Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Horus Heresy plastics: Cataphractii Terminator Impressions and Resin Comparison

Plastic Cataphractii Terminators!

The Betrayal at Calth was one of Games Workshop's best releases of 2015.  This was largely because it provided plastic versions of many Horus Heresy models that had previously only been available in resin from Forge World.  And while we talked at length about the MKIV tactical kit a few months back, we have seen very little talk about the Cataphractii terminators.  Since we have a bag or two of the resin models kicking around here, we thought it would be worthwhile to compare them with the new plastic models and let you know the strengths of each version!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Kingdom Death multi-part kits: their place alongside the other KD models and miniature gaming as a whole

In addition to creating the single-pose starting survivors and the monsters for them to battle, one of the main drives of the Kingdom Death Kickstarter was to design multi-part plastic kits for creating new survivor models. After defeating each of the different monsters in the game, your survivors are able to craft new weapons and equipment with the remains of their slain foes. To represent this in model form, they created a range of different multi-part sets with different weapon options and armor types that could be crafted in the game (Rawhide armor, Leather armor, Lantern armor, White Lion armor, Phoenix armor, Unarmored). This system was designed to allow players to continually build new models of their survivors as they progress in the campaign.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A look back: The miniatures of 2015

Looking back, it is clear that 2015 was a fantastic year for the miniature wargaming hobby.  And while many companies have had a strong year, I do not think that any miniature company can compare to the frantic release pace of Games Workshop.  Warhammer is gone to be replaced with Age of Sigmar, the Adeptus Mechanicus finally have models, and the Horus Heresy is no longer restricted to resin models.  With the year coming to an end, we would like to take some time to look back at some of the fantastic models released over the year, from Games Workshops, as well as some companies, talking about our favorites.  Finally we will reveal our overall favorite model of the year.  On to the models!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Black Sailors: Papa Jambo, Witch Doctor Unboxing

Papa Jambo, Witch Doctor of the Black Sailors

I have always had a soft spot for orcs, ever since I started playing 40k with the second edition boxed game.  They were called Space Orks back then, and their identity was a little confused, equal parts goofy and equal parts brutal.  Most of the models were also quite generic humanoid figures, with few discerning features.  This all changed when Brian Nelson re-envisioned/recreated orcs for Games Workshop.  Rather than spindly human frames, they were replaced with hunched, hulking bodies, with huge corded muscles dominating their oversized arms.  Their faces also changed slightly, taking all the hallmarks of orcs in the fantasy setting, pointed ears, small recessed eyes, pug nose, and a broad jaw brimming with sharp teeth, and created something more his own.  This gave Games Workshop’s Orc design their own unique look, even though it was built from standard tropes, and it solidified my love of orks.  In the years since Nelson’s redesign, many have tried to sculpt orks in his style, but few ever really succeeded.  They tend to go through all the right motions, but always ultimately lose something in the process (often the sheer brutal practicalism of their clothes and weapons, replaced with wonky oversized nonsense).  I can probably count on one hand the orc models that I like that are not designed by Brian Nelson, and therefore almost lost interest in new orc models in general.  This all changed with the Black Sailors - Pirates, Orcs, Fantasy Miniatures! Kickstarter by Big Child Creatives.  They are a small company of very talented sculptors based out of Madrid Spain, who decided to launch a project with the following premise: "At BigChild we love orcs, we love pirates, so we thought, why not combine the two and produce such miniatures!?"  The result is an astounding collection of swashbuckling orcs, each gigantic in 54mm scale.  The amount of passion and creative energy oozing from each model literally renewed my faith in the creation of orc models.  I had to get one.  I ended up selecting Papa Jambo, a ramshackle Witch Doctor, and to my delight, he arrived in the mail yesterday.  I think that pictures will convey the meticulous craftsmanship of these models better than I could write!

Monday, November 30, 2015

INQ28: Studio McVey Jetgirl conversion - Paige Levkau

Thought Begets Heresy

Although it has been over 5 months since I created my last Inq28 model (Beltran Destrieux, of Stygies VIII Explorator Fleets), I am always on the lookout for models that might serve as a starting point for creating more characters to stand along side Lucanus Molnár and Anton Soljic.  Recently, I found such a model when looking through some of the resin models offered on Studio McVey’s website, in particular this model.  The leather jacket and flightsuit of the model reminded me of Medea Betancore, the Glavian pilot who flew Gregor Eisenhorn’s guncutter.  I realized she would be the perfect starting point for creating a pilot for the ever practical Anton Soljic of the Ordo Xenos.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Leviathan Dreadnought: Impressions

Blood Runs.  War Calls.

