Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Crimson Phoenix Bases

I thought you might like to see what I am doing with the bases for these marines. Since the land is supposed to be an unstable volcanic region, I wanted the bases to reflect that. First I glued down some bits of cork to stand in for volcanic rock. I then used green stuff, a two part epoxy putty,to create valleys for my flowing lava and cones or small fissures where the lava can sit. I then glued sand to the bases with white PVA glue.
Once this was dry I primed the bases black and proceeded to paint them. I started with a mix of P3 Bastion Grey and Underbelly Blue. To that I added just a drop of Merrow White. Finally I edged rocks and sand with pure Merrow White. I then took three drops of Brown Ink and mixed it with 1 part Armor Wash and 1 part mixing medium to wash the sand on the bases. Once this had dried I did a second wash with 3 drops Armor wash and 1 drop Mixing Medium.

For the lava I started with a base color of P3 Ember Orange. I then layered pure Cygnar Yellow in stripes over the Ember Orange, making sure that some of the Orange showed through. I continued this layering effect with Heartfire, Khador Red Highlight, Khador Red Base, then a layer of Khador Red Base mixed with a little Iosan Green and then finally a layer of Cygnar Yellow again.

I will be using GF9's Ash Waste Flock and Dead/Winter Static grass as additions to the bleak terrain the bases currently represent. These will also be used to hide the joins on the bases when I add the marines. I will be posting the painting guide for the marines shortly.
Until then I would love to know what kind of painting or terrain stuff you would like to see. Just post me an email and let me know what puzzles you as a miniatures painter or converter and I will be happy to post my ideas about it here.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Conversions and the Art of Minatures

In my line of work, I hear a lot of folks talking about how they can not do conversions or the neat paint jobs they see in the magazines and on all the cool blog lists. It almost seems self defeating to me. I can’t do something, so I do not try, so I do not do, etc. This is absolutely not true. If you love miniatures, if you love painting them and love the hobby aspect of miniature gaming then you can do great conversions and great painting. With this series of blogs I hope to show you how I do my converting and painting and break it down into easy to recreate chunks. This is so you can take the ideas I put here and let them take root in your hobby and start making those cool conversions and paint schemes.
One of the easiest ways to convert a model is using stuff from another box set. My idea is to take two box sets and show you how you can make a neat converted army with them. I wanted to create a new Warhammer 40K army, this time a ‘good’ army. My usual Nurgle Chaos armies really need something Imperial to fight. I finally decided to build a Space Marine army using the High Elf Spearmen and Space Marine Tactical Squad box sets. I began by playing around a little with the parts contained in the two box sets, looking for things I could use between the two. I tried putting the legs of the High Elves with the torso of the Space Marines, I played with the various heads and using the shield emblems of the spearmen to be chapter symbols. I finally decided on the winged gem shield emblem for the chapter symbol, and to use the feathers from the elven headgear to decorate the marine helmets.
With some thought on why the marines would have these things, I decided that the chapter name of these marines is the Crimson Phoenix. These marines come from a heavy volcanic world where the tectonic plates making up the planet’s crust are thin and constantly in motion, leading to a world full of earthquakes, flowing magma and death. On this planet there is an avian species that hunts the lava lizards that inhabit the magma pools and lava flows of this world. These avians, known as the Phoenix, dive bomb the lizards as they swim in the magma. This of course should be death for the birds, but for a unique life saving adaptation. After exiting from the magma the Phoenix explosively molts, sending burning feathers and hot lava flying. With these thoughts in mind I began to put together the models and bases.
Here is the shield emblem and feathers I chose for the marines.

After some initial building here is an example of a marine with the chapter symbol and the feathers. As you can see I cut down the shield emblem, removing the bottom flange so it could fit as a raised chapter Icon on the marine shoulder pad. This was done with an exacto or razor knife. The feathers are attached to the top of the marine’s helmet. You can see in the last picture some of the things I have done for basing the models, but we will talk about that in the next article.

Now are these real tough things to do to a model, absolutely not. This kind of conversion is easy and it really stands out. I actually bought a box of elf spearmen to mix with my marines for this conversion. You might think that it is too much but The bodies will be used at a later time to make some really cool conversions for an Empire army (see I have lots of things planned for this blog). Next time on the Table's Edge I will show off what I did to create the bases for the Crimson Phoenix Marines.

