Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Year in Review

This was an exciting year for me with a lot of completion on a lot of projects. Very productive. So here is a wrap-up for the year, as well as an update on my many projects.

Zone Mortalis Tiles
I spent countless hours casting the bits, gluing them together, and painting these tiles. It's a total of 18 tiles with doodads, and they have gotten some play time. Our local game store had an event where my tiles handled about 4,000 points between 4 players. I am surprised at how well they handled the punishment, and the players were all impressed with the table. They are a little brittle, but that is due to the material used, where I went a little cheap. A lofty goal in the future will be to create a fantasy themed set of tiles, but I may splurge for the good dental plaster if I can find out where to get a hold of some nearby.

The Coven of Verminlord Skrax (Warhammer 40,000 - Dark Eldar Haemonculus Covens)
This was quite a project that yielded a proud achievement for me. A lot of effort when into the modeling and painting and display board, not to mention the wonderful comic illustrated by my brother. It was all paid off when I won Best in Appearance at the 40k GT Harvester of Souls. A trophy which is still proudly displayed in our living room.

Jarom's Orks Commission Here and Here
The undertaking for illustrating my comic was no small feat, so I gladly paid in painting small portion of Jarom's Orks in exchange. Jarom also took Best in Orks at the same tournament.

My brother and I haven't really acted on our plans to run a little Gorkamorka campaign yet. Both of us live a distance from each other, and he has been busy with a job enough as it is. So Gogmagog's Questing Knights (Mutiez) and Da 'ard 'eads (Gorkers) will remain unpainted for now. I am looking forward to fielding Da Hukka Trukka on the table sometime in the near future.

Heavy Gear Blitz!
My Heavy Gear plastics kickstarter delivered this year. I now have a lot of plastic sprues of tiny mecha. I have been a very long fan of Heavy Gear's setting, but never got a chance to play it in any form. This game seems pretty solid, and my brother has expressed a desire to give it a shot. I look forward to that sometime next year.

My addiction to small skirmish games continues even still. Deadzone is an example of my enthusiasm that builds in a game in intense bursts. Then it dies out. I am still up for playing games with it though. So I have several small armies built for this game, but the beauty of most small skirmish games I own, a lot of the figures can be used interchangeably. So even when I am not playing Deadzone, I can still use the terrain and minis for something; like Rogue Stars... but that's another post for another day.

Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower
The three of us (Jarom, Timo, and I) have been slowly working our way through the trials of the Silver Tower, and watching the story unfold and our characters progress. Jarom is playing an Orruk Warchanter, Timo is playing a Chaos Lord, and I am controlling the Order side with a Cogsmith and Lord-Relictor. What's even sweeter about this is how little money I have invested in this game and we are getting a lot out of it.

Censers and Tocsins (Warhammer: Age of Sigmar - Nurgle Rotbringers and Clan Pestilens)
This project will likely be set on the back burner. I love the idea of a Nurgle themed fantasy army, but until I get that burst of inspiration for it going again, I won't be doing much with it for now. I do believe I have some good ideas for the Nurgle Rotbringers at least. The Skaven, however, I can only think to make everything as-is. Which is fine for most, but I become passionate about something when I can think of a unique angle to take with it.

Forgesworn Eternals (Warhammer: Age of Sigmar - Stormcast Eternals)
I am proud to say my entire Forgesworn Eternal army is completely painted (barring some basing I still have left to do). Not something I can say much of for my big armies. I really don't plan on adding anything to this. I feel I have gotten all the minis I am interested in. I was considering some Dracoth Cavalry to make more dire bear riders, but the problem is finding variations of suitable bear heads, of which I have only really found the one. But for now I'm good.

Forthammer Clan Throng (Warhammer: Age of Sigmar - Dispossessed and Ironweld Arsenal)
Not all of my Warhammer Duardin are among the ranks of the painted, but a good portion of them are. I experimented with a unique paint scheme for dwarfs that I think has paid off to a color that complements my Forgesworn Eternals. All I have left for this LVO army is some basing, and maybe a display board. Carry-on luggage restrictions are becoming an issue.