I do not think that I am out of line by saying that we all love Space Marines.  And for the most part, Games Workshop has created a fantastic line of models to represent them on the tabletop.  There is one notable flaw with them, however, and that is that they simply are not in scale with other models in Warhammer 40k.  Instead of being mythical godlike giants, they stand as tall as Imperial Guardsmen.  Because of this, many talented people have created their own “true-scale” marines.  Just to name a few, MoneyBallistic has some seminal Iron Hands, while Kari has some terrifying Red Corsairs.  Also from Iron Sleet, Migsula is creating a whole army of properly scaled Space Wolves with his Vlka Fenryka project.  The only other thing as iconic as a Marine in power armor is the lumbering armored sarcophagus that is the Space Marine dreadnought, so it stands to reason people would want to try to create a true-scale version.  This task, however, presents a whole new range of challenges.  While not easy by any means, the task of creating true-scale marines is dramatically aided by the availability of plastic and resin terminators, whose added bulk is often a good starting point for such conversions.  But when one tries to move beyond simply creating warriors in power armor, the task becomes substantially harder, because all the Space Marine vehicles are based upon the improperly scaled power armor marines.  There is really only one other plastic kit, besides the basic dreadnought box, that might serve as a base for such a conversion, and that is the Dreadknight.  As a part of his Invitational entry, Kari did exactly this, to excellent effect.  The Dreadknight’s long limbs do not quite mirror the aesthetics of the traditional Dreadnought, so I have been looking for alternatives.  I am excited to say that the search may be over, after seeing Forge World’s newest release, the Leviathan pattern Dreadnought!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Deredeo Dreadnought: Assembled

Dreadnoughts keep getting bigger and bigger!

Forge World has a particular talent for making impressive robots, from the cyclopean Warlord titan all the way down to the more humble dreadnought.  In recent years, Forge World have done a lot with their Contemptor dreadnought, making countless variations and legion specific versions. Just when I thought they had reached a natural end, they released an even bulkier variation of the Contemptor theme, the Deredeo pattern dreadnought.  In the excitement that accompanies any FW release, we promptly purchased one. Despite our excitement, and getting an incredibly well cast version of the dreadnought, other projects pulled us away from the new dreadnought, and it did not get built.  In the last few weeks, however, something pulled me back to the armored giant, and I was able to clean and assemble the model rather quickly (and just in time for FW to release another new dreadnought, the Leviathan Dreadnought?!).  Although it was a fairly straightforward build, I thought that I would give you some of my thoughts about it, along with some pictures!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Musings: What makes an Inquisitor

No Miracles, just Men.

Migsula, over at the excellent blog Iron Sleet, just wrote a fascinating post musing on the thought process behind building an effective Inquisitor retinue.  In it, he puts words to some concepts that I have tackled and explored while creating models for Inq28, but never consciously put down in writing.  He argues that the key to creating an evocative and effective retinue depends largely on the hierarchy in the group and the contrast in this stratification between the Inquisitor and their lowly henchmen.  The Inquisitor is the radiant sun around which the other members orbit.  These Humble Human Henchman (thanks for coining the term Migs!) that surround the Inquisitor serve to anchor the group in reality; they are humans that we can relate to, and not Saints, Space Marines, or Alpha class psykers.  To emphasize the importance of this contrast, Migsula asked “how interesting would a group of equally and similarly powerful individuals be?”  And while I think he anticipated the answer to be a resounding “Not very,” my first thought was the opposite.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Kingdom Death: What will elevate the Showdown phase, and a Contest!

The Night is Dark and full of Terrors.

In my last Kingdom Death post, I suggested that the Showdown phase (where you fight the monsters) felt a little pedestrian.  After some additional reflection, I think that some of this dullness might come from the initial monsters the game sets up against. They are all creatures that function upon instinct alone, and don't base their actions on some higher intelligence. Presently, I have fought against the White Lion and the Screaming Antelope.  And as horrifying as the antelope is due to the gaping maw on its belly, it is still just a beast, driven by base instincts rather than a malevolent intelligence.  The hulking armored Butcher, on the other hand, is actually a person, with their own motivations, which got twisted with cowardice and rage.  Now they stalk the nightmare realms of Kingdom Death murdering other humans, and stretching their faces over their fallen lanterns.  I am hopeful that the cold, calculating menace of such a being will add the tension and motivation into the battles of Kingdom Death.  And honestly, it was weird knights like the Butcher that originally attracted me to Kingdom Death in the first place, not the lions, scantily clad survivors, and certainly not the pin-ups.  With that in mind, I began to assemble the humanoid monsters that were included in Kingdom Death: Monster.  I wanted to use this post as an opportunity to show off some of these figures; and to celebrate these excellent models, I would like to hold a contest.  My Survivor Kickstarter pledge gave me a few extra Kings Men models, and I want to give some out.  Leave a comment below, and on November 15, I will randomly pick two winners and send them anywhere in the world!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Kingdom Death: Initial game impressions

Overwhelming Darkness.
Having finished assembling the first four survivor models, and the first adversary, a gigantic white lion, I was pretty excited to start actually playing Kingdom Death.  Curiously, in the long  2.5 years since the Kickstarter, relatively little had been revealed pertaining to the game mechanics, so I started to read through the rules pretty much immediately, while working on the initial models.  As of writing this, I have played two games of Kingdom Death, the first being a slightly “on rails” game they walk you through in the rulebook, while the second was a complete game.  Although I still need to play a lot more games to have a final consensus on Kingdom Death: Monster, I wanted to give some of my initial impressions!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Kingdom Death: Assembling the first survivors

Kingdom Death's four starting survivors, ready to face down terrible foes in the tenebrous darkness.

