Thursday, 27 August 2009

150 Lots of Stuff, Including Armoured Fist and Veterans

Evening, All.
In this post you will find: more options for my hardened veterans and also my second Armoured Fist squad. But before that: yesterday's US-style apple pie (Mrs. Drax is from Chicago):

Well, stuff's been quiet on the blogging front, but I've been getting quite a bit of painting done...albeit not nearly so much as I'd hoped. I've just about accumulated the required amount of points for the most recent TOEMP challenge (see logo, right), but sadly not the way I'd planned. I was hoping to finish the Armoured Fist squad in addition to my hardened veterans, but couldn't cobble it all together in time. Plus - of course - I'd completely forgotten that veterans are no longer an Elites choice, which was supposed to be a part of this second challenge.

Plus, only the Vets have had freehand painting on their shoulder pads.


Vets first, then, as they're cooler. My lascannon team. I'm unlikely ever to field them, but it's my first attempt at a model lying prone. This was the single most painstaking infantry model I've ever put together (even more so than my lovely mortars):
I'm fairly happy with their faces for once, but I might add some detail to the sighting lens...:
Next, two models old readers will have seen before; brushed-up, based and finished. Unlike the lascannon team, these are some of my original veterans, so they get similar heraldry to the others I completed recently. I like the old sniper conversion:
Finally, the second of my Armoured Fist squads - the first (equally dull) can be seen here:
Boring, eh? - Their pimped ride is chimera number 2 on this post.

Mind you, the Armoured Fist platoon's HQ unit will be far more interesting, and arriving soon, too!

Cheers all, and thanks again to 73rd for his inspiration. Back at work next week (grrr) so I'll have next to no hobby time. Rats.

- Drax.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

149 New Model Army - 2 Platoon

Greetings, Earthlings.

I don't know why I haven't posted this before, but here's 2 Platoon, B Coy, 2/24th Cadian Light Infantry. You'll see 1 Platoon here, and there you'll find more of an explanation of the constituent units. There are other hyperlinks below for more details, and the old codex version of 2 Pl is here.

Firstly, here's the whole platoon:
Right - let's look at the sub-units. NB: Usual painting caveats please, folks: some of these models were painted six or seven years ago, and I've improved a lot since then. The light reflecting from the varnish is mostly due to the camera flash.

Here's, HQ Section, (sans medic, since the new Codex came out) with their Officer's ever-present mascot, After The War:And here's 1 Section, with a plasma gun:2 Section, with a melta gun. It appears their trusty sergeant hath lost his converted right hand with its laspistol [hmm...I feel a 'prosthetic' conversion coming on, maybe...]:3 Section, with a grenade launcher (Drax LOVES grenade launchers):
'A' Section - lascannon; click here for more details:
'D' Section - heavy bolters; click here for more details:
'F' Section - flamers; [though I might pop a grenade launcher in there to give them some range, maybe...] note one of them hasn't been fired yet! (early model):
Of course, each model has an identification 'flash' on the back of his base: a squad designation character on a yellow (for 2 Pl) field. See here for an example from 1 Pl.

There you go. And I've recently made a start on 3 Platoon, too!


- Drax.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

148 Painting Chart - Progress Tracking


Well, I did one of these almost a year ago, but here's a new (and new codex) version of my painting progress chart, outlining my force, with what's done and what's left to do:
It's looking far, far healthier than it did!

There are - of course - models left out; mostly the great unwanted, including ogryns, rough riders, high command, self-build and loads of spare troops with various different weapons options, but this really is the bulk of my force as it stands.

Edit: Sentinels! Ach! I knew I'd forgotten something! Two are finished and two are W-i-P. Damn.

If anyone's wondering, my lack of technical prowess obliged me to craft this on MS Excel, then use the ubiquitous MS Paint to format the file as a JPEG. It makes for a nice visual!

- Drax.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

147 3 Platoon HQ and 1 Section

Well then,

Here are the two units I've finished courtesy of 73rd's TOEMP kick up the backside: HQ Section and 1 Section of 3 Platoon, B Coy, 2/24th Cadian Light Infantry.

Firstly, HQ Section...although I'm not sure which officer to put with them:
The surplus of officers I now have is because with the advent of the new codex I've gone from three rifle platoons and three support (2x heavy weapon; 1x mortar) platoons to three 'tactical' platoons with organic fire support squads. It doesn't really make a blind bit of difference which I field, as all my officers are equipped the same, and until I can afford the new plastics the metal models are staying!
Here's 1 Section:
You'll note in both cases the newer models haven't been varnished (nor will they be, for a while as I'm re-evaluating my varnishing antics) and as such aren't shiny - I had to use the flash.

