Knights: Robot Cohorts completed

This weekend I blitzed the robots and got them all painted. It was a pretty simple process once I’d decided on a paint scheme and set up a “factory line”.

First, I undercoated all the models with black. Then, I base coated them with a mix of Scab Red and Deneb Stone: mixing a bit of Deneb Stone (which is a “foundation” paint) in with the red increases its opacity gives it better coverage.

One this was dry, I painted Coat d’arms Slate Grey onto the base, then I painted details in Boltgun Metal and Coat d’arms Brass. Then they were all given a coat of Devlan Mud – including the base. Once this was dry, I drybrushed the base Deneb Stone.

Here are some photos of the robots laid out on my city board: the bases are intended to match the boards. The robots have support from a few titans of the Legio Pantera.

Polyversal

Polyversal is a forthcoming 6mm Sci-Fi game being developed by ken Whitehurst and published by Collins Epic Wargames. It’s quite an innovative format in that they are going to ship a boxed set containing rules and miniatures produced by a number of different manufacturers. Those familiar with the world of 6mm will recognise names like Exodus Wars, Dark Realm Miniatures, Brigade Models, Plasmablast Games and MicroWorld Miniatures.

I love the idea of these manufacturers working together to create a product that’s greater than the some of its parts. While each manufacturer creates some fantastic stuff, none of them on their own has a wide enough product range to compete with Epic, or produce an “out of the box” experience that’s likely to draw new gamers to the 6mm scale. But together, they could produce something really cool. I’m very inspired by the artwork that’s been announced for the cover of the boxed set:

20120314-184021.jpg

There’s a lot of enthusiasm for this product on the Tactical Command forums about Polyversal, and I’m pleased that my suggestion of including terrain from GameCraft Miniatures is being looked at. With rules, minis and scenery in a single box, this game could go a long way to bringing 6mm Wargaming to a wider audience.

Battlefleet Gothic Falchion Class Escorts

Wow, three posts in one day!

Here are some Falchion class escort ships. I’ve been thinking about repainting my BFG Imperial Navy fleet, as each squadron has been painted with a different colour scheme which doesn’t really make sense. I decided to go for a fairly simple style and a more realistic look (the idea of painting billions of litres of paint onto the outside of a ship which no-one will ever see doesn’t make much sense to me). This is just Army Painter grey primer covered in a watered down mix of Badab Black and Devlan Mud, drybrushed with codex and fortress grey.

Knights: Baron and Errants

I spent some time yesterday stripping the paint off of the Knight models, which had spent the previous week soaking in Dettol.

This afternoon I’ve been reassembling and basing the models. The first model I dealt with was the Baron, the Knight HQ unit.

I’ve never been very keen on this model. The banner pole it had made it look very tall and gangly. But I’m really pleased with the new incarnation:

I’ve ditched the banner pole, gave the torso a twist (I used a razor saw to cut the torso away from the hip, then pinned and reattached) and altered the stance of the legs. This makes the model much more dynamic. It also worked really well for some Errants.

Read more “Knights: Baron and Errants”

Robots of the Legio Cybernetica

Rather than use Skitarii or Tech-Guard as the infantry support for my Epic Knights, I’m going to use the robots of the Legio Cybernetica. It’s not clear whether robots (or indeed, Knights) are still around in M41, but that’s not a big problem, as we know they both were during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy, so this army could very easily be a pre-Heresy or Heresy-era army.

Here’s a picture of the assembled maniples just before they went into Dettol to be stripped. In OpenEpic they represent about 2,000 points, which should be enough to provide the Knights with a screen of ground pounders.

You can see a mix of all the different robot types (Crusader, Castellan, Cataphract, Conqueror and Colossus) in both metal and plastic.

Warhammer 40K 25th Anniversary Tournament at No Man’s Land

Big day today. Quite apart from it being Warhammer 40,000’s 25th birthday, it was also the first time I’ve played in a tournament: against strangers (sort of). Also the first time I’ve used my destroyers, scarab, Imotekh, Annihilation Barge and Monolith.

I don’t have time to give a full report but I’m pleased to say that I came 9th out of 14, with two losses, a draw and a win, against Dark Eldar, Space Wolves, codex marines and a rival Necron dynasty. Playing against Necrons was a lot of fun!

