Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Tyranids: Genetic Engineering

 Hi folks,

I have been busy in the gene-lab constructing some Tyranids to feed my voracious To-Do list. First on the chopping board was a Swarm Lord conversion, using the body of an old metal Red Terror, bulked up with armour plates and green-stuff, pinned to the torso and head of a 3rd. Ed Hive Tyrant.

This conversion has been kicking around since the Red Terror was released. I went out and bought one straight away and, after it proved to be fairly useless in games, I started to think about what cool things I could do with it. As a lot of my swarm have snake-like bodies, a snakey Swarm Lord seems appropriate. Next up, I will have to paint and attach the arms. I'm also thinking some Tamiya Clear Red would look good on that pincer tail...

Next up is another model that I have had kicking around since the original release. When I originally bought the new Carnifex model I armed it with twin-linked deathspitters and a barbed strangler ("Bomberfex"). It reaped a bloody toll over the next two editions of the game, but then I stopped using it. As it sat on the shelf I often thought about what I would do with it next, and settled on an "Old Six-eyes" conversion.

I based the pose of the model on the Zoanthropes and Malanthropes; I imagine this guy has some kind of anti-gravity organ that allows him to float around.

I used the old extra senses head but removed the antennae and replaced them with a spare armour plate from the Tyranid Warrior kit. The tail is pinned to the rubble with one of the biggest pins I have ever used. It's solid!

Lastly, I have a small brood of Hive Guard ready to perforate some light vehicles. I glued them a fraction too close to the front of the base to use the supplied set of arms, so I replaced them with some scything talons from the gaunts kit. It gives them a lightly leaner look which I like.

The plan is that when work finally eases off, I'll quickly speed-paint all of these Nids; keep an eye out for them!

See you across the table,

Monday, 13 June 2016

X-wing: First Game with Wifey (...I've created a monster)

Hi folks,

We have been going a bit stir-crazy in my family the past couple of weeks, with various factors combining to keep us in the house doing nothing. I took a short trip to my FLGS with the kids, just to get out for a bit. Apart from adding to my daughter's growing collection of horse figurines, I picked up a Z-95 Headhunter and TIE Advanced Prototype for X-wing. I have been looking for a Z-95 to finish off a little fleet that has been on my mind, and I figured the TIE Advanced Prototype would be a characterful addition whenever a Ghost is on the board. Besides, both ships are ridiculously cute.

I roped the wifey into playing a game after the kids went to sleep*. Wifey is an avid boardgamer, but doesn't have any particular interest for Star Wars, so I was fully prepared for a short game followed by "Meh. Carcassone?" I was right about one thing. The game was short. I set Wifey up with Valen Rudor in the TIE, which would give her an extra action every time she defends. I also loaded the ship with assault missiles and munitions failsafe. I opted for Lieutenant Blount with Ion Pulse Missiles; no munitions failsafe, because Blount always hits (even when he doesn't).

I ran through the basic rules as we maneuvered towards each other, then demonstrated a K-turn and zapped a shield off the TIE. We had a short discussion about predicting an opponent's maneuvers and then things went pear shaped :o)

Once she got behind my Z-95, I never really shook her off, which is a testament to both the accessibility of the game and Wifey's natural inclination to stab me in the back whenever we play something together. Seriously, UNO is torture. In the photo above, she managed to hit with an assault missile, removing one of my shields.

After chasing each other across the starfield for a few turns, I lost another shield and my Ion Pulse Missiles to a critical hit. The next turn I rounded on the TIE and we jousted at Range 1. I evaded one hit, but one got through to wreck Blount's day.

It was a short, fun, game that she was still bragging about in the morning. I hinted "best out of three" and she didn't say no, so I'll take that as a positive sign :-)

See you across the table,


*...and by "went to sleep" I mean "watched Mum and Dad play Star Wars from the top of the stairs until they caught us red-handed."

Friday, 10 June 2016

Tyranid Tyrant Guard Brood: TO-DONE!

Hi folks,

This Tyrant Guard brood has been on my To-Do list for a long time, but my Nids keep getting pushed to the end of the queue for some reason. My Tyranid paint scheme is particularly suited for speed-painting, to give me a break from some of my more intensive schemes (looking at you lovingly, Iron Snakes). It doesn't require much in the way of brush control, which is why they have finally made their way onto my paint table; I have been recovering from pneumonia the past couple of weeks and the medication has me shaking like crazy! In the interests of making some kind of progress, these guys are perfect recovery fodder.

