Monday, December 31, 2012

Meet the PC: Ikoma Ryo, Lion Clan Samurai

One of my favorite parts about tabletop roleplaying is finding, modeling, and painting the perfect miniatures for our party PCs. I've been doing this for years now, and thought I'd share some of these characters with you.

Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. (Apologies, my wife was watching Sound of Music earlier)

Back in 2005, Yorrik & I met Joe, a fellow Wargamer, roleplayer, and GM extraordinaire. Shortly after we hit it off we started our first campaign: Legend of the Five Rings. Joe GMed three of us (myself, yorrik, & his wife) through a spiritworld adventure.

The first miniature I ever painted for this game was for Yorrik's character: Ikoma Ryo, a straight-laced, honorable lion clan samurai. Very by-the-book, very much a stick in the mud, very good guy to have your back.

There's no place in L5R for actual miniatures, but we found they were exceptionally useful to help flesh out battles, where character positioning is essential. This mini is from the old Clan War tabletop wargame. It went defunct years ago, but some of the minis are still in production through Valiant Miniatures. I don't remember what i had to do to get this mini, but I'm glad i did, because I haven't found another like it since.

This is actually the only character mini that I finished during the course of the game, but I did my best to get the details right. His left eye is milky, since the character lost it in a duel with a Tengu master (It's hard to make out in the picture). It still stands out as one of my favorites after all these years.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

More Dark Angels from White Dwarf

Here are a few more shots from the January White Dwarf, featuring some better and before unseen shots of Asmodai and some of the First Company veterans.

The shots came from La Taberna De Laurana, and I cleaned them up a bit in photoshop

First, a better shot of the Chaplain, who is likely to be Asmodai. I noticed a detail shot that was described as Asmodai's shoulder pad, and it looked like it belonged to this guy.
 Then We have more Deathwing. I particularly like the Deathwing Apothecary. Makes a lot more sense than a Ravenwing Apothecary in my opinion. That helmet will be a popular conversion piece.

 Another few bits that will be great for conversions are the Knight's maces. I don't know for sure, but they look like they should be full of incense or similar material.

Finally, I kinda liked that there are still Watchers in the Darkness. Not sure if this is a new one or not, but I appreciate that they're still a part of it.


Roleplaying Miniatures

There are as many different reasons and ways to roleplay as there are people. Some are tacticians who work the battlefields, some are social gamers who revel in the interaction , others are storytellers who love interacting with the living tapestry of a narrative in motion.

For lack of a better term, I'm a mini-maker.

I heartily enjoy creating a character and then finding, modeling, & painting the perfect mini for it. Aside from the practical use of having a mini as a visual placeholder in tactical situations I like having a little avatar I can use as a focal point for my roleplay.

Usually during our first session we describe our characters in detail. Then I set to work trying to find the perfect mini for each of us. We'll be roleplaying, and I'll be mentally coming up with lists of possible reapers to pick from. I'm not sure why I enjoy it so much, but I do.

My work schedule is crap for my usual gaming group, so I haven't actually been able to game for a few months now. I was reminded how much I miss it when I sat down and painted this gal on Thursday.
This is an Alaine, Female Paladin from reaper. I've had the mini for almost seven years now, and originally bought it to portray a slightly off-balance fighter from a game led by Yorrik.

It also reminded me of just how many of these I've painted over the years. So I've decided to make it a weekly thing. Starting Monday, and every Monday thereafter, I'll start posting some of the RPG minis I've painted. I figure I'll start with the PC's, the minis that I or my friends have actually played, and move on from there. Yorrik might even get in on it too, since he also does this.

Hope you enjoy.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dark Angels leaks in January White Dwarf

Some exciting pictures from this month's White Dwarf courtesy of the irreplaceable Naftka over at Faeit 212.

Here there are shots you can find there including the cover of the new Dark Angels codex!
The look is very in keeping with the Chaos Space Marines Codex from earlier this year. Very dynamic and features a single character.

The cover of the White Dwarf features the new Dark Angel unit: Deathwing Knights.

There are even better shots inside, including the new Belial miniature. As far as the box goes, it's clear that it's another 2-in-1 kit with bits to make one unit or the other. My question is how the hooded heads will look on Tactical marines. If they look good front to back, you can bet these will be go-to bits for conversions.

