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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Shuffle!

Due to the craziness of the season I'll be unable to make any headway on the Dark Eldar Tantalus until after the New Year.  In the meantime I'm catching up on some reading.  Mostly Codices and rules but also I have a stack of novels that has been growing at an alarming rate during the past three months!

Today's Codex  was the Necrons.  I just finished it and was struck by the notion that they have at least one weapon, the aptly named Death Ray, that allows them to intentionally shoot at their own units.  My gaming group has had a lot of discussions over the years about various races for whom it would be thematically acceptable, and possibly even routine, behavior to shoot up you own cannon fodder but had always come to the conclusion that the potential game breaking tactics that could evolve from such an allowance would preclude its adoption.  Then, low and behold!  Necrons...  I'm wondering if there are any other such exceptions in this edition that I've missed.  I'm really a fluff bunny and so would be completely unsurprised to discover a rules mechanic that I've overlooked.

I'm finishing up a troll through the Ogre kingdoms with an eye towards starting on the new campaign book "Blood in the Badlands"  I'm still churning over what the Geekfest theme will be this year and am hoping for some additional inspiration from the reading.  I did finish Tamurkhan: Throne of Chaos earlier this week and was impressed with the art and layout of the book as well as the solid story and campaign elements.

I'm a little nostalgic because Fantasy Battle was what got me into the Workshop Hobby and I played it hard for many years but the last decade or so has been very tightly focused on 40k.  Oh, I'm still painting up Fantasy Battle armies but I haven't actually played a game of it in 8ish years.  I think the last game I played was 6th edition  Ogre Kingdoms against Wood Elves.  I've read the rules in the interim and like the look of 8th edition but haven't taken it out for a walk.  I may have to do an off-season WHFB thing kind of like the 40k Geekfest... but that is still more of a notion than a concept!

I'm also trending into Malifaux.  In part this has to do with the gaming community in my, currently, local area and in part with the wonderful atmospherics of the setting.  Truthfully if the required figure count and playing area (3x3!) were not so small I'd have passed this by but the portability and small time/space requirements allowed me to deceive myself into thinking that I had time for another miniatures game!  I'm enjoying my delusion at the moment and you can expect to see some modelling projects related to Malifaux appearing in the pile in the early part of the New Year.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Blood Rain Kabal signature patterning added to the Tantalus

 I got the fracture pattern applied to the main hull, the side vane wings and the rudder.  Its a base of P3 bone jack, a mid tone of Menoth White Base and a top highlight of, Menoth White Highlight.   I actually paint in the white blotches over a black base and highlight each one individually instead of working up a big white base and painting black lines over it.  I end up having to paint the black lines in the end to tidy up fuzziness around the white areas anyway  but I've never had good results with the patterning with that method so I always return to color blobs.

The twin forked front made it easy to keep the blob sizes consistent.  I find I always need a to look at a reference when doing this over several areas, or several vehicles ( I have a set of three Ravagers where one of them has noticeably different patterning which is when I started using the internal reference), or the size of the blobs changes which changes the feel of the pattern.
 The rudder has had some basic block design painted on and the red work up has begun although there are no photos in this batch.
I'm happy with the look of the wing vanes although I've noticed a couple of areas of clean up fail on the blade and rudder.  I'll tidy these up and repaint.  Fortunately the fail is on the metallic area in both cases and is just a little trimming/sanding along the edges which should not be too much trouble to repair.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dark Eldar Tantalus construction color blocks

 The crazy open architecture of the Tantalus has me painting in basic color blocks as I construct it.  A couple of areas will be below structural brass decking and could be fairly visible and the rest of the build is pretty clean except some split hull plates where the scythe vane hull section aligns with the primary hull.  I'll have to sand a and fill this when I get it together, since this central hull area is a pretty complex structure to assemble, and just repaint those areas unless another way to conceal the join presents itself!

