Sunday, 20 November 2016

Hobby Diary 20/11/2016

Though I have done little on the painting front, I have nonetheless done a bit of hobby each night. I still had two tanks to assemble for my Genestealer Cult. Now, it might surprise you to know that I have NEVER assembled a Chimera or Leman Russ. Thankfully they are both very easy kits. One a night was no problem at all. I wanted to magnetize the Leman Russ Turret but due  to the design it's not really possible. Oh well.

Another night was spent spraying my UCM fleet as I got to grips with my Airbrush for the first time in an age and another couple of nights went on painting them though I was far from happy with the results in the end.

Y'see I had a vision in mind for the fleet. I was going to aim for a Sulaco look, a military green/grey that would convey the sense of scale I was going for. I had a look at some colour swatches and Vallejo German Green looked about right. It was even a sod to get hold of. Imagine my annoyance when I realised that it was FAR more green than i had planned on, more akin to the base colour for my Emperors Blades than anything I had envisaged.


Even after mixing in some black and Drakenhoff Nightshade it was still not right. Well, fuck it I thought. Stick it in the airbrush and get it done.

I love airbrushing, though I am but a novice and haven't yet got to grips with the even the most basic of techniques. It makes basecoating so incredibly quick and easy. Yes the airbrush requires a fair bit of cleaning and maintenance but I consider that worth the saved time it would take to basecoat this lot by hand..

So a bit messy to be sure as I got to grips with Airbrushing again, but I got them all basecoated, Sadly they were still dark green so a few coats of Drakenhoff  Nightshade were thrown on top and this helped somewhat. However, it still wasn't the colour I wanted so I knew that I was going to have an uphill struggle painting this lot. They were barely basecoated and already I wasn't happy with them


I threw on some mid range metallics and mixed up the basecoat with some Vallejo stone grey and black to get a kind of dark grey olive  which I ustilised on some panels here and there. Overall I wanted to add some bright blue energy to the ships, it looked rather cool in Call of Duty Infinite Warfare and I wanted to try to replicate it. Sadly it just wasn't happening.

In the end I was just about satisfied with the way it turned out. I'm far from happy with the scheme but it'll do. I'll need to see how it looks on one of the larger capital ships before I can form a final opinion on it.

Still, my confidence had been knocked. Somewhat deterred I turned my thoughts towards the PHR. I wasn't writing off the UCM but I definitely needed a break from them. So I started to put together the other fleet.

The PHR frigates are very easy to put together and with a single hull configuration it means the only bit that was going to vary was the underslung piece. They would be easy to magnetize and swap out but in all honesty with the low squadron numbers and the high number of models I had it wasn't necessary. I had all the Frigates done over the course of a couple of evenings.

The cruisers are a lot more fiddly, however, the principle is still the same, the flanks of the ships have weapons just like Battlefleet Gothic models they could be magnetised but a couple of the configurations are repeated so I haven't bothered at this stage.One point I must make is that a couple of the sprue connection points are in very frustrating places. One is right on the top of the hull, nigh on impossible to clean up.

The Kickstarter Exlusive battlecruiser was a different matter entirely with many of the components being resin, There was a lot of warping and hot water was required to straighten things out. Worse, the two hull sections really didn't want to go together so elastic bands were employed. There isn't even a hole for the flying stand, very disappointing overall.

And that was about it for this week. not bad but the UCM fleet not turning out the way I wanted was very disappointing. I really didn't want UCM green. Oh well, I have a week off of work and only a few plans so hopefully i'll get a a lot more done then, and then there is my Heresy entry to think about as well as Lee has surged even further ahead, as you can read below....

I didn't do one of these last week as I spent all weekend with my other half being in hospital so got no hobby done at all for those two days. Despite then being in hospital myself for two days during the week I have still managed to hit one of my hobby goals and completed November's Horus Heresy unit on time, my Word Bearers Sicaran tank.

