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Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Squaduary 2018 - Wargame Exclusive Kataphron Destroyers: Part 3

Three quarters of the way through Squaduary and things are looking pretty good. I've got two of the three models completed and have made a good start on the last one.

Now with terrain!
As you can see, this model is equipped with the Wargame Exclusive plasma culverin rather than the Games Workshop version. There is very little to choose between the two. If pushed, I would probably say that I prefer the GW version slightly, but they both look great when painted and scale well with the models.

As before, the details on the Wargame Exclusive models are just excellent. Each of the three servitors is crammed with individual touches which make them stand out from one another and gives the impression of a tech priest really hashing them together from odds and ends. A lovely image for something that the Adeptus Mechanicus would consider a disposable asset.

The 'pec plates' are pretty cool.
You may notice that these photos are a little different than my customary black background. That's because I took these during a little photo session for my whole army to celebrate the completion of a fully painted 1000 points. That's a pretty good benchmark for me but I'll discuss it more in another post.

It's plasma time!
Thanks again to Rory at Stepping Between Games for running this event. It's really pushing me along and I'm looking forward to adding another 200 points to my growing forces. Thanks as well to all  the other participants, let's keep it going and get those models finished!

You can check out my Squaduary history here, here and here. Tune in next week for the final, hopefully triumphant, Squaduary post.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Painting Skitarii - 1000 points complete

It doesn't seem so long ago that I was celebrating the completion of a 500 point force of Skitarii/Adeptus Mechanicus. This weekend I broke out some terrain to take a few celebratory photos of a completed 1000 point force!

The army in all their glory!

Now, 1000 points might seem like a small force by some people's standards but, for me, it's an excellent milestone. I haven't been collecting Mechanicus for that long (again, by my own standards) and to have a well rounded army painted to a good level is something that I'm very proud of.

Skitarii are so cool!

Originally, they were conceived as a Skitarii only force. Mostly because I prefer the Skitarii models over the Mechanicus ones and, at the time, they were split into two codexes. A slight problem came in the form of the Start Collecting Skitarii set as it includes a Magos Dominus who used to be part of the Mechanicus faction. This was complicated further when my darling wife kindly bought me a set of Kastelan Robots for Father's day, not realizing that they were technically a separate faction. This led to them becoming a bit of a combined arms force long before the advent of the current codex, where the two forces have been combined into one list (as they always should have been).

The Mechanicus contingent.

The army, as it stands is still mostly Skitarii. With the Kataphron Servitors and the Kastelans making up the Mechanicus contingent. The balance will change further still as the next unit to be added will be another unit of Kataphron Servitors that I am painting up for Squaduary.

Onager with magnetized Neutron Laser.
The force has benefitted hugely from various online painting challenges. The Onager pictured above was painted for Dreadtober whilst a squad of Skitarii Vanguard was completed for Squaduary 2017 with the Kastelan robots added shortly after for Monster March. The rest of the force has come together in dribs and drabs; but pushing myself to turn out a completed unit instead of three or four models has really helped.

Cool, low angle shot.
The final factor in making this army happen is the builder campaign that was organized by my buddy Lewis. He runs a blog over at Canis Aureus showcasing his own work. But I owe him huge thanks for all the work he put in which really pushed me along to hit those points quotas as the campaign escalated.

I'll leave you with a few more photos of the models, but I'm delighted with the army and can't wait to see how they will grow in the coming year.

Skitarii on patrol.
A Dragoon advances covered by a Ranger squad.
Ruststalkers appear out of the dunes.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Squaduary 2018 - Wargame Exclusive Kataphron Destroyers: part 2

So it's the end of week two of Squaduary, and things are progressing nicely! Although I'm struggling to believe that we're half way through February already.

Who says you can't have both claws AND guns??

I've finished painting one of my Kataphron Destroyers and have made good progress in painting the other two. I've very much enjoyed painting these models from Wargame Exclusive and they have made a nice change from the Games Workshop version.

Glad I increased the base size.

I've continued with the green and brass colour scheme common to the rest of my Adeptus Mechanicus forces. These models however have a lot more bare flesh than the usual Mechanicus range, so some different colours were called for. The skin was basecoated with Rakarth Flesh before following up with thin layers of Cadian Flesh (pretty sure this is from the old Citadel colour palette). Then I washed the recesses with a little Reikland Fleshshade and some Carroburg Crimson to make the implants look sore and poorly maintained. Finally I highlighted up with a mix of Screaming Skull (old palette again) and Cadian Flesh. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Skin tones are something I tend to agonise over but this time I tried to paint a bit more fast and loose and I think it turned out fine.

The back is nicely detailed too.

