Shelfari Shelf

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Graham McNiell's God King

The third installment of the Sigmar trilogy is Graham McNiell's God King. This is the third major event or battle that Sigmar overcomes in his reign as Emperor. Nagash has come to plague the lands of men once more, and he wants his crown back. You know, that crown that messed with Sigmar's head in Empire. Sigmar, says "no deal" and undead conflict ensues. I found this novel hard to get into at first, whether I was coming down from reading Prospero Burns, not really in the mood for reading fantasy or just the simple fact that the pacing is somewhat slow in the beginning, being the reason. It is a good read, especially for fans of the Empire, Sigmar and fantasy in general. It has a short McNiell interview at the back for those interested, and McNiell states that he may be writing other novels on Sigmar in the future, to flesh out his history and explore the wackiness of the Empire in its fledgling state. Again, a good, entertaining read, but easily skipable if you haven't read the rest of the trilogy. I'm slowly making my way through Dead Men Walking and will post a review when i finally do. So far though, color me not impressed.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dan Abnett's Prospero Burns

I know I said I wouldn't post again until after the New year, however I just finished reading Dan Abnett's Prospero Burns. In the beginning, I really felt this book had been over hyped. Everyone was gushing about how it would blow A Thousand Sons out of the water. I was prepared to believe this, after all, it was Dan Abnett writing it. This is the story of the destruction of Prospero through Kasper Hawser's eyes. He is kind of like a remembrancer, but more interested in preserving all knowledge than recording the great crusade. The story is twined with his memories and his experiences with the Space Wolves. One thing Abnett does, is add more Norse flavor to the Space Wolves. Nordic terminology is used, or adapted to make Fenrisian culture more present in the story. So I started out expecting this to be a great novel. About halfway through, I felt like it was falling flat in the way that Hunt for Voldorious did. By the last quarter of the book, it was back on track and really clicked for me. I think everyone will enjoy this novel, especially fans of A Thousand Sons and Abnett in general. A good read, with great insight into the Space Wolves and a very interesting plot twist at the end.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to All!

I hope everyone got the model kits or books they were hoping for! Here is my Christmas present to myself, the MKIV Ironclad from Forge World. I love the way the hunter killer missiles mount on this model (from the back of the torso top). The detail is great, and while I'm not 100% sold on the eagle headed seismic hammer, I do like the novelty of it.

Happy holidays and seasons greetings to all. I'll be back in the new year with more of my Ultramarines, more book reviews and more modelling and painting projects. Until then, merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Forge World Warhound

I pulled out my warhound to play a game of apocalypse the other day and it reminded me that i hadn't photographed it yet. I built this warhound years ago, and learned a lot about the weakness of super glue doing so.

The first game I played with this titan, the chassis split in half while I was getting ready to place it. Having a poor transport option didn't help either. Luckily I was able to reglue it, and it has stayed fairly together since then (with the exception of a toe which was repaired pretty easily). The gluing did cause fogging, and I had to touch that up as well.

The most difficult part of this model are the hosing for the plasma blast guns. Their are rubber, and need to be heated in order to bend them into the right shape so that they will hold and be glue able.

The pistons are kind of a pain as well, as they need to be trimmed once the legs are posed.

The white is just multiple coats over white primer, and the rest of the model is painted the same way I did the Reaver. I like to think the Reaver was an improvement on the technique using an airbrush to create a smoother white.

The interior brown is Kommando Khaki over black primer.

Anyone who is thinking of building a big model and doesn't know about two part epoxy should investigate it. While it has a longer cure time than super glue, that also gives the model increased bond strength.

My final thoughts on the Warhound revolve around weapon choices. I bought the Mars Pattern Warhound back when Forge World didn't sell the gun arms separately. So it has the Plasma Blastgun and Vulcan Megabolter. Both are great weapons, though their role is a bit different. The Blastgun is very flexible, while the megabolter is more anti-infantry oriented. Eventually I would like to get a super heavy hunter with two turbolascannons.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Honor Guard part 2

The last week or so I have been slowly chipping away at my honor guard figs. Here are the two that are reasonably finished. First off is, what is my favorite of them, the fig who looks similar to the marine on the cover of the 4th ed SM codex.

