A fitting appearance when you realize these things are meant to mount heavy weapon systems.

In order to allow me to swap weapons on it I put a magnet on the base. You can just see it in that first image. As long as I put a matching Magnet in the weapon itself, I can just swap the weapons. God I love magnets some days. For instance I used an extra Ectoplasma cannon, added some styrene mounting to it and then placed a magnet in it.
I had to shave down the sides of the cannon and remove some details. Like there's no space to accommodate the tubing that run along the sides of the cannon. I built a quad heavy bolter by taking 2 pairs of the Dark Angles Twin-linked heavy bolters and affixing them atop of one another.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Something gribbly...

I've made no secret of my disdain for the HelDrake model, here after to be referred to as the 'Helturkey'. It's always struck as being 2 half thoughts that were mashed together into one model, and with neither idea flushed out leaving us with this... half formed, incoherent... thing with wings and a mouth. It's kind of a dragon... sort of, but it's a fighter... 'cept it's not. Yeah, I just can't stand it. So I've been very keen any time I heard "HelDrake conversion".

I found one super great example of a HelDrake conversion that was just a home run for me. It was such a well thought out conversion that is perfectly executed to the model. It was done by a member of the DakkaDakka community who goes by the screen name of GuitaRasmus. He doesn't open many threads, rather continually updating one thread with whatever he's working on. He's got some really amazing conversions, but his Nurgle fly buzzer thing, that he built before the release of the HelTurkey mind you, is what caught my eye.

This ugly converted mecha-fly is a counts as a HelDrake completed by GuitaRasmus

Built from a conversion based around the Warhammer fantasy battles Arachnarok Goblin monster, it's a flipping daemonic mecha-fly of chaos! It looks utterly creepy and disgusting! Both big pluses. As soon as I saw this I was like "I WANT ONE!!!!" So I've started work on my own Mecha-Fly.
my counts-as HelDrake based on a converted Arachnarok from Warhammer Fantasy Battles.
Here you can see the slightly converted Arachnarok model. The body and head are all standard built from the kit. The legs I had to shave down the locking stubs in order to reposition them. But honestly, that's the extent of the conversion at this stage. I am debating about getting a second set of mandibles and affixing them to the lower section of the mouth area, just to give it a sort of Prederish look and to help carry the 'Warp Spawnedness' of the monster.

The rotors were an interesting challenge. I wanted to get the same circular fan blade sort of look that GuitaRasmus did on his model. Thankfully GuitaRasmus did provide a partial explanation of how he went about making his. So I was able to use that information and then extrapolate out from there. I started with cutting a circle of styrene that was slightly less then 1 1/2" across. I then cut out a second one. I then measured out 6 points around the perimeter of the circle at equal-distant points. I used the second circle to mark out curved lines from the center the circle to each of the points. I then repeated the process with the second circle using the first as a guide. I then cut out each of the 12 blades. I glued 2 panels together to form each individual blade. Once I had the blades made I was able to affix them to a length of styrene rod.
The rotors, scratch built from pieces of styrene for my counts-as HelDrake based on a converted Arachnarok from Warhammer Fantasy Battles.
For the rotor housing, I used 1 1/2" PVC tubing. I just cut off the junction pieces and used those as the actual housing. I mounted a section of styrene plate to the side of each of these. I had to use a rasp to gouge up the space on the pvc to give the super glue something to adhere to, so once I had the space prepared just a couple drops of super glue was all it took to hold the plate in place. From there I used a pin vice to drill out 2 holes and essentially pin using 2 lengths of styrene rod. This was all in preparation for mounting these rotor assemblies on cut down defiler arms.
The rotor assembly housing built from sections of PVC plumbing for the rotors that were scratch built from pieces of styrene for my counts-as HelDrake based on a converted Arachnarok from Warhammer Fantasy Battles.
Here is an image of the model with the rotor housing mounted on the defiler arms, which are in turn mounted on the body of the Arachnarok. In order to secure the arms to the body I had to go a couple levels of crazy with pinning. I used a series of 8 pins in each joint and then used plasti-weld cement to fuse the plastic of the Arachnarok body to the base of the armatures from the defiler. And even then, I used a drop of super glue to help
The ugly little sucker, built from the bases of an Arachnarok model from the Warhammer Fantasy Battle range, is preparing for lift off with the rotor housing mounted on cut down defiler arms.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Mounted Chaos Lord of Khorne

It's hard to argue with the effectiveness of a Chaos Lord with mark of Khorne mounted on a juggernaut with the Axe of blind fury, so I've added one such lord to my Chaos Forces. And here he is:

No, that isn't actually mine. That is the normal Khorne Lord on Juggernaught model from the Fantasy Battle range and while I do like the model, I've seen that exact same model used for like 90 Chaos Lords with mark of Khorne on juggernaut. And has long time readers of my blog will be well aware of, I like to be different. So what did I do for my Khorne Lord on Juggernaut? Well that's a simple answer: I converted on!