Check out the photos below and look out for the special spectator who came along! (I’m not talking about Ty the Wonder-Dog.)

Announcing OpenEpic

Announcing OpenEpic:

Some years ago I posted on the NetEpic mailing list about making NetEpic “open source”. Primarch and other list members seems pretty keen on the idea, but I think the delays in getting NetEpic Gold released meant that it was sort of forgotten about.

I decided to scratch my own itch and do something about it! I wanted to find a way to make the NetEpic rules system available under a proper Creative Commons copyright regime, but which also enabled gamers to easily contribute back, to make the rules a living, breathing thing, always changing, and (hopefully) always improving.

I realised that a wiki was the perfect solution. Wikis should be familiar to most people, because Wikipedia is a wiki. A wiki is a web site that allows its users to edit its contents. There is a simple formatting system, and a set of tools which make it very easy for groups of people to collaborate.

After registering a domain and setting up the wiki software, I have now finished entering the NetEpic core rules into the wiki. Other than reformatting the text to use standard wiki layout (and fixing a few typos that annoyed me), nothing in the text has been changed.

So I now feel that I’m ready to go public with the site: OpenEpic.org. For the time being, although you can view the site anonymously, you have to be logged in to edit the pages, and account requests have to be manually vetted by me.

The next step is to import the army lists. This is a bit more difficult because the army lists contain lots of tables and diagrams, and MediaWiki (the software I’m using) isn’t well suited to those sorts of things. But there’s more work to do: fixing typos, updating with errata, and so on.

I make no claim to become some sort of benevolent dictator over this, I’m just an itch scratcher who has volunteered to do the sysadmin. I also have no idea whether anyone else will think of this as a good idea, which is why I’m writing this post: to see who else is interested.

Review: Puppets War Cyber Beetles (Canoptek Scarab proxies)

I came across a post on TGN about some cyber beetles produced by Puppets War (not to be confused with Puppet Wars). They’re obviously cashing in on the newfound cheesiness of Necron scarabs: other than the scarabs you get when you by a box of warriors, the only other way to get scarabs is to buy them from Forge World at £1.33 each. By making pretty reasonable proxies at about a third of the price, I am sure they are doing quite well.

Seeing how I sacrificed most of my cache of scarabs to make Epic scale destroyers, I am pretty short of the beasties, so I decided to buy some. They just arrived today, so here’s a picture of how they turned out:

The casting quality is pretty good, with only a small amount of flash or warpage (and where there is any, it’s to the underside where it’s not likely to be noticed). The detail is pretty good and the size in comparison to Games Workshop’s scarabs is pretty good. So they’re not a bad alternative to the official models.

Missing images on posts, ctd

I just went through every post on the site and reuploaded any missing images.

One of the problems was caused by WordPress: when I migrated away from WordPress.com, only images explicitly linked to from within posts were transferred. Any images within a “gallery” tag were ignored. Fortunately I have backups and it was pretty easy to find the missing files and upload them.

Normal broadcasts will resume shortly!

Missing images on posts

It seems that some images in my media librarybgot lost when I migrated this site from WordPress.com. In some of my early posts, I also linked to images on an old website which no longer exists.

If you come across a post with missing or broken images, please let me know by posting a comment, and I’ll get them fixed. I have all the images, I just need to upload them and tag them to the article. Simple but tedious work, which is why I haven’t got round to it yet!

Epic Knights, Part 1: old and new

My Firedrakes are now all assembled, pimped and ready to start painting. I just finished Nocturne, the final part of the awesome Tome of Fire series by Nick Kyme, so I’m totally stoked about painting my Firedrakes up and joining the ranks of the Fire-born.

However, I am temporarily putting that project on hold. I’m going to use the Army Painter camo green primer as the base coat, and as you may know, Army Painter have just announced a range of acrylic paints that match their primer sprays. Army Green is included but won’t be out until the end of March, so I’ve decided to wait until I can get some before I start painting. That way I can correct mistakes without having to mix my own paint.