After opening the massive Kingdom Death: Monster box and marveling over the excellent production values of all the game components, I was pretty excited to give the game a try, and see how the many ideas and mechanics came together.  But before I could do that, one major hurdle still had to be surmounted.  The models needed to be assembled.  This looked to be a daunting task, with the box containing a veritable sea of miniatures scattered across countless sprues. Thankfully, the game is designed such that you are only fighting a single horrific monster at a time, allowing you to assemble models as you go.  The first game session only requires that you assemble 4 survivor models and the first opponent, a White Lion.  Having just assembled the initial 4 survivor models, I wanted to let you know my thoughts about them, how they went together and their general quality.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Unboxing: Kingdom Death Monster

All 22lbs of Kingdom Death, inside a custom printed shipping box.

After almost 3 years of waiting, and becoming increasing frustrated with Kindgom Death’s portrayal of women in their Pin-up side project (which admittedly has not bearing on the game itself), I had almost resolved to just sell my copy of Kingdom Death when it arrived.  Upon receiving the box, I decided to give the game a chance, figuring I would likely never get the opportunity to see the game again, due to its impressive price tag ($400 retail, substantially higher than the Kickstarter price).  After spending some time with the game, going through the contents of the box and reading through the rules, I am happy to have decided to keep the game.  Not only does it have the highest production values of any boardgame that I have ever seen, it also treats its subject matter seriously, without any of the objectifying of women present in their pin-up line of models.  I thought people would appreciate seeing some pictures of what is in the box, to get a sense of the quality and to determine if it is something you are interested in.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Musing about Malifaux: Campaign play and a shift in model design

Shifting Loyalties
Long time readers of this blog will know that we have been very impressed with the skirmish-based miniature game of Malifaux, primarily due to the simple yet evocative system of using cards to replace dice (expanding the possible outcomes). The Victorian horror/western theme is also pretty unique, allowing for an incredibly varied cast of characters.  The emphasis is on characters here, because all of the models are well-developed, with flavorful abilities and wargear (at odds with the increasingly streamlined 40k).  In the last few months, however, other projects and the lack of exciting model releases on Wyrd’s part (more on this later) have kept me from being too involved with Malifaux.  This looks like it might change for me, with their newest rules expansion, Shifting Loyalties.  For a little while now, I have been desiring to play a good skirmish-miniature game with role-playing elements, something akin to Necromunda or Gorkamorka.  The thought of learning (or relearning) a rules system can be a bit daunting at times, so I was pleased to discover that Shifting Loyalties layers some simple rules on top of the general Malifaux ruleset to support progressive campaign play.  Having now read through the rules in the new book, I figured that I would give you some of my impressions of it!

Kingdom Death: Marred by Misogyny?

Miniature-based wargaming has long been a male-dominated hobby, one that has partially been kept that way by the portrayal of women in many of the games (well-endowed and often scantily clad women in provocative poses, etc...). Anyone who has had any involvement with the hobby can doubtlessly come up with plenty of examples of this, but today I want to touch on one of the newer offenders, Kingdom Death. After over 2.5 years since being successfully funded on Kickstarter, the base game for Kingdom Death: Monster is finally in the hands of the over 5000 project backers. For those unaware, Kingdom Death: Monster is a survival horror boardgame which puts you in control of a band of human survivors awakening in a nightmarish realm of endless night, beset on all sides by cohorts of horrid creatures. The imaginative and unsettling creatures that populate the game take heavy inspiration from Kentaro Miura's fantasy-horror epic, Berserk (Bruticus over at Ex Profundis has an excellent compilation of artwork from  the manga if you are interested). To complement this unique theme, all of the survivors and monsters have been skillfully realized in game terms as finely detailed miniatures. The theme and accompanying miniatures would have been enough to support a successful Kickstarter campaign (back in late 2012, Kickstarter was not as inundated with miniature games). However, one of the primary things used to promote the game were "pin-up' versions of many of the human survivors. All of these pin-ups are female, generally very sparsely clothed, and often in suggestive poses. Just a glance at some of the concept art for these pin-ups should give you a good idea of what I am referring to:

Monday, September 21, 2015

Putrid Blightkings: Death Guard Terminator Conversion 3 Finished

Death to the False Emperor!
With the first two Deathguard terminators completed, I was down to a single model to complete. For each of the others, I explored different aspects of Father Nurgle, from the corroding smoke stacks and boney spikes of the first, to the bloated corpulence of the second.  With the third Death Guard terminator, I decided that I wanted to explore another iconic aspect of the XIV Legion, the Deathshroud. The Deathshroud were chosen from the elite of the Death Guard Legion, and served as bodyguard for their Primarch Mortarion. Each member was suited in terminator battle plate and carried a two handed power scythe known as a Manreaper. Additionally each was equipped with a wrist-mounted flamethrower fueled with potentent chem munitions. I was never very impressed with Forge World’s Deathshroud offering, finding them very plain with oversized scythes, so I set about trying to make something more to my liking (with the added benefit of mine being post-Heresy, when they fully embraced Nurgle).

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Putrid Blightkings: Death Guard Terminator Conversion 2 Finished

Their number grows...

