Thoughts on the painting of, and playing with, toy soldiers.

Titans

The War Engines of Legio Crassus

Long time no see! I won’t bore you with the tedious details of why I haven’t been blogging much (too much Real Life getting in the way), but although I haven’t posted here in over 10 months, I haven’t been idle: I’ve just finished the titan legion I posted about last June:

The legion consists of four Warhounds, three Reavers, four Warlords and a repainted and refurbished Warmonger (which still needs a bit of attention as one of the Hydra turrets has lost a barrel).

with the exception of the arm weapons on the Warmonger, and the Carapace weapons on the Lucius-pattern Warlord, every single weapon is magnetised, meaning that I can customise the weapons load-out of each titan as I see fit. In addition to a lot of classic metal and plastic titan weapons, I’ve also included some of the weapons from the Defeat in Detail Cybershadows Leviathan models to proxy as various different weapons.

These titans are painted in the colours of Legio Crassus – a titan legion that was loyal to the Warmaster during the Horus Heresy. None of the titans show the corruption of Chaos – but that might change in the future! For now, they are just a Heresy-era traitor legion, and wear the Eye of Horus proudly over their metallic green armour.

More pics below.

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Reaver Round-up

2014-12-16 09.04.07-1I started working on the Reaver in May, and finally finished it at the beginning of December. That’s six months!

I am generally very happy with how it’s turned out. There were a few glitches along the way but as is the case with any hobby project, those problems that did come up were fixable.

The paint scheme is, of course, the same one I have been painting my Epic titans for 25 years. Here’s a quick run-down of how it was achieved:

  • Prime with Vallejo black primer (via airbrush)
  • Mask off armour plates leaving edge banding exposed
  • Airbrush Vallejo Model Air Brass on banding
  • Wash with Army Painter Soft Tone through the airbrush
  • Remove masking and remask to expose quartered sections
  • Spray with Citadel Skull White spray

The exposed metal of the superstructure was primed black as above then sprayed with Army Painter’s Chain Mail, then washed with Strong Tone through the airbrush. Weathering was achieved using Citadel’s Nihilakh Oxide, Typhus Corrosion and Forge World weathering powders.

The base is a simple cake base with a belt of plasticard around the outside. It’s supposed to match the basing scheme I’ve used for my Salamander and Necron armies and the Leviathan. There is a layer of cork on top of the base to allow me to create depressions into which the titan’s feet can be placed (to create the effect of the ground sinking beneath its feet). I added some crushed up aluminium foil and some craters from Amera Plastic Mouldings to add relief. I then painted with PVA and applied sand. once dried, I sprayed the base with a mix of Army Painter leather and Plasti-kote sprays, drybrushed with a few GW paints and then added static grass (GW’s Dead Grass).

Overall, I’d say this project is pretty straightforward, requiring a lot of technique but not much skill: for example, knowing how to pin the leg joints in the most effective way. Since the model was painted almost entirely using the airbrush, the amount of masking required was pretty exhausting and very boring indeed!


The Milk Float, Completed

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Here’s the completed Mk II Warlord “Milk Float” titan I mentioned previously. The right arm weapon is the improved Melta Cannon.

More pictures below the fold.

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Epic Battle Report: The Author (et al) vs Dan Abnett

As (possibly) previously mentioned, my home town is lucky enough to have (a) a great independent wargames store, and (b) a High Lord of Terra and New York Times bestelling author, who is also the unofficial patron the aforementioned store.

Last weekend, No Mans Land had a grand re-opening in its new location in a swanky shopping arcade, and Dan came along to sign books, answer questions from the gathered throng, and throw some dice and push some models around a table.

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Dan played two games of Epic – one versus me, and then another (which I GMd) against Darren (also known as The Burning Beard), another store regular, using the NetEpic rules, slightly modified to suit small Adeptus Titanicus games.