So in the meantime I’m making progress with one of my other 2012 objectives: getting my Epic knight army repainted. I’ve just taken an inventory of my old army, and thankfully it’s survived a decade of neglect quite well:

Epic Knight Inventory
Epic Knight Inventory

What you see there is ten plastic Paladins (plus another three on sprues), three Errants, three Crusaders, six Castellans, one Baron, and three of the old Adeptus Titanicus era metal knights: one Paladin and two Wardens.

These are all going to take a bath in Dettol to strip the paint off. I don’t think I’ll be going with the old green and white quartered scheme this time: I’m currently thinking along the lines of a more AdMech combo of red and bronze.

As well as these models, I also have some of the amazing chevaliers by Thom from Epic-FR. The quality on these resin miniatures is absolutely awesome: I’ve never seen such impressive detail and design on “amateur” miniatures before.

Read more “Epic Knights, Part 1: old and new”

Games Workshop should open source their rules development process

As a rule I don’t like to get drawn in to the 40K gossip echo chamber. There’s an old saying: Never wrestle with a pig: You both get all dirty, and the pig likes it.

Yesterday evening, I noticed a flurry of gossip in the blogo- and twitter-sphere suggesting that rules for the rumoured 6th edition of Warhammer 40,000 had been leaked, and uploaded onto a file-sharing website (the file has since been removed).

All this cafuffle prompts the following question: so what?

Read more “Games Workshop should open source their rules development process”

Jodrell’s Guide to Perfect Decals

Decals (or transfers, or whatever you want to call them) can, when done properly, bring a lot to a miniature. But for whatever reason, following the instructions that come with them is guaranteed to result in a really crap result that looks awful.

By process of trial and error (mostly error) I have worked out what I think is the best way to add decals to your miniatures. For anyone who’s built a model kit or wargaming miniature and been really pleased with the paint job, only to have it ruined by crappily finished decals, here’s my guide to doing them right, enhanced by my laughably amateurish diagrams.

Read more “Jodrell’s Guide to Perfect Decals”

Review: No Man’s Land, Maidstone

>> The No Mans Land website is at NoMansLandGames.com <<

No Man's Land

When I started wargaming back in the early 90s, independent wargames stores were pretty common here in the UK. Games Workshop opened their store in Maidstone in 1992 on Pudding Lane, and I’m pretty sure they chose that location because it was just around the corner from Maidstone Games, an indie store that had been there since forever, selling D&D books and BattleTech mechs and the like.

Nowadays, probably thanks to Games Workshop’s aggressive growth strategy (plus the general trend towards “clone town” retail districts), it seems like indie stores are pretty rare. Maidstone Games closed in the late 90s and since then, Maidstone has only had GW, and those few shops that did stock wargames miniatures and hobby supplies tended just to install a GW retail rack and be done with it (a notable exception being Hobbycraft, who also stock Flames of War and GF9 hobby materials).

As a result, it’s pretty hard to find a FLGS in the UK nowawadays, so the opening of No Man’s Land, a new — and more importantly, really cool — independent store in your home town is a pretty big deal, in fact it’s big enough to warrant a celebrity appearance at its opening.

Having discovered its existence, I wasted little time in dropping in and taking a look. So far, it’s like a dream come true.

Read more “Review: No Man’s Land, Maidstone”

My Hobby Plans For 2012

2012 is almost upon us! The last twelve months have been a period of diversification for me in hobby terms: I delved more deeply into 15mm SF stuff, finished my first 40k army in 15 years, and discovered In The Emperor’s Name.

I thought that it might be fun to post my plans for 2012, so I can look back next year and see how I did.

Read more “My Hobby Plans For 2012”

Citadel Finecast, First Impressions

Imhotek

Here’s the first FineCast miniature that I’ve assembled and painted. I recently took my step-daughter and her friend to one of my local GW stores for one of their “hobby tutorial” sessions (which was actually great fun) and we each bought a miniature to paint after. The kids both got Huron Blackheart and I got this, Imhotek the Stormlord.

Overall, I’m not especially impressed with Finecast: of the three miniatures, mine was the only one that didn’t have major gaps left by bubbles in the mould. Imhotek’s staff was quite badly warped (although that’s easy enough to fix), but the absurd number of injection sprues meant that getting the model off the frame was pretty risky, and I ended up breaking off his thumb, which I promptly lost, and had to replace with a piece of sprue. His foot also broke off and I had to reinforce it by adding some cork pieces to the base (which actually turned out quite well).