Well to be more precise I am still converting one. There are some things I'm waiting on to finish the model itself, so what I'm about to show should be considered a work in progress.
Converted Chaos Lord with Mark of KHorne mounted on a Juggernaut with the axe of blind fury built from a set of Mark II Iron armor from Forge world and the World Eater upgrade kit.

The juggernaut is still the fantasy model but I wanted to build the Lord himself so that he was wearing the Mark II Crusade Armor. I've been building several models with the Crusade armor and I've fallen in love with it. It's so brutal and UN-elligent, it's like the result of a back seat drunken grope feast between a suit of knight armor and an Abrams tank. It's sexy because of how not-sexy it is. It's effectiveness in its brutality. No ornamentation. No frills. No extras. Just raw simplicity. It's the AK-47 of power armors.

So I build the Juggernaut pretty much straight out of the kit, only use a bit of gap filler to fill in a couple casting bubbles. I used a long length of brass rod running up from the middle of the juggernaut body and up through the saddle mount.In order to use the Mark II armor on the juggernaut required some rather extensive cutting as I needed to separate the legs from the crotch. I used more brass rod to affix the legs to the crotch. This allowed me to position the parts while still keeping them all connected.
Converted Chaos Lord with Mark of Khorne mounted on a Juggernaut with the axe of blind fury built from a set of Mark II Iron armor from Forge world and the World Eater upgrade kit.
Once I had the legs properly positioned just a drop of super glue was needed to secure the legs in place. Once that was accomplished, I needed to add some green stuff to fill the space and then sculpt in some soft armor ribbing. I wasn't too concerned with being particularly neat at this stage as I'm going to be sculpting chain mail over top of these joints later on.

The main weapon for the Lord was something of a different affair then the body was. The Axe is a conversion built from the Sorcerers Staff from the Chaos Lord set, a wing from the Chaos Raptors set and one of the chain swords from that same set. I used a cybernetic arm from the Forge World character upgrade set.
Converted Chaos Lord with Mark of Khorne mounted on a Juggernaut with the axe of blind fury built from a set of Mark II Iron armor from Forge world and the World Eater upgrade kit.
I haven't decided if I'll fill in the little space in the blade. It helps to break the 'space marine-esqu' vibe of the rest of the weapon and helps to carry it being made by something other then a space marine.

I still have some work yet to do on the model. I need to build the reins of the saddle and stir ups for the boots of the lord. Add a harness to the heads of the juggernaut... yeah. Still have some work. But time to progress and all that.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Chaos forces - Dark Adeptus Combat Constructs

I've been shifting some focuses in the past couple months, in terms of 40k projects and have been working on my Chaos Space Marine forces recently. One of the central concepts in my view for my Chaos Forces is that it's not a single unified army that answers to a single leader. Rather it's a loose conglomeration of different groups that for today, have agreed to work with one another for whatever reason. This gives me lots of conversion possibilities and separate modeling options by having different squad from different legions and war bands. I can have a squad of Night Lords along side a unit of World Eater Berzerkers advancing under fire support of Dark Mechanicus Servitor Slaves under the command of a Renegade Nova Marine turns Chaos Lord.

So, this particular entry is a Count-as Obliterators unit. The idea is that they are Combat Constructs, heavy combat machines akin to baby dreadnoughts. The Dark Mechanicus are given prisoners, which it then cuts their brains apart, wire them into a Servo-matrix that consults the brain for creativity and then applies what the program decides is good to the battle field. This gives the constructs greater adaptability in the field then a pure machine spirit controlled unit. The end result are large, heavily armored constructs plodding across the battle field bringing an assortment of heavy cannons and dark energy weapons to bear against their designated targets.