I also tried to paint the raised veins in kind of a blue colour. I'm not 100% happy with the effect, but I don't think it detracts from the models.

So, that's another step towards the completion of the squad. Join me for next week's post when hopefully I will have another completed model to share.

If you'd like to read my previous Squaduary posts you can find them here and here.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Squaduary 2018 - Wargame Exclusive Kataphron Destroyers: Part 1

That's week one of Squaduary down and how am I doing? Well, ok.....sort of. I've managed to get the miniatures built, including some minor conversions, and I've undercoated the squad. I've also made a very small start with the painting as you can see in the photos below.

So grey, so incredibly grey.
You might not be able to tell from the photos but they are undercoated, I swear! It's just that I am taking a departure from my usual process and using a pale grey undercoat rather than good old Chaos black. The main reason for this is because these models have a lot of exposed flesh; which should be easier to paint over a light coloured undercoat. I have always struggled with flesh tones over black and found that they need plenty of thin coats to ensure good coverage.

Lovely miniatures, it's a shame they're not painted.
For those that missed out, Squaduary is an event run by Rory over at Stepping Between Games. The goal is to paint a squad of miniatures during February and update your progress regularly to help motivate all the participants.

My pledge is to build and paint a squad of three Kataphron Destroyers for my Adeptus Mechanicus forces. For those who are familiar with the Mechanicus model range, you will have noticed that the models I'm using are not your usual Kataphron battle servitors. These miniatures are produced by Wargame Exclusive and provide a nice change from the tracked versions produced by Games Workshop.

I have altered the models slightly as I wanted to change the weapon loadout of the squad. Wargame Exclusive provides two models armed with Heavy Grav Cannons and a single model armed with a Plasma Culverin. I really wanted my entire unit to be armed with Plasma Culverins, so, I removed the Grav Cannons and replaced them with GW Plasma Culverins that I had left over from my Kataphron Breachers. Scale wise, the GW cannons are slightly larger than the Wargame Exclusive, but not so much that it spoils the models. The slightly tricky part was that the GW weapons are designed to be side mounted onto the shoulder, whereas the Wargame Exclusive cannons are all mounted at the elbow. This required a raid of the bits box to find some suitable parts with which to cover the intended connection point. Fortunately I have a good supply of Mechanicus spares and managed to fill in quite well.

The Wargame Exclusive cannon.
And the GW version.
I have also changed the phosphor blasters for cognis flamers. This was a pretty simple swap as I just shortened the barrels and added the nozzle from a cognis flamer. It did require some creative repositioning of the large claws that each model possesses; but I'm pleased with the way they turned out overall.

As for the models themselves; the quality of the resin and the detail pick up is excellent. There were very few casting flaws and no warping was present across the squad. I did have some trouble gluing the parts together, however this was easily remedied with a little patience and the occasional pin (needed for some of the weapon swaps).

So that's week one over, here's hoping that week two will bring a bit more colour to the squad. If you missed it, you can check out my initial Squaduary pledge here.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 29 January 2018

Squaduary 2018 - Wargame Exclusive Kataphron Destroyers

Well, it's that time of the year again (if you can say that about something which has only been around for two years?) That's right, Rory over at Stepping Between Games is encouraging us all to paint up a squad of some sort during the month of February. Does he desperately need the motivation of his fellow hobbyists? Or is he just a civic minded chap who wants to help us all cut down on our unpainted piles of shame? Some questions are best left unanswered, after all, a curious mind is a heretical mind.......

At any rate, I digress. If you didn't grasp from that rambling paragraph, I will once again be taking part in Squaduary. Last year I managed to get through a small squad of Skitarii Vanguard and to be honest, I was pretty pleased with myself. This year I will be trying to expand my Adeptus Mechanicus forces again by adding a squad of Kataphron Destroyers.

As some of you may know, I have built and painted a squad of Kataphron Breachers for my Mechanicus previously. To be honest though, I'm not totally in love with the models, even with some minor modifications. So, in order to add something a little different to the army, and provide me with a fresh challenge, enter Wargame Exclusive with their Kataton Destroyers!

Now that's pretty badass!

Wargame Exclusive have been on my radar for a while but I could never really justify buying their miniatures. Then Black Friday came along and these guys were 20% off and well, the rest is history.

Having the models in hand, I have to say that they definitely live up to the images on the website. The details are crisp and there is very little flash that needs to be trimmed off of the components. The only issue that I have is that ideally I want a squad armed with plasma culverins and cognis flamers (because I like to burn things). So some weapon swaps and some minor conversions will be necessary to get things the way I want them. I will also be increasing the base size because I think they will look a little odd perched on a 40mm base (even if the ones supplied are nicely sculpted).