I was probably foolish in believing what I’d been told about being able to paint directly onto the resin: when the kids tried this with their miniatures, the paint refused to adhere and I had to give them a quick blast from a spray can to prime them.

Here’s a few more pictures of the finished Overlord. I think I am going to avoid Finecast miniatures whenever possible, and stick to metal miniatures if I can: thankfully a lot of the stuff that’s now Finecast only is still available on eBay.

I’m still pretty impressed by the new Necron stuff. I bought a box of Immortals/Deathmarks and these plastic minis are pretty fantastic.

Work-in-Progress: Epic Imperial City

I’ve made some progress on my modular Imperial city. I still need to add more colour and detail, but here’s what I’ve got so far:

Imperial City

With the building modules removed, you can see the road layout:

Imperial City

There are pieces of plasticard in the slots to elevate the building modules. This gives the effect of a slightly elevated pavement. The buildings represent three generations of Epic: the original foam buildings from the Adeptus Titanicus boxed set, the ruined buildings sprues from Epic 40,000 and the later Forgeworld Epic buildings:

Imperial City

Imperial City

You can also see a building from Gateshead Gaming, and the previously mentioned Kibri church, which is the centerpiece:

Imperial Cathedral

I’ve also created some ruined buildings, which could be used to replace buildings destroyed during the game:

Ruined Building

The roads are arranged so that another board can be slotted in on either of two sides (assuming S6 starts selling the road system again, or I’m able to find suitable replacements). The other two sides will have a reinforced defensive wall from GameCraft Miniatures.

Grimdarking the Kibri Goppingen Church

The Kibri 6818 Goppingen Church, an N-gauge Model Railroad kit, is something of a mythical object among Epic gamers. It’s now out of production, so it’s rather hard to get hold of, but it makes for a perfect showcase terrain piece.

Kibri 6818 Goppingen Church

But if you want to use it to play Epic, it’s a little plain. It needs grimdarking, with the judicial application of spikey bits:

Spikey BitsSpikey BitsSpikey BitsSpikey Bits

Having just bought a bunch of Cityfight boxes to build some 40K terrain, I’ve quite quite a few leftover pieces, which I’ve used to add some character to the building.

I’ve finally started to make some progress on my modular city system. I’ve glued down the roads and junctions in an arrangement that will let me expand to another board if/when Scott starts S6 Engineering back up again (or I find someone who can make some custom pieces for me). I’m planning on using the Fortress Walls system from GameCraft Miniatures to add a defensible city wall along two edges. More details to follow.

WIP: Imperial Crusader For In The Emperor’s Name

Here’s a photo of a current work-in-progress: an Imperial Crusader that I plan to use in games of In The Emperor’s Name:

Imperial Crusader

The miniature is a War Priest from Avatars of War. I’ve 40K’d it up a bit, by adding a Plasma Gun, Combat Knife, ammo pack and purity seal, all taken from the Space Marine accessories sprue. The head is from a Space Wolf marine. A bit of etched brass on the shoulder and on the sides of the warhammer finishes him off (note that the base is temporary).

More pictures below.

Imperial Crusader

Imperial Crusader

Imperial Crusader

Imperial Crusader

Illuminated Necron Monolith

I’ve now finished the centerpiece of my Warhammer 40,000 Necron Army: an internally illuminated Monolith:

Front View
Front View

This is what it looks like when you turn the lights down:

Front View
Front View

To build it, I pretty much followed the instructions in this article on Librarium Online. The only difference was my use of small pieces of paper, which I glued behind the green plastic rods to make the light more diffuse. Here’s what they look like from the inside:

Interior shot showing paper filters
Interior shot showing paper filters

You can also see the big wads of Green Stuff I used to plug the holes around the Gauss turrets in each corner. Here’s a couple of pictures of the lighting rig:

CCFL Lamp and Transformer
CCFL Lamp and Transformer
CCFL Lamp and Transformer
CCFL Lamp and Transformer

I bought the CCFL system from Scan.co.uk: the components cost me less than a tenner, which is pretty amazing. I am thinking about buying some more to use in some future terrain pieces.

