Sunday, November 29, 2015

Heresy Era Imperial Army - Geno Five-Two infantry squad almost done!

There's always a point when painting a model where I think "this looks like garbage, ugh", which is where I'd more or less left off on the models yesterday. Intellectually I know that pushing on and adding the next couple steps generally absolves that feeling and I was able to sneak a couple more hours of brush time last night and this morning and got the models up to a point where they're really coming into focus and I'm starting to be quite happy with 'em!

Still a bit of clean-up and detailing to go - there's always one or two models that missed a step here or there in the batch painting passes. Once that's done they'll get some static grass and a sealant pass, but seeing as the high is supposed to be about 20F today that's not going to be happening. Argh!

Sadly it's seemed that the second wave of heads I ordered from Meridian Miniatures has been lost in the warp, it's now been six weeks since the order was placed. I've been in contact with 'em and they've assured me that they'll make it right, but that does mean the rest of the Geno are headless and on hold. Guess that means it's time to start getting some of the associated Alpha Legion models painted up! Sort of a fun aspect to this project, the two disparate paint schemes of the two halves of the army means that if I get tired of painting one set of colors I can switch over to the other. I think the purple/green of the Alphas should set off nicely against the yellow/black of the Geno when all is said and done!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Heresy Era Imperial Army - Geno Five-Two infantry squad painting begins!

Could it be? After what seems like ages, I've finally had a couple hours to put paint to miniature again. Huzzah! Not a particularly exciting bit of progress to show, but progress nonetheless:

The dark grey/black uniform with the yellow capes which turns out to be pretty striking, but until the rest of the detail gets picked out (belts, boots, glareshields, etc) they look a little drab at the moment. The red of the bases should set off nicely against the yellow capes to give the models a bit more pop, and the color wheel suggests that they ought to get a little blue spot color somewhere as well. Easy enough on the bashaws and their power swords, so I'm leaning towards making the glareshields blue as well, should help draw the eye.

So far so good, hoping to get another couple hours in over the weekend!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Heresy Era Alpha Legion - Headhunters and Efrit Stealth Squad built

The flurry of building continues apace, and I've managed to finish building all of the Alpha Legion allies to accompany the Geno Five-Two. First up, the Efrit Stealth Squad:

Pretty much your bog-standard recon marines, with an Alpha Legion upgrade head for the sergeant. Nothing to write home about and not necessarily the best choice on an effectiveness-to-points ratio, but rather fluffy to have, as the unit is explicitly mentioned in the book!

Next up are the Headhunters, the second of the Alpha Legion's special units (alongside the Lernaeans). With banestrike rounds and Preferred Enemy (Infantry), they're really designed to gun down their fellow marines, and they can take a heavy bolter with a suspenson web for a little extra dakka. Wanted to bling them up a bit more than the basic marines, so they all got the Alpha Legion upgrade heads, and I added a scope to each of the bolters to help 'em stand out as having some specialist equipment.

Last but not least, I banged together the two characters from the box set. The terminator will be used to represent Sheed Ranko, the ostensible leader of the force. No real plans to field the chaplain at the moment, and I'm thinking I may clip the crozius off of him and replace it with some alternate weapon - perhaps another pistol and make him into a Moritat, or a paragon blade for use as a power-armoured Praetor.

It was nice enough out yesterday to get some models primered, so with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend I'm hoping to get some paint on some of 'em!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Heresy Era Alpha Legion - Lernaean Terminator squad built

Really enjoying building the models from the Betrayal at Calth box set. While the power armoured marines were a treat, the real star of the set for me has got to be the plastic Cataphractii. I'd planned on using them to whip up a unit of Lernaean terminators, so with a quick order to FW for the Volkite chargers and a bit of work with an x-acto knife we're good to go!

The set comes with tons of weapon options, but following the lacklustre performance of my last Thousand Sons terminators armed with power weapons, I knew from the outset that this unit would have plenty of power fists and chainfists (hands down my favorite melee weapon in the 40k universe). After this are some Headhunters and a scout squad left to build, but I realized I didