Kitbashed Epic-scale Necron Skimmer Tank

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Years and years ago, someone on the Tactical Command forum posted a photo of a prototype Necron tank, kitbashed from leftover parts from the Lychguard/Triarch Praetorian box. When I saw it, I immediately wanted to build some of my own, but never had access to the parts. But when I bought two boxes of Praetorians for my 40K army, I knew that I’d finally get a chance.

More photos after the jump!

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2014: The Year of No New Models

51K1Od+SYdLAt the beginning of this year I made the decision to try to go for an entire year without buying any new miniatures. As today is the last day of the year, I thought I’d look back on the last year to see how I’ve done.

The first thing to say is that I successfully achieved my goal: during 2014, I haven’t bought any new miniatures! I was given a Sternguard squad and some 40K scenery for my birthday; I spent a fair amount of money on a KR Multicase storage and transport system at Salute (a good investment in my opinion), and I also been replenished my hobby supplies: tools, glue, brushes, and of course paint. But no new models.

In terms of hobby, this year was all about my Salamanders army and the Reaver. The Salamanders are virtually finished now (just a dreadnought and a Terminator squad left unpainted) and at Apocalypse strength, so I don’t see them getting any more attention in the coming year. Once the Salamanders were finished in May, I set to work on the Reaver, and finished it at the beginning of December.

I also found the time to bring my wargaming terrain up to scratch, what with my local gaming store closing at the end of 2013. With the help of my great buddy Steg, I resurrected my old Ziterdes gaming boards with a new textured surface and colour scheme which matches the basing style for my Necron and Salamanders armies (and the Reaver). And I also finished a set of Cities of Death terrain to go with the refurbished boards.

I was quite happy to get a few games of 40K in during 2015, as well as the first game of Battlefleet Gothic I’ve played in years. I also got to try X-Wing which I loved and hope to play more of next year.

Plans for 2015

The New Year means that I am allowing myself to buy new models. I won’t pretend that I haven’t found myself quite excited at the prospect! But having spent a year restraining myself, I feel that I’ve developed a level of perspective that means that my hobby plans for the coming year are much more focused. Specifically, I plan to focus on two projects:

  1. Upgrading my 40K necron army to be at least 3,000-3,500 points so I can play Apocalypse games with the Reaver. To that end I have ordered boxes of Immortals, Deathmarks, Lychguard, a Nightbringer and another Night/Doom Scythe. I may also pick up a Tesseract Vault/Obelisk later in the year.

  2. Finishing my Epic Knight/Ad Mech army. I needed a few bits and pieces (mostly infantry) to flesh out this army, which I’ve ordered from Troublemaker Games and Exodus Wars. I’m looking forward to getting back into Epic and maybe even playing a few games in 2015.

I’d also quite like to build a small Inquisitorial detachment with a Valkyrie and some Tempestus troopers serving as Henchmen. One of my Christmas presents this year was the gorgeous Justice Sedante from Hasslefree who will be my Inquisitor (perhaps serving as a proxy for Amberley Vail).

The Reaver Titan Hype Cycle

hype_cycleThe consulting firm Gartner is famous for its eponymous Hype cycle which tracks the development of new technology.

I’ve come to realise the my project to build and paint a Reaver titan also fits onto this graph. This time last week, I was definitely in the Trough of Disillusionment, as my frustration with the complexity of the leg assemblies (pistons! So many pistons!) overcame my enthusiasm.

Now, however, I have started working on the torso, head and weapons, I feel like my determination to get the bloody thing finished so I can get on with other things is reasserting itself, and I’m approaching the Plateau of Productivity, at which point, the Reaver will probably end up being finished fairly quickly.

Here’s hoping the hype cycle holds true this time!

My resolution for 2014: no new models

51K1Od+SYdLLike (I suspect) a lot of wargamers, hobbyists and collectors, I always feel a twinge of guilt when I fork out for shiny new toys. You don’t have to be in this hobby for too long before you end up with a backlog of unpainted models, sitting in their boxes, getting progressively less shiny and new as time goes by*.