After being sprayed black, I painted the outside of the Monolith in Tin Bitz using some home-made foam brushes of various shapes and sizes:

Foam Brushes
Foam Brushes

I then drybrushed Brazen Brass over the Tin Bitz using a large drybrush, and then picked out the edges in Shining Gold. I used Devlan Mud to add some weathering and dirt, especially to the parts that I’d given a coat of Boltgun Metal to add some contrast.

Side and rear shots:

Side View
Side View
Side View
Side View
Rear View
Rear View
Rear View
Rear View

Necron Destroyers and Heavy Destroyers

Here are some photos of the my Destroyers and Heavy Destroyers. I decided to wait until I’d painted them all before doing the bases, so that there was consistency. I painted the bases in the same style as the troop bases: Snakebite Leather washed with Devlan Mud, then drybrushed with Bronzed Flesh and Tallarn Flesh, with GW’s Dead Grass applied on top.

Necron Warriors Finished

Necron Warriors - First and Second Phalanxes
Necron Warriors - First and Second Phalanxes

I’ve just finished the second phalanx of Necron Warriors for my 40K Army. This is the first set of models I’ve done with the new basing style, which you can see here:

Necron Warrior
Necron Warrior

The base texture is fine sand glued to the base with PVA. This is then painted with Snakebite Leather (as is the side of the base), and then washed with Devlan Mud. This is then drybrushed with Bronzed Flesh and Tallarn Flesh. Finally, I applied some of GW’s Burnt Grass using a Noch applicator.

The first picture shows both phalanxes together, the first one is on the left. Here’s a close-up:

Necron Warriors - First Phalanx
Necron Warriors - First Phalanx

I had to re-base these miniatures, using a razor saw to remove them from their old base. Here’s the new phalanx:

Necron Warriors - Second Phalanx
Necron Warriors - Second Phalanx

These two phalanxes form the core of my Necron army, which is just about finished: all that’s left is a couple of Heavy Destroyers that are nearly done, and then the centrepiece: my internally illuminated Monolith. More to follow!

“Over-the-top” Warlord Titan Finished

Here’s the finished titan that I posted back in May, Interfector Tertio:

Interfector Tertio
Interfector Tertio

I replaced the normal Warlord head with a Deathstrike Cannon, which (in 2nd Edition Space Marine and NetEpic) halves the Titan’s movement to 8cm. I mounted a Edenite Reaper Turrent from Exodus Wars at the front of the carapace to give it a face: this counts as an additional weapon (a Vulcan Mega-Bolter), at the expense of weakened armour. The arm weapons are from a Mark II Warlord.

More pictures below.

The Plans of Mice and Men…

Barely 24 hours after my last post, I got an email from Scott at S6 Engineering telling me that he’s shutting the business down. Apart from being sorry for Scott who has probably been forced to do this against his wishes, I am personally very disappointed, as I had just placed an order for the last few pieces that I needed to complete my first city board, and had already started planning the second.

Now I’m forced to consider my options. Should I redesign the board so the city doesn’t cover it entirely? Should I not glue the road sections down so I can create smaller urban areas a la carte? Should I use them to create a 15mm town instead?

Cityboard: The End Of The Beginning

Two years ago, I had the idea of creating a modular city gaming board, that was compatible with the Ziterdes boards that I’ve used for many years. I made a few forays into building this board, using large sheets of plasticard with holes for removable plates, upon which I’d mount buildings and other terrain.

Progress was slow: I wasn’t entirely happy with the design, and didn’t want to commit materials to something I wasn’t 100% sure of. So last year I was very happy to discover S6 Engineering and their small-scale (6, 10 and 15mm) road system. very quickly I junked my old design and began planning a new system, mounted on 18mm MDF boards.

I’ve just recently started laying out the city. Here are some photos of the initial design:

Modular city using S6 Engineering Road System
Modular city using S6 Engineering Road System
Modular city using S6 Engineering Road System
Modular city using S6 Engineering Road System

The road and junction sections will be glued to the board and will be permanent. The block sections will be removable; each one will have a different building or terrain piece mounted on it, so that while the basic layout won’t change, the city will be different for each game. This also means that we can replace destroyed buildings with ruins.