After the success of finishing my first Death Guard terminator, I was excited to start working on the others, and see what Nurgle elements I could explore.  For this second Death Guard terminator, I really wanted to show a warrior who has been blessed by Father Nurgle, a bloated and corpulent warrior, nigh on bursting from the seams of his armor. I am happy to report that the 2nd Death Guard terminator is finished and awaiting paint.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Putrid Blightkings: Death Guard Terminator Conversion Finished

A fell wind blows...
The year is already well past the halfway mark, and up until this point, I have not shown any progress of one of my favorite projects I started last year, my Blightking/Death Guard terminator conversions.  I am happy to say that the first of my Death Guard terminator conversions is finally complete! Now that the first terminator is finished, I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk a little about how I went about the conversion and my thought process. Also with a little luck I will be showing you completed versions of the other two Death Guard terminators in the coming month!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Unboxing: Stormcast Eternal Lord-Celestant

The first few Stormcast...

Having played a few games of Age of Sigmar while proxying my Dark Angels as Stormcast Eternals, I was really impressed with some of their character models, particularly the rune sword and warhammer-wielding Lord-Celestant.  Despite being geared for close combat, he wears a Sigmarite Warcloak that gives him D6 shooting attacks which have the possibility of causing Mortal wounds.  What makes him truly impressive, however is his command ability (Furious Retribution), that allows himself and any other Stormcast Eternal within 9” to add 1 to all their hit rolls in close combat.  In my first few games of Age of Sigmar, he was able to boost the killing potential of a unit of Retributors, allowing me to tear through pretty much anything my opponent could throw at them.  After having so much fun using the Lord-Celestant in game (I had been proxying an Emperor’s Champion), I decided to get the model itself.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Age of Sigmar: First few games

It has been about a month since Age of Sigmar burst onto the gaming scene, like the burning radiance of Ghal Maraz.  With the freely available rules, new models (Space Marines in fantasy!), and a complete lack of point values for units, it was an exciting, if not slightly bewildering, time.  Now that the initial excitement has died down (likely due to the slow trickle of singular releases each week), and I have had a chance to play a few games, I decided it was a good time to tell you my current impressions of Age of Sigmar as a game.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Tyranid Malanthrope - Musings on Forge World's Tyranids

Creeping death.
When people think of the models that Forge World produces, I believe that most think of their impressive battle titans, tanks, and more recently their vast range of Horus Heresy models. Few, I suspect, think of the tyranids. I think this stems largely from that fact that many of their older, stellar kits have been discontinued with the release of plastic counterparts from Games Workshop.  And while I love the convenience of plastic, many of the Forge World Tyranid models were actually a good example of the increased level of fine detail possible with resin.  But today, few probably even know of the existence of the original resin Trygon, let alone have seen one in person.  I recently had the pleasure of assembling Forge World’s Tyranid Malanthrope kit, seeing the quality of the sculpt first hand. I wanted to spend a little time here to tell you about the model.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Horus Heresy plastics: MKIV Armor Impressions

Plastic Space Marines have come a long way from their humble beginning. 
For the past few months there have been several rumors going about the possible release of plastic Horus Heresy miniatures. I had done my best to pay them little mind, sure it would be exciting, casting aside that hateful resin, and giving a good reason to give 30k a chance, but why get ones hopes up for something that might not happen? You can imagine my shock to find pictures leaked all across the internet, revealing what appears to be the current tactical squad box redesigned to feature all Mark IV ‘Maximus’ armor. I wanted to take some time to talk a little about why this upcoming release excites me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Perturabo, Primarch of the Iron Warriors: Impressions

'From Iron cometh strength; from strength cometh will; from will cometh faith; and from faith cometh honour.'

Any of you who have been following this blog for a little while know that I get pretty excited whenever Forge World releases a new Primarch model. I was particularly impressed with the fantastic Guilliman release, and would have been content to wait a while before the next.  But Forge World was feeling generous, and during their Open Day earlier this month (July 5th), they revealed their next, the Hammer of Olympia, Perturabo of the Iron Warriors.  Even more amazingly, in less than a week he was already up for sale on their website!  Perturabo marks the 10th Primarch released by Forge World (they are over half way done with all of the Primarchs!?), and the third (and possibly final) one sculpted by the talented Edgar Skomorowski.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Unboxing: Cult Mechanicus Kastelan Robots

From ancient Mars...
After all the excited Adeptus Mechanicus Skitarii releases, it was hard to believe that the following Cult Mechanicus models would be able to live up to them. Fortunately for everyone, they largely did, with the fantastic tech-priest dominus and the tracked Kataphron Destroyers. The first kit released for the Cult Mechanicus, despite being just as visually striking as the others, has received a lot of mixed opinions in the community. I am speaking, of course, of the 50’s era Kastelan Robots.  I could not resist getting a box to play around with and to see the models first hand.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Unforgiven: Black Knights

'One warrior usually suffices.'
The recent release of the new Dark Angels codex has gotten me to start thinking more about the future of my Deathwing army.  With the changes made to Deathwing Assault, I can no longer have a full army of Terminators teleport onto the field on turn one, making a strictly terminator army less feasible.  On the other hand, they did make the Ravenwing more viable than ever, allowing you to reroll your jink saves, while maintaining their ability to assist the Deathwing at arriving on target via deep strike.  These benefits convinced me to pull out a Ravenwing Black Knights’ box that I purchased over two and a half years ago (when the last version of their codex was released), and see what I could do with them.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Age of Sigmar: Initial Impressions of the Miniatures

The Age of Sigmar begins.