I have quite a few snake-themed Tyranids in my collection, including a Swarm Lord that I converted using an old metal Red Terror body. To escort him around the battlefield, I thought it would be neat to convert some old Ravenors up as Tyrant Guard. I have equipped them with rending claws (well... claw) and crushing claws. I feel that crushing claws are a bit of a waste of points; my Tyrant Guard usually die before they ever get into combat, but if they do...  I have also outfitted them with shields made out of spare Trygon heads, as a little nod to the 3rd Edition Tyrant Guard.

I have a feeling I'll be on the meds for a couple of weeks, so I have lined up a few more Tyranid projects to keep the ball rolling on my To-Do list. These guys took me under 2 hours to finish off tonight, which is a nice change from the month-long slogs I sometimes face with other models.

So here's the big green stamp for these guys, it was a long time coming :o)


See you across the table,


Friday, 3 June 2016

X-wing: Bespin Orbital Defence Fleet

Hi folks,

If you are a fan of The Empire Strikes Back, you will remember the Storm IV Twin-pod Cloud Cars that patrol Bespin. They had a striking orange paint scheme and stung the Falcon with some blaster shots, as Han negotiated landing clearance. Obviously, there are no Cloud Car figures for the X-wing miniatures game (yet), but it did make me wonder what the paint scheme would look like on some other ships. In the hunt for upgrade cards, I ended up with a StarViper and two M3-A Interceptors. Having no particular love for the Scum faction, they soon found their way on to my paint table.

Bespin is a gas giant that includes a thin layer of habitable atmosphere. It is famous for its Tibanna gas mines, including Cloud City, which we see in The Empire Strikes Back. Bespin was a neutral world during the Galactic Civil War, but the Empire garrisoned the planet and seized Cloud City anyway. After the Empire's defeat at Endor, the gas giant and its prosperous mining colonies recovered their freedom. I imagine that, after the troubles they had been through, the various mining corporations would have established a government for the purposes of defence against off-world threats, possibly pooling their resources to buy a fleet of defence ships. I can imagine playing a few games against the First Order with such a fleet, particular if I can get hold of the new Cloud City playing mat!

The ships were given a light grey undercoat, then painted with Macharius Solar Orange. Some armour panels were painted a mixture of Lich Purple and Steel Legion Drab to match the original colour on the M3-A Interceptors. Small details were picked out with Warpstone Glow and Shadow Grey was used on the cockpit frames, again to match the original colour on the M3-A’s. I restored some detail with a generous Nuln Oil wash, before retouching with glazes of Macharius Orange. I finished the cockpit of the Viper off with a coat of gloss varnish.

I am not planning on playing the fleet very often, but I have knocked together a little list just for giggles:

StarViper: Guri, Calculation, Advanced Proton Torpedoes, Stealth Device
M3-A: Serissu: Wingman, Stealth Device, “Heavy Scyk” Interceptor, Heavy Laser Cannon
M3-A: Cartel Spacer, Stealth Device, “Heavy Scyk” Interceptor, Heavy Laser Cannon

…because orange counts as camouflage on a gas planet! SO STEALTHY!

 Here are a few more pics:


M3-A Interceptors

The Fleet

If you can come up with an interesting list using these ships, let me know in the comments!

See you across the table,


Wednesday, 1 June 2016

A Knight's Tale: Base Planning

Hi folks,

I spent a couple of night's worth of free time constructing the legs of my Imperial Knight, primarily so that I could start working on the base! Such a large space could potentially lend itself to some amazing scenery, which I am always interested in exploring.

At the same time, I wouldn't want to draw too much attention away from the walking avatar of the Emperor's will. I have intentionally left the banner off to create some more negative space, through which I am hoping to create an interesting, layered, rainforest/creek landscape.

The kind of look I am going for is something that you see a lot up north in Australia. Where the rainforest creek-beds open out to the ocean you see an amazing combination of crystal clear water, filtered light, sand, ferns and rocks.

For me, this landscape always reminds me of one of my favourite childhood stories: Where the Forest Meets the Sea. If you have kids and want to show them a little piece of Australia, this book will only set you back about $20 AUD (in pounds, that's about... wait, no... we would have to pay you). It is wonderful.

Anyway, that's the inspiration. Wifey bought me a couple of big ferns from Schleich to use. The fully constructed ferns are too large for the scale of the Knight, but the top fronds of the foliage work quite well by themselves.

I am thinking of placing one of these behind the Knight so that it can be seen through the legs, with a small creek flowing to the front of the base with ferns to either side. I'll probably coil a little snake in there somewhere too ;-)

The next step will be to sketch it all out on the base and make sure I have all the little ferns I need. This probably calls for a trip into the big Hobbico in Sydney. YAY!

Once it is all sketched out I will undercoat the legs and get cracking with some metallics. I'll be painting the armour separately and attaching it once the skeleton has been finished.

See you across the table,