One thing I’m quite pleased about is an idea I had to put a small piece of plasticard under the block sections: this will raise them slightly above the roads, creating a raised pavement which is quite effective (and also makes the plates easier to remove):

Modular city using S6 Engineering Road System
Modular city using S6 Engineering Road System

The design has two “hard edges” where the roads end, and two “soft edges” with junctions that stick out over the edge of the board. I will be putting a defensible city wall along the hard edges: if another board is placed next to these edges, then they will be interesting terrain features, but if not, then the walls will prevent the city just stopping, which looks a bit weird. The soft edges will allow for another board to be linked in to the city on those edges, so we can have a sprawling metropolis over several board sections, which will be pretty awesome!

The current plan is to spray the road sections with Rust-oleum Aged Iron Textured Spray, as recommended by Robin of Gruntz fame. You can see the 15mm board he created using the S6 system in this video:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsQMeKtqOjk?rel=0&w=640&h=390]

More to follow.

Quick tip: future-proof your bases

It’s been a while since my last post. After a few weeks of very pleasant weather, which made it possible for me to undercoat and varnish a huge pile of stuff, the Traditional English Summer has put in an appearance and it’s been raining for the last few weekends, so I haven’t had much to show off.

I wanted to share a quick tip which might make your life easier in the future: I have decided to rebase all my 40K scale Necrons, as I wasn’t happy with the appearance of the basing material I was using (a very coarse saw dust). I quickly realised that this would be a particularly tough challenge for my plastic Necron warriors.

I was a scale model maker before I was a war gamer, so for as long as I can remember, I’ve always used polystyrene cement (specifically Revell’s professional liquid poly) for assembling plastic miniatures. As I understand it, a lot of miniature hobbyists use superglue instead, but using polystyrene cement welds the plastic parts together, meaning that you can shave and file the join down until it’s invisible.

So naturally, when assembling my Necron warriors, I used liquid poly to glue them to their base. I’ve now realised that if I’d used superglue instead, it would have made the job of rebasing much easier.

So: always superglue plastic miniatures to their bases, even if their bases are also plastic! Here endeth the lesson.

Necron Wraiths

I’ve been pre-occupied with Epic recently but I still have a 40K Necron army in the works. I did once have a modest Space Marine army (made up mostly of plastic Mark VI and VII marines from Rogue Trader and 2nd edition, and with an old-style Land Raider) and even played games with them – a total of 2 – but I haven’t really been interested in 40K since the early nineties. But at least one of my friends is, so I agreed to build a Necron army to play against him.

I finished a squad of Necron Warriors and a Lord last year, but progress stalled due to problems with some Destroyers that were damaged by the Plasti-kote spray I was using. While painting my Epic army, I found that Army Painter chainmail spray gives a better finish, so now that the Epic army is pretty much finished, I’m ready to have another go at the 40K army. Here are some Wraiths I just finished:

Gale Force 9 “Battlefield In A Box” Green Crystals

I found out about these terrain pieces from the Beasts of War, who have a series of excellent unboxing videos:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHVC3fJdUig&w=560&h=349]

I realised that they are perfect for both 40k and Epic scale games. Unfortunately they’re extremely hard to get hold of! It took me a while but I finally tracked down a box of them on the Marquee Models website (they’re now out of stock on there as well).

I decided that I wanted to base them so that they’d be more stable on the gaming table. Taking my trusty compass cutter I made some based from 1mm plasticard and glued them on. All I needed to do then was apply some Basetex textured paint, some Devlan Mud, and then the same flock that I use to base my Epic necron models. Here’s the result:

Epic Necron Tomb Structure Finished

Every now and then you have one of those days when a load of stuff that seems to have been work-in-progress for months all gets finished in one day. Today has been one of those days for me!

First up is the large tomb structure that I’ve featured in the last two posts. It was initially sprayed black. I tried a number of different techniques to give it an aged stone appearance, including stippling and airbrushing, and I even got out my old airbrush to give that a try! In the end I used an old bath sponge to apply successively lighter shades of gray. Then I just needed to texture and flock the base and apply some decals from Games Workshop’s Necron Transfer Sheet.

