Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Neurotic Annihilator WIP & Dryw-Style 'Rivets'

One of those projects. One you want to get just right. You pick it up every so often, fiddle with it, glue a smidgen, sand a minute amount, touch up paint here and there... and then put it away. The Predator Annihilator below is that project for me, going on two years or so now. I'm overly meticulous with the hobby regardless, but for some unfathomable reason I am especially neurotic about this one model.

Relatively standard fare here. Forge World reinforced armor, subtle metallic gunmetal highlighting (still very much in-progress), some additional plasticard plating, and lovingly customized lascannons. Those cannons are the penultimate example of how I approach the craft, for better or for worse. Like those lascannons, most of my custom work is extremely subtle... even unnoticeable to the casual observer.

Many hours were spent crafting those barrels to my demanding satisfaction, and had I not pointed it out I doubt few would have spotted the difference. The result is perfect in my estimation, but exactly why I will never be able to churn out models with any rapidity.

The additional plating on the fore (where the Rhino windows would be) has some rivet detail. That's significant as I don't generally do rivets, for a number of reasons. It's easy to overdo, it can be difficult to stay true to scale and not have rivets the size of a (scale) human's fist, and it's crazy time-consuming. However there are some instances where I believe rivet detail is necessary, and this is one as the plate would just appear to bare without them. Helps it mesh with the rest of the model. Some modelers carefully glue punched plasticard, some utilize the bead method, my method is straightforward and relatively simple ...

The materials consist of plasticard, pin vice, and generic plastic model contour putty (Testor's, in this instance). Mark out the desired locations for the 'rivets' beforehand, and then score the 'dots' with a X-acto knife to give the pin vice a guide hole. A couple of twists with the tip of the blade is more than sufficient. Place the plasticard face down on a folded paper towel and go to work with the pin vice until you've punched through. A couple extra twists to clean the hole, some minor knife work to remove the 'flash' created around the hole edges, and some fine grit sanding around the hole to smooth the whole thing out.

Now you have a choice. You can leave as-is, and it makes perfectly acceptable "recessed" rivets (check out the additional plates on the Predator pic above, just above/behind the headlights for reference). Or you can take it one step further to acquire the "bulge". This part is ridiculously simple.

Smear a small amount of the contour putty on the backside of the plate, over the hole. Tiny amount of pressure and the putty squeezes though, leaving a "bubble" on the visible side. When creating multiple rivets, be cautious not to fat finger and smear your previous work, as the putty takes several hours to solidify. And that's all she wrote. Let dry, carefully sand off the backside and touch up the visible side as you feel appropriate. Paint to taste. The center front plate in the picture above is a completed example.

This has been one of my rare tutorials, hope all three of you who read this blog find it of use. Admittedly it's not an incredibly complicated subject, but it does save me a huge amount of time with good results.

And time is something we all wish we had in abundance, but never do.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Faux Sentinels

Thread over @ BoLS made me realize I have a couple of custom Sentinel analogs which have not seen the light of day. Realizing this post for what it truly is (pix whoring), let's not kid ourselves and delay with an eloquent preamble...

Originally a Trumpeter 1:35 Hotchkiss H35/39, now serving as an autocannon-toting, armored Sentinel. Storm Bolter is just for show, a stubber would fit the theme better. With a small amount of work the main gun can be changed to any of the four new Sentinel options.

The below is a Tamiya 1:48 Kfz.222 scout car, which was specifically built to pull double duty as either a third autocannon Sentinel or a Salamander Scout. In the former role, the Heavy Bolter is of course non-functional. 

I was particularly pleased with the custom-built 'brace' for the Heavy Bolter and how smoothly the Chimera turret blended with the stock kit.

Last, but not least... the monstrosity below was built before the new plastic kits were available. The original idea was a fully enclosed, NBC (Nuke/Bio/Chem) shielded cockpit with extra reconaissance sensor apparatus... but I was not keen on the looks or weight of the Steel Legion white metal beast. Spent a massive amount of time with plasticard, putty, and fine grit sand paper to close 'er in. Two months later the new kits hit the shelves. C'est la vie. Though it did give me the opportunity to steal the missile turret from the new kit release for my Frankenstein. 

Leave the cash on the nightstand.

Sabre - Overkill?! Puh-Leeze!

Many moons ago a thread over on the Bolter & Chainsword inspired me to have a go at creation of the ancient Sabre Tank Hunter design. Had a Forge World Vindicator resin set collecting dust that fit the bill perfectly. Over the course of many more months, I tried a myriad of attachments, bits, and custom-made barrels... but I never really met with much success. I found the fix in the release of the Shadowsword kit, as I ended up with additional barrel parts after I built the Stormlord.

The obvious rules option would be to mirror the Destroyer Tank Hunter's main weapon (Laser Destroyer: 72" S10 AP 2, counts as Ordinance for armor penetration - no blast template. Use BS to hit), but I am rather partial to the Valdor's main weapon, though admittedly the PDF source I have is clearly stated as experimental:

Neutron Laser Projector: 60" S10 AP2 Ordinance, 3" Blast, Primary Weapon, Shock Pulse (non-superheavy hit = automatic Crew Stunned result)

Edit: a reader pointed out that the experimental rules have been modified in their final form (ala Siege of Vraks 3). The actual stats are as follows:

Neutron Laser Projector: 72" S10 AP1 Ord 1, primary weapon, shock pulse (non-superheavy hit = automatic Crew Stunned result), feedback (failed penetration roll = roll a D6, a 1 = automatic glancing hit on Valdor)

Still undecided and mulling it over. Yes... I know that's a stubber. No matter what I did, the Storm Bolter never looked quite right.