 It's hard to mention the Deathwing without bringing up their faster little brothers, the Ravenwing, and they make an appearance as well. Truthfully, I've never been keen on bikers. I don't like painting them, so they've never featured significantly in my lists. I like the look of these though, particularly the Apothecary, if for no other reason than the image of someone performing surgery while riding a motorcycle.

 The poorest picture of the batch is that of a likely interrogator chaplain. It looks like it took a few notes from the Dark Vengeance box, such as the smoke coming from the backpack. I'd like to see a better version of this shot.

Perhaps the most tantalizing new offering comes from the Dark Angels vehicles. Here we see two new Speeder variants, and a new flier. The first is clearly labeled as the "Land Speeder Vengeance" while the other is unnamed in the photos (It's rumored to have some shrouding ability, as seen in the BL books). No clue about the flier or its variant build.


If Literature were Chapters

Warhammer & Warhammer 40k are rife with puns, homages, and word play. There are plenty of overt references to literature in the universe, such as the Primarch of the Night Lords, Konrad Curze, (which refers to Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness) and Inquisitor Karamazov (Dostoyevsky's the Brother's Karamazov). Another subtler one is the invocation of the Flesh Tearer's Chapter: "For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my battle-brother eternal."  Which is a slightly tweaked line from Shakespeare's Henry V.  

With such a huge field of source material to pull from I thought I'd try my hand at creating a few. Mind you, I haven't necessarily read these, or agree with them (see Atlas Shrugged), but when has being ill-informed ever stopped me?

There's just so much source material for this I might have to do another literature chapters group, but for this post I'm going with some bad-boy Chapters. Now with Chaos! 

White Boars:
Literature reference: Major, the pig from George Orwell's "Animal Farm"
Colors: White with Pink trim
Concept: Once an upstanding chapter, the army was thrown into discord by the passing of their Chapter Master. An unworthy heir, Captain Napoleon took command, and over the course many years, his subtle tyranny led his battle brothers into the embrace of Slaanesh.

Atlas Marines:
Literature: Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged"
Colors: Gold with Red & Black accents
Concept: Originally sent to guard against Ork incursion in the galactic north, these marines have all but pulled away from the auspices of the Imperium. Chapter Master Rearden Steele felt the bureaucratic nonsense of the Imperium limited their operations, and now pursue their duty while the missives from Terra go unanswered.   

Oracles of Wrath:
Literature: Alexandre Dumas' "Count of Monte Cristo"
Colors: Dark blue & Copper
Concept: Once allies of the Bel-Shammon Craftworld, their second company was betrayed during a desperate fight against the Dark Eldar. The Oracles of Wrath have since taken it upon themselves to destroy the Bel-Shammon, and have extended their rage to all Eldar, using the prescient abilities of their Chief Librarian Dantes to suss out locations of Eldar activity.

Literature:  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's "Faust"
Colors: Blue & White
Concept: Created to combat the influence of Khorne cults around the Eye of Terror. They turned to the master of hidden knowledge, Tzeentch, for the power to find and destroy all the followers of Khorne. It is notable however, that for every demolished cult of the blood god, Tzeentch followers seems to take it's place.

Literature: Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein"
Colors: Purple with White lightning
Concept: Created during the 13th founding, for an unknown purpose, little is known about this chapter.  They are rarely seen, but they appear to have a particular distaste for the Adeptus Mechanicus, and are known for raids against outposts tasked with creation, testing, and development of gene-seeds. They are almost never seen without their armor, but those who have speak of horrifying visages of skin that appears to be wrought of many bodies.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Emperor's Champion Giveaway: The winner is.....

Picture by Demonplay at Deviantart
The Black Templars are a fleet-based chapter, highly mobile, and ready to move where needed at a moment's notice. One Emperor's Champion has received new orders, and will be leaving my Oregon home for the abode of Skywatcher, of Opposition Force, where he will serve with honor against the enemies of the Emperor. Like 40k Giveaway, I used to pick the winner.

Skywatcher, please email me with your address asap so I can get your mini to you.