I'm really pleased with how quickly this got done. I'm always a little bit intimidated whenever I start any Forge World piece but there was not a lot of exterior detail that wasn't going to be red which really sped things along. I even got the tank tracks done first as those are the parts I hate most on any tank and probably helps explains why I like Eldar so much.

The build was easy enough, there are some mould likes that may be visible in the pictures that I had no chance of getting rid of but that's fine. I justify them still being there as battle damage or the beginnings of blessed change.

Colour wise the tank was airbrushed all over with a mix of Forge World's Word Bearer and Gal Vorbak red. From there I painted the tracks Runefang, washed black and dry brushed with Runefang again, I really didn't want to spend too much time on them. The track housings were painted Corvus black same as my Ashen Circle and highlighted with Eshin Grey. 

The red sections were given a Leviathan Purple wash in the recessed areas, tidied with the original red mix then highlighted with a mix of Word Bearers Red and Blood Red. All over are blasphemous excerpts from the Book of Lorgar picked out in white. I didn't bother with the transfers as I was happy enough with this effect but didn't want to overpower the model with them. You'll notice I used the Lascannons on my Sicaran (which are magnetised for transport). The Word Bearer's special formation, the Dark Brethren, only permits one heavy support choice so whatever I take has to be able to knock out the heavy hitters in my opponents army.

I've already decided on December's Horus Heresy model. As I want to be able to spend more time on my Wild West Exodus models next month I've chosen a single model, the plastic Calth Contemptor. I should be able to knock that one out pretty quickly giving me a couple of weeks to complete some Hired Hands. 

After that I really need to get back to an infantry unit. Most likely another tactical squad of 10 men or maybe the MkV assault squad I have as they also count as troops. One I get a regular unit done I will treat myself to something more exciting, like some Gal Vorbak.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

White Dwarf Review: Issue 3

Right, i think this will be the last one for now, i'll do another review if the magazine substantially changes but  I think we are just going to be retreading a lot of old ground from here on out, we know more or less how the new White Dwarf works now. Of course if you DO wish for reviews of every issue please leave a comment below and I may be swayed.

Onwards to Issue 3:

A break from artwork this month as the models from the Prospero Burns Horus Heresy game dominate the front cover. Part of me wishes that this had still been the artwork from the boxed game, though i'll be honest the size and layout may have been difficult to translate to a magazine front cover. Besides, it meant we got a sneak preview of the Custodes weeks in advance (though the Sisters of Silence were craftily hidden). I still prefer artwork on my magazine cover though.

Planet Warhammer has a big splash on Prospero Burns as you would expect. Looking more or less like an improved version of Calth I can see this one selling particularly well. I've already got mine! Mk III armour really looks the part and oddly enough i'm more impressed by these than the other elements of the game. Still, a full review will be incoming on that in due course so i'll not dwell on Prospero Burns here.

Elsewhere we get new scenery, for both 40k and AOS and new scenic bases for heroes. At 20 quid for a set of 8 40k or 11 AOS bases of varying sizes its not a bad deal compared to the competition but some of them look rather impractical. There is also a new mini version of the Mould line remover  with inbuilt file and canister for holding superglue. Genius idea and day one purchase for me. The other noteworthy release is a Citadel Tints set, 10 for 30 quid though as they are 3 ml pots this seems expensive to me. Hopefully a video will be released that will sway my opinion.

Black library is covered as usual as The Beast Arises series comes to an end, there is also a very expensive new Salamanders novella about the artifacts of Vulkan for the Heresy. £35? On your bike! I'll presume that the limited edition and we'll get a sanely priced release down the road. We are getting a Heresy novel every month now anyway, i've no need to fork out beyond that. I'm also massively behind on my Heresy reviews so i'm in no rush to pick up even more overpriced novellas.

So after Planet Warhammer and a brief piece about Total War Warhammer (there is a code to download Grombrindal as a hero in the game on the front of the mag) we are onto Golden Demon. Again.  GW seem to host a GD at every event they run now so I do not see this feature ending anytime soon. Nice paint jobs but some excellent tips aside, a bit redundant. Some of the models aren't even that well painted. I feel GD has become somewhat diluted now, more akin to Armies on Parade or a store painting competition, i think it has lost some prestige. It was a special event when it was held once a year at Games Day, this has now changed, familiarity breeds contempt indeed.