That sums up this very awesome year. In the new year I will outline my goals for 2017.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Forthammer Clan Throng - Warden King in Steamsuit (Painted)

The master of the duardin clan, Dunhill Forthammer, is complete. It is this Warden King who will lead the throng, and with the aide of the Forgesworn Eternals, will reclaim their lost holds in Chamon.
This marks the last miniature in my army to be painted. All that's left are the bases (which I will be putting this guy on a bigger base) and the display board if I can manage it. This is going to be tight because I have to make sure this all fits merely in a carry-on piece of luggage, which may mean my board will be too small. I'll have to see what I can manage. I also need to build miniature storage trays that fit in that same carry-on. There is no way I am putting this stuff through checked luggage.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Forthammer Clan Throng - Cannon and Organ Gun (Painted)

The cannonade is complete. These are the thundering guns of my force. With the Cogsmith backing them up, it's especially potent.
And a shot of the whole cannonade.
All this leaves for painting (besides the basing and display board if I do one) is the Warden King in Steamsuit. An especially daunting task because I want to make sure he looks good.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Forthammer Clan Throng - Thane with Battle Standard (Painted)

I realize now that I never showed this mini off as a WIP. He is my Thane with Battle Standard I made from various leftover bits and kits.The main body is actually the Runelord. I already had a Runelord model planned, and figured this model could make a good hero for something else. The Thane warscroll has some good advantages, such as being anti-magic and making Dispossessed nearby immune to battleshock.
Most of the kitbashing is on the banner itself. The goal is to make a really tall magnificent standard that is higher than the other unit's. The main banner body is from the Hammerer kit, then some rune bits hanging off the sides (these are from the Warriors kit), then it is topped with an icon (also from the Warriors) but having the wings shaved off and adding the forge and engineering tools from the Cannon kit. Cresting the head at the top is from the Cogsmith kit. These three elements show the forging and engineering nature of the throng. The banner painting is very similar to that of my Longbeard's.

There is also another element to this model that should be mentioned. Its warscroll has one of those 'silly' rules in it. If I have a longer or more magnificent beard than my opponent's, then the Thane can re-roll failed to-hit rolls in combat. This may hardly ever come up, but just in case it does...
I have been planning this beard growth for quite some time because I know I could be fielding this model. It will primarily be in my side-board during the tournament, but this is a just in case thing, and I just wanted an excuse, no matter how small, to try growing a long chin-beard. It's kind of annoying though, so I will be shaving it short after the LVO (which my wife looks forward to). I really have some appreciation for the dwarfs and their dedication to their facial hair.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Forthammer Clan Throng - Unforged (Painted)

The decision to make my Unforged's hair blonde was not tied to anything. Nowhere are the new Unforged mentioned to be orange hair only like the Slayers of old, so I felt I had some more liberty with them. I like the idea of a crazed deadly blonde fighting duardin.
If you may notice, I also shortened the axes he was holding, because I found them a little too comically long from my WIP shot here. I think the overall balance of the figure is better for it.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Forthammer Clan Throng - Drake Dunsson (Cogsmith) (Painted)

My son of the Warden King has been completed. I also decided to give him a companion gryph-hound. My army list may make use of him for some overwatch against anything being summoned or deep striking near my 2 big guns. So I decided to paint it in the general color of the clan throng, instead of painting the hound the colors of my stormhost.
This gryph-hound mini is from the Silver Tower box, and normally accompanies the Excelsior Warpriest. I figured since it's apparent that gryph-hounds don't only accompany the Stormcast Eternals, and are natives of Azyr, Drake could have picked one up at some point. The hammer on its collar still fits with the faction.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Forthammer Clan Throng - Irondrakes (Painted)

The Irondrakes were a fun experiment in converting and painting. I really liked the dark copper metal look of the drakeguns. I also really like the exposed beards, which with this head variant you are supposed to use them on Ironbreakers. Being able to carry other items in the off-hand does add some personality to the minis as a whole and gives more variety to posing than the static ones of the rank-and-file old warhammer design.
Here is a view of the backs of the Ironwarden with the cannon round pack, and the one with the fuel keg on his back. The refill station for the unit.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Forthammer Clan Throng - Cannon and Organ Gun crew (Painted)