In the first game, we took one Warlord, Reaver and Warhound each and squared up against each other. I was able to knock out his Reaver in the first turn. My Warhound survived a strafe from his Warlord and ended up in close combat with the Dan’s Warhound. Meanwhile, our Warlords went toe-to-toe with almost identical loadouts: my titan had twin Gatling Blasters, A Quake Cannon and a Volcano Cannon, Dan’s had twin Gatling Blasters and twin Volcano Cannon. Dan’s only mistake was moving his titan when could have stood still; that meant that I could open up on him in First Fire before he could hit me (he’d won initiative). My Gatlings and Quake Cannon stripped his remaining shields, and the Volcano Cannon dealt the final blow.

For his second game, Dan wanted to do something a bit different, and decided that he wanted to take out my Imperator, Machinator Formidabilis (“Fearsome Engine” in Low Gothic), against a pack of four Warlords, commanded by Darren.

The game began, and the Imperator stood and watched (and saved up plasma in its reactor) as the Warlords approached.

But calamity! In a well co-ordinated (and unexpected) surprise attack, all four Warlords pounced at once, stripping the Imperator’s shields and starting to do damage! First a gun tower was knocked out, then a sensorium. Just when it seemed that the Machinator was going to survive the turn without any serious damage, a deflected shot took out the coupling on the left arm, and the mighty Plasma Annihilator came crashing to the ground!

With Machinator’s most deadly weapon wrecked, and surrounded on all sides, there was little that Dan could do as the Warlords moved in for the kill. One of the Warlords was reduced to slag by the defence laser, but in the same turn, a shot from the rear penetrated the plasma reactor, and KABOOM! For the first time in twenty years of combat, my beloved Machinator Formidabilis was destroyed in a mighty conflagration.

Despite the ignominious defeat of an ancient and noble God-engine, great fun was had by all, and No Mans Land had a fitting and enjoyable (if rather chilly) re-opening.


On Warlord Titans, and Hyperbole

For #MiniatureMonday, I posted this picture with the following tweet:

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Here’s the last #Epic Beetleback Warlord Titan that I will ever paint (I hope)

I immediately regretted the above sentence, because I know that it isn’t true: I am pretty sure that at some point in the future, I will repaint all the old Beetlebacks in my Titan Legion, using a different colour scheme so that I have two opposing forces to play against each other.

Even though this is the last Beetleback Warlord to emerge from my bits box, there’s still the milk float Mk II warlord to paint, and a pair of Reavers. So don’t expect the photos of stompy castle robots to dry up any time soon!


2,500 Point NetEpic Ultamarines vs Adeptus Mechanicus

Today was a bit of a first for me: I played an Epic game against a complete stranger. PapaRomeoJuliet (real name Pete) contacted me via the Facebook page after we’d chatted on the Tactical Command forum. We agreed to play a 3,000 point game, which got amended to 2,500 points, when I realised I’d left a pair of Warhound Titans at home!

My army list:

  • Paladin Household
  • Castellan Knight Squadron
  • Reaver Titan
  • Robot Maniple
  • 2 Robot Squadrons
  • Ordinatus Golgotha

Pete’s:

  • 2 Battle Companies
  • 2 Land Speeder Squadrons
  • 2 Thunderhawk Gunships
  • Predator Squadron

As before, the result was a convincing victory for the Mechanicus. I lost a handful of robots and a couple of knights, and did substantial damage in exchange. I think Pete himself admitted that he was a bit too cautious with his Thunderhawks, which contained Assault detachments, and should have committed them (and the Devastator detachments which teleported in) earlier.

This was the first game of Epic that I’ve ever played against someone outside my close-knit circle of gaming friends, and it was a most enjoyable experience. I’m looking forward to the rematch!

Pics from the game below.


Improving a Melta Cannon

Having raided my bits box, I finally selected a Melta Cannon for the previously mentioned Mark II “milk float” Warlord.

The Melta Cannon is fairly plain, but the version created for the Forge World Reaver Titan looks rather cool, so I thought I’d have a go at improving the stock version.

Apart from the arm, which I made from plastic rods of various sizes, there are three new additions. First is the piping on the back – this is from the arm of a 40K scale Necron Destroyer (the arm is discarded when you upgrade to a Heavy Destroyer). Second, I’ve added the muzzles from a Necron Immortal’s Gauss Blaster to the front of the gun.

Finally, the underslung piping and housing is from the powerfist of a Space Marine Terminator.

Here’s the Melta Cannon, attached to the main body of the Titan:


Here cometh the Milk Float!