Warhammer Fantasy has seen a slow but steady demise since the release of 8th edition back in 2010. Although they released revised rules for most of the armies in the new edition, they tended to be sparsely updated versions of their previous books, to bring them inline with the ill-favored new rule set.  Interestingly, it took GW destroying everything in the setting through the End Times to renew people's’ interest in Warhammer (admittedly, I think the increased interest had more to do with them finally releasing truly exciting models and remaking old classics, accompanied with new interesting background and artwork, rather than the fact that things were ending, but I digress). Although people were excited about End Times, it inherently left fans uncertain what was going to happen to their beloved game, and we have all been in an uneasy limbo since the Warhammer world ended, waiting to see where Games Workshop would go. After months of vague rumors and unsatisfying teases from GW, pictures of their new game Age of Sigmar have finally leaked across the internet (thanks Lady Atia!).  While these pictures have left more questions than provided answers, they are quite striking, and I wanted to talk a little about my impression of the new models and the direction their design seems to be going.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Codex Dark Angels: A look at the Artwork

Proof that if GW wants evocative artwork, they can find artists to create it.

As a long time Deathwing player, I was extremely excited to see a new Dark Angels codex release, and purchased the digital version immediately.  Although I was excited to see the new rules, what I was most looking forward to was seeing the new artwork.  Codex releases have always been one of my favorite aspects of the hobby because they are the primary means that Games Workshop release new artwork to further the grim imagery the whole universe is founded upon.  Unfortunately, in recent years, the artwork has taken somewhat of a back seat. Games Workshop no longer credits the artists, and they often resort to coloring older artwork (often times rather poorly) rather than commissioning new material.  Despite this, I was still excited to see what new art would be in the new Dark Angels codex.  All of my hopes were shattered upon looking at the new book.  I dare say the book may contain some of the worst pieces of artwork that Games Workshop has ever released. Instead of writing too much about how the art has changed, I decided to show a few images comparing some of the old and new artwork. After all, a picture is worth a thousands words, right?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

INQ28: Painting Beltran Destrieux

We are all but a weapon in the right hand of the Emperor.

The release of the Skitarii Rangers was an exciting time for the Inq28 community, giving a wealth of excellent conversion opportunities (and finally some plastic Adeptus Mechanicus models!). They where also the perfect models to base Lucanus Molnár’s first companion, Beltran Destrieux, a soldier in one of Stygies VIII Explorator Fleets. Having finished all the conversion work on the model, the next step was to devise a color scheme and then get to painting him. The backstory that Eric and I created proved a good place to start. Thankfully we were able to find Stygies VIII color scheme in the Skitarii codex. Unsurprisingly, it had a major emphasis on red (Hail Mars!), with all of the armor being a deep crimson. Unlike the other Forge Worlds, it also had a large amount of black, with all their coats and robes sable.

Unboxing: Tech-Priest Dominus

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Although the Skitarii release was a very strong one, with a host of excellent models, I could not help but feel a letdown when it was confirmed that there would be no HQ choice in the codex.  This was a shame because with an army themed around esoteric, archaic technology and ritual, there certainly is not a shortage of ideas for creating exciting character models.  When rumors about the Cult Mechanicus started to circulate, however, I was pleased to hear that they were going to correct this, by releasing an HQ choice in the form of the Tech-Priest Dominus.  And after seeing pictures of the model, I think it was worth the wait, and think that the Dominus may be the best Adeptus Mechanicus model that GW has released. These are words I do not use lightly, considering the excellent Rangers, Sicarians, and Kataphron servitors.  I got the Dominus as soon as I could, and having assembled him, wanted to let everyone know what I think about the model, both aesthetically, and in terms of ease of assembly and quality.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Execution Force: Eversor assassin conversion

The future belongs to the mad.

Somewhere between the Skitarii, Eldar, Imperial Knights, and Cult Mechanicus, Games Workshop released the stand alone game Execution Force to showcase new plastic versions of Jes Goodwin’s classic Imperial Assassin sculpts from the mid 90s. Although the metal models have held up really well over the years, I was still excited to hear that plastic versions were being released, as it would allow the designs to be updated a bit and put them in the more conversion-oriented plastic.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Skitarii: Progress Report

Servants of the Machine God assemble.

Games Workshop continues its relentless release schedule, having just finished the Eldar and the Imperial Knights, it is about to complete releasing a set of kits for the new Cult Mechanicus, just a few months after the Mechanicum entered the scene through the Skitarii. Despite our excitement for these new Mechanicum models, we work pretty slowly at Between the Bolter and Me, and are still hard at work finishing our Skitarii. So before the internet floods with new Cult Mechanium models and conversions (and we break down and buy some too), we decided it was a good time to show everyone the progress that we have made with the Skitarii, namely how the Rangers and Infiltrators are coming together, in addition to the Inquisitorial operative, Beltran Destrieux.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Roboute Guilliman: the Avenging Son Impressions

‘A capacity for the theoretical is admirable, but a stomach for the practical is priceless.’

