Saturday, May 31, 2014

Horus Heresy Weekender 2014: Mortarion and Vulkan Impressions

"For within each frail human body is the will to grasp the stars and walk a path unto eternity itself."

People had pretty high hopes the Horus Heresy Weekender event two weekends ago.  And with all of the stellar models being released for the Horus Heresy in the last two years, it is obvious why.  The Heresy has always been a fascinating story, detailing a civil war of galactic scale, pitting brother Space Marine against brother Space Marine.  It was where some of the most iconic Space Marine Chapters came into being and where each were shaped by their own enigmatic and god-like Primarch.  When Simon Egan first showed his vision of Angron of the World Eaters, I was stunned with how effectively he captured the savage magistry of the gladiatorial fighter, exceeding all of my expectations.  With this release, Forge World showed to the world that they were capable of undertaking the herculean task of sculpting models for figures that hold a mythical status in the imaginations of most Warhammer 40,000 players (or at least the ones who have been playing for awhile).  It also began the slow, excruciating count-down until the next Primarch was sculpted.  Initially the task fell solely on the shoulders of Simon Egan, but quickly Edgar Skomorowski began sculpting some, as well. Even with the second hand and a span of two years, only 6 of the primarchs have models (of the 12 with rules).  Because of this slow release schedule, Forge World events like the Weekender have had the added excitement that they are often where the next primarch model is revealed.  This year’s Weekender event was no different, but instead of revealing one primarch and showing a glimpse of the next in some half finished WIP form, they showed two new primarchs!  Mortarion the Reaper Primarch of the Death Guard was unveiled and for sale at the event.  Unexpectedly, Vulkan, the Promethean Fire and Primarch of the Salamander Chapter was shown in all his fully sculpted glory as well!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

INQ28: Militarum Tempestus Scion Conversion - Part 3

One shot, one kill.

Inspired by how well converting my first two Inquisitorial storm troopers went, I set out to assemble a third. Having already assembled two with hot-shot lasrifles, I decided to try something a little different for the third storm trooper. While I was initially scheming to convert some form of special weapon (melta, plasma, or volleygun), my plans were postponed when I came across my collection of Elysian Drop Troops weapons from Forge World. Amongst them was an awesome and compact sniper rifle that I decided would make a welcome addition to any Inquisitor’s retinue. Like the majority of the Elysian weapons, the sniper rifle has a bullpup design, placing the action of the rifle behind the trigger group, taking the place of a traditional stock, thus giving it its condensed look.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Kingdom Death: Plastic or resin?

Just how well do the plastic Kingdom Death models stack up to the resin ones?
Before the Kickstarter campaign made Kingdom Death a common name amongst miniature wargamers, and before there were widespread claims of it having sexist aesthetic design choices, Kingdom Death was only a small collection of models and a vision of mind-numbing horror. A few years before the Kickstarter was launched, I saw their Forsaker model, with his frightening height, segmented armour, and antlered mask, and was captivated by the baroque design, one that seemed to be mimicking Kentaro Miura's masterwork graphic novel/manga series, Berserk. When they released their King’s Hand model, I was convinced that it was strongly influenced by Berserk. With the exposed brain design on the King’s Hand’s helmet, the creepy porcelain faces, and the grasping hands, I felt that I was looking at the spiritual successor to the horrific and unknowable evil that is the character Void of the God Hand from Berserk. This strong visual connection to one of my favorite graphic novel/manga series convinced me to try to get a few Kingdom Death models. This was before they started to experiment with casting their models in plastic (one of the primary goals of the eventual Kickstarter), so all their models were in extremely limited production runs  (~450 or fewer), making many models highly collectable and inaccessible to fans (you would find yourself continually checking back to their site and/or coolminiornot hoping to find the small window when the models were available). All of these models were hand cast in white resin, and came in a little cardboard collectors box, with a numbered certificate and art print. Recently, due to the success with their Kickstarter campaign, they were able to release a selection of their models in plastic. With the release of this kit (Pinups of Death - Hard Plastic Collection), I thought it would be a great time to look at some of their models, and examine the strengths and weaknesses of their resin and plastic models.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Foldio - An easy solution to taking pictures of miniatures

Finally, I have a way to take nice model photos!

I have struggled to take nice photos of my models for a long time.  Between poor lightning, an old “point and shoot” digital camera, and a general lack of knowledge about photography, getting good pictures never came very easily for me.  Since starting this blog, I have tried a little harder to experiment with backdrops and lighting with mixed success, but I was still never very satisfied.  So you can imagine my delight when I learned about the Foldio, a foldable studio, over on Frothing Muppet’s excellent miniature blog.  Designed to allow for taking professional looking photos with a smartphone camera, the Foldio is essentially a foldable plastic lightbox/shadowbox with a LED strip attached that provides light from all angles.  Although it was initially brought into reality via Kickstarter, the designer, a Korean company called Orangemonkie, recently began selling them to the general public.  I wasted no time and ordered one, and to my excitement it arrived promptly.