P.S. By the way if you have any comments or questions about converting models and doing cool bases for them, please just send me a note. I would love to read what you are thinking.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Of Minotaurs and Beastmen

So I have finished the Minotaurs, here they are in all their glory. I found painting them to be a real nice change of pace from the usual 28mm stuff. You will note I kept them fairly clean, but I bet they would look even better all tore up, bruised and bloody from the constant battles they wage. Their bases are base coated in P3 Idrian Flesh with drybrushes of Jack Bone and Marrow White. The flock is the green static grass and summer meadow ground clutter form Gale Force 9. I know the official photos of the Minotaurs have made them seem ill made, but I believe this is more a trick of how they were painted than the models themselves. If you are looking to make a Beastmen army, I would recommend these models to you.

As I was painting these fiends, I really gave the Beastmen Army book the once over, and I have to tell you this army looks like it will do pretty good. The two big special rules for the army are Primal Fury and Beastmen Ambush. Primal Fury allows the unit with the rule to make a Ld. Test at the start of each round of close combat. If the unit passes then they are subject to Hatred against all units they are fighting until the end of the close combat phase. They get to reroll failed to hit rolls even if it is not the first round of close combat. If the unit passes the Ld. Test on a double one (otherwise known as a 2), then the unit is also Frenzied until the end of the close combat phase, even if the unit lost a combat earlier in the battle.

Beastmen Ambush allows the unit with the rule to stay off the table at the beginning of the game so long as the player has a second unit of the same type and size or larger that is deployed as normal. You must tell your opponent what units you are holding back under this rule. Now you can arm and armor these units however you want so long as both units are the same type and size (or larger) so do with that information as you will. Now you get to roll each turn for these reserves (even on turn one) during your Remaining Moves Phase. On a 1 or 2 the unit enters from a table’s edge of the opponent’s choice, 2 or 3 roll again next turn, 4 the unit on the table’s edge to the Beastmen player’s left, 5 the unit enters on the table’s edge to the Beastmen player’s right and a 6 the unit arrives on the table edge chosen by the Beastmen player. Yep they can come in right behind or next to the opposing player’s troops right off the bat in turn one if the rolls go well. The down side is if the units in reserve do not get on the table by the end of the game then they count as being killed for determining victory conditions.
The Units are really well thought out with, of course, the Gors, Bestigors and Ungors making an appearance. I was somewhat saddened that there was no kind of Minotaur unit as a Core choice. With the Minotaur Lord (Doombull) and the Minotaur Special choice, I was really hoping for some kind of Minotaur unit to allow and entire Minotaur army. This is really a small argument from what looks at first read to be a very solid army book. The ability to run a complete Beastmen Chariot army is a nice touch. With your Lord or Hero choice in a chariot, the Tuskgor chariots as a Core choice and then new Razorgor chariots as a Special choice, the idea of lots of chariots can again be realized.
The addition of unique ‘monsters’ for the Beastmen army was a welcome surprise. The retro but fun Jabberslythe (jabberwocky), the four armed Ghorgon, the one eyed mage killing Cyghor, and of course Giants give the army a unique edge only seen before in Dark Elf armies. I imagine that Beastmen players will be salivating at the thought of so many choices. Finally the Special Characters are overwhelming in this book. Nine Special Characters are available to the Beastmen player, from the classic Khazrak and Gorthor to crazed newbies Taurox and Moonclaw, the choice just keep coming. A nice thing about the Special Characters is that they can definitely give you a theme to carry through your army, be it a predilection to a particular chaos god, a feel for the classic lines of Beastmen, or a desire for powerful magics can all be found here.
The Gifts of Chaos and Treasures of the Herdstones offer even more chances to not only give your Beastmen more power and ability to thwart your opponent’s plans, but also to theme your army a particular way. Say you enjoy the idea of a group of Beastmen who follow the edicts of Nurgle, you could offer such Gifts like Slug Skin and Gnarled Hide to your Lords or Heroes (remember each Gift of Chaos can only be chosen once per army, but they are not magic items so they are not affected by things that neutralize or limit magic items). Then you can equip your Lords or Heroes with Everbleed or Trollhide to continue the effect. Needless to say there are plenty of Gifts and Treasures to offer a wide variety of advantages to your army.

Overall I have to say this army book has given me a lot of faith and hope for future army books. While the details of this book do give the Beastmen some fantastic battle ideas and themes, it by no means overwhelms earlier army books, which is a relief. Is there a chance to be ‘beardy’ with this army book, yes there is but it will be up to the player to make it that way as it will take some work to do such a thing. On a scale from one to ten, I give the Beastmen army book an 8.5.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Beastmen Minotuars Build and Paint

With so many folks concerned about the look of the new Minotaurs due to the pictures that are circulating, I wanted to quickly build and paint one to see what would come out of the new models. The sprues were certainly packed with goodies.

From these you can see a number of options for one hand or two hand weapons and a number of heads. The bodies are fairly rigid but I was not looking to convert them, so this was not a problem. Spare open hands, weapon arms, heads, and other goodies leave a lot of stuff for your bitz box.