I have the legs, torso and carapace of a Mark II “milk float” Warlord (the other bits have gone into other models). Despite being quite detailed, this model has a very boring, static pose (example here), so I thought I’d try giving it a more dynamic pose by twisting and bending the legs.

I also raided my bits box, giving it a close combat head and a pair of Exodus Wars Edenite Reaper turrets as Vulcan Mega Bolters on the carapace. I’m still not sure what I’ll be mounting on the right arm.

The new pose means that the feet are no longer flat on the base, so I built up a pile of rubble using pieces of cork to create a stable platform for the front foot. The rear foot is pinned to the base.

Click to embiggen.


6,000 NetEpic Game: Adeptus Mechanicus vs Squats at No Mans Land

Earlier this month I took my Knights down to No Mans Land for a 6,000 game of Epic with @StegTheDinosaur, my gaming partner in crime, who used his Squats.

The battle was incredibly one-sided, as you can see from the live-tweet below. This was primarily due to the cheesy nature of my Adeptus Titanicus army, which included ten titans, combined with the relatively inflexible Squat army list which had been designed to deal with swarms of robots.

Here are the pics we took during the game:


Reaver Titan

I recently finished the Reaver titan that I showed you a Work-In-Progress shot of last month. I originally started building and painting it in May, which should give you an idea of how fast I work.

Here are a few shots. You can also see this beastie in the background of my EpiComp submission.

The Epic reaver is Games Workshop’s oldest model still in production, and this item does sort of show it: it’s hard to guess how old the cast is (I bought it off eBay, so it could be two years or twenty years old), but the detail is pretty poor, and the flat surfaces are rather pitted.

Colour-scheme wise, this guy is nothing new. He has the same black and white checked pattern I’ve used on all my titans (one day I’ll do a big family shot so you can see them all), with the additional bronze edging that I’ve given to the “elite” titans (on the Warmonger side of the family).

This is the first Reaver I’ve painted since the mid-nineties, and I have two more to do to complete the second battlegroup. One thing I’ll do differently next time is paint them in pieces and then assemble afterwards: there are a lot of fiddly bits!


EpiComp 2012 – My Submission

It occurred to me that I with a bit of work, I could probably get my knights into a state where I could submit them to this year’s EpiComp.

For those of you who don’t already know, EpiComp is the premiere (ok, probably only) annual Epic-scale painting competition. It regularly brings in some amazing work by the best painters and modellers working in the 6mm scale.

You can see my submission above. I took a load of photos, which, due to the limitations of the competition rules, I can’t submit, so I’m posting them here.

This represents about one third of the models that are going to form the Knight army. I still have another squadron of French chevaliers, two squadrons of Castellans, and a load of Paladins still to paint, not to mention a Leman Russ Company, a Stormblade Company, two Ordinatii majoris, and some Skitarii. You’ll be seeing more of them in 2013. In the meantime, these photos include everything I’ve painted (Epic-wise) in 2012. Enjoy!


Getting back in the swing of things

In my last post I mentioned that my wife and I had put our house on the market, so I wasn’t allowed to make any mess. Well, it’s now been about three months since we started having viewings, and we’ve not made any progress. The place that we fell in love with has been lost to another buyer, so we’re at the point of not really caring any more about the whole moving-house thing, and will probably taking the place off the market soon.

This is a bit disappointing, but it does mean that I’ve been able to break out the toy soldiers again!

While my wife took the kids to visit her sister, I’ve had a few days entirely to myself, and I’ve been making good use of them. Apart from making inroads into the 3rd edition of In the Emperor’s Name (for which I’m the editor), I’ve also been working on some more knights.

Here’s the first finished squadron of Castellans:

And here’s some Errants, which just need a decal on the right shoulder and they’re done:

Finally, here’s a Reaver titan, the first I’ve painted since the mid-ninities:


Distractions

Like most hobbyists I tend to have a lot of different projects on the go at once. Here is a list of my unfinished projects as of writing:

  • Firedrakes 40K Army
  • Khador Warmachine Army
  • Epic Knight Army
  • Inquisition retinue for In The Emperor’s Name
  • Epic Tyranid Army
  • Praesentia Army for Critical Mass (15mm SF)
  • Blue Moon Shivan Sisterhood Army (also 15mm SF)
  • Khurasan Mekanoid Army (ditto)
  • Terrain projects for all of the above

In addition, I also have some repairs on my Warmonger to do: as predicted, the fragile resin Hydra turrets have been damaged, so I need to replace them with spares from the bits box.