As the dust settles from the grand reopening of Warhammer World last weekend, there is a lot to be excited about. The excitement primarily stems from the models that Forge World unveiled, including the long awaited, and utterly cyclopean, Warlord Titan!  But this post is focusing on another God of War that was revealed to the world this weekend. Although only a fraction of the size of the Warlord, this next model is no less mighty, perfectly defining the Emperor’s noble ambitions at the onset of the Great Crusade. I am speaking of course of the next primarch from Forge World, Roboute Guilliman the Avenging Son of the XIII Legion (thanks Recalcitrant Daze for the excellent pictures from the event!).

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Warhammer Visions Review: A magazine for hobbyists

The new Warhammer Visions!
It has been years since I have had a subscription to Games Workshop’s monthly hobby magazine, White Dwarf. I have many fond memories of coming home from school and excitedly finding the next issue of White Dwarf waiting to be explored. I feel that the magazine played a critical role in driving my enthusiasm for the hobby during my early years, at times where I did not have the money to build armies, and times without the wellspring that is the internet.  The magazine offered countless pictures of painted models, including people's’ conversions (they even had pages at the back of each issue showing the parts of each new release to encourage conversions). Slowly however, White Dwarf shifted further and further away from the modeling and background centric focus, replacing the cool conversions and background stories with more advertisements. And eventually I stopped the subscription entirely. As many of you know, this scheme of releasing a monthly issue of White Dwarf was heavily modified over a year ago. Instead of releasing a single magazine, they shifted to releasing two magazines, a small weekly White Dwarf issue, and a larger monthly issue called Visions. While the smaller White Dwarf has been somewhat successful, having a good mix of both gaming and hobby content (including the rules for new releases), the larger picture-centered Visions has not received much attention or praise (I only purchased an issue or two). This month (May 2015) marks the release of a newly formatted Visions, with an increase in the size of the printed pages, back to the size of a standard magazine. I decided now would be a good time to give the magazine another chance and give my thoughts about it. Also, the cover of the magazine showed a battleline of Adeptus Mechanicus Skitarii, promising lots of high quality and detailed pictures of the new model range released by Games Workshop.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

INQ28: Skitarii Ranger conversion - Beltran Destrieux

The machine spirit guards the knowledge of the ancients.
Having finished Lucanus Molnár last month, we at Between the Bolter and Me have been musing about his background quite a bit, and decided it was time to share some of it, particularly how he became a member of the little know Ordo Machinum:

Although initially a member of the Ordo Xenos (with an obsessive fascination with the Ghost Warriors of the Iyanden craftworld), after his investigations into an aberrant technovirus (OTAV1X) led him to the to the forgeworld of Stygies VIII, Lucanus Molnár shifted his primary allegiance to the Ordo Machinum.  The shift went largely unnoticed in the Pacificus Conclave, and seemed a natural transition for the technologically minded Molnár.  Even the Mechanicum’s quick acceptance of his presense did not raise eyebrows, with the prevailing thought that his timely aid with the OTAV1X scourge opened doors.  The truth of the matter is more iniquitous, and while garrisoned on Stygies VIII, he uncovered elements of the heretical Xenarite sect.  The Xenarites, scholars and archivists of xenos technology, were thought to be eliminated in the Inquisitorial purge of 335.M36.  Instead of reporting the sect’s existence to the Conclave, Molnar saw a potential ally, one who might aid in his search for technology (human or xenos) to restore the Emperor to his former glory.  And so a tenuous union was formed between Lucanus Molnár and the Forge World of Stygies VIII; the Mechanicum would aid Molnár in his holy work, providing the limitless material resources and wargear that only a Forge World could supply, and Molnár would ensure the less “open-minded” members of the Inquisition would not learn of the thriving Xenarite sect within their midst.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Unboxing: Adeptus Mechanicus Sicarians

Hail Mars!
Games Workshop have certainly hit the Adeptus Mechanicus release in stride, with one exciting release after the next. After the excellent Ranger/Vanguard box, one of the strongest releases GW has had in recent memory, I felt we would be lucky to get something even half as inspired.  Amazingly, the third kit they released for the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Sicarians Infiltrators/Ruststalkers may outshine even the Rangers. Venturing away from the more subdued Ranger design, they created a group of esoteric, inhuman assassins, perfect for the cold data-fueled logic that commands the Skatarii on the field. I got my hands on a box of the new unit and wanted to let you know what I think!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Unboxing: Adeptus Mechanicus Skitarii Rangers/Vanguard

Glory to the Machine God!