Barrel length envy...

Green Stuff Sucks & The Forlorn Razorback

The ramp-up continues...

Found time to finish organizing the myriad of poly chunks and half-finished kits strewn everywhere on the workbench/game table (now all neatly tucked away underneath on shelving) and finally get back to work on several projects which had been languishing. One of which being a small, 500 point, Vanilla Space Marines (VSM) force. Up until recently I have been a vehement opponent of the Emperor's Finest, because I felt the new codex crams enough cheese between its pages to make Wisconsin jealous. To be honest, this opinion hasn't changed all that much but I wanted to give the Astartes a fair shake in light of the powerhouse that is Tyranids v5.

Though I have plenty of completed models to satisfy tactical requirements, I am fond of the whole sniper rifle/scout premise. So I set about tossing together a few of the neophytes. And then I remembered why I never used them before... I hate the Scout Marine models. A lot. I need to remind myself to make sure I answer the Forge World question what is the one model you want us to make next time I place an order with "for the love all that is holy... a decent Scout Marine!" The heads are ridiculously square and frankly, the faces look like low-brow drooling idiots. Add to that the head sits way too far forward on the torso without significant modification. Looks like an Orgyn stuffed into carapace armor. Though my green stuff skills are sorely lacking, with a SpecOp style mask in mind, I gave it a go... results below. Wasn't easy with the shaky meat hooks I have for fingers.

Not spectacular, and they sure don't look like much at the moment (putting it mildly). Once painted they'll satisfy I think.  Five painstakingly puttied faces down, I turned my attention to the Razorback.

After I gave the SM codex a fresh look, I was drawn to the blurb regarding the antiquated Lascannon/Twin-Linked Plasma model. Sounded like a flexible type and a good compromise between dedicated tank killer and infantry liquefier. I was a bit surprised when an image search turned up very little in terms of kitbashes or discussion of this variant. After staring at a bare Rhino for some time, I conjured up what I believe is a rather elegant modification... and damn easy to do. I like easy. Easy suits me just fine. Needs some work still, but I'm satisfied with the result.

Even managed to squeeze a game in today. IG brought the pain to my poor Boyz, but it felt good to get back in the swing of things after such a long hiatus. It's getting late and this post is already a bit long-winded, so I'll split out and BatRep separately. As a teaser though, I'll illustrate what can occur when the Emperor's Hammer pisses off a Warboss by turtling in a Hab Block for the whole game...



Power Claws, accept no substitute.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Unhealthy Resin Fetish


No build update today (hey… gimme’ a break! I just got up-and-running again!), but posted for your perusal under “things I want simply because they’re astonishingly cool… even though I can’t use them with any army I currently possess”, I am in the throes of a quandary.

I will acquire one of the below, I am just not certain which. I suppose it’s a bookend compliment to the other super-heavy I cannot use… my Vulcan Macharius. The exchange rate isn’t doing anything but worsening, so I want to pick one up sooner rather than later. My jumbled thoughts as follows:

Defender: Smart concept. Infantry slaughterer. Very WWI retro boxy (ugly is beautiful to me). Dakka to make an Ork, well… orkgasm. My least favorite of the four. I’m honestly uncertain as to why.

Vanilla: Excellent ordinance range from the Battle Cannon and a possible 3x Autocannon. Very appealing. A good, solid build.

Annihilator: 3x Lascannon possible with a Demolisher? Lotsa’ zzap, with a boom bonus. What’s not to love? The points cost… that’s what. 335 (in that config) buys a lot of other cool stuff. Like seven grillion infantrymen. Points cost aside, top of the leader board at the moment.

Valdor: The asymmetry of this thing makes me weak in the knees with geek infatuation. Visually striking… attractive like an A-10 Warthog. The single sponson is brilliant. Somewhat of a one-trick-pony in my estimation. But man… what a trick!

So there you have it. I am open to input. Convince me to love one over the others.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Helliday Season (aka Why I Hate Santa Claus)


Hindsight being 20-20, I now see spinning up a brand new hobby blog directly before the hell of the holiday season was not the most shrewd of ideas. Simply not enough hours in the day… what with all of the “Christmas Cheer” and “Seasonal Joy”, yadda yadda blah.  Gods I’m glad that’s over and done. Add professional responsibilities to that mix and the sad result is that I haven’t picked up a paint brush in over a month. A disheartening truth I intend to set right.

The fires have been stoked and we’re building up steam pressure again. Sacred unguents have been applied to the oxidized cogs, and many a grot has (quite uncharacteristically) bravely sacrificed themselves in the smoking machinery in the effort to bring it back to life.

Apologies I appeared to vanish, but I’m back… and I’m mad as hell!

Well, not really mad… but “focused as hell” didn’t have the same oompf.