Count As Chaos Obliterators converted from Space Marine Centurions.
The models are based on Centurion models with a few minor modifications. I got the core idea from a conversion done by Dave Taylor as an addition to his Adeptus Mechanicus forces. I could have sworn he was also where I got the idea the idea for the domed heads but after breezing back through his blog I couldn't find it. Anyway, I had the idea to instead of using heads to put domed helmets on them to help carry the idea of face machines. I accomplished this by taking space marine shoulder pads, cutting off the bottom rim and then shaving down the sides just a bit to allow it to fit in the space on top of the Centurion bodies.

In order to remove the more Imperial looking designation from the shoulder pads I had to use a combination of an exacto blade and sanding sticks. I used my exacto blade to cut a hard line along the edge of the rimming on the shoulder pad. I then came in and very carefully carved away the imperial insignia and details from the shoulders using the cut line as a sort of break point so I would be less likely to accidentally cut through the rim edging. Once I had the majority of the insignia cut off I cam back with sanding sticks and smoothed out the remains. I did a similar removal of the insignias on the chest plates as well.

The rest of the conversions were largely on an individual model basis and largely based around mounting different weapons on the arms.

Count As Chaos Obliterators converted from Space Marine Centurions.

To carry the "old style tech" sort of look I raided my supply for Pre-heresy Forge world heavy weapons. Here I had to cut off the back shoulder padding and brace and then mounted the Multi-melta to the under side of the right arm. I was able to flex the cables from the Centurion kit enough to meet up with the side pressure chambers of the Multimelta. I still need to come back and use a little green stuff to join up the connection itself.

Count As Chaos Obliterators converted from Space Marine Centurions.
For the second Obliterator I used the plasma cannon and again had to cut off the back of he shoulder mount. I used the tentacle maker from Green Stuff Industries to make a pair of cables. I cut small segments of styrnene tubing and affixed the green stuff cables to those slices and then glued the slices to the back of the Centurion body and the Plasma cannon body respectively.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Blood Angels come to the fore

So last time Games Workshop released the Space Hulk set I was able to snag one and the last couple days or so I've been working my way through painting the Terminators from the set. I have to say that while I'm generally not a fan of mono-pose models, GW's recent efforts with them have been very impressive. The Dark Vengeance box set and the Space Hulk set have some really nice models in them that even though there's only one way the model can be built, the finished result looks incredibly dynamic when placed with its set-mates. The Blood Angel terminators from Space are a great example of this:
The Terminators as they stand today.

You can see how the assembled models still look dynamic and varied while still being unified in appearance. What exactly am I talking about? Lets take a look at them:
Brother Valencio of the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter model from the Space Hulk Boxed set.
 Brother Valencio is the youngest of member of the 1st company, and is eager to prove his worth. The 'dashing forward' appearance of the model carries a strong 'eager to engage' kind of look to it. While it's a fairly basic stance the details are the part that sell it. The swinging chains, the purity seals, the tassels of the cord, they all move in the same direction and with very sharp angles giving the impression that Volencio is charging forward.

Sergeant Gideon of the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter model from the Space Hulk Boxed set.
Sergeant Gideon. Maybe it's the half-face look, maybe its the way the character was shown in that Flash Gitz Animation, maybe it's how the character is described as bucking advised tactics by using a thunder hammer, but I get the impression that this guy would just be a royal jerk. Very much one of those guys who are basically high on the fact that he's in charge, makes absolutely no effort to help you unless it helps him, and loves to remind you that he is the one who is in charge. The 'charging hammer of thor' pose just seems to emphasis this for me. He's very "I AM AWESOME! FOLLOW ME CAUSE I AM AWESOME!" in appearance.

Sergeant Lorenzo of the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter model from the Space Hulk Boxed set.

 Sergeant Lorezeno looks very much like a 'lead from the front' sort of commander, somewhat removed from how Gideon is portrayed he looks more team oriented. While he is certainly fighting, his stance is open enough to suggest he is positioned to help cover his team mates if the need should arise.

Brother Goriel of the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter model from the Space Hulk Boxed set.
Brother Goriel... or rather "Brother Gorey" is just so utterly brutal in his appearence. I mean he's holding the head and spinal column of a gene stealer. Do you know what else does that? The Alien hunter from the Predator movies! And somehow I get the feeling that he removed it from the gene stealer the same way the hunter removed it in the movies. Just straight up tore it out of the body.

Brother Claudio of the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter model from the Space Hulk Boxed set. Okay so we've had lightning claw equipped terminators for a while. What have we not had? Wolverine in terminator armor! Okay okay, I'm kidding. Still prior to this model most lightning claw equipped terminators just had their arms hanging at their sides or raised up and forward of their body. This was a nice and welcome change of pose, and one that was later used in new terminator sets.