So there you have it, my Squaduary pledge for 2018. Three Kataphron Breachers armed with plasma culverins and cognis flamers. Will I succeed? Or will I be cast down in failure? Only time, and this blog, will tell.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Necromunda - Painting and playing

I may have mentioned somewhere that I was lucky enough to receive the new Necromunda box set for Christmas and split it with my brother, Blazmo, of Tabletop Apocalypse. We've both been building and painting the gangs and managed to get our first games in last week. I have to say it was an absolute blast!

Hoyt Bennett of the Bennett Brothers
Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get any of my gangers painted for their first outing on the tabletop. But the excitement of playing the game spurred me on to finish painting my first gang Champion; namely Hoyt 'Bulky' Bennett, pictured above.

For those who aren't familiar with the new Necromunda, a starting gang is made up of a gang leader and can include a number of gangers, juves and champions up to the value of 1000 credits (basically points). This usually gives a gang size between 6 and 10 models. Juves are basically wannabe gangers who are inexperienced and poorly armed but learn quickly and are cheap to hire; whereas Champions are experienced fighters with powerful skills and with access to better weaponry. Hoyt himself is armed with a mighty Renderizer (ok I know it's a converted chainaxe but it's close enough) and a stub gun; both of which he failed miserably to use on his first outing as he spent most of the game pinned and rolling about on the floor.

The semi-painted Goliath Champion menacing an Escher ganger
The game itself is very dynamic as gangers variously get hit, pinned, wounded and eventually taken out of action. As with the original Necromunda, there is a lot of laying your models face down/up to show the state of their various injuries. So long as you're careful though it doesn't seem to cause them any harm.

The boxed game includes a number of boards which can be used for zone mortalis style play. Something both Blazmo and myself thought we would avoid but which was surprisingly enjoyable to play. So much so that we will probably use this format for most of our games. The game also comes with a set of scenery (mostly bulkheads and barricades) which can be seen pictured above. Big thanks to Blazmo by the way for painting all the scenery in record time and making our games all the more immersive.

Peakaboo! I couldn't resist this photo.
If you've read much about the new Necromunda online (or N17 as it's often called) you may know that there are a number of rules errors in both of the source books (Underhive and Gang War). Games Workshop have advised that an faq is imminent but until it lands it is probably best to play the game with a series of gentleman's agreements in place (much like the original ruleset!) Still, it hasn't spoiled my enjoyment of the game any; if anything, I think it encourages people to play more in the spirit of the game.

Hoyt again.
Painting wise, I've really enjoyed breaking away from the grimdarkness and trying to paint some bright, cashing colours in more of a second edition style. With this in mind, I've gone for a nice lime green paired with a red spot colour and some hazard striping. I'm not totally happy with the hazard stripes but you only get better at these things by doing them! So I'm determined to put some on every member of the gang. The base was inspired by Blazmo's excellent terrain with a rust/verdigris style that works nicely for the underhive.

Also Hoyt.
As for the future? Well I'm working on painting my gang leader at the moment and I sincerely hope to get more games of Necromunda in soon. Check back soon for more updates.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Painting an Adeptus Mechanicus Sydonian Dragoon

Welcome back! Hope you all had a pleasant Christmas and New Year and got plenty of toy soldiers from Father Christmas. I know I certainly did! Over the holiday I cracked on with my painting and managed to churn out another vehicle; namely a Sydonian Dragoon for my Skitarii/Ad Mech.

Taser Lance. Hyaaaa!!
I pretty much adore this model (along with the entire Skitarii range). The style has had a lot of thought put into it and gives it a really unique look. However, if memory serves, it was a complete bitch to build (although my memory is a bit hazy as I built it a year ago). Given my recent experience with painting an Onager Dunecrawler in sub-assemblies I dearly wished I had done the same with this at certain points during the painting process.

The other option with this kit is to build it as an Ironstrider Ballistarii, but I prefer the look of the Dragoon so that was the obvious choice. The kit is designed to be built with the lance mounted vertically but I had a feeling this would be horrible for transport so I changed it to a downward angle.

Check out those lenses!
On the tabletop the Dragoon has proven to be pretty brutal. The Mechanicus stratagems combined with the taser rule has seen it put out nine strength 8 hits on the charge more often than not. Good for clearing out infantry and smashing vehicles too. Not only that, it's cheap as chips at 68 points; a total bargain!

I swapped the head with a Vanguard Alpha.
I'm perilously close to 1000 points of fully painted Mechanicus now, with only the Neutron Laser from my Onager Dunecrawler to go. Here's hoping I get a sudden burst of painting enthusiasm and knock it out soon.

If only I hadn't got another two Dragoons for Christmas!