Epic Necron Necropolis
Epic Necron Necropolis

Epic Necron Necropolis
Epic Necron Necropolis

At Cavalier last year I picked up some resin Egyptian obelisks. I necron-ified them by filling in the hieroglyphic writing on the sides, and then sanding them smooth. They got the same paint job as the Necropolis, and some decals as well:

Necron Obelisks
Necron Obelisks
Necron Obelisks
Necron Obelisks

Next up is an Exodus Wars Khazari Droid Controller painted up to look like a Necron Abattoir (I previewed this miniature in a post last year:

Epic Necron Abattoir
Epic Necron Abattoir
Epic Necron Abattoir
Epic Necron Abattoir
Epic Necron Abattoir
Epic Necron Abattoir

I met Tom Webb of Steel Crown at Salute earlier this month and he’s a very nice chap. Go buy his stuff!

Lastly there’s the board I used to take these photos with. This is one of six Ziterdes modular gaming table modules that I bought a few years ago and use for Epic games. They were originally painted using car body sprays, but I’ve never been very keen on the shiny finish that they picked up, so I made up a texture paint using brown craft paint, aquatic sand and PVA glue (similar to the “concoction” used by Beasts Of War), which gives a nice flat muddy finish, and is flexible as well. I then applied some of the same flock I use on my Epic necron model’s bases.

Ziterdes Modular Gaming Table
Ziterdes Modular Gaming Table

Large-scale Epic Necron Structure

Moving on from summoning cores, I’m working on a large-scale Epic Necron structure, using a cheap vacuum formed “redoubt” from Amera Plastic Mouldings:

Large-scale Epic Necron Structure
Large-scale Epic Necron Structure

The original piece is a 28mm scale defensive wall, so I cut out a square of plasticard and placed it on top of some balsa wood supports that I glued to the inside of the walls.

The roof is a bit featureless, so a while back I started making a huge great obelisk to sit on top, but I think it might be a little over-the-top:

Large-scale Epic Necron Structure
Large-scale Epic Necron Structure

What do you think?

Epic Necron Terrain Pieces

Summoning Core
Summoning Core
I wanted to create some terrain pieces that work with my Epic necron army. Dawn Of War had some cool Necron structures that looked pretty easy to scratch-build, like this Summoning Core.

This is the method I came up with (it took a couple of attempts). First, the ingredients:

  1. 3mm plasticard
  2. 1mm or 0.5mm plasticard
  3. Liquid poly cement
  4. 5mm drill
  5. Razor saw
  6. Clothes pegs

The first thing to do is cut out two 15mm x 24mm rectangles from the 3mm plasticard. I decided to score on the design while they were still attached to the main sheet. You’ll almost certainly want to use a razor saw to do this.

3mm Plasticard pieces
3mm Plasticard pieces

Then cut a 12mm x 22mm piece of 1mm or 0.5mm plasticard. This is a spacer that goes between the other two pieces, making a sort of sandwich. It’s smaller than the other two pieces so that a gap shows. Glue them all together with liquid poly and use some clothes pegs to clamp them together.

Plasticard Sandwich
Plasticard Sandwich

Once the glue has set, use a 5mm drill to drill a hole through the middle. The hole should be 7.5mm from the top, and on the centre line. I drilled a pilot hole with a pin vise to make the drilling a bit easier.

Once you’ve drilled the hole, take your razor saw and cut grooves over where you’ve previous scored. If your razor saw is a thin one like mine, you may need to make two parallel cuts and carve out between them. A round file can be used to chamfer the edges of the grooves.

Mount on a 24mm base and you’re done! Here’s the finished piece.

Summoning Core
Summoning Core

Here’s another terrain piece I made. You can get quite nice effects with just a few bits of plastic.

Summoning Core and Something Else
Summoning Core and Something Else

Update: after I made the first protoype I was able to make a couple more. Definitely easier second time around!

Summoning Cores
Summoning Cores

Getting Back into Battlefleet Gothic

I haven’t had a chance to play Battlefleet Gothic for a couple of years: I used to have a nice black gaming board (painted with scratch resistant floor paint) but I had to jettison it when I had my basement refurbished.