The main thing I did differently for these models is to add a wash of Asurmen Blue, and a second coat of Ultramarines blue to add a bit more depth to the models.

The only detail I might add in is either a water slide decal or some freehand to include the Word Bearers heraldry on the chaos shoulder pad. Not sure if I feel up to that yet, but if I do it, i will add a pic in a future post.

I used P3 Trollblood Highlight, a wash of Thraka Green and then a highlight of P3 Cryx Base Highlight with a final small wash of Baal Red to add some goriness to the twin mutant heads.

I kept the cloaks dark, with coats of Scab Red, Red Gore and an extreme highlight of Blood Red.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sevrin Loth and Honor Guard

It's been a good couple of days since I posted about the Sevrin Loth kit. In that time I've been busy with a lot of things, my daughter was baptised, Thanksgiving passed, and a whole lot of other stuff got done (mainly reading in my spare time). But I also did some chipping away at the honor guard to get them ready for priming.

I built Sevrin Loth first, his was the easiest build, and only required me to remove the Red Scorpions insignia from his shoulder pad and replace it with an Ultramarine symbol from the Ultramarines Brass Etched sheet. I chose an Ultramarines symbol inside a circle for this shoulder pad, as it seemed to fill the space best.

For the honor guard, I used the Sevrin Loth kit (and the command squad sprue it comes with), an Ultramarines brass etched sheet, bitz from the Sanguinary Guard sprues, and the character upgrade set from Forge World for the bionic legs and the power sword. This let me build seven honor guard instead of the four that Forge World shows on their site. Where I could, I removed Red Scorpions insignia, and for a pair of the shoulder pads, I removed the Inquisition symbols from two Death Watch shoulder pads.

I then used two part epoxy (stuff that's the same as green stuff, though for obvious color differences it's grey stuff) to fill in the inset blood drops on some of the power weapons. I then rolled out some blobs to make cloaks. These are pretty rudimentary, I made rectangles and then cut out the space needed to fit around the join for the backpacks. Then I smoothed out the putty at the top to attach the cloaks. Finally using two sculpting tools, I pushed and rolled the putty to create motion in the cloaks. Finally (although it was actually the first thing I did), the bases all have chaos bitz to give a combat theme to the models.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sandy Mitchell's The Emperor's Finest

The latest Ciaphas Cain novel by Sandy Mitchell is called The Emperor's Finest. This novel goes backward in the Cain timeline, to shortly after his escape from the Necrons (the first time). He is picked up by the Reclaimers space marines chapter - whom he is supposed to liaise with - and they head for a planet that is currently in revolt. In the style of the other novels, there is more going on than initially thought. Also, like all of the other Cain novels, this is a great read, worth picking up, even though it is in hard back and a more expensive buy.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ultramarines Pre Heresy Captain

This is a conversion I built as a Golden Daemon entry about three years ago. It is inspired by the Command Squad Ingenus card from the Horus Heresy card game. I started with an old Space Wolf chest plate and removed all of the details from it. This gave me the belt shape where I could apply the Ultramarine symbol. I removed the skull to create the blank chest plate. I then used very thin wedges of green stuff to create the braiding.

I detached the sword hand from the arm and turned it, so that the blade would be turned in and repositioned the arm for the pose. I then used a Space Marine Bike arm for the opposite arm and put a bolter in the hand.

For the shoulder pads, I used one of the Deathwatch shoulder pads and removed the Inquisition symbol and replaced it with a brass etched Ultramarines symbol. The other shoulder pad I used a blank shoulder pad, and then took a scribing tool and made the lines across the inside. I then added a laurel from the command squad sprue.