My list includes both an Organ Gun and Cannon, and so far I have just the crew painted. I decided to paint all units before characters to give me more practice with the color scheme. Next on the painting table are the Irondrakes.
Cannon crew. The guy on the left is holding a lever which snaps on the cannon itself for setup on display. I love the one on the right, bravely defending the war machine with his custom cog-shield and heavy wrench.
Organ Gun crew. Repainted from my really old organ conversion I did a LONG time ago. That gun will get repainted too.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Forthammer Clan Throng - Longbeards (Painted)

Left to right: Longbeard, Drummer, Old Guard, Standard Bearer, Longbeard
It took me the longest time to decide on a paint scheme for my Duardin army, knowing I wanted some shade of blue or green. I saw briefly somewhere a mini painted in jade armor, and loved the notion. I didn't know what paints to buy until I found this gem of a resource, opting for the one that starts with Stegadon Scale Green and highlights with Temple Guard Blue. Maybe not exactly a jade color, but I like the tone nonetheless. So that takes care of the armor along with the usual silvers and golds, then I decided that one step above that scale would work great for the cloth and leather. Starts with The Fang and highlights with Fenrisian Grey.

The color combination will be more apparent on the Irondrakes when I paint them, I feel.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Forthammer Clan Throng - Warden King in Steamsuit

Just as the Lord-celestant is the centerpiece for my Forgesworn Eternals army, this will be the centerpiece of my Duardin army.
Now this was a really ambitious project that I worked on for quite some time, and a bunch of trials and error. I love the idea of representing the Dwarf Lord on Shieldbearers (page 7) warscroll with a steamsuit. It fits the engineer's guild theme of my army. I have been using a 3rd party mini to represent that, as shown here, but 3rd party minis are not allowed at the LVO because GW is running the AoS tournament. It's sort of a bummer, but it gives me an opportunity to flex my conversion muscles and make a new one entirely out of GW parts.
I have always liked the look of the Gyrocopter kit, feeling there was some conversion potential there, but not sure what. Basically I wanted to use the Gyrocpter for something other than the Gyrocopter. Since I imagine a dwarf mech to be bulky and short, I realized I could use the main body of the Gyrocpter as the base and torso of my Steamsuit.

The torso conversion of course was easy. The Gyrocopter build remained relatively unchanged, with some shifting of some parts around, and removal of any wings and rotors. The pilot inside is still the pilot mini, but instead using one of the bearded Ironbreaker heads, and the top crest from the Warden King kit to give him some more of a kingly feel, and of course the banner is from that same kit. The legs and arms were definitely a challenge. I realized the Meganob legs (kindly donated by my brother, Jarom) were just about the right size, explaining the model's 4" movement. I used some plasticard to cover up the ork pants and removed some of the spiky bits. The arms are mostly scratch built, except the hands, which are from the Kastelan Robots kit I got off of a bits site. I reposed some of the digits to grip the hammer and his pointing finger, similar to how I did it here.
25mm base present for scale.
The hammer itself took quite some time to figure out. I love the look of the original steam hammer on the old dwarf engineer (see below), so I wanted to replicate that somewhat on a larger scale. This was a hodge-podge of bits I had in all of my bins, primarily Gyrocopter bits, and the hammer head's structure is constructed of plasticard and sides of the Warden King's oathstone bit.
Overall I am very proud of the project and it definitely acts as the centerpiece for my Duardin. Now I have all of my Duardin built, and I just need to get them painted!
This is just to show the size compared to how big the original dwarf lord on shieldbearers would look (the 3 Irondrakes stacked on the left). As you can see the size is much bigger and bulkier, but at least the head heights are the same. I am also seriously considering moving to a 50mm base instead of the 40mm shown. There is no defined base size for the old dwarf lord on shieldbearers, so I think I should be ok, even if the LVO does base-to-base measuring for everything.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Forthammer Clan Throng - Irondrakes WIP

Part of the range firepower for my Duardin are the Irondrakes. I think this may be my favorite Duardin warscroll. Their weapon is formidable and they are tough (ignoring rend -1).
Second from the right is the Icon Bearer.
Far left is the Ironwarden (unit leader). I gave him the trollhammer torpedo weapon, but I went with a different style. I used leftover bits from the Cannon kit so it appears that he has a shoulder-cannon, shooting large shells. The gun barrel is a little bigger than the Drakegun barrel, coming from the Gyrocopter kit. Inside is one of the Cannon shells, he is holding another in his hand, and slung on his back is a rack holding 2 more. To his right is the drummer (opting that type of musician over the derpy looking horn/gun), then one toting the keg. It has no game effect, but he will be the one that refuels the unit.

