Thursday, May 27, 2010

Foxphoenix attempts sculpting: Charnel Daemon for RT/DH

Sorry I haven't posted in a little while, but sometimes I find it therapeutic to take a brief hiatus and remember that it's a game, not a job.

It's true, I am finally diving into a full-fledged figure sculpt for the first time. Now that I have all these casting materials, I want to put them to some good use and make something worth selling! The only way I'll be able to do that is with some practice. For starters, I decided to go with a large model that I can exaggerate proportions to make sculpting easier.

Above is the sketch of the basic design I plan to use. I'll be using bits for the head and wings, so this mainly focuses on the body. This design shows the proportions of the model, and I have yet to add armor or any other such adornment to the model. Let me explain some things: The feet are going to be hooves, so I have yet to sketch those out until I can look at some other miniatures or real-world examples. The legs are going to be covered in coarse hair or fur. Think of the Hell Knight from the old-school Doom games. I'll be draping a loin-cloth of chainmail or some-such covering across the groin area, secured by a large leather belt with a skull buckle.

I haven't decided which way I want to go for the head. I am planning on using either a Minotaur head from the fantasy line, or a Bloodletter head. I have bought both from bitz retailers and will wait until I can compare them directly before deciding which fits better.

The weapon probably will not look like that in the finished product. I will have to find a suitable design to use, but that one illustrated won't be it, I assure you.

Now to build the armature, the foundation that you build upon.

I made the armature from floral wire, found near the sewing section in my local wal-mart. It comes in green rods, and it slightly more pliable than a jumbo paperclip. I twisted together lengths of it until it resembled the basic underlying skeleton of the piece I desired. This is where you will decide the pose it will take.

Above is pictured the finished armature with some additional bulk from 2 part epoxy putty, the kind you find in the adhesives section at a department store. This putty dries very hard, and doesn't have much working time and is quite rough in texture, but these qualities make it perfect for making the foundation of the miniature. This makes the greensculpt stronger, which allows it to better survive the mold-making process. The greenstuff will completely cover it, so there is little to worry about in the way of thumbprints or other screw-ups.

At this stage, things do not have to be perfect. As you can see, I didn't match the proportions of the sketch very closely at all. I just made the basic shape (a little smaller than the sketch) that will be filled in with greenstuff as I go.

I plan on working from the legs up. Sculpting is a very long process due to the long curing time of greenstuff, so this may be a very long project. I'll need some support to see it through, so make sure you guys give me lots of harassment to finish it up!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Apocalypse Showdown on the 15th

The forces of Disorder, arrayed to break the defenders of Hades Gate.

The forces of the Imperium, allied to repulse the invasion of Orks and Chaos.

My traitor guardsmen, convinced to join Chaos and let the Gates fall!


On the 15th of May, in order to boycott 'Ard Boyz for all the WAAC players it harbors, we held our own day of gaming at the meeting room in our local library. We played games of regular 40k to warm up and wait for people to arrive, and then held a No-Holds-Barred, Kill-Them-And-Take-Their-Stuff game of Apocalypse. It was a Return to Hades Gate type of scenario, with the forces of the Imperium aligning themselves to try to repulse the Chaos, Ork, and Eldar forces of Disorder.

The game went from around 2 in the afternoon until around 10 at night, with 4 players on each side at first with 2 more players coming in as Strategic Reserves for the Imperium later in the game. We ended at the end of turn 2, simply because of the time constraint and we had players dropping out.

I wish I could tell you the points values for this fight, because it must have been truly epic, but we did not use points limits for it. It must have been in excess of 30,000 points though, because I alone had approximately 5-6k, and I was one of the "mid-sized" detachments.

I forgot my card for my camera (Doh! The one time I bring the camera... figures!), so I had to use my backup card that had only enough room on it to get these couple of quick shots after deployment was complete. Deployment alone took the better part of the afternoon! We picked some good stratagems: For my guard I chose the General Staff Strategic Asset, which immensely helped every order or LD check I made for the entire game. I can't imagine a better buff for the guard! My closest ally, Curbow, was using Eldar and Tau both, and so was able to drop a marker-light "bomb," as we called it, on half the board, illuminating many enemies for us to shoot at. My Ork ally, easily the largest army on the table, had 7+ titan-class superheavies, and so he sprinkled Meks with KFFs in Trukks around our forces to harden the lines. I do not recall what he or the CSM player chose as Strategic Assets, unfortunately.

The Imperium of the False Emperor got second turn, and so picked some very useful strategic assets of their own. They picked Flank March, for one, as well as placing a minefield in front of the Eldar and Tau lines. Since he used mostly fast skimmers, this didn't effect them too much, but it did spoil our initial plan of me following the skimmers up the flank with my armor column. The Flank March would prove vital later in the battle, as would the amount of Strategic Reserves they held.

Since the forces of Disorder got the first turn, it got ugly pretty fast. On Curbow and my side, we were up against a Reaver-class titan, surrounded by friendly infantry. Curbow didn't hesitate. He shot around the minefield, spun up some eldar big guns, and used the markerlight benefits to reduce the mighty Titan to a pile of slag in the first turn. Unfortunately it did not go supernova, which would have been both hilarious and useful to our cause. I pushed forward as far as I could with my chimeras, but the lack of space held my advance in check for the time being. I dropped as much ordnance as possible, spewing battlecannon rounds and manticore missiles, as well as orbital strikes from my Master of Ordnance, at as many targets as presented themselves. However, since the tables were 5 foot long instead of 4, some of my weaponry proved to be out-ranged, and there was little else I could do.