 Many thanks to those that signed on for the giveaway. It went so swimmingly that I'll probably do another in January.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Commission: Night Wolves Terminators

I jumped into my Night Wolves commission this week, and I'm hoping to have them done before the apocalypse on Friday. The owner wanted them to look good, but wanted the Detailed HQs to stand out comparatively.

There are 7 termis in this batch, and less then a week to do them, so I'm doing my best to push my speed painting. Mostly this means I'm not doing any more than three layers on any given color: a base coat, a wash, and a highlight. Not necessarily in that order.

Here's the first guy I completed to test the scheme:
He was a quick piece of work, so he isn't perfect, but I think he'd good for what he is, and he'll stand out nicely once he's on the table.

The armor itself is pretty simple. Here's a quick side by side of the progression.

It's done in four steps (not including priming):
1.) A coat of Krylon Indoor/Outdoor Regal Blue. It coats nicely, but it only available in gloss finish (note how shiny it is in the pic above). This doesn't affect the finished product though, because once it's hit with a coat of wash it mutes the sheen.

One important thing to note: The spray can be thick and will muck up some fine details. So to protect certain areas, like the heads and faces, I cover them with strips of masking tape.

2.) A coat of Citadel Regal Blue. I'm still working with the old citadel paints, so I don't know what to recommend out of the new line. I've found that paints flow really nicely over the krylon gloss, and it's really easy to see which areas you've missed because the difference in gloss.

3.) Extreme highlights with a Regal Blue/Skull White mix. Nothing drastic here, just hitting the high points & more visible edges.

4.) A slightly watered down wash of Asurmen Blue wash. A little bit of this wash goes a long way, so I'm fine watering it & spreading it a little thin.

Like I said, I'm painting seven of these guys, so it'll test my attention a bit, but I've got my goal in mind & I hope to hammer them out in short order. More updates as I complete them.


QUICK REMINDER: I'm doing my drawing for my Emperor's Champion Giveaway tomorrow. So sign up if you'd like a chance to win. May the odds be ever in your favor. :P

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Spotlight: Eldar Guardian Squad up for grabs at 40K Giveaway

Fellow blogger, and supplier of good ideas, 40K Giveaway has posted his latest giveaway, a whole squad of painted Eldar Guardians.

It must be the holidays, because this is his biggest offering to date. The Eldar appear to be mostly mold-line free (better than most ebay auctions I've won) and are painted in a neat scheme.

Either way, yet another chance to get some free swag this year.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Dark Vengeance Company Master

With the end of the year approaching I really want to finish a few projects I've been wanting to get to, namely a group of Night Wolf terminators and the Greater Knarloc. Before that though I wanted to at least wrap up the Dark Vengeance HQs. I Finished the Librarian, so here's the Company Master

There's quite a bit of detail on this guy, so it took a little time. I'm pleased with how he looks. After I built & primed him I realized I left a pretty obvious gap on the shoulder pad where the chest bit attached to the body. Instead of going through to process of filing, filling it with green stuff, smoothing, and hand priming I decided to hide it with the checkerboard design. It probably took the same amount of time as it would've to fix it, but hey, now he's got a checkerboard shoulder pad. So win.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dark Vengeance Librarians: Dark Angel & Guardians of the Covenant style

The Librarian is hands down my favorite Dark Angel mini from the Dark Vengeance box. It's just everything you want out of a Space Marine psyker: A severe face peering out from under a hood, a pose that belies the forces at their fingertips, and a big freaking runed sword. What more could you want?

This is another mini that both Yorrik & I have completed, so I figured I'd do a side by side comparison to show how different styles and paint jobs can give an entirely different feel to the same mini. As you can see, I stuck to the Dark Angel scheme, since I'm hoping to sell the DA half, and he continued with his Guardians of the Covenant.

I think I probably ended up spending a little more time on some of the details, like the glowing eye, but I think he nailed the force sword. He also has a better hand at the lined details at the edge of the hems, and the librarian symbol. By the time I got to the sword I was kinda tired, so I relied a little too much on washes to cover up my gaffes.