I quickly put together the group of three as a command group.

As you can see they rank up fairly well and seem very solid on their bases. After a quick blast of white primer, I began to paint them up. You will note that I use a combination of Privateer Press Paints and Vallejo Game Color. I will be specific about what the paints are as I go over the painting process step by step.

1. I began with a wash over the model with a mixture of one part P3 Armor Wash and three parts P3 Mixing Medium.
2. This was followed by a base coat of three parts P3 Idrian Flesh to one part P3 Flesh Wash and one part P3 Mixing Medium.
3. For Highlighting I added P3 Ryn Flesh to the above mixture.
4. Then more Ryn Flesh added to the mixture.
5. Finally I took plain Ryn Flesh and added a touch of the old mixture to it for a final highlight.

6. Now I took P3 Thamar Black and coved the metal parts of the model and any horns.
7. I started painting the fur of the Minotaur with a mixture of four parts P3 Beasthide to one part P3 Thamar Black.
8. I then used one part P3 Brown ink to one Part P3 Armor Wash to cover the fur patches.
9. I then used the Thamar Black and Beasthide mixture to go back over the Minotaur fur.
10. I added Rucksack Tan to the above mixture to highlight the fur.
11. The leather straps and armor bits on the Minotaur were based with a mix of three parts P3 Thamar Black to one part P3 Beasthide (see how changing the mixture amounts gets you a completely different color but keeps you with a limited palette of paints so you keep a theme to you painting).
12. More Beasthide was added to the above mixture to highlight.
13. Finally Rucksack Tan was added to the mixture for the last highlight on the leather armor.

14. The handles of the weapon and the standard are basecoated in P3 Coal Black
15. I added a touch of P3 Marrow White to get a highlight for the handles.
16. The Banner was Basecoated in P3 Beasthide.
17. The highlights for the banner began with one part P3 Beasthide mixed with one part P3 Rucksack Tan.
18. The next Highlight was just Rucksack Tan.
19. Another highlight was added with one part Rucksack Tan and one part P3 Jack Bone.
20. A final highlight was done with the above mixture adding one part P3 Marrow Whie.

21. The fur on the banner is a mixture of one part P3 Bloodtracker Brown and one part P3 Thamar Black.
22. The first highlight on the fur is pure Bloodtracker Brown.
23. The next highlight is a mix of one part Bloodtracker Brown to one part P3 Menoth White Base.
24. The final highlight is pure P3 Menoth White Highlight spotted here and there.
25. The weapon wrapping and ropes on the model were then basecoated with P3 Menoth White Base.
26. The first highlight is P3 Menoth White Highlight.
27. A final Highlight is P3 Marrow White.
28. The metal on the weapons and armor were heavily dry brushed with Vallejo Game Color Tinny Tin.
29. A base coat of Vallejo Game Color Oily Steel was then put on the weapons.
30. The armor and weapons were then given a wash of Vallejo Game Color Smokey Ink.
31. Oily Steel was then base coated again on the weapons and armor.
32. The blade and armor edges were given an initial highlight of one part Oily Steel mixed with one part Vallejo Game Color Silver.
33. A final Highlight was given to the armor and weapon of pure Vallejo Game Color Silver.
34. The horns, teeth, and any bones on the model were basecoated with P3 Jack Bone, this was striped on the horns of the Minotaur.
35. The initial highlight on these was P3 Menoth White Base.
36. Then P3 Menoth White Highlight.
37. Finally a last highlight of P3 Marrow White.
38. Because the rope were so pale on the model I did a light wash on them using one part P3 Frostbite Blue to three parts P3 Mixing Medium.
39. The Rock ornament on the Minotaur’s left ear was basecoated with P3 Ironhull Grey.
40. The leather sack on the left side of the Minotaur was basecoated in P3 Bloodtracker Brown.
41. I then did a second basecoat of P3 Bootstrap Leather.
42. The first highlight on the bag was done with a mixture of one part P3 Bootstrap Leather and one part P3 Marrow White.
43. A final highlight was given to the bag with more Marrow White added to the above mixture.
44. I then decided to try to paint a Chaos Symbol using the instructions given by Dave Taylor on his blog davetaylorminiatures.com. I used P3 Sanguine Base to block out the symbol.
45. The first highlight to the symbol was a mix of P3 Sanguine Base and P3 Sanguine Highlight.
46. A final highlight of P3 Skorne Red was put on the symbol.

With that I decided the miniature was finished. Here is a picture of it fully painted.

While I am unhappy with the symbol, I love the look of the miniature overall. I will be painting up the other two and basing them. Watch for pictures coming soon.