Over on the Ork player's side of the board, things were going well. The Stompas and the large Gargant were annihilating swaths of the opposition, despite bad scatter rolls, and he made progress up the flank.

On the Imperium's turn, we weathered the counter-fire fairly well. With the KFF support all around, and the low number of models that started on their side, we had effectively reduced their ability to fire back. I took damage to my chimeras, losing weapons, but ultimately I was relatively unharmed the first turn. Curbow's eldar and tau suffered severely, but that was the plan. He was to be the glass chisel that drove into the enemy and split them, ready for the iron spike of my traitor guard behind to drive onward. Bad scatter and low firepower plagued the Imperials on the first turn.

For the second turn, we got to bring in half of our Strategic Reserves. I only had two: Marbo and Stormtroopers in a Valkyrie, so I used them both to outflank and drive toward the gates. The stormies dropped in the middle of a sea of unfriendly space marines as the Valkyrie moved flat out overhead, and marbo jumped from out of the ground behind an Imperial Company Command Squad that included Commissar Yarrick.

Comically enough, when marbo threw his demo charge, it flew over his shoulder behind and impacted the wall of the Gates behind him. Less comically for my opponent, the stormtroopers used their hellguns and plasma to great effect, cutting down a swath of space marines at danger-close.

Stuff started blowing up. I'm unsure how, but somehow superheavies started going nova over on the Ork side of the board. As far as I could tell, it seemed that the Warhound that I put on loan to the Imperium players went supernova, causing a chain reaction of explosions. Infantry were removed by the buckets. I was far enough away that none of my units were effected, but it must have unnerved marbo because he totally whiffed on the charge in the assault phase, inflicting no unsaved wounds. He died at the clicking claws of Yarrick, who popped Marbo's head like a ripe grape with his powerclaw.

In the 2nd turn for the imperium, stuff got ugly yet again as their reserves began to arrive. Flank March proved to be quite a formidable strategy, as a superheavy tank appeared smack in the middle of Curbow and my lines. We ignored it for the time being, pressing forward and widening the swath of destruction immediately in front of the gates. I lost a lot of infantry heavy weapons to flank marching Rhinos loaded with Sternguard Vets, which unloaded rounds denying cover saves at my embedded heavy weapon teams. I also took damage to my chimeras, disabling their drive-trains and leaving them immobile.

We drove them back at the start of the 3rd turn. Superheavies REALLY started going off. We killed at least 3 over on the Ork side, and most of them went nova, starting a chain reaction. A team of TitanKiller Terminators showed up, totally annihilating the superheavy tank in our midst. It promptly went supernova, killing everything within a massive 25 inch radius from its hull.

I turned about, and started hammering the forces dropping into our deployment zones. The ork player had the other half of the board covered with belly-gun templates, so we knew we'd be taking the objectives next turn when his Green Tide would arrive (little did we know that we would not see it through to the conclusion).

The game started falling apart by that point, as players had to pull out due to the late hour, but it was pretty clear who would have won had the game continued. There were too many casualties sustained by the Imperium to stave off the invasion of the Hades Gates, seeing how the Green Tide was due to arrive the next turn.

All in all, it was a great game. Very evenly matched for the most part, it was an uphill battle the entire way. If we had not dumped everything on that Reaver titan in the first turn, the game would have turned out very differently. For now, the forces of Disorder withdrew the field, content in the damage they caused, knowing the next time they returned the Imperial dogs wouldn't be able to repel them again...

Until next time,

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Scratchbuild: Manticore/Hydra/Deathstrike?

Here's a scratch-build that I am working on: A chimera-chassis-based missile launcher that I am considering using as a "counts-as" for any of the following: a Hydra, a Manticore, or even a Deathstrike Missile Launcher. I could justify the type of weapon by the type of salvos that are launched, or possibly the payload of the rockets. For example, the Hydra variant would fire double-taps of Armor-Penetrating rockets at targets, where the Manticore variant would use a large blast S10 template due to the sheer number of High Explosives raining down. The Deathstrike stat line could represent a Tactical Atomic or Nuclear payload, with each rocket containing a small isotope. All the rockets get fired at once for maximum effect, and so it is a single shot salvo.

Ok, here it is. Give it a one-over and let me know what you think.

Titan Redux

For those of you who haven't seen it yet, I had to rebuild my scratch-built titan from the ground up (literally). I was trying to paint cardstock with acrylic paints thinned with water, and needless to say, that caused the structural integrity of the legs to be compromised. So, I set about reprinting the templates, and I discovered a treasure-trove of scratchbuilding plastic: old DVD cases! Yes, these old cases have a decently-sized front cover of thick plastic, and it is kind of like recycling! +Bonus points for going green! Save money on plasticard and find yourself used dvd cases.

So here is my Warhound Lucius Pattern Titan, MK2. The arms still need redesigned, but the rest of it is sturdy now. This isn't necessarily a finished project, but a decent foundation to build upon in the future. For now, I have more scratch-build projects to get started on. Stay tuned for those.

Until next time,


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