Once I sell off the Dark Angels I'm probably going to head to Hoard-o-bits and get another, I like the mini so much.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

40k Giveaway: Emperor's Champion

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

So with that in mind, I'm going to straight up jack 40k Giveaway's schtick. I have many minis that I'll likely never be able to use, so I'm going to give you the opportunity to get them for free.

For December I'm going to give one lucky reader a fresh Emperor's Champion. This metal mini was given to me by a shipmate almost a decade ago, but has never met a paint brush, since it was a duplicate for me. So this is your chance to have one of your very own.
photo from Games Workshop

The rules are simple (and also stolen from 40k Giveaway):
1)  Be a public follower of this blog (I want to see you in the 'Members' gadget on the right).
2)  Leave a comment below saying that you want the item. (I'll do the drawing December 17, in hopes of getting it to you before Christmas, so post before then.)
3)  If you win the item, come back and leave a comment once you've received it saying,"Hey, I got it!"

Best of luck, i hope you get it.


Yorrik: Penal Legion

Another update of Yorrik's Abhuman Guard army:

"My cycle seems to be "forget about these guys for a few months, then polish off a squad or two." Right now I'm working on the Penal Legion. When picking them back up I noticed that my initial skin technique (lots of paint mixing between purple, pink, and white over the course of seven or eight layers) was simply too time consuming. So I developed a compromise technique that delivers a much less rich skin tone, but at a quicker pace. I do like that their skin comes out more pale and sickly, though the old technique has far more depth and richness. In these pictures it's hard to tell, but the second fellow from the right has the first, more time-consuming recipe. On the table they'll all look like pale freaks, though, so I guess overall it's a win.

Hoping to get the first five Veteran Guardsmen done soon. Their skin has been painted (using the same technique) but now I'm struck with some important decision-making. As they wear scavenged armor to a greater degree than the regular foot trooper, I have to actually map out what the PDF uniform might have been, so I can replicate it on the minis. "


Saturday, November 24, 2012

If Myths were Chapters

Black Dragons, Blood Gorgons, Howling Griffons, Minotaurs, Sons of Medusa, Chimera, Manticore, Valkyrie

Even without delving past the Imperial forces 40k is rife with references to mythology and mythical creatures, much of it from Western culture. I figured It could be fun to explore the potential of myths from other world cultures. Here are five new legend-inspired Chapters.

Origin: Ghostly ancestors, Nightmarchers (Maori)
Colors: Burnt orange with light blue "tattoos"
Concept: Established on a mostly aquatic world, the locals consider the chapter to be mighty ancestral spirits, who steal away people from their homes in the dead of night. They are perhaps most well known for the elaborate tattoos that cover both their bodies and armor.

Heirs of Orthus
Origin: Two-Headed dog, Orthus (Greek)
Colors: Orange and black halved
Concept: This chapter's fortress monastery is based on the dark side of a planet whose where one half if eternal night. They use this intensely inhospitable terrain to mold their exceptional night-fighting abilities.

Water Lynx
Origin: Mishupishu, the Underwater Panther (Native American)
Colors: Teal with black chest & white accents
Concept: Few know of these marines, because they leave so few survivors, or witnesses. For this reason only the rare inquisitor, or desperate general will call upon these ferociously efficient warriors.

Tengu Blades
Origin: Birdlike spirits, the Tengu (Japanese)
Colors: White & Red quartered
Concept: Swordsmen of the utmost caliber, these marines often eschew long range tactics for close quarters fighting. A small number of these marines exhibit a rare mutation that causes them to lose their senses in the heat of battle, fighting with reckless abandon until victorious, or put down by great force.

Qilin Claws
Origin: the omen bringing Qilin (Chinese)
Colors: Yellow with Green helmet, arms, and legs
Concept: Far more contemplative than some other chapters, The Qilin Claws use their Catalepsean Nodes and Sus-an Membranes to meditate upon the art of war for days or weeks at a time. This makes them highly desired as battlefield leaders, as well as trainers of great military minds.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Keeper of Secrets (continued)

I finally got the spear, and now he/she/it is done (modeling-wise that is).

The spear fits a lot better aesthetically, and is a lot less distractingly huge.

Now all that's left is a little bit on the base (adding more sand & a bit of razor wire), priming, and painting.