For the base, I used a blob of green stuff to build up the base, and then added razorwire and a Chaos Marine shoulder pad. I painted the shoulder pad in Word Bearers shoulder pads.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

James Swallow's Garro: Oath of Moment

I just finished listening to Garro: Oath of Moment by James Swallow. This is probably the best audio book the BL has put out so far. I love Garro's story from Flight of the Eisenstein, and this audio book picks up right after it. While the narration and audio drama continues to be pretty much the same voices (who can have the most gravelly voice) with only an Emperor Palpatine style voice for Malcador, this was still a good listen. Garro is sent to Calth on a mission for Malcador that sees him smack dab in between the Ultramarines and Word Bearers. This is the first audio book the BL has put out that actually made me want to do some modelling, perhaps even a Garro conversion, which to me, is a sign of a successful 40k story.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ultramarines 6th Company

It has been a while since I have displayed more of my Ultramarines chapter in company or bulk format. This time out, I have the pleasure to show off my 6th company. It has a couple of different elements which I am proud of, as well as some slight modifications to make it a bit less gaudy.

The first change I made was to discard the orange shoulder pad rims in favor of the gold metallic. Despite that being used for the 2nd company, I figured I could adapt it and use a shoulder pad design that displayed the company number in the left corner, squad number in the center, and squad designation in the right corner. For the most part I was successful with this, though there are one or two instances where I mixed up the squad and company numbers.

I also chose to make two different versions of the company captain, one on foot and one on a bike. As you can see from above, the captain on a bike is a conversion of the Master of the Ravenwing on a jetbike model. That model is probably THE sweetest figure made by Games Workshop.

The biggest obstacle was to remove the plasma cannon from the underside of the chassis. I did this with clippers and then used green stuff to repair the gap and create a fin of sorts in that space. I then applied two pieces of brass etched on the shoulder pads. One was an Ultramarines symbol, the other a winged skull.

While I kept the gold shoulder pads, I felt the tabards(as well as any other models in the company with cloth) should have orange cloth to represent the company color.

Some other elements of the company include four squads of MKIV armor, built from the Red Scorpions Veteran squads and decorated with Ultramarine brass etched symbols. These were built back when that upgrade was the only one available, hence the lack of matching leg armor. I also used a squad of Black Templars Sword Brethern (minus the Lightning Claw marine who seemed to difficult to waste the effort mod'ing at the time)to supplement the command squad.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hammer & Bolter volume 1

The Black Library recently started adding e-books to their catalog of products which they offer, one of them is a new bi-monthly publication called the Hammer & Bolter. The first volume is a free download and contains seven articles; five 40k, and two fanatasy and an interview with Nick Khyme. There are two elements which I would like to discuss in terms of these downloads: ease of downloading and the fiction itself.
Lets start with ease of download. There are supposed to be three ways to view, nook, kindle and Mac's e-book app. To put the e-book on my computer seemed almost impossible despite the blurb on the BL site. So i then attempted to put it on my ipod touch. I had the Kindle app on my ipod touch so I didn't see that it would be a problem. However I had to add the e-book app to my ipod touch and then add it to my ipod.
I only read the three 40k stories: "The Death of Titus Endor", "Primary Instinct" and "Phalanx". All three were very good. "The Death of Titus Endor" is a sad tale about the end of Eisenhorn's once friend Titus Endor. He seems to be working a case , but there are complications that arise. "Primary Instinct" is a story about the Silver Skulls hunting eldar on a planet with a crashed spaceship. "Phalanx" is the first two chapters in the next Soul Drinkers novel. Apparently it will be serialized in the Hammer & Bolter. It is a good start to this novel, with some intriguing developments in the storyline.
One of the stories is an excerpt for Prospero Burns, and while I eagerly await reading this novel, I would like to go into it fresh without any teasers. I stayed away from the Warhammer fantasy stories on general purpose. For the most part, i just don't enjoy that setting. For a free publication, it is worth it if you have the capability to read it. However I'll have to check out the next episode to see if it will continue to be.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Forge World Severn Loth and Honor Guard