So what have I been doing today? Starting something new of course! Some more titans:

I have another Reaver waiting to be assembled, and want to get another one to form a Battle Group. This will leave my Titan Legion army with 2 Warlord BGs and 2 Reaver BGs which, along with the aforementioned Warmonger and its Imperator counterpart is quite enough I think (although I do need more Warhounds…)

I’ve also been sorting out some mechanised firepower to support the Knights and Robots. I’ve just finished stripping, reassembling and basing these:

Ordinatus Golgotha

Ordinatus Golgotha

The Ordinatus Golgotha has a fearsome reputation as an anti-Ork unit: any Ork unit that’s even targeted by one of the six missiles has to take a morale check (which is 5+ for Orks) making it highly effective at breaking large Ork companies.

I am planning to scratch-build at least one other Ordinatus using miniatures from Brigade Model’s Neo-Soviet range.

Stormblade

Stormblade

Stormblades are Titan and Super-heavy hunters. They mount a Plasma Blastgun which is normally carried by titans, as well as a number of specialist and one-shot weapons. I have a couple more coming from eBay to form a Stormblade Company.

Deathstrike Missile Launchers

Deathstrike Missile Launchers

These are also basically tank-mounted titan weapons. You can pick any of the one-shot titan missiles to mount on each model.

Leman Russ Tank Company

Leman Russ Tank Company

The mainstay of any Imperial army!

This is the first time I’ve based vehicles and I am starting to think it’s a good idea!


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.


“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.


Over-the-top Warlord Titan

Every now and then — but particularly after I’ve had one of those clear-the-desk days — I get the urge to paint another titan. So this afternoon I pulled out my Big Box of Titan Bits and put one together. But I think I’ve gone a bit over-the-top with this one, what do you think?


Eldar Phantom Titan

I’m quite pleased with how this Eldar Phantom Titan turned out. I painted it as a gift for a friend, so it’s a one-off. I only used washes – Thraka Green and Gryphonne Sepia, with a healthy splash of Devlan Mud over the top.


Epic Necron Tomb Stalker

Time for a confession: I’ve been working on an Epic Necron army! Just because there are no official models doesn’t mean it can’t be done: there are a number of miniatures from other manufacturers that work excellently as proxies.

Necrons don’t use Titans per se, the closest thing to a Titan on the Necron Epic army list (a fan effort) is the Tomb Stalker, which is described as an oversized Tomb Spider. This makes it very easy to create one: all you do is take a 40k scale Tomb Spider and mess around with it a bit:

One of the things I’ve learned from painting this miniature is how to produce “seamless” decals: I’ve had some very bad experiences with decals in the past which has put me off using them. I decided to bite the bullet this time and am very pleased with the technique I came up with (which is probably worth a post of its own).

I have a few more miniatures to show you from my epic Necron army: keep ’em peeled!


Mk I Warlord

I just finished painting a Mk I Warlord Titan. This is going to form part of a Battle Group that will be an Honour Guard to support to my infamous warmonger titan:

This is actually a repaint of a Titan I’ve had for many years: it took a bath in Dettol which stripped the paint off very nicely.

Obviously I have one more Titan to paint to go in the Battle Group. But I can’t decide whether it should be a Mk I (like this one), Mk II (they’re pretty rare but I have one) or Mk III (the modern “Lucius” pattern).


Rebasing a Reaver Titan

Reaver Titan

Reaver Titan


I have quite a few Epic Titans: most of them (apart from notable exceptions) are quite old. Although my painting skill level hasn’t really changed over the years, the amount of attention I pay to basing and terrain has; so while I’m happy with their paint jobs, I can’t say I’m too pleased with their bases.

So a while back I took one of the first Reaver titans I’d ever painted (probably around 1995 or even older) and had a go at rebasing it. The titan was based on one of the old Adeptus Titanicus era bases (the ones with the void shield wheel), which I took my knife to. I trimmed the sides off, and filled in the window at the front with putty.