Having only just unveiled a high profile release in the new Harlequin models, Games Workshop continues its relentless pace with an even more exciting release, the Skitarii of the Adeptus Mechanicus!  Although the followers of the Machine God have been in 40k lore since the beginning, and have been explored extensively by Jes Goodwin and John Blanche, there have been very few models to represent them in Warhammer 40k.  Back in 2000, GW’s Skullz program gave people a chance to get a few promotional Mechanicum models, but it was really only when Forge World started to create models for the Horus Heresy that people began to seriously consider starting armies dedicated to the Machine God.  So when rumors started to circulate that Games Workshop might create a line of plastic Mechanicum models, it was hard not to get excited, particularly when the FW models are so stunning.  I am pleased to say that these rumors have become a reality, and although the models are quite divergent from those released by FW, they are no less imaginative and exciting.  Always being partial to the line and file soldiers of an army, I decide to get a box of Skitarii Rangers/Vanguard (the troop choices in the new codex), to see what the new models are like.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Iron Sleet Invitation: For the Emperor's Soul

Everything you have been told is a lie!
I find it hard to believe, but after the most intense two hobbying months of my life, the first Iron Sleet Invitational is complete! To corroborate this, my entry and a host of fantastic entries are displayed in all their glory on Iron Sleet’s website, including an evocative entry by none other than John Blanche himself! For me, the whole process was a great learning experience, particularly encouraging me to pick up a paint brush after many long years of absence, as well as to try some more ambitious green stuff work.  It also got me to revisit Inq28, which I had been meaning to do for many months.  Now, with the two inquisitors done, I can start to explore some of the more eccentric members of their retinues (the new Adeptus Mechanicus models will work wonderfully for Molnar’s crew)!  To round out all of our Invitational posts, I figured that I would do one last entry focusing on the completed Molnár, and to show some pictures of the three models together.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Iron Sleet Invitational: Naval officer Nils Fernow

These dying days.
March is rapidly approaching an end, and that means Iron Sleet’s first Invitational is coming to an end! I am excited to say that one more of my models for the entry is complete: Nils Fernow, First Security Officer of the Saudor 23rd Imperial Navy, affectionately know as the “Voidstalkers.” I was a bit concerned that Nils would take significantly more time to paint then the pragmatic Anton Soljic, due to the increased complexity of the model (all the different layers of clothing…). Fortunately, that did not really seem to be the case, and I as I began painting the model came together quite nicely. Like Inquisitor Soljic, Nils is painted in dull earthy colors (though it is a little tricky to tell due to the greyscale images). Based on suggestions here, and from the Ammobunker, I decided to add an accent color to the inside of his cloak, as well as paint an =][= on one the the clasps holding it in place.  My excitement having finished Fernow was great enough that I knew I needed to put up some pictures to share with everyone, even if they are sepia toned for the time being, before they are finally revealed in April.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Deredeo Dreadnought: Unboxing

Iron Within, Iron Without!

Since I became invested in the hobby years ago, I have been enthralled by the design and concept behind the Space Marine dreadnought, and I doubt that I am the only one.  There is something intriguing about these sepulchral walking tanks, primarily stemming from their utilitarian function of saving a heroic warrior from the verge of death, giving them the opportunity to fight once more.  Although they had some comical renditions in the beginning (a walking peanut), since the 2nd edition, they have looked like a squat walking sarcophagus of adamantium, complete with stubby gun arms, a drum-like powerfist, and a rectangular sarcophagi in the center.  This has become a cornerstone in the Space Marine aesthetic. Forge World, always wanting to shake things up a bit, released a new pattern of dreadnought loosely based on some old models a couple years back, the Contemptor.  Although reminiscent to its smaller cousin, it is bulkier, with a more rounded design.  Coupled with its separate head and its more articulated legs, the Contemptor is a far more agile and believable walker.  SInce its release, Forge World has produced numerous Contemptor dreadnoughts, including many chapter specific ones.  Just when we were all getting used to this new dreadnought, Forge World decided to release yet another variant, the Deredeo dreadnought.  Although reminiscent to the Contemptor, the Deredeo is slightly bigger, and serves as a dedicated weapons platform.  My fascination with dreadnoughts made ordering one of these Deredeo variants an inevitability, and a few weeks ago I got it in the mail, and thought you all might be interested in seeing what comes with the model.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Iron Sleet Invitational: Inquisitor Lucanus Molnár and Naval officer Nils Fernow

Communication Breakdown.

With it being a little over a week into March, the deadline for the Iron Sleet Invitational is fast approaching. I have never put so much time into converting a group of three models, but I think it has been paying off. I am happy to announce that the last two models, Inquisitor Lucanus Molnár of the Ordo Machinum and Naval officer Nils Fernow, are finally finished!  Rather than swamping you with too much text (which I am often prone to doing), I thought I would just show you some pictures of the models!  As always comments and suggestions are welcome.  I would be particularly interested in hearing peoples’ thoughts on color schemes, as I am gearing up to start painting them.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Iron Sleet Invitational: Painting Inquisitor Soljic, Ordo Xenos

Inquisitor Anton Soljic - Thorian
In the 15+ years that I have been a part of this hobby, I have always been building and converting models.  Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about painting them.  There were a few good years were I was consistently painting, and managed to enter some models into the Golden Daemon painting competition at the Baltimore Gamesday, but that was over 7 years ago.  Since then, I put the brush down, citing a lack of time due to graduate work (which is the truth!).  But over the last two years since starting this blog, my desire to take up painting again has steadily increased.  After an absence of so many years, it is a difficult thing to start up again. In fact, all of my paints were dried or misplaced, along with all my brushes! Despite this, I began to collect new supplies towards the end of last year, including getting my first airbrush!  With new painting materials gathered, all that was left to wait for was some inspiration to trigger my foray into painting again.  As it turns out, that muse was being invited to participate in the first Iron Sleet Invitational.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Iron Sleet Invitational: Thorian Inquisitor WIP

Innocence proves nothing.
Having largely finished the first inquisitor and his accompanying security officer, I have begun to work on the last model for the Invitational, a second inquisitor.  I wanted this inquisitor to be less cautious about his identity as an inquisitor, instead of wearing run-of-the-mill fatigues and overcoats, he would be wearing a custom suit of power armor.  Despite a more brazen appearance, I wanted to ensure the model still had a reserved quality, giving no indication towards his placement along the thin line of radicalism.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Iron Sleet Invitational: Naval Officer WIP

A mind without purpose will wander in dark places.