The running  order of articles is switched up, I guess in an attempt to keep things fresh, A Tale of Four Gamers is next as once again they seem to have added as much as they have been able to paint this month to their forces. This is the first time I have been let down by the Nurgle army as the Slaughterbeast looks very mediocre, i guess the distinctive painting style is shown up a bit on large models. Better is the Terrorgheist in the Undead force.  The theme this month appears to be monsters. Apparently there are three months left for this series. I'm sure i'll have run out of interest before then. There is no reason or order to the army building it's just add as much as you can in a month. Not a patch on the originals.

Temporal Distort is next and I got my wish from last month granted as it goes all the way back to 1995, just before I got into the hobby proper. With Epic Tyranids, Drawn Battle Report maps and the introduction of the Valhallans there was a heady sense of nostalgia on reading this article, in fact i'd really like to see it extended a bit, a double page spread just doesn't seem enough.

Hall of Fame is the Landraider, no complaints here, it's a truly iconic model in every sense of the word. A lot of the material is reused from previous issues but it's been a while so I think this gets a free pass. Another Jes Goodwin Masterpeice, in fact i'd quite happily see similar featured every month. Some of those old articles about the design process were fascinating.I still remember the one about the Falcon Grav tank way back in the day. Now that was a revolutionary plastic kit at the time (which has still held up well)

Next up is The cover feature which is of course, Prospero Burns, presenting a good look at the set up, the models themselves, a bit of Heresy history and designer notes. Pretty much everything apart from the rules actually. It would have been nice to see even the most basic of play throughs. Perhaps they realise most people just get these boxes for the models. A shame. I'd rather hoped for more especially after wasting half hour of my life watching the developers video for a paltry 6 minutes of gameplay explanation.

Ultimate guide to...  is Commoragh, most of it you'll know but it's nice to see the Dark Eldar featured as I had feared that it would just become a plug for whatever the new release was that month. The Dark Eldar haven't been shown much love or attention recently and they are an amazing range (Jes Goodwin again) crying out for an update to make them playable, let's hope it comes sooner rather than later.  I have a massive army collecting dust right now.

Army of the month is a nice Blood Ravens Army, this is where the fold out section is too. It's nice but not spectacular. Something other than Space Marines next month please!

The battle report is an AOS affair but what is this? Points? Army lists? Icons and Arrows on a proper top perspective map?!?. They almost convinced me AOS is a serious game.  In all honesty it is a cracking write up, you very much get a good idea of what the game is like even if it does still seem horrifically unbalanced towards the Stormcast Eternals (though the army points values are equal). Great stuff and certainly the standout surprise of the issue. I still don't like the simple core rules of the game or the majority of the models but i'll be damned if they don't do a good job of making it look good.

Armies on Parade gives us a few excellent entries, some really inspired and crazy stuff here. Illuminations is Prospero Burns themed, Battlegrounds is a big BIG Chaos Fortress.

The rules section gives us a Contemptor based seventh mission for Prospero Burns and 30k rules for Sisters and Custodians (40k rules are downloadable from the website though I do not approve - I think they should remain Heresy only - but hey, gotta boost sales I guess) and a warscroll for the new Stormcast model.

Blanchistu is taking a month off, a good idea as it gets a bit samey, it looks like we'll get some gaming action from Blanchitsu next month though as people take their warbands to battle. John looks a bit frail these days i hope he is in good health other than the effects of his stroke a few years back. Losing Wayne England this year was a big enough blow.

Sprues and Glue is around basing in a plug to the new releaases and the Paint Splatter focuses on last months new textured paints with a detailed guide to continue the basing theme. Eavy Metal Masterclass carries on this time focusing on cloaks. Hopefully it will be a regular feature. Lastly there is a page on using the new tints, bizarrely using printed swatches rather than actual pictures of the ways you can change the colours. It's not particularly useful and doesn't compel me to fork out £30 quid for them, hopefully Duncan will do a video.

