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.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Warriors of Chaos Leaks

I'm not much of a follower of Warhammer Fantasy, other than the fact I own an army of Orcs & Goblins, that are mostly unbuilt, and untested, and another army that can switch hit on occasion, but i like the minis. Having said that, there are a few upcoming minis that tickle my fancy.

Namely the Valkia model, and whatever that Nurgle guy is. He's probably a champion or sorcerer, but I think he'd make a stand-out Herald for my daemon army (Now if only Heralds of Nurgle were any good)

Here are the newest leaks of the upcoming WOC in the White Dwarf from Nafka via Kurl Veranek on Warseer


Friday, October 12, 2012

A review of Reaper's Bones miniatures

As a regular customer of Reaper Miniatures I've been keeping my eye on the development of their newest bid at breaking away from the high price of tin: Bones. A series of classic/popular miniatures cast in white plastic.  An interesting idea, but they hadn't produced anything in plastic that I'd want to buy, so I wasn't going to go out of my way to get it.

Then their Kickstarter happened. To make a long story short, if you gave them $100, they'd send you 221 plastic minis, and good sculpts to boot. That's about .45¢ a mini. It isn't a bad deal, it's an insane deal. When I think about how good a deal it is that crazy robot from Futurama blows up in my mind. Unfortunately I didn't buy into it for a few reasons (biggest being that my wife & I are expecting twins, and $100 literally buys a crapload of diapers).

Now if you are kicking yourself for not knowing about the kickstarter you can still buy into the deal for an increased price-tag of $150 (about .68¢ a mini).

I popped into one of my friendly local game stores yesterday and saw they happened to have a few Bones minis in stock, so I figured I'd see if they lived up to the hype, and take you through the pros & cons point by point. Here's the mini I bought, & painted up Thursday.

and my finished product:

The first thing you notice, aside from the fact looks like it's carved from prison soap, is the price. I paid $2.00 for it. In pewter this mini costs $6.50. Crazy kickstarter deal notwithstanding, that's still a fine price. I'm a firm believer in "You get what you pay for" though, so I've been unreasonably wary up to this point.

The mini comes entirely glued & built. I'm fine with this since all the mold lines were easily accessed, but it could get tricky if they have any that make it difficult to clean.

Once I got into the painting I also found that whoever assembled it got a little fast and loose with the glue. A bunch appeared to have run down & pooled a bit along the mini's side. It was mostly hidden behind the mini's beard though, so it was easy to cover up.

Looking at the mini itself it looks decent, but definitely not crisp like you'd expect to see from metal or resin. This didn't really surprise me, but it's still notable. A good paintjob can redeem a cruddy miniature anyhow, so I wasn't too worried.

Probably the most notable thing about the quality itself is the plastic. Once I got it home and opened it up I found that it was soft. Like, bendably soft. It was no problem to bend the hammer and have it spring back into place.

If I were to rank mini plastics from hardest to softest I'd say the hardest/most brittle is Privateer Press, then Games Workshop, then Bones, then plastic D&D minis. Although Bones might even be comparably soft to the D&D minis. I tried not to manhandle it too much.

This softness also made it far harder to clean the mold lines. Don't bother using files, just a fresh X-acto.

I'm curious about some of the other molds & weapons on their other minis. How bendy will thin blades, staves, or bows be? How easy will it be to readjust misshaped bits? (I imagine the hot water trick will work, but who knows?)

I didn't do any modifications to the dwarf I picked up, but I have a few thoughts on this subject.

First, make sure the bits are attached to something sturdy. Like I said, the plastic is soft, so a stable base is going to be idea. Second, I wouldn't do any weapon or hand swaps without pinning. On that note, I'm not so sure how easy it will be to drill the plastic. We'll have to see.

Reasonably paintable. I didn't put in too much effort and got a good quality looking mini out of it.

According to the Reaper website: "[The Bones miniatures] take paint without priming. Our Master Series Paints cover these models perfectly right out of the bottle, and the paint sticks -- standing up to most sorts of tabletop abuse your friday night group would be able to dish out."

I'm gonna call BS on that.

I figured I'd give it a shot, just to see how well it worked. The paint spread fine, and stuck reasonably well, but after drying the paint rubbed off with even gentle handling (the only caveat is that I use citadel paints, not their Master Series, which I don't care for). I'm definitely going to have to seal this guy before I let anyone touch him.

For a 70% drop in prices you get a pre-built white plastic mini. The details that aren't as sharp as metal, the plastic is soft, and while you don't technically have to prime it, you really should. The range is slim now, but if the Kickstarter is any indication they've got support, and a bunch of new minis coming out in the next year.

I can see myself buying one of these again.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

If Sci-Fi shows were Chapters

The worlds of Warhammer & Warhammer 40k are rife with puns, homages, and word play.  Some of these are pop culture references like Sly Marbo (anagram of Rambo) or Kruellagh the Vile (Cruella De Vil).

Warhammer 40k also seems to draw from a handful of science fiction sources for inspiration (Tyranids & Alien, Kroot & Predator), and I decided to do the same. I, like many other 40k players, am a big fan of the sci-fi genre, so I thought I'd turn to popular television shows for inspiration for a new crop of Space Marine Chapters.

Blue Palms
Sci-fi show: "Firefly's" shadowy villains, the Hands of Blue
Colors: Black, white, and light blue
Concept: The Chapter's home world of Muir orbits a blue star with abnormal properties. Some attribute the sun's peculiar radiation as the cause the abnormally high levels of psychic manifestation in the populace. The Blue Palms regularly cull the weaker psykers (or donate them to the Black Ships when available) and recruit the strongest, leading a much higher than average number of librarians.

Time Lords
Sci-fi show: The Doctor's race from "Doctor Who"
Colors:  Dark red & gold
Concept: at one time this chapter was one of the strongest forces within the Segmentum Pacificus. They were known for an ardent adherence to Imperial code and ceremony, occasionally to the point of infighting over particular minutiae of laws. Today they are all but forgotten with only a single  apothecary known to be in operation.

Sacred Scrolls
Sci-fi show: a set of religious texts from "Battlestar Gallactica"
Colors: White & black
Concept: These marines hold a curious set of beliefs in regards to their forebears. They consider the Primarchs and Emperor as a pantheon of Gods, including those fallen to Chaos. This worship would be considered heretical to the Imperial Cult, so they will go to unreasonable lengths to avoid working alongside those who would take issue with their faith.

Obsidian Order
Sci-fi show: The Cardassian intelligence agency from "Star Trek DS9"
Colors: Royal purple & sage green
Concept: a number of outside observers have noted that this chapter appears to have filled the niche left by the Night Lords. They are brutally efficient in their intelligence gathering efforts, as well as their wartime endeavors.

Sci-fi show: a ruthless military organization from "Farscape"
Colors: Black & red
Concept: The Peacekeepers were established in the Ultima Segmentum a century prior to the dispersal of te warp storm that revealed the modern Tau to the galaxy. Since the appearance, they have taken it upon themselves to "deter" imperial worlds from joining the burgeoning xenos empire, and making examples of any who do.