Thanks for your kind comments in the last post: I'm pretty pleased with those freehand aquilas...though the '24' designation on the other shoulder remains beyond me!


- Drax.

146 First Painting Challenge: Met!


After a uncharacteristically promising start, much encouragement and an equally uncharacteristic feeling of competitiveness, I've managed to complete my first two squads for the TOEMP challenge!

It's just gone midnight, I finished at 0018 BST, Thurs 13th Aug, and here are the ten models that are now finished, completing my two squads. Proof:
Sadly, because it's late and my brother's camping in my garden, I can't get out to the shed to get the rest, so I'll post proper pics tomorrow. In the meantime, these guys'll go to make HQ and 1 Section of 3Pl, B Coy, 2/24th Cadian Light Infantry.

And here's a real departure for me: I painted the aquilas on their right shoulder pads. This is for three reasons: 1) I'm running out of transfers; 2) I can't afford more transfers, and 3) 73rd suggested we ought to be challenging ourselves more, and as I hardlyAdd Image ever do freehand detail I thought I would!

More pics tomorrow, hopefully.


- Drax.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

145 A Tale of Even More Painters


You may be aware (if not, why not?) that 73rd over at Unforgiven Angels is quite rightly trying to encourage a few of us ne'er-do-well bloggers to get painting with A Tale of Even More Painters, or TOEMP: you'll find more details on the link above.
I, for my sins, have agreed to give it a go.

In a little while, I'll post my (current) Grand Plans for the Cadian 24th, but for now I'll publically announce some of the units my I intend to get painted:

-- 3Pl HQ and 1 Section
-- 3Pl 2 Section
-- 3Pl 3 Section
-- 3Pl Spec Wpn Squad and Mortar Squad B
-- Armoured Fist HQ and 2 Section
-- Baneblade 'Zarathustra'

Now, I'm not under any illusions here: not only am I a painfully slow painter; I've also got to go back to work at the beginning of September, and it'll be extremely busy: I'm taking over another year group (US: grade) in addition to the one I currently have responsibility for, and my department is going to be homeless for a few months whilst they start work on a new building.

And I think 73rd's going for roughly 10-day deadlines. Yeesh! Still, I like a challenge!

Well, my brother's visiting next week, so I thought I'd make a start on 3Pl HQ and 1 Sect. Because I've rearranged my units since the dawn of the new codex, it turns out that I've some figures already painted, hence going for 15 figures in total. Here's a progress shot:
There is - of course - some other stuff that I'm working on it that shot...

Cheers, aye,

- Drax.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

144 Stormtroopers and Self-Build Finished!


The break in the weather has allowed me to finish a few more models: those old-style stormtroopers and my self build (see below).

Well okay, it's not very exciting, as most of you saw the stormies guys a couple of days ago, and they pale into rightful insignificance beside Col. Corbane's Awesomeness but here you'll find them with their bases finished:
Thanks for the kind comments on my previous post about the sergeant and his moustache. He's a simple but pretty characterful model. Here's a few more pics:
If you're wondering about the dedication to GWpertinent, it's because he's running a contest for fun. Now, I've asked to not be put forward for the prize, but it's a classic Ultramarine Captain, so if you fancy a spin of the ol' tombola, then head over to his blog in the next couple of days!

Self Build:

Now, this was a model I made and mostly painted on New Year's Eve last year, for a friendly contest over at Andy's Blog...and true to form I wait eight months before finishing him! In essence, you had to make a 40K representation of yourself, and yes, mine's rather tongue-in-cheek (I wish my jaw was that rugged!) but it's explained in more detail in the post I put up at the time.
It's not superbly painted (I did it by candlelight, for some reason lost to me now), but there are some nice little details and some subtleties lost to almost everyone but me.
The icing on the top though, was the creation of tiny, tiny spectacles. These were made from cross sections of circuit wire insulation, and although it all looks rather garish and terrible in close-up, it all looks convincing enough from a distance in real life. An absolute bugger to make, I can tell you!
Hope all's well, and thanks for reading,
- Drax.

143 Chimeric Ponderings

Hey, All!

This is a lengthy post with no pictures.

Still here? Cool.