Brother Scipio of the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter model from the Space Hulk Boxed set.
"Okay, so we can't go forward, back, to the right, or to the left. I'll just open the floor and go down." I love the way that the Brother Scipio is modeled, he's just tearing up the floor to make an exit or perhaps to use it as a shield. Maybe he's going to grab a power cable and use it as a make shift weapon. Just so many possibilities and so dynamic a pose for a model that is typically portrayed so stoically. 

Brother Leon of the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter model from the Space Hulk Boxed set.
An assault cannon is pretty ubiquitous in a Terminator Squad, so even though it's a little dubious in a space hulk, there pretty much has to be one in the Space Hulk terminator squad. Leon is that one in this case. Now a Terminator with an assault cannon is kind of hard to pose dynamically due to the size of the cannon relative to the Terminator itself. Leon is fairly well done given the limitations and it's nice break in design to have him aiming across his axis rather then along it.

Brother Omnio of the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter model from the Space Hulk Boxed set.
There's a character blip in the mission books about Brother Omnio where it talks about him being extremly level headed and how Gideon had once joked that Omnio was actually a servitor that got promote to the first company by accident (What did I say about Gideon being a jerk?). While I can see what they were trying for, I think the pose of this model in comparison to the others gives the look of someone who is more interested in his smart watch then he is in the fight at hand. Still I'll give the designers props for the quality of the design.

So that's the break down of the 8 Terminators I've started painting so far. I'm using a varied approach to painting, rather then going through all 8 of them and doing the same the same step, I'll go through 3 of them with one step then I'll let those three sit for the paint to dry. While those 3 are drying I'll work on another 4 until I reach the end of a given step with those, put 2-3 of those down to dry and then pick up another 1-2 and work on those three. I don't have a particular reason for this approach beyond my ADHD kicking in and being relatively unable to focus on 8 models straight through. 

Today I'm just going to talk about doing the reds and golds on the model.

Space Hulk terminator primed in black
Painting started with a black spray base. I originally primed the Space Hulk models last fall by affixing the models to a series of lengths of 1" wide wood by way of tape. This gave me a series of paint sticks so I could work in batches and orient the models to get maximum coverage.

the Space Hult Terminator with Mephiston Red base color down.
I put down a base color layer of Mephiston red. I watered the red quit a bit and it took a series of 3-4 coats to get a smooth solid color.  In order to shade the red I make a mix of Rhinox Hide and water, to a ratio of about 5 parts water to 1 part Rhinox Hide, and then went in with a detail brush to pick out crevices, lower panels, and anything else that would be shaded.

the Space Hult Terminator with Gehenna's Gold base color down.
For the gold details I put down a series of 3 layers of Gehenna's Gold. In hind sight I think I should have put down a light brown base color, like Dryad bark or Mournfang brown, before putting down the Gehenna's Gold. The gold was then shaded with the same Rhinox Hide/Water mix as what I used to shade the Mephiston red.

Once the gold and base reds were down I came back in with Fire Dragon orange and picked out the edges of the armor doing a bit of an extreme high lighting effect. 

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Yeah I'm still here...

I am still alive, it's just that the last 8 weeks or so really hit me a lot harder then I was expecting them to. In short, I'm getting older. I've worked retail and other high-demand jobs since I was 14 so I thought I had a pretty good idea how the Christmas season and its fall out would stack up for me. I knew it was going to be an increased work load and I wasn't going to have the free time I had previously, that's why I had started to do the 'year in review' I had said I was going to do. While I couldn't commit to any major project work, I could talk about what I had done and what I had learned from those prior projects.

Well, this last Christmas season hit me a lot harder then previous ones. Working 40+ hours a week left me absolutely dog tired and unable to focus when I got home. While I could do little bits of hobby work here and there, I was left too exhausted to really focus on any project or bring the brain power writing up a post to explain anything about it would really entail.

I did get work done of a variety of projects and did post quick snippets about them on my facebook page, but I never really talked about the work in detail. That is what this page is for. Now that things are settling down and I'm recovered from the madness of the Christmas season I'm returning to blogging.

