Sunday, 26 January 2014

Forgeworld Horus Heresy Sicaran Venator unbagging.

The Venator was previewed at Games Day last year, and had been top of my wish list ever since. I had a free shipping voucher from forgeworld's December offer so thought I'd treat myself to an early Christmas present. It's a fantastic kit, with just enough switched up from the original to make it feel different.

The rules for it haven't officially come out yet, they're still in the experimental phase, but are looking really strong, a strength 10, AP1, Ordinance 2 laser is nothing to be sniffed at.

Well anyways, here's the video I knocked up having a look at all the pieces, cheers for watching...

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Forgeworld Horus Heresy Cerberus Heavy Tank Destroyer unbagging.

My amazing friends all grouped together for my recent 30th and got me this beauty of a tank. It's my first Lord of War choice for the Ultramarines I'm working on and can't wait to get it on the table this weekend.

Without further ado, here's the youtube video I made earlier today...

Cheers for watching guys.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Creating a better Ultramarine. Part 3. Assault marines continued.

I've been doing some work on my assault marines, and like I wrote about previously the first thing I did was mix the parts up from the sets I was using, they'd look too uniform if one squad had all the Sanguinary Guard and the other had none. Here's the results of what I ended up with...

At this stage as I was pondering where to go next with them I thought 'but anyone could do this and end up with the same result'. Out came the bits boxes. The boon of having hobby ADD is that my collection of unused parts is rather vast. I have a separate container for each force, and after much rummaging I found quite a few bits that I wanted to use. There's obviously still a few weapon swaps to do, changing some of the blades to chainswords and stuff, but that'll come during the next stage, mold line removal and taking off all the BA iconography, can't wait for that!

For the bases, my friend Dean recently introduced me to the concept of cork. I've been having a play around with it and it's awesome stuff. I still need to take it a step further and grab some polyfiller and some thin wire to sink into it as pipes. Then I need to investigate snow effects. I bought a tub of GW snow flock ages ago but it doesn't really do the trick. After that it's a light sprinkling of Necron parts perhaps, they'll have been fighting on Damnos, but it might make them look a bit amateur, what do you guys think?

The next thing I'll need to consider is battle damage and dirt. I've never done that to my minis before, but I'm already planning to do it on my heresy army. At the moment I'm thinking that I'll avoid things like chipping, but will add some weathering powders around the legs, and a soot effect around exhausts and things. The other thing to look at is the paint job. Because I'll have spent so much time building these guys I feel the paint job needs to be suitably epic to match. I don't currently have an airbrush, but want to try my hand at some OSL effects on them in places like the coils on the plasma pistols and on the vents of the jet packs. Any advice on how to achieve this with a regular brush would be greatly appreciated!

I'm hoping that in my next post of the series I'll have each of them built and primed, although that really depends on the horrible Welsh weather letting me get outside for  long enough! See you soon...

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Building a better Ultramarine. Part 2. Assault Squads started.

Leading on from my introduction article the other day I thought I'd write about where I'm up to with the assault squads of my company.

Looking at the basic assault marine box that GW currently has it's fairly uninspiring. There's a distinct lack of options, and each of the 5 marines look almost identical. Compare this to the variety that an army such as the Blood Angels get. In jump infantry alone they get two boxes, the Death Company and the Sanguinary Guard. They're plastered in blood drops and other blood related iconography, but they feel like marines that have seen a fair few decades of war, and have accumulated the trappings that come along with such dedication to the Emperor! So those would be my starting point, 10 marines, with a lot of hobby knife attention to make them fit for Ultramar. That still leaves me with another 10 to go.

With the recent release of the space marine codex, the Sternguard and Vanguard marines got a re-release, with shiny plastic multi-part kits instead of the mono-pose metal/resin models of yore. I thought long and hard about grabbing a box of the vanguard for my project. Where would I go if I wanted to add a 1st company to my army, they'd end up looking the same as the non-veteran marines. I decided that it was something I would have to deal with if I ever got that far. So off I went to town, and returned another five models closer to the goal.

Browsing the web store for ways to inject even more flavour into my units I came across a number of character models with jump packs. These would make ideal sergeants. Yes I would have to stick with their weapon options, unless I felt like doing a heavy amount of converting. No thanks, I have enough kit bashing and scraping on my plate! I settled on the nearly new Lord Executioner model with his impressive axe and also a classic in the form of Shrike. The former would need very little work, he's already so gothic and ornate. The latter will need a fair bit of work due to the raven guard iconography.

17 down and only 3 more to go. I'd pretty much exhausted my options for stealing from other armies, and I didn't want to have a look at 3rd party bits just yet, so a box of regular assault marines it was. With there only being three needed, and the ability to swap parts around amongst my twenty, their uniformity would be well masked.