The secondary engines were all conveniently on the same large sprue chunk which made it easy to get a consistent look on them.  They have guide pins cast in but things don't quite line up so I had to trim those down and pin it normally.  The fit on the curved engine compartment wall was really quite good.

Less good was my experiment with the Rat Fur colored primer.  It adheres to the model very well and turned up great even coverage, it covers very well so care has to be taken not to apply it too thick.  Unfortunately it dried kind of slick and doesn't take paint very well. Its not as bad as uncleaned mold release and just takes a second coat to remedy the situation.  While that is a bit of a pain it looks like it will still require fewer coats to get to the final red color which was the goal after all so  a mixed review at this point.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dark Eldar Tantalus Brass and Structure WiP and Venom Strike Group wraps up.

 The Venom Strike Group is finished... no more proxies!

The Tantalus brass is integral to the structure of the kit.  It's not a thin brass etch but a hefty piece of the structure that holds the thing firmly in shape!  I also like the touch where "This Side Up" is effectively printed on the brass frame.

Here the mast footer is attached to the brass for stability and the mast footer mounting also serves as a backstop for the central engine mount.

The second set of plates lays in just above the main deck and guides the upper rear hull into position resulting in matching attitudes for the major blade structures that form the rear wing of the completed model.  This whole system allows for an exceptionally ephemeral look that would otherwise be hard to pull of in a model this size.

I'm experimenting with primers on this project.  Typically I've used black on everything and worked up from there.  This has made some of the red areas require an egregious number of layers to get to the right clarity of color.  For this build I'm priming the engine compartment and underside of the hull black as usual but am hitting the rest of the kit with Army Painter Rat Fur which is a reddish brown color.  I think this will allow me to red up more rapidly and still be dark enough of a subsurface to make the other colors behave as though they were painted over black.

My main concern is to match the color tones of the rest of the army which, for the vehicles, has been worked up from black throughout.

For this last shot the engine area that will be under the brass deck is being worked up as are the main engines.  once these are done I'll mask them and add Rat Fur to the hull section that is currently showing a light black over-spray.

The command deck and rudder assembly, and the side Blade Vanes are also built and sprayed Rat Fur at this point.  I haven't used this particular primer before and its taking just a bit longer than usual to dry but the coverage is very even and applied easily.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tantalus begins construction

Venoms two and three are nearing completion.  There is mostly touch ups and adding in the riders left to do.  I've improved the magnetic mounts for the Splinter Cannon/TL Splinter Rifle option as the first one was a little weak.  I've also figured out how the control panel for the top mounted Splinter Cannon fits best... turns out the guiding pin is too large and causes the panel to cant away from the wall.  I trimmed this back and it fit right in. 

I've decided to keep the flag/trophy poles removable so I can use them to designate loaded/empty status for embarked troops. 

Lastly I'm saving the canopy covers until the end to avoid any contact with glue/accelerator.  I had some glazing on the canopy of the  lead model as a result of an accelerator accident.  That stuff glazed parts of the canopy and the flight base!  Its interesting because the glazing had nothing to do with glue reactions and was simply a result of the accelerator touching the plastic canopy/flight base.  I've never had that reaction before so was surprised to see it.

Clean up began on the Tantalus.  I was happy to see that the hull has no warping to correct.   Looks like only the sail has any significant warp.   I'm pretty stoked to see this model!  I'm not yet sold on its rules, its primary weapon being the blades..., but its a heavy choice for regular games...  which is fascinating as I'd assumed it was an Apocalypse choice when I picked it up.  The good news is it'll get played way more often!

I had the Reaper on the table for a series of games and it displayed its major flaw... It only has one shot per turn... its an interesting, and flexible, shot but its still just one weapon!  In spite of this the Reaper did well... surviving, and causing damage in two out of three games. 

I've also failed my save and started Malifaux so I'll be working some of those into the schedule... Not that there will be too many intruding until this huge Dark Eldar force update is complete but there will likely be a couple surfacing!