For today just a quickie update, the addition of a new tutorial video: Switching Paints from Citadel paint pots to dropper bottles. As always, you can view all my Tutorial videos on my Videos page.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Project Review: Death Watch Detachment

The Space Marine Death Watch is an organization that operates in conjunction with the Ordo Xenos, it is the elite anti-alien space marine group. Rather than recruit new marines from various worlds, the way most Space Marine chapters do, the Death Watch draws members from existing chapters to serve the Death Watch on a temporary basis. Because of this Death Watch combat teams tend to include individual members from several chapters. In this fashion a Dark Angel may find himself serving alongside a Space Wolf being commanded by an Ultramarine.

This particular project was as a preparation for an Apocalypse scale Warhammer 40,000 game I was going to be running. I really like the idea of the Death Watch and had wanted something that would allow me to field some representation of it on the board for a while. The idea of pulling from a variety of chapters to form a single unit gives me immense freedom for customization and convertion, but with out needing to be uniform in my approach. A Dark Angel robed body isn’t generally something that can be used alongside a Space Wolf’s legs for instance. When  Games Workshop released a datasheet for a Death Watch detachment I knew I had to make one of my own.

Actually planning the deathwatch team proved to be an interesting challenge, and of a different type than most of my conversion projects of the past it wasn’t enough to simply create 21 different marines and paint them all black. Rather I had to create 21 Marines that were from different chapters yet look like they were operating in the same unit. In order to address this particular challenge I used a different planning approach or the unit as a whole. Essentially I approached it more from a story perspective than from a tactical one. The detachment would be led by a captain that broke the detachment into two smaller 10 man squads. But in order for each squad to maintain its own flexibility, they would be as similarly equipped and outfitted as possible. Basically what this boils down to is I had to make 210 man squads that could be identified on the squad level but neither would be the “space Wolf” squad or the “ultramarine” squad.

I referenced the deathwatch role-play game books quite a bit in this regard, reading up on the strengths and advantages each respective chapter brings to a deathwatch squad in that game.  It took me a little while to really decide on the chapter breakdown of the detachment, deciding how many Marines from each chapter I was really I represent in the detachment. Finally I decided on a breakdown for the 2 squads. The entire detachment would be made up of a captain, to Imperial fist space Marines, two Crimson fist space Marines, two blood Angels space Marines, to space Marines from the Aurora Chapter, too dark Angel space Marines, two spacewalks, two Black Templars, two iron hand space Marines, three ultramarine’s, and finally one black shield space Marine.

A black shield space Marine is a concept I first encountered in the deathwatch role-play game. The idea is it is a loan space Marine that does not have a chapter to return to. He either has no chapter because he is the last surviving member of the chapter, yet or he has been excommunicated from his chapter and thus is not welcome in that chapter anymore. According to the game manuals black shields generally do not speak of their history so the exact reason that they are a black shield is generally something known to the game master and the respective player only. The idea of a loan space Marine that has no chapter to return to just really hit the court in my mind and I had to put in the detachment itself.

So with a plan in mind about what I was going to build, the first big step in this project was actually acquiring the materials to build them. For this project I knew I was going to be building individual diverse Marines I want them somewhat unified by their bases. Once again I turn to Dragon Forge designs, and ordered an assortment of bases from his ancient ruins series of bases; two sets of 10 of the 25 mm size bases, a 40 mm heroic base for the watch Captain, and a couple larger 60mm bases. I got the 60mm bases activity because I thought it will be kind of cool to have a deathwatch style dreadnought and I want to make sure I had the base on hand when and if I got around to building that model.

Next up I had to get the core materials to build the squads, and for that I made a trip to games I placed a order for two of the 10 man title squad box sets, the Pedro Kantor figure, three of the deathwatch conversion kits, the Imperial Fist/Crimson fist shoulder pad package and two of the iron hand conversion kits. Beyond these specific purchases I did a considerable amount of bit box diving and collected chapter specific iconography and bits for the rest of the detachment. In the course of the bit box diving I also found pieces from other sources that I decide to use, from Forge world.