So far I've got each of them tacked together how they come in the box. The next stage of the plan is to mess them up, swap bits, convert axes into chainswords, throw purity seals at them and see what I end up with. I also need to start working on their background. I've decided to let the look of each character dictate their personal lore, if one of them doesn't have a helmet on, why is that so? If another is the banner bearer, how come he was chosen? Hopefully I'll have the outlines of answers to these questions in my next post. Stay tuned for more Ultrafun!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Creating a better Ultramarine. Part 1. Introduction.

Everyone has an opinion on Ultramarines. Many people hate them, we've all heard the usually names... ultrasmurfs, poster boys etc. I'll admit that back when me and my brother started playing in second edition I went for a Genestealer cult army, and he went for the Ultramarines. I distinctly remember taking the piss like any good older brother should. But something lodged in my mind about how cool it would be to own a whole chapter. Then when I rejoined the hobby mid-fifth edition the army I chose was the boys in blue. I was old enough and with enough income spare to easily collect and company. Well that was the plan anyway. I got sidetracked by the other armies on offer, and even though I made good headway to collecting my dream company it never materialised.

Whenever I returned to my Ultramarines I was always a little disappointed with how bland they were. I tried using a few bits from the usual websites to spice things up, I got the Forge World doors for my Rhinos, and I painted them to the best of my ability at the time.

I'd read a fair few of the novels, from the omnibus all about Ventris and the 4th, the Marines Battles book where Cassius goes off on one against the Tyranids, and I've seen the mediocre film. They were good reads, but nothing really stood out as being individually cool, they go to war, they follow the codex, they celebrate. It was only when I got round to reading Know No Fear that things really got interesting for me. There was so much character and flavour to the Ultramarines. Everyone was an individual, they had personalities, that's what I was after. I'd found the start of my inspiration.

Then came Damnos. I still haven't finished the book. I have got the Apocalypse warzone book. I love the idea of a fight that isn't an insta-win for the Astartes. Much like the insurmountable odds their 30k counterparts overcame against the Word Bearers. My Necron army was developing nicely, and at one point I very nearly packed in the ultra-dream and started a Minotaurs army to play out the Fall of Orpheus Imperial Armour book. But that would just be copying someone elses work (even though it is totally rad) and I wanted something unique.

So lets take stock of this ramble so far cause it's probably way too long winded, fragmented and boring!
I want to collect the whole Ultramarines 2nd Company.
It has to grab and hold my attention span until the project is complete.
The theme and story needs to be the main focus.
Individuality is absolutely key.
With that out of the way, let the ramble continue.

Back in the day, space marines used to have campaign badges (well decals actually) to show what major battles they'd been in. I hadn't seen this until the Damnos book. The Grey Knights all have individual heraldry, yeah there's way less of them, but that doesn't matter. The Blood Angels are covered in iconography and blood drops. My Ultramrines were fairly bog-standard, like they got up in the morning, drilled all day, ate some standardised pulp, then went to sleep in bare grey quarters. Then the next day repeat all over again. That definitely won't be the life of my second comapny. They'll be living relics, as wild and varied as hundreds of years worth of battles can make them. They'll celebrate their victories with decorations and banners, they'll worship the Emperor with more purity seals than ever before. They'll personalise their armour, and repair it in their own unique way. All of this whilst still following the ways of the Codex in structure. Their lives will be a celebration of warfare, and of what they have achieved.

Ultramar is a huge and prosperous realm, so why aren't more of the marines proud of where they have come from? Why no personal heraldries? This again is going to change. I'm going to be laying out an alternative to the 2nd company laid out in the 5th edition marine codex. Yes, Sicarius will still be the daddy. Yes there'll still be 6 tactical squads, and 2 of each Assault and Devestator, but there's where the similarity will end.

Over the coming year I'll be posting on my progress, both in terms of modelling and also as I craft my lore. There'll be historical battles, current battles, unit profiles, individual astartes biographies, missions, artwork, the whole works. The inspiration for this restart has come from many places, one of the main sources is from GW themselves and their focus on narrative gaming. The way that 6th is set up to tell stories speaks to me in a way that 5th never did. Combine that with getting more into the Imperial Armour books, and the amazing imagination of Alan Bligh. Inspiration has also come from the models themselves, GW just released some lovely new plastic marines, with so many options for kit bashing. Finally inspiration has come from my fellow gamers and bloggers. The guys at the turn 8 podcast. My friend Jamie, who before Netrunner was joining me in creating a narrative campaign, and Charging Carnifex whose blog posts on lore creation are a great read.

At the moment, the next post should be about the assault squads I'm about to start work on. Cheers for reading, let me know what you're new years projects are if you've got any lined up!