I wanted to go with a unique pose for Irondrakes. Instead of having their guns slung in front of them, I wanted to go with a shoulder mount type pose. Just cutting the gun bits up and rearranging them creates this effect. This freed their left hands to hold things, like melee weapons or other bits, to give the unit some personality. One thing you may notice is the heads. These are normally used for the Ironbreaker variant, as the Irondrake heads are beardless. However all my Forgesworn Eternals use Irondrake heads, so I wanted these guys to look different enough from them. Besides I like it when a Dwarf shows off his glorious beard.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Forthammer Clan Throng - Longbeards WIP

The Duardin for my LVO list will be somewhat modest. I have more points in the Stormcast Eternals. These guys are meant to provide the ranged support. However I did need another battleline unit, so there really is no better battleline (in my opinion) than Duardin Longbeards. They are decently tough for single wound models and also buff other Dispossessed units. Not a bad choice.
Far left is the Old Guard (unit leader). His arms are from the Cogsmith kit, and his left arm will be holding a shield to the ground. Next is the standard bearer, using an older Warriors kit standard. The Longbeards kit standard is being used for my army standard bearer model. Next is the drummer.
I recycled some old axe bits from the old Warriors kit. You may recognize the axe-head on the far right as coming from my Unforged conversion.

They are all equipped with great weapons and shields, and I tried to model them as such, deviating from the they-all-look-the-same-rank-and-file style of build they were designed for. I wanted each mini to have some personality. It makes sense that each weapon will be unique because in Dwarf lore, each warrior's weapons and sometimes their armor are passed down through generations with lots of history tied to each.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Harvester of Souls 2016 - Best Appearance Winner!

I just got back yesterday from the Harvester of Souls 2016 Grand Tournament, and am pleased to say I won the trophy for Best Appearance! My Dark Eldar army got a lot of positive and excited feedback, especially among the tournament organizers. Naturally everyone loved the comic as well, which I think is a big reason I got a lot of favorite army votes from the players.
I also won Best in Dark Eldar out of 3 total Dark Eldar players. It was mostly the painting and appearance score for that though as I only won a single game of the five I played. My army wasn't really that competitive, but that's the great thing about the Harvester; 33% of your overall score comes from actual gameplay, 33% from sportsmanship, and 33% from appearance and painting. This is in contrast to most grand tournaments placing a higher stake in gameplay over the other two. It doesn't alleviate hyper-competitive players and lists, but it also doesn't encourage it, and puts more emphasis on the hobby, which I love. They also do something unusual, they don't use the ITC missions. Each table at the event has its own terrain set-up with its own narrative scenario. Every time I go back I am playing a different set of 5 games. Most of them are a lot of fun.

This was my 3rd attendance to the Harvester, and I love it. Anyone wanting a good fun tournament and you are in the north-west area of the United States (or even western Canada) the Harvester of Souls is a lot of fun.

Finally a few acknowledgements for this award:
  • First to my beautiful patient wife, Beth. She supported the entire effort from the beginning and offered encouragement. She is awesome and helps balance my life in this nerdy hobby of mine. She also edited the comic book to made sure it made sense.
  • Second to my brother, Jarom. The cutaway of the underground sewer and how to achieve it was his idea, and of course his awesome art on the comic really brought my story to life. They exceeded my initial storyboard. On a side note, congratulations to Jarom for winning best in Orks. He really rocked it this tournament and his army appearance was a definite improvement over last year.
  • Third to my friend, Timo Swaner. He was a big encouragement and someone I could really bounce lists and ideas off of. A partner in crime when it comes to 40k.
  • Fourth and final to the War Head blog. It was this post that started the ball rolling on the idea and I cited them since the beginning. It was the idea of space rats as Dark Eldar which festered within me for quite some time that culminated into my own take on it. This is a gorgeous blog to follow if only for the pictures alone, even though most of the time it's in Finnish.
Now I gotta get working on finishing my Duardin for the LVO!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Silver Tower - New mini standees