Converting the watch Capt. was the first serious challenge to the project, due to the Pedro Kantor modeled being fine cast resin. The fine cast resin is a tickly light and soft material that if you are not cautious while working with can easily become deformed or damaged. The main reason I chose to use this model for my watch Capt. is because of all the space Marine special character models this one looks the least flamboyant. Unlike say Marnues Calgar, whose motto can practically be identified from across the room while you’re looking the opposite direction, Pedro Kantor’s model looks almost like any other captain figure you could build of the space Marine commander box set just have a little bit more bling to him. Thankfully the head of the model is separate from the body being it was a simple matter to replace the intended head with a head from the deathwatch conversion kit. The real challenge for this particular model was the wrist mounted storm Bolter on the left arm. The size of the arm on the model itself is actually smaller than a comparable shoulder pad should be from say the deathwatch conversion. The shoulder of the model also puts the arm in an odd position relative to the backpack which creates an issue because of the low enlarged shielding edge on the deathwatch shoulder pad. Ultimately what I had to do was cut off the arm and then segmented just above the elbow, replacing the upper segment of the arm with a plastic space Marine arm and then reassembling the pieces together redirecting the belt feed for the storm Bolter behind the deathwatch shoulder pad.

The next section of the project I worked on where the four heavy Bolter equipped space Marines. Initially the seem like it would be a simple shoulder pad swap operation, replacing the shoulder pad from the tactical squad With the chapter specific shoulder pads. There was just one thing that I overlooked; the fact that the plastic devastator heavy Bolter shoulder, shoulder pad,  and upper arm of for the heavy Bolter are all one piece, so I couldn’t simply replace one part of that single piece. In order to accommodate this I would ask a have to cut out the shoulder pad, and then mount the chapter specific shoulder pad in place where the original shoulder would have been while still keeping the heavy Bolter ammo feed going back along the shoulder line so that it would marry up with the heavy Bolter backpack once the Marine itself was built. For the black shield space Marine this was actually a non-issue since it meant I didn’t actually need to add a chapter specific icon to the shoulder. But for the other three it was a bit of a challenge that I had to go very carefully and very slowly with to avoid damaging the finished product.
the four converted Heavy Bolter Armed marines for the Death Watch Detachment

Monday, November 24, 2014

This year

So, it’s coming up on of November. This creates an issue for me, namely the fact that I want to continue working on my projects but I work in retail. As most of you are probably aware, at least in North America (I honestly have no idea if the rest of the world suffers like this, and I very honestly hope they do not) from about the 2nd week of November through the first week of January is the single busiest portion of the year for retail environments, and to be honest, the most hectic. Everyone is in a rush to get this item, or grab that gizmo, everything is rush for the last minute, and everyone wants everything right now, it’s just such a hassle. On the upside, it means more hours which means more money which means more resources for projects. On the downside, it means more hours at work during a more demanding period of time which means less hours for projects, and less inclination to undertake during the hours I’m not working or sleeping due to exhaustion. Seriously, trying to use sharp tools when you’re tired just isn’t a good idea. So what does all this mean? Well for the next 6 weeks I am not going to commit to working on any major part of a project . I will still be posting, but rather talking about projects I am currently working on, I will be reviewing and discussing my projects from the year up to this point. I’m also going to cut my posting schedule down to one post per week until January 5th where
I will return to my normal 2 post a week schedule.

So, here is the schedule of project reviews I will be doing over the course of the next month roughly:

December 1 - Death Watch Detachment
As part of my preparation for an Apocalypse scale Warhammer 40,000 game I assembled and painted a detachment of Death Watch Space Marines. This detachment consisted of 2 10-man Sternguard squads with 2 heavy bolters and sergeant each, and a Watch Captain.

December 8 – Project Thunderhawk
This is a biggie project, and yet is the simplest to explain: I am working on scratch building a Space Marine Thunderhawk Gunship based on a paper hammer template. I’m taking it a bit further by wiring it up with lights. I had originally wanted to try casting pieces I needed multiples of in resin,
but ultimately decided to just build the parts as needed.

December 15 – odd and Ends Warhammer projects
Less of a proper project and more of a catch all for various one-off projects for Warhammer I’d completed through out the year. I’ll be talking about the Trygon with Fibre optic eyes, the Jain Zar I converted from a Lilith model, and the Servo Skull tape measure I re-painted.

December 22 – Project Wing Gundam
This is really where I started to revamp my approach to this blog and began branching out into modeling beyond building Units for Warhammer 40,000. With my first return to GunPla modeling, I tried using new paints on what is intended to be effectively an action figure once it’s built.

December 29 – Project Heavy Arms Gundam
Project Heavy Arms was a very interesting project for me and really helped me shift focus from my normal approach to modeling. The overall objective of the project was to convert a 1/100 scale Heavy Arms Custom Kia model into a 1/100 Heavy Arms model, or at least something close to it.