You know what closes out the mag, no need to repeat it. It's not changed in three issues.

And that's issue three done and dusted. My opinion hasn't changed much. This is by far the best version of the magazine that we have had since the Fat Bloke days when White Dwarf was edited by Paul Sawyer. That said there are a few niggling problems (still)

A fair few typos are creeping into the magazine. I have seen about six or seven in this issue. Now I do hate bad spelling and grammar at the best of times but in a professional magazine it's particularly galling. Nor is White Dwarf the only culprit, with Black Library novels and even Games Workshop Promotional material being subject to errors. I'll volunteer as a proof reader if it helps! So there is that, which is a shame as the rest of the mag looks nice and professional and slick (if a little sterile). I realise i'm as guilty of typos as the next man but then i'm not charging people six quid to read what i write.

Still too many non studio models, though sensibly Parade Ground appears to be missing for this issue. The adverts are fairly restrained though they do take up about 10% of the page count. One of the most pleasing things is that Subscribers genuinely get the magazine early, and not just a few days,.  It's a good thing too as there is little other incentive to subscribe with a 15% saving on the cover price still representing a 33% increase on the subscription I have held for 6 odd years.

As far as i am aware, this is the last WD with a freebie in it, now i'm not saying that they absolutely must have a freebie every month in order to make it worthwhile, but i'd like to see them throw a poster or something in every now and again, time will tell on that front, at the moment i think it's overpriced.

So that's three issues, and my overall review is that its a decent read, it doesn't take very long to get through and its not exactly rammed with material but what is here is mostly worthwhile. It is very pleasing to see just how many nods to the past there are as for a long time GW has completely neglected it's past. Yes many of the articles are inferior to their old versions but it shows a willingness from the company that bodes well for the future. I'll keep my subscription going for now, getting the mag a whole week early is quite the boon and I
do like a great deal of what's in it. Why not drop a comment below to let us know what you think?

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Conclave Horus Heresy Novella Review: Wolf King By Chris Wraight

I've got a bit behind in my reviews, so far in fact that I'm going to have to start working backwards. Deathfire was meant to be the next if I were proceeding in order but frankly although I have a few notes written down, my attempts to go back and finish it only lengthen the gap. It wasn't all that memorable anyway. I remember a lot of crying Space Marines....

So, whilst I have  a backlog that only seems to increase with the frequent release rate of late I have decided to take action to stop the rot. I'm reviewing the last thing I read and will work backwards as time allows. The last thing I read was Chris Wraight's Novella, Wolf King.

I actually picked up Wolf King along with The Silent War (which i have just started). I had just finished Path of Heaven and was rather hoping that Wolf King would fill in a few of the gaps that i perceived in that book. After all they are by the same author so I somewhat hoped they worked as an accompaniment to each other.

As it turns out Wolf King is somewhat more standalone than that, barely referencing Path of Heaven or the White Scars at all. It could however be considered to take place immediately before it. (I'm reviewing Path of Heaven next by the way the aim is to get it done before I finish reading The Silent War...)

So anyway the plot of Wolf King finds the Space Wolves harried and hunted by the Alpha Legion, ravaged at the Battle of Prospero (Where Jaghatai Khan refused to aid Leman Russ) they are wounded and on the run, fighting a losing void war of attrition. Leman Russ in particular is very out of character in this book, he's brooding and conflicted, more Sulking than Wolfking. Some people have taken extreme umbrage at Russ's portrayal in this book but I have to say that Wraight rationalises everything rather well.