In playing Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower, we found the stand-in miniatures to be a little immersion-breaking. Still too cheap to buy the real ones, I came up with an alternative.
Now paper miniatures is nothing new, but I just thought I'd give it a shot and like what they turned out to be. I think these will help with the confusion of what was what as the bases are clearly labeled what each standee reperesents and their wargear. I even made sure that the pictures in them represented their weapons. The pictures are all recognizable as I ripped them from GW's pictures of the models.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Coven of Verminlord Skrax - The Comic Book

I have something very exciting to share with you guys. I commissioned my brother to illustrate the comic book which will tell Verminlord Skrax' story. I wrote it out and did a basic layout and storyboard for my brother, and my wife edited the text. And so I bring you the comic book:

These are all the pages of a booklet I will be giving away while my board and army are on display at the tournament. I just got to get them printed, folded, and stapled and everything for my army is good to go! After the tournament I will provide a report of how well it did.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Forthammer Clan Throng - Drake Dunsson (Cogsmith)

One of the featured models for my Duardin side of my AoS army (for the LVO) will be Drake Dunsson, the Master Cogsmith. I featured him here, as I talked about using him in Silver Tower. Well he went through a redesign, which I love.

This happened when I took off his original head. I am fond of the Irondrake heads, but since my Forgesworn Eternals were all to use those heads, I didn't want my Duardin to use the same, opting instead for different available heads. Then I purchased the Gyrocopter kit, which I plan to use for another conversion. In going through the bits, I found one of the bits for the front fuselage gun-mount used on the Gyrocopter variant could be turned around and put on a body to look like a really cool mantle. Also I really liked one of the pilot heads, as it would be perfect for the eccentric engineer that Drake is. I also redesigned the back unit. I liked the gear assembly up top, but stick it on a few engniney bits from my collection, and ran hoses to the pistols, to look like they were feeding it.

I think this makes a more unique looking engineer model, and I can't wait to show it off when painted.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Forgesworn Eternals - Painted Models Part 6

Another short painting update. My Knight-questor from the Silver Tower set is done.

And this completes the painting (before the basing of course) of my Forgesworn Eternals. I like the method I used for painting them because it's simple enough and worked well for their theme. Now I will start dedicating my resources to working on my Duardin portion of the army. I have some ambitious plans for it, but attainable goals I feel.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Verminlord Skrax' Lair - Title Plaque - How I did it

Doing a painted title plaque was a last minute idea for my display board. I wanted originally just to do a simple print of the army title and stick it on the base. However I knew it would look cheap and unimpressive, even if you find the perfect font for it (which is Dark Crystal font, by the way).

I thought of this idea because I wanted something hand painted to title the whole board. So here is the process of how I went about doing it:
Start off by printing off the text onto label paper. Label paper is just a big sheet of paper with a sticker backing. It's primarily meant for printing labels onto things. I kept the size of the font so it would fit within the 1" thick base of the board. Luckily the font I donwloaded had an outline version, which made this so much easier. I cut out a sizeable portion of the label paper and stuck it on a piece of plasticard, then stuck the outlying sticker on a piece of wood that I usually do my cutting and painting on. This is to prevent curling and a hard back for the painting. As the paint would dry, the whole thing would want to warp. You can see the outline of the plasticard underneath the label.
Next I painted within the text and the background of the title, trying to keep within and without the lines as much as possible. I purposefully painted outside the boundaries of the plague because I knew I was going to cut it out, and it would be better than having white within the cut.
Using the colors of my army's armor and warpstone, I painted a reflection type gradient. This was easier than I thought because I didn't bother with any sort of wet blending, just applying layers of the right colors.
Next I applied a layer of a lighter red surrounding the text to bring it out a little more. It still blends well enough with the background.
To finish the text, I used a fine tip black ink marker to recorrect the original black outline. It sharpens up the details. Then I give the whole thing plenty of time to dry, so any tendency to warp would be done by now.
I marked out the borders with a fine tip pen and cut it out using a hobby knife and a metal ruler to ensure the angles were as right and edges straight as possible.
Then using a black I painted a thin uneven border around it just for effect. Some warping still happened, but not as much if I hadn't use the label paper to keep the whole thing down. Also I painted along the white edges of the plasticard so it wouldn't stand out, that can really distract the from the overall feel of it.

Then I gave the whole thing a quick coat of spray on matte varnish to protect it, and glued it to the display board.