January 5 – Project Gouf Custom
With this project I deliberately moved into using coloring pigments, a tool for model builders I had never used before. My goal was to weather the model based on the damage it took in the anime. Here I will be talking about what I learned about using with pigments.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Project: OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon Part 3

Battleship Libra, that is the topic of today post. More specifically the construction of a stand that is intended to represent a piece of the battleship that will act as a base for the Epyon model and provide a location to house the majority of the electronics for the finished product. Now previously I had a flat panel with some bracing and a pair of raised sections to house the switch and the battery pack for the Libra base.

The bottom of the base for the OZ-13MS Epyon Gundam.
The base for the Epyon Gundam.
So obviously the next big step is adding the sides for the base. The sides are made up of alternating sized triangles, the wide sections on the longer sides, and the corners being covered in a thinner triangle shape. So in theory I should just be able to cut out the 4 wide triangles, and the 4 narrow triangles, glue them together and call it a day. Right?

Well, in theory yes. That is what I would need to do. See, here’s the thing: Reality isn’t theory. Here’s a prime example of this  concept in action. When I cut out the shapes I used the measurements for the two-dimensional shapes, and I didn’t take into account the dimensions of the depth of the part. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing so long as I’m willing to do the work on the next stage. 

The problem the lack of consideration for the depth measurement creates is one of sides not lining up the way that you would expect them to in theory. 2+2+2= 6 yes, but 1.99+1.99+1.99= 5.97 and that’s where the problem comes in. This construct has 8 sides. 4 of those sides are supposed to be the same, while the other four are different from the first four. So using the previous example of 2+2+2=6, well now it is 7.0625+1+7.0625+1+7.0625+1+7.0625+1=32.25. Again, in theory.
 But lets say it becomes:  7.062+1.01+7.0725+0.92+7.0425+1+7.1625+1.09=32.3595.
A difference of 1/20th of an inch one way or the other on each piece amounts to more than a 1/10th of an inch of difference in sizes.

But remember, these are pieces that are being assembled into a three dimensional structure. Once the parts are attached to the structure, it’ll be really hard to cut the parts. So in this particular case, I’m advocating to take more off then leaving too much. Which is what brings me to this:

Building the Libra Starship base for the OZ-13MS Epyon Gundam. The pieces don't line up perfectly.
The Libra takes form.

In building the pyramid structure I was able to mostly marry up the edges in such a way that just a little bit of sanding will be needed to hide the seam. On this last facing however, this is where all those .02 and .01 inches worth of difference finally added up to close to a quarter inch of gap. I had to slide in an extra segment of sheet styrene to fill the gap and even then there is still a sizable space between the parts. So I will need to fill the space with a putty and sand it down.

With some advice from a friend at Hobby Town I picked up a tube of Tamiya Putty white and went to work filling the spaces. The putty is really hard on the skin, and it’s best to wear gloves when working with this stuff. Beyond it being best to wear gloves, using the putty is very simple and straight forward. Apply a portion of putty to the seam and then smooth it down with your finger tip. Let it sit for 24 hours so that the putty has a chance to cure and harden properly. Once it had cured I just needed to come in sand paper and sand it down smooth. I started with 200 grit sand paper and worked my way up to 1200 grit for a smooth finish.

The next step was scribing the lines of the panels . If you look at the image of the Epyon perched atop the Libra, you can see the divisions between the parts of metal that make up the surface of the ship. These are the panel lines.

The first step in this process was to mark out the lines. This sounds like it would require a lot of measuring, and in truth there is a lot of allowance for that sort of detail. But once everything is said unlike the process of building the pyramid itself, this really had no reason to be such a detailed process. So the only measuring I did for this part was the distance from the apex of the pyramid down the sides. I marked out lines with an interval of 1.5”. So 1.5” from the top of the pyramid to the first line, 1.5” from that line to the next and finally 1.5” to the next. I used a blue fine tip marker to draw out the horizontal lines that will be etched into the surface. I then went in and basically put in random vertical lines to mark out various sized plates.

After smoothing out corners with Tamiya white putty, I came back and marked out the panel lines for the Libra Battle Ship base for the OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon

Once I had the lines marked out, I came back along with label tape and lined the tape along the horizontal lines. The label tape is that plastic sort of tape used in those label maker guns. This tape provides a hard edge with an adhesive back to it that can be stuck on the surface of plastic. With the tape applied I then went to work with my scribing tool. I went for a depth of 5 passes with the scriber. This gives a really solid panel line. Once I had the horizontal lines scribed I went to work on the vertical lines.