I've been thinking a lot about chimeras recently, and whilst passengering on a car trip into Plymouth this afternoon I made some notes (before firing out of the top hatch). What follows is no treatise; nor is it a monograph. It's certainly not a's 1500 words in a sort-of informal essay format, by no means impartial and utterly unresearched.

It's also 0100hrs, so there may be some typos. Sorry!

Essay on a Workhorse:

Personal Reflections on the Imperial Chimera

August 2009

The humble chimera. Often referred to as ‘the workhorse of the Imperial Guard’, this unassuming and venerable APC is becoming an increasingly frequent sight on the gaming table, and I thought I’d explore some aspects of it, including a glance at the model itself in its current (and future?) incarnations and also a brief prod at the rules.

What a great little vehicle. In the fluff it can be readily converted for all manner of improvisatory battlefield roles and the model too can be used in such a way, although so far GW has relied on Forgeworld to expand the range beyond griffons, hellhounds and basilisks. A bit of a pity, but fair enough, and hey – that’s what Forgeworld does well, eh?

So let’s take a look at that model. I’d say its most striking features are its breadth (which always seems to make it look more substantial than it really is) and its dorsal lasguns (which always remind me of L/Cpl Jones’s van in Dad’s Army, for those of you who get the reference. Sadly these just don’t quite work. God knows how the poor guardsmen are supposed to aim them, and their articulation is such that their fields of fire are so limited as to be essentially negligible. The lasgun models are old too, and starting to show their age.

When it comes to assembling the chimera, the tracks (as with the outgoing Leman Russ kit) are awkward to put together cleanly and simply and the body never quite goes together flush at the back. Not a major stumbling block, and by no means insurmountable, but something of a pain, especially (I’d imagine) to less experienced modellers.

Mostly though, the main body of the chimera is essentially a joy to convert, given a decent enough bits box and some bits of plasticard for the more challenging efforts. We’ve all seen some great conversions – amongst my favourites would have to be the BoLS Arbites Black Maria, a command/comms version by ‘Digits’ over at The Ammo Bunker, some of the excellent work in the drop troop army of WD’s Owen Rees (here and here, for example), and – although naturally it pains me to say it – my own (‘Digits’-inspired) Wyvern variant, which was really good fun to make…that being the Most Important Thing. There are some great-looking hydra conversions popping up now too, which is pretty exciting.

What will the new model hold? Well, by the look of the profile projections on the rules pages in the new Codex, it’ll look like the new hellhound. Reports on the interior detailing of this new kit have suggested the same likelihood, but I’m interested in the fate of the lasguns and the look of the turret which – let’s face it – is currently a little lacklustre. We can anticipate it’ll have nice lines, good detail and (again, going on reports) that the parts will be well designed and precisely machined. All good.

But will it be so much fun? It looks like the new kits are less convertible, with more of the old detachable details being moulded on (including the cupola on the Demolisher, which seems an odd choice). Is GW going the way of Lego I ask? When I was a kid if I wanted to build a spaceship out of Lego I had to somehow engineer it out of very basic, prosaic blocks. Now it seems in a Lego spaceship kit [does so generic a product even still exist?] one simply attaches the ‘spaceship wings’ bit to the ‘spaceship hull’ bit et voila. I know GW are trying to make higher quality models using less plastic, and good luck to them: everyone seems pretty impressed, especially with the interchangeable parts…but I hope the new kit still offers some fun for conversions…

Either way, it’ll probably look pretty cool!

Right then. Rules.

Under the last Codex, the chimera was too expensive, especially when compared to rhinos. Its lasguns were – at best – ineffectual and it counted as ‘Open-topped’ when any single model fired from the hatch. I’d like to expand on this a little:

I liked the fact that opening the sunroof compromised the chimera: it made sense and it was very ‘Guard’, although it was of course quite a gamble in game terms. To be more specific, I appreciated the rule, but I didn’t quite agree with it. Here’s why (and I know some of you can easily pick holes in this, but bear with me):

An ork wagon is open-topped. A basilisk is open-topped. So is a griffon. All good so far. Under 4th Edition rules, they were also – by extension – Vulnerable To Blasts/ Templates, and quite rightly so. But I would argue that a chimera with the sunroof open should not have counted as open-topped (as generally speaking, it wasn’t); instead it should have counted for [just] vulnerable to blasts/templates. Opening that hatch isn’t going to weaken your armour, but it could reasonably make you more vulnerable to area-effect weapons.