Another happy day, my Severn Loth and Honor Guard arrived from Forgeworld. This is a hybrid kit, comprised of the devastator boxed set leg sprue - so you get six sets of legs, five standing and one kneeling - the command squad accessory sprues, so you could build a company champion, apothecary and standard bearer, and the resin pieces shown above and below. To replicate the honor guard the way Forge World built them, the standard bearer arm is necessary for the Red Scorpions standard, the bolt pistol and close combat weapon hands are needed to mount the two power axes or the bolters. Otherwise the command squad sprues are pretty unnecessary. The detail all of the wargear is phenomenal, with imperial eagles decorating most of the bitz. There are a few red scorpions insignia on shoulder pads and weapons that could pose a challenge for those looking to make them a different chapter though. I intend to make mine Ultramarines, so I will be covering up the scorpions with brass etched insignia. I may also work in some of the character upgrade bitz depending on what looks cool. But first, I have to do some soaking and cleaning of some fresh resin.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Forge World Space Marine Character Conversion Set

When I picked up IA 9 from Forge World, I also got the Space Marine Character Conversion Set. All of the pieces on these sprues are pretty cool. You get two left and one right bionic arm, four bolt pistols and one plasma pistol to be used with those arms, a power fist, power sword, bionic leg, a gas masked head, combat knife and combiflamer. Coincidentally, the Salamander on the cover of Firedrake has the combiflamer in his hands. My only regret is that these upgrades will work for almost every MK armor set that Forge World just released except the MKIII Iron Armor because of the way the armor plates on the hands are placed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Changeling

Sadly, one of the last models on my painting desk right now is now done. I've been sitting on the Changeling for a while now, almost since I finished the Horrors a couple of months ago. For one thing, I'm not a huge fan of the model. I think it is kind of a cop out, by robing him completely.

I started out priming the model black. For the robes, I used a basecoat of Regal Blue, then a coat of Enchanted Blue. I then gave the robe a 50:50 coat of Enchanted Blue and Ice Blue, followed by a coat of Ice Blue and an extreme highlight of 50:50 Ice Blue and Skull White. I also used that last mix on the nails of the Changelings hands.

For the flames, I used layers of Scab Red, Blood Red, Blazing Orange, Golden Yellow and Sunburst Yellow. The bone and gold were done the same way I paint those colors every time.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nick Kyme's Firedrake

Nick Kyme's Firedrake is the second book in his Book of Fire trilogy. It opens with Ba'kir and Iagon now sergeants of the squads Da'kir and Tsu'gan once led. They are led by Chaplain Elysius against the Dark Eldar. Elysius also happens to be the current bearer of the Sigil of Vulkan.Da'kir is also back, and we glimpse some of the trials of a prospective librarian among the Salamanders and Tsu'gan continues fighting alongside Praetor and the Firedrakes. The reader also finds out about a prophecy that could spell the destruction of the Salamanders and Nocturne and Nihilan is attempting to fulfill it.

The Dark Eldar are depicited using the new codex's fluff. Their soul hunger and the scheming nature of their society is well done. Vulkan He'stan is also brought into the mix, and his characterization is well done, showing him as mythical due to his rank as Forgefather and craving the brotherhood of his chapter because of the isolation it forces upon him. My only real quibble with this novel is it starts out somewhat slow. Otherwise it is a good read, worth picking up for fans of Salamander.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Aaron Dembski-Bowden's The First Heretic