While at Salute I picked up some Basetex textured paint, so I gave the old base (which was just a bit of putty painted dark green), and then applied some static grass.

And yes, this titan does field three Vulcan Mega-Bolters!


Mk II Warlord

Following on from my article on casting a titan foot using green stuff, here’s the finished miniature:

The photos are a little pink, thanks to the shirt in the background. But a nice piece I think. The Plasma Cannon on the left arm was attached to the mounting taken from the original chain saw. A little green stuff around the joint made it seemless. I used Citadel’s washes to give the metallic parts a dirty, heavy industrial feel. This miniature is a companion to the warmonger titan I recently finished.

I now have most of the materials I need to start on this year’s summer project: a modular city system that integrates with the Ziterdes modular gaming board system that I use. Stay tuned!


Casting a Titan foot using Green Stuff

I’ve been trying to get my hands on an old-style Mark II Warlord Titan for quite a while. This miniature, made for only a couple of years from 1995, is the “transitional form” that links the old-school “beetleback” warlord titans from Adeptus Titanicus to the current Mk. III “Lucius” pattern Warlord titan, and I’ve always really liked the design.

I was finally able to get hold of one from eBay, and for a pretty good price. Unfortunately, the reason was that one of the titan’s feet was missing. Ever the optimist, I decided to turn this problem into an opportunity, and have a go at making a duplicte of the foot using Green Stuff (aka kneadatite, basically two-part epoxy putty optimised for miniature modelling).

The first step was to take the foot piece that I did have and glue it very lightly to a piece of plasticard. I used a very small amount of superglue, as I wanted to be able to separate the foot from the card:

Then I made up a large chunk of Green Stuff — more than I probably needed, but that’s better than not having enough — and covered up the foot. It’s important to push down firmly when applying the Green Stuff, as you don’t want creases, voids or bubbles. I applied the Green Stuff a small piece at a time, slowly building it up so that it covered the entire foot:

I waited a couple of days to give the Green Stuff plenty of time to cure. Then I removed the plasticard backing to expose the original, embedded in the Green Stuff mould:

The conventional wisdom is that you should use a “mould releasing agent” to prevent the Green Stuff from sticking to the original, but I’m a physicist, and I had a more elegant solution: heat. When heated, different materials undergo thermal expansion at different rates, so all I did was run it under the hot tap: the Green Stuff and the lead original expanded at different rates, and the foot just popped out:

The next step is to make up another load of Green Stuff, from which the casting would be made. Since I’m using the same material as the mould, I can’t use my heat trick to remove the casted piece from the mould, I had to use a release agent this time: once I’d made up the Green Stuff and rolled it into a ball, I dipped it into some olive oil, and pressed it down into the mould:

After leaving it for a few hours to cure, I was able to remove the cast from the mould very easily:

I waited overnight for the Green Stuff to harden, and after giving it a good clean to remove the oil, I then used my trusty razor saw to remove the foot from the rest of the Green Stuff, and hey presto:

All it needs now is some cleaning up and trimming, and it’s ready for painting.


It Is Among Us…

More photos (done properly with a decent camera with a macro lens and tripod) to follow. This picture doesn’t really do it justice: I think this is the best miniature I’ve ever produced.

I’m still working on a name, and accepting suggestions!


Warmonger Update #8: Painting the base

I had to wait a few days, but finally the weather has cleared up enough to allow me to start undercoating the various parts of the Warmonger titan. I decided to go for the “low hanging fruit” first and made a start on the base:

The base was sprayed black, and then drybrushed with several shades of grey, getting progressively lighter almost up to pure white. To distiguish the ground surface from the building rubble, I drybrushed it with a mix of black and tan to give it a muddier colour.

I have made quite good progress on the main body of the titan, but I think I’ll hold off on posting more updates until the “reveal” when it’s all finished. Then you will be able to see it in all its glory 🙂

One More Thing

Now’s your chance to help me: this beastie needs a name. Something impressive, menacing, powerful, and preferably in Imperial Gothic (or Latin, if you prefer). Any suggestions?