With the new Codex, (and with 5th Ed, but more of that anon) things have changed for the ubiquitous workhorse. Now I believe it’s at the right points cost, although habit still makes it seem too cheap [“What’s that? I can buy four chimeras for only 220pts?”], and although I like the flamer options, it’s a shame Mr. Cruddace didn’t provide more scope for a variety of different armaments, especially given the cracking FW turrets and endless spare heavy weapons that everyone has.

The hatch rules are awesome now, with five passengers being able to fire out, and players are really starting to experiment with the possibilities. Personally, I love having a command squad in one with three grenade launchers: they can fire 24” even after a move and the boss can still get his orders out (if I remember to do so)…but then, I love grenade launchers full stop. [NB: Did you happen to see the BoLS Arbites chimera variant with the grenade launcher turret? Sweet! I must make one of those!] Of course, it takes a little more plannng to fire weapons out at 12” range, as the damned hatch is so far back you almost have to drive right on top of the target!

Are the new rules too generous? Probably. I’d probably either keep it to one firing passenger or make it count as open-topped (with my aforementioned reservations).

Two things which haven’t changed are the armour values (12/10/10) and the rear door. I think the AV is absolutely spot-on (although it’s odd GW didn’t model more armour onto the side of the new hellhound models), and that front AV12 can be a real game-winner.

The rear door’s slightly more frustrating. It’s believable – which is great – but a pain in the backside at times when you want to actually get your troops nearer the enemy. Has anyone actually tried getting twelve models within 2” of it, perchance? I’m interested to know if it’s possible. I may even try it myself. I’ve long-term plans for a conversion with a front ramp, just for fun.

So how has the change to 5th Edition affected things for the chimera? Well, from my perspective, I’d say the new ‘battlefield taxi’ rules are very useful with transports; the new version of ‘effects on passengers’ after a hole gets punched in the side is great, and the longer move with disembarkation is very useful.

The new Str 4 benchmark for ‘defensive’ weapons has put the kybosh on firing both weapons, but that’s really fair enough – especially for 55 points. I think my only beef with 5th Edition rules is the way rear armour is used in assaults: I’m firmly of the opinion that side armour would’ve been a more sensible option, and it would’ve given more variety, too, rather than anything with a str 4 attack (including guardsmen, now they have frag grenades!) being able to wander over and ‘have a go’. Now as it happens, of course, the chimera’s side AV is the same as the rear…but my point stands, and I stand by it. So there.

And when you put all these rules together with the old jalopy, how does it all come together? - Pretty well, I think.

I’ve always found (as I know others have) that chimeras tend to be surprisingly lucky; they’re surprisingly hardy too...sometimes. Sure, BS3 is a perennial handicap for any Guard shooting, but putting out 6 mid-strength shots if you don’t move can still make a dent, and the multilaser is even enough to challenge light vehicles.

In conclusion then, I love these little vehicles. I have (I think) about ten vehicles on chimera chassis and they’re all painted, which is highly unusual amongst my real-life (and very occasional) hobbying pals…and to see the chimeras charging across the table genuinely gives me a broad smile on my face. Psychologically, a mech army can be a pretty scary thing to face too, though I guess they’re blossoming in popularity.

Yeah: chimeras are great.

Thanks for making it through; I’m interested in any responses, rebuttals etc.

- Drax.

PS: I finished basing the stormtroopers, so I'll try to photograph them if the reain stops tomorrow.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

142 Progress Update: Stormtroopers


Some of you know that I'm quite a fan of the beret-style stormtroopers. After a few ebay grabs a couple of years ago and some real kindness from this blog community, I've actually accumulated quite a few of the blighters now, so here are the first five that I've been working on. They just need to be based now:
I've deliberately kept them very simple, and - as the casts are rubbish, even on the brand new ones I have - I've not bothered with much in the way of detailing. It's simply not worth it.
The meltaguns are both converted, though I do have one original metal version stripped down.

I do enjoy the 'tache on the sergeant though - looks just like an old staff sergeant of mine...:
Just a bit of fun, I know.

Two points of interest though:

1) The models have the flattest noses in the world: I actually built them up with 2-3 layers of paint.

2) I don't know if it's just the old plastic, but whilst stripping some paint from some of the older models I noticed that the plastic actually got soft! Never had that happen before, and I'm worried I may actually have ruined what little detail there was on 4 or 5 of the old models. Damnit.


- Drax.