Having finished the Inquisitor for the Invitational, I started working on a Imperial Guardsmen to accompany him. I wanted the guardsmen to have a similar reserved tone like the inquisitor, fitting a scene where both are part of a tense audience with a rival inquisitor, one that had just turned towards confrontation.  To accomplish this sentiment, I knew that I needed the model to be drawing a weapon, preferably with a tranquil confidence.  Interestingly, like the inquisitor, I ended up finding just the model that I was searching for in the Death Korp line of models, as well.  The Quartermaster, with his skeletal vistage, calmly drawing a las pistol to perform his grim task fit all my criteria for the model.  And since it too was designed by Simon Egan, it was scaled appropriately to the inquisitor.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Iron Sleet Invitational: Bases WIP

All your Bases Are Belong to Us.

Work on Between the Bolter and Me’s entry into Iron Sleet’s Invitational is progressing nicely and we wanted to take some time to post another small update. This time I will be focusing on my progress on the bases of the models for the entry. While not quite as exciting as seeing actual models, this is the first time in a long while that I spent time to construct my own bases (rather than just using my favorite Tech-Deck bases from Dragon Forge) and thought people might like to see them.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Iron Sleet Invitational: Inquisitor WIP

Thought begets Heresy. Heresy begets Retribution.

With only two short months to complete three models for Iron Sleet’s first invitational, I decided to revisit an inquisitor model that I started, but never finished, way back in 2013.  Although I did a lot of the basic conversion work back then (replacing his head and modifying his shoulders), the conversion was far from complete, and still looked a lot like the commissar he was based upon.  To complete the model, I wanted to continue to downplay the commissar look, while enhancing his somber clandestine tone.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Iron Sleet Invitational: Between the Bolter and Me enters the fray

It is only one month into 2015, and we at Between the Bolter and Me have been looking back over all of the projects that we began last year, trying to prioritise the which to finish and what new ones to start. Just as we were finalizing some of our initial project ideas, we received a message from the people over at the newly formed Iron Sleet (an indcredibly talented trio of artists: Migsula of Legion of Plastic; and Kari and Mikko from the Spiky Rat Pack), inviting us to participate in their blog’s first modeling challange: Iron Sleet Invitational 1 – All your Bases Are Belong To Us.  And in an instant, the schedule for our projects had to be greatly revised, and in many ways accelerated dramatically!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Unforgiven: 2nd thunder hammer storm shield terminator

Storm of Vengeance!
When starting to build the first Deathwing terminator with a modified thunder hammer, I really just wanted to see if I could do it effectively.  It seemed like a good way to start out the year, something rather straightforward that I could easily pick up later, expanding the unit.  The first went so well and was so fun to make, however, that I immediately wanted to make another!  Now, less than a week later, the second Deathwing terminator is complete, ready to crush the skulls of those stand before him!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Unforgiven: Building a better thunder hammer

Faith is the sturdiest armor. Hatred the surest weapon. 
I have been playing a Deathwing army for a long time, starting sometime back in the 3rd edition of 40k. Since then, terminators have changed quite a bit, but it was in 2008, with the release of the 5th edition Space Marine codex, that they really saw a boost in their combat prowess. I am speaking, of course, about the storm shield, and its boost to a 3++ (invulnerable) save. For the first time ever, it was easy to get an invulnerable save that had a greater than 50% chance of succeeding (it was, as they say, the new black).  It took awhile, but eventually the Dark Angels got an FAQ that improved their shield to that of their Ultramarine counterparts. I was thrilled, and immediately purchased a box of assault terminators, intent on adding a new unit to my Deathwing force. But after carefully trimming all of the pieces, I stopped. Having the models in my hands, I finally convinced myself of something that had been troubling me for years, their thunder hammers were simply too big. So I resolved to convert them, but nothing really seemed like a suitable base for new hammers, and the terminators sat in their box. Now, many years later, after playing some games of 7th edition, I realized my army would really benefit from a few thunder hammer/storm shield terminators (THSS).  Adam and I began to discuss possible ways to make some improved (in our opinion) THSS terminators.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Between the Bolter and Me: 2014, a year in review

2014, a fine year for conversions.
It is hard to believe that Between the Bolter and Me has now been around for over two years. The blog has served as a tremendous way to encourage all of us to continue pushing our abilities as hobbyists. This past year has been particularly successful, with us completing more conversions than ever! Furthermore, we have tried our hands at increasingly complex conversions. With 2015 just beginning, we wanted to review the most notable projects from the past year. This will serve as a means to help highlight those projects that still need to be finished and also provide inspiration for new projects.