As I am sure you know, I recently bought myself a Reaver Titan. These are not cheap: the body alone is £425 (US$695) and the weapons are £54.00 each, so you’re looking at a cost of £587 (US$959), not including painting and modelling supplies.

Splurging that amount of cash on a single (albeit fully and totally awesome) model triggered a certain degree of introspection on my part, which was further fuelled by my wife’s (accepting but skeptical) response when I told her how much I’d spent. Of course we all realise that if we keep buying more than we can paint, the pile of unpainted models is only ever going to increase. This time, however, I’ve decided to do something about it.

I’m not going to buy any new models in 2014.

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Battlestar Galactica

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While my hobby activities were in limbo waiting for the house move, I decided to take a sideways step into scale modelling. I’m pretty sure that I was building scale models (mainly Star Trek starships) before I got into wargaming, but I’ve been doing both for so long that I don’t really have a clear memory.

I went into my local Modelzone during their closing down sale and picked up the model kit of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica for less than twenty quid.

After assembling the main sub-assemblies, the model was sprayed with Army Painter Army Grey primer. After this, it was highlighted with several different shades of grey mixed with Army Painter Chainmail, starting out slightly lighter than the basecoat and getting progressively brighter.

Then, the armour panels were given a semi-drybrush with a lighter shade of grey (about 2/3 Coat d’Arms Mid Grey to 1/3 Slate Grey). I used Citadel Scab Red to paint the stripes, and then applied gloss varnish to the areas that would have decals.

Once the decals had been applied and sealed, I added battle damage using a brybrush to create scorch marks, and then applied a generous amount of Forgeworld Black Soot weathering powder to add texture to the model and soften the edges of the scorches. Then the weathering powder was sealed by spraying the entire model with Army Painter matt varnish.

The base was sprayed black and then drybrushed with Tin Bitz and Gunmetal.

More pictures below the fold.

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Unboxing the Dreamforge Games Leviathan Crusader

Having boxed up all my hobby stuff in anticipation of an imminent house move, and having generally avoided spending anything on my hobby since the new year, Salute 2013 turned into a session of Retail Therapy! I bought a bunch of Critical Mass stuff, and a KR Multicase system for my Epic knights and titans, but my biggest purchase was a Leviathan Crusader kit from Dreamforge Games. These seem to retail only at about £85-£95, but I picked mine up for £65, which sounds like a pretty good deal. Most of the retailers at Salute were selling the kit at about the same price.

This is a big kit – the box is about the size of a couple of shoe boxes, and it’s full of plastic sprues. I thought I’d take some pictures of the unboxing, because apart from the coolness of the model itself, I’m also rather impressed about how neatly it’s all been fitted into the box. The sprues are designed to stack on top of each other, and the empty space is filled with foam, which means that the parts of the model are very well protected in transit.

The kit is relatively simple (I’ve built much more complex kits, and its sheer size means that there aren’t any especially small and fiddly bits) but it looks like there will be dozens of sub-assemblies that will need to be painted before they can be put together, so this is going to take quite a while to complete. My plan is to paint it (and use it on the table) as a Knight Paladin in the same colour scheme as my Epic knights. Fortunately there are (unofficial) rules from Bell of Lost Souls.

Cleaning brushes with Dettol

Dettol is well known as a very effective stripper of acrylic paint. Its active ingredient is chloroxylenol, which breaks down the acyrlic medium and allows paint to be removed from miniatures.

I’ve just discovered that it’s also quite an effective brush cleaner as well. Late last year I bought some Winsor and Newton kolinsky sable brushes, and to my great shame they have quickly become clogged with paint (I am not especially diligent in cleaning my brushes after use). Yesterday afternoon, as an experiment I put one of these brushes into some Dettol along with some other miniatures.

This morning I took it out of the Dettol, rinsed it out and gave the bristles a quick rub with some handwash (any liquid detergent would also work). The bristles are pretty much back to normal, with no paint clogged up at the ferrule.

So if your brushes are looking a little tired, and you don’t want to fork out for new brushes or brush cleaner, then Dettol may be the ideal alternative.