When you are short of space to store rigid gaming boards, mats are a great solution. They can be rolled or folded and take up very little space when stored. And there are some great manufacturers out there: Zuzzy textured rubber mats are pretty awesome, but there’s also Eric Hotz’s felt mats and those of TerrainMat.com.

A few days ago I bit the bullet and decided to buy a gaming mat: I miss playing BFG and want to get back into it! As it turned out, the Hotz Deep Space Mat which most closely fits the size of my kitchen table was very affordable, and shipping was good too. The only downside was the five week waiting time. So I was very pleasantly surprised when my mat turned up this week!

The mat is really nice: the colours are sharp and the felt is a nice deep black, which is important to properly convey just how black space really is. The only quibble I have is that the stars are quite big blobs, but this is really a very minor thing. Here are some pictures of the mat, laid out on the floor of my basement:

Hotz Deep Space Mat
Hotz Deep Space Mat
Hotz Deep Space Mat
Hotz Deep Space Mat

This inspired me to get my old Imperial Navy fleet out for a dust-off: I finished it some time around 2000 and I’m still quite pleased with it. Here are some photos:

Painting BFG ships is pleasingly simple: black undercoat and lots of drybrushing! Simple but really effective, and very rewarding to do. The miniatures themselves are absolutely gorgeous. And the fact that you can create quite a large fleet but still only have to paint a dozen or so models is a big plus for a time starved gamer like me.

You’ll see some planets above – the big ones I bought from an anonymous vendor at Salute 2009. The smaller moon is one of my own creations: basically just a styrofoam ball from a craft shop, painted with textured paint and washed with red and brown.

I also have a small Necron fleet and some static defence stations, but they can wait for another post 🙂

2010, a year in gaming

It’s a new year and so there’s the inevitable “2010 in review” posts on all blogs and news sites. I hate the bloody things, but that won’t stop me from doing one of my own!

2010 was a great year for me (in Real Life as well as in my Gaming Life): I feel that my painting and modelling skills have improved a great deal: in basing, in my use of washes, and in the techniques and tools I’ve learned to use. I have the great gaming blogosphere to thank for that: many of my favourite blogs are linked to in the links on the right.

I played a lot of Space Hulk in 2010: it’s great for time-starved veterans like me and my friends. You can have a great gaming experience in a couple of hours, with none of the preparatory work required for a game like Epic.

I also managed to get my 15mm SF soldiers into battle, albeit only once, using a gaming system of my own devising. It’s the first time I’ve ever written and used a set of gaming rules, and was a great experience. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some more games in during 2011, and refine the rules, perhaps even publish them!

The thing I’m most pleased with this year has been the creation of an Epic Necron army. This is mainly thanks to the brilliant chaps on the Tactical Command forums: creative geniuses who have, purely for fun, created very impressive proxies for many of the Necron units. It’s also due to the excellent miniatures produced by Steel Crown Productions for their Exodus Wars game: their Edenite miniatures are great quality and value, and are very good proxies.

The army isn’t finished: I have some Wraiths to assemble and paint, some Obelisks that have been troublesome (they’re resin and I didn’t wash them before undercoating, so the paint’s flaking off, grrh), and I need some more Monoliths, as I found out when I took the army out for a test game (the only game of Epic I managed this year). Playing against Squats, I was narrowly defeated because of the lack of fast close combat troops (ie Wraiths) and the need to keep the Monoliths in unit coherency. Having another group of them that is free to move around will give me more flexibility. I’ve also got another super-heavy monstrosity that still needs painting.

I’ve been meaning to take some photos of the complete army, and I finally managed to do it today. Here they are. I hope they inspire you!

Khurasan 15mm SF characters

The excellent Dropship Horizon blog recently posted some pictures of some fantastic 15mm SF characters from Khurasan Miniatures. You wouldn’t know they’re 15mm miniatures from looking at them – the detail is amazing! So I decided to buy a set to use as a command squad for my 15mm SF army.

The miniatures arrived yesterday, here they are after being superglued to penny coins (which make perfect, cheap bases for 15mm minis):

Command Squad