Russ is somewhat damaged here but more than anything else he is contemplative. He realizes that his legion has been manipulated into killing the Thousand Sons and he knows that it is his inflexible and predictable attitude that has allowed it to happen. It's more of an existential crisis than anything else. Yes, perhaps it is a little heavy handed and it is tough to emphasise with him entirely as he broods while his Legion is attacked again and again but it is a side of the Space Wolves Primarch that we have not seen before and it is rather refreshing to see something other than an infallible superhuman.
With Russ sitting in his hall casting runes as he searches for a way forward for his legion. it is left to his Jarls to lead the fleet as they follow his overriding orders to flee. Of course this doesn't sit well with his sons who would much rather fight and enact a number of rearguard actions against the Alpha Legion, losing more ships in the progress but at least going down fighting. Dissension builds though and Lord Gunn is inclined to stand and fight and die in one last glorious battle. For a moment the fate of the very legion itself rests on a knife edge...

Thankfully, everyone's favourite Space Wolf, Bjorn, turns up to shake Russ from his fugue state and get everything back on track. I'm not going to lie, Bjorn comes across a little deus ex-machina here, the answer to all the Vlka Fenrys ills. Russ certainly thinks so, one of his runes constantly lands face down and it just happens to be the one depicting a bear. Consulting with Bjorn, the Primarch discovers his mojo in time for the climax of the book. I wont go any further into the plot here for fear of spoilers but let's just say with an infiltrator on the Space Wolves vessel there is a lot more to events than a brooding Primarch. Revelations and sacrifice feature in equal measure by the time you get to the final page, the end result is more than satisfying.

Chris Wraight deftly wields a vastly reduced cast here, with no more than half a dozen characters featuring in any significant way. This allows him to construct a tight and focused narrative lacking the myriad subplots that can sometimes weigh a story down. His writing is as elegant as ever and for a book that deals with nothing but boarding actions and void warfare the action is visceral and brutal. It's a well crafted novella with decent characters and is pretty compelling, which is good as the book lacks chapters and instead is split into three lengthy parts.

Overall i would say that Wolf King comes as recommended but not essential. The author obviously understands the Space Wolves and should Dan Abnett not return to reclaim the legion he did so much work on with Prospero Burns then i think that Chris Wraight would serve as a worthy custodian. I look forward to his next entry in the Heresy with great interest.


Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Hobby Diary 06/11/2016


Hobby wise this hasn't been a particularly eventful week. It has mostly comprised preparing projects for the rest of the month and re-jiggling my projects. It is irritating when you have a plan but new things shove the items you had wanted to get done out of the way. 

Preparation wise this week I constructed a 500pt Scourge fleet. I enjoyed putting these models together. Even though all the Scourge ships have the same basic hull the additional parts really do set them apart, at least as far as the frigates are concerned. My fleet is mostly frigates organised into Groups that have specific purposes with a light cruiser along to provide a bit of heavier firepower. Now that I have had a chance to read through the fleet list it is easier to recognise the ships as their individual classes instead of a succession of weirdly shaped vessels. I'll discuss my fleet when Allan and I get our first game in, I don't want to tip him off to my plan.

I intend to spray all these ships metal with silver along the tips of the protrusions. Over this I will apply washes. Then once these are dry I will pick out the detail traditionally. I will be paying particular attention to the unique parts of each ship so I can easily identify them on the board. Rather than go for the usual purple and greens that the display fleet are painted I will be looking at sea creatures for inspiration.

I was disappointed that I did not find Khalida during a search of my carry cases but determined to complete a Warhammer Fantasy model this month I chose a Tomb King instead, with a Scarab Swarm base as an optimistic hanger on that may also get done at the same time. This is going to follow the same method as the Liche Priest from last month, paint the gold, skin and bandages then brown wash the lot and then highlight and pick out the details.

The thing I made the most progress on this month was my Sicaran. As a main Word Bearer unit this is painted red but with charcoal black sections echoing the shoulder pads of my Astartes. I am making good progress so far and hope to be done by the end of next week though you know how it is with plans and reality matching up.

The first project that looks like it will be completed this month is my random Emperor's Children. The Emperor's Children for 40K are one of my oldest armies and I have quite a bit painted. This model found its way to the window sill when I was unpacking and was left behind so that when I started to paint it was to hand. Wanting to expand on this army rather than junk it I have painted this Marine as a test bed for my newer scheme. The main change is changing the banding from the same blue as the weapons to green. I think it works and will make sure that any new or touched up units match this guy. As it stands there are just a couple of details to finish and then to base and he is done.