The latest installment of the Horus Heresy series is Aaron Dembski-Bowden's The First Heretic. This novel is the tale of the Word Bearers, from their censure by the Emperor for worshipping him and spending too long making planets compliance, to their search for the chaos gods and the Dropsite Massacre at Isstvaan. But this novel is really about Argel Tal, 7th company captain of the Word Bearers, and his faith in Lorgar, and the actions Lorgar requires of him in the search for the true faith the Word Bearer's desire. The Ultramarines fan in me loved the opening with Guilliman and how the Emperor's censure of Lorgar is what truly creates the animosity of the Word bearers for the Ultramarines. Finally, there is a tiny bit more elaboration on the fate of the two deleted chapters. At some point, this juicy little secret will slip out in the Horus Heresy, there are just two many allusions to it for it not to happen. At any rate, this is a solid book, enjoyable, quick to read and well executed. Fans of the HH series should pick it up and enjoy!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hawk Lords Vanguard Squad

After building and painting up Shrike for my Hawk Lords a while back, I realized that there was no real point to having him in an army if he didn't have a squad to go into assault with. Not wanting to build another metal Vanguard boxed set, I resolved to use the Sanguinary Guard boxed set as the basis for the this Hawk Lords Vanguard squad.

The single main thruster jump pack was the main reason I went with the Sanguinary Guard boxed set. I also used the legs, and one of the power swords (to represent a relic blade) for the build. I then added in the two assault marine torsos I had in my bitz box, as well as a pair of regular torso plates (one with eagle, one with skull) and an Mark VIII torso for the sergeant.

To add that Hawk Lords flavor, they all have a studded right shoulder pad, and a single lightning claw (believe me if I had them in pairs I would have used them) except for the sergeant who has the relic blade. Two of the marines got storm shields - having used them with my Disciples of Caliban I saw how much more resilient they can make a squad - and two just have bolt pistols.

I used the same painting technique for the Land Speeders as I did here, starting with black primer, then a basecoat of Leviathan Purple. Next a wash of Baal Red (I really like the depth this adds to the purple), P3 Beaten Purple and a final extreme highlight of P3 Murderous Magenta. The silver is Boltgun, Devlan Mud and Chainmail, the gold is Dwarven Bronze, Devlan Mud, Shining Gold and Burnished Gold. The green is Orchide Shade, P3 Ioasan Green, Goblin Green and Scorpion Green, the yellow is P3 Sulfurous Yellow, Golden Yellow and Sunburst Yellow. I used a Micron pen to draw the X, Terminator Honors and Hawk Lords symbols. I'm not altogether happy with the way these turned out, I think the Hawk Lords symbol is just a bit beyond my reach still.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

So You Want a Friend to Read Some 40k?

I have noticed that one question asked a lot on 40k forums is "which novels should I give my friend to get them into 40k?" Everyone has an opinion, and if you don't try to winnow through it, half of the Black Library catalogue will be sitting on your friend's bookshelf before they know it. This could be a good thing, if they are generally interested in 40k and maybe have some knowledge of the fluff. But for a true newb, it can be so overwhelming that it is a turn off. Especially since much of the background is very much an insiders story.

My solution is a pair of books, the Eisenhorn trilogy and Storm of Iron. Eisenhorn is a great choice because it doesn't make any assumptions about what the reader knows. The worlds are all new, and the character is trying to solve a mystery that shows the reader what the 40k universe is like. Xenos ( part one of the trilogy) has only a handful of Space Marines and a handful of Chaos Marines, with some Imperial guard (loyal and traitor) thrown in. This series is kind of like easing yourself into a pool after lunch. Yes, it can be more fun to shock your self, do the cannonball and start having fun. But easing yourself in can build comfort and acclimatization.

Storm of Iron is quite a different beast, however it represents a 40k game in novel form. It is the siege of an Imperial fortress by a chaos legion (the Iron Warriors for those who don't know) and it has everything a 40k fanboy could want in it. Chaos Space Marines, Space Marines, Titans, Imperial Guard, things blowing up, explosions, flashes, booms, bangs! This was Graham McNeill's first novel, and I think it wow'ed fans in a way his Ultramarines novels just haven't done. Not only are the main protagonists bad guys, but they do some horrific stuff to boot. So the next time someone asks you about reading some 40k novels, offer up these two, and they won;t be disappointed.