He's behind a few other projects, but I plan on using it for an upcoming painting competition.


Friday, November 16, 2012

How in the world do people find this blog?

Apparently Terry Crews.

I've only been blogging for a few months now so I'm always interested in what brings people to my shady corner of the internet.

I check my traffic & audience stats pretty frequently and puzzle over things like "Why do I have 21 hits from Greece today?" It's welcome, but a little confounding.

One of the statistical tools is called Traffic Sources, where you can see what websites refer people to your page or what search engine terms people used before clicking on your website.  For the most part it's things like "40k nurglings," "Green Wraitguard," or "Guardians of the Covenant" (There've also been a surprising number of searches for "Eladrin Warlord"). These all make sense since those are gaming terms, and this is a gaming blog.

Yesterday however I saw three words I never thought I'd see to bring someone to my little painting page: "Terry Crews Grandfather"

The hell?

How does Terry Crews have anything to do with my minis?
Seriously. Look at this guy. The only thing he'd ever have to do with 40k would be the basis for a bad ass Catachan.

I went on a Google Image Search mission to see for myself. Sure enough, on page 37 I found this picture
Apparently after a few dozen pages of Terry Crews pics Google starts grasping at straws, so it noticed I'd used the word "Grandfather" (Nurgle) in my post about this mini so it tossed the shot in with the rest.

Weird stuff.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Custom Keeper of Secrets

Last January I'd just finished painting a plastic Daemon Prince for a painting competition, & found I had a lot of nice bits left over. I was trying to figure out how to build something with the remaining pieces so I drew up a little concept sketch for a Daemon Prince/Chronos Pain Engine kitbash, here:
The concept was simple: Toss a few Talos/Chronos tentacles around the upper body of the Daemon Prince, and you'd have a unique looking combination. Plus by using the tentacles for the lower body it meant you didn't need an extra pair of legs, which are one of the limiting bits of the Daemon Prince Box.

I bartered online for a few Talos sprues, and got to see how well they actually worked together.

Turns out some parts fit better than others.

The heads & helmets were just right. They looked fine right off the sprue. As a whole the tentacles were too small. The pair I had drawn growing from the back looked puny, and the tentacle cluster I was going to use in lieu of legs wouldn't come close to filling the role without using an extra set.

Instead of the shoulder tentacles I decided to attach a pair of Daemon Prince tails to the back. They fit better size-wise, and they nicely mirrored the bony spines on its back. I took the tentacles and placed them on his ribcage to tie in the upper body and lower body.
Here's how it looked once I had a second pair of tentacle clusters:

A little later on I came up with an idea for an alternate head. The faceless "gimp" look was great, but it lacked a carnal, sadistic quality I'd expect out of a Greater Daemon of Slaanesh.  By cutting up another Talos head, and a Prince head I was able to make something far more violently unhinged looking:
This uses two Prince heads (the lower face of one, and the horns of another) and one Talos head. The Talos head is backwards and upside down compared to how it would normally be.

Work stopped around March due to other projects & my own personal ADD, but I've picked it up again. Here's how he looked two days ago:

 I decided to make a few changes:
* I no longer like the shoulder spike. The mini had enough jutting spiky bits, it didn't need two more to distract attention. I fashioned jewels for the brackets of the shoulder guards instead
* One of the big selling points of the mini is how it hovers above the base. To give it a little elevation I tipped over some imperial bastion terrain and attached the flying base to that instead.
* Once they were in place, the tentacle clusters made the torso look too small, so I added a pair of hip plates from parts on the Talos sprues. This will also help when it comes to painting to be able to pull colors from the upper body to the lower body as well, hopefully giving it a more uniform look.

Since then I've been working on the base, using greenstuff to add elevation & extra detail bits.

The last thing I'm waiting on before getting into painting is a spear. I decided that the Prince axe, while burly and violent, doesn't really fit with the aesthetic. Slaaneshi daemons should be impaling enemies, not chopping them (subtle, I know). Instead I'm going to do a weapon swap with a spear from the Tomb Kings Necropolis Knights box. I don't know if it'll fit just right, but I should have the bit in the next few days, and we'll see then.

Either way, the mini has come a long long way, and I'll be excited to get it to the next stage.