As far as November's plan goes below are the changes. 


Word Bearers Sicaran
Emperor's Children Marine
Queen Khalida Tomb King


Scourge ships
Warrior Nation Braves

Khalida is out and the Tomb King is in and the Squats have been relegated to the sidelines to make room for five Warrior Nation Braves for Wild West Exodus. I have all the paints I need now to do justice to their skin so these will be my test bed. I had intended only to paint one but there is a new hobby challenge beginning on the Wild West Exodus Facebook groups and the minimum requirement for month one is five Hired Hands. Whether they get completed or not really depends on how long the Sicaran takes but if I keep up the pace I have set thus far then I should meet my deadline.


Like Lee, i have had a pretty quiet week comparatively after last week's mad rush. It's mostly been back to watching Star Trek Voyager while building cultists. I did get my UCM fleet undercoated though, ready for the airbrush, i've undercoated them black and i'll drybrush them with grey and white in an attempt to pre-highlight them before I give them the base coat. It's all a bit experimental at this stage. Still, i'm looking forward to getting them done and of all things, Call of Duty Infinite Warfare has been a major influence with the ships in that game being rather well realised and giving me a few ideas for my UCM. 

So like I said, in the meantime i've been adding to the ranks of the Cultists, i've actually finished all my Overkill sprues and though I have a box of neophytes (which are to be assembled with all the options and intermixed with my normal squads, it's been the Cadians that i have been working on this week. 

So one of the main things i have realised of late is that the Hybrids are FAR superior to the Cadian models. OK there are ten years between them but you can see every single one of those years when comparing kits. The Cadians are crude, oddly proportioned with massive mouldlines (thank the Emperor - Beloved by all - for the mould line remover tool) and just don't go that well together. Well overdue an upgrade i would say! After spending as much time cleaning the model as it took to assemble a dozen cultists I started to assemble them. I wanted to try to improve the way they looked a bit and in all honesty the removal of Aquilas and addition of cult bits and heads only goes so far with that. I'll be painting them quite drab so that they don't stand out too much compared to the much more interesting cultist models.

I managed to get three complete squads of ten and with a bit of creative hacking have tried to vary the models up a bit with backpacks and the like though i have to confess i am not absolutely happy with them, it doesn't help that the superior Command kit has a lot of options that the cultists just CAN'T use like powerfist and plasma and melta guns. This variety would have improved the models considerably. Stupid Codex. 

Oh well, never mind, I moved onto the heavy weapon squads, a little bitz order a few weeks ago meant I was in a position to utilise more of the heavy weapons than normal and indeed I actually seem to have all options available which is handy. I do like getting the most out of my kits. The main place I had to be creative was with the missile launchers, they needed a bit of cutting to make them a bit shorter so they look like they could be fired without the need of the tripod. I think i've just about managed that. 

I've also been creative with the hybrid bits. I used Overkill models to utilise as many bits of the sprues as possible and have turned basic Acolytes to make Metamamorphs and a standard bearer. Though the models needed a fair bit of cutting, the conversion is actually fairly simple and I think i have got away with it. 

So that's the cult mostly done! The tanks are yet to do and another box of Neophytes, and i have a commissar from the start collecting box to get creative with - probably double up as another Primus. Oh, and the rest of the Cadian Command, OK the cult is not quite as done as I thought, good thing that we are only on season 3 of Voyager. 

I did also construct a glass cabinet to display my Star Wars Armada fleets, that counts as hobby right? 

Still, i'm casting my mind to other things, (i'm like a hobby magpie) and whilst I try to resist the lure of the wavering post Trump election dollar making a Kickstarter very tempting i'm thinking about what is next. I really want to finish those three busts i started, it shouldn't take too long, a couple of evening sessions maybe, in between i can do my UCM and 30k Ultramarines. As you will see from the picture i have the ventilated spraying station all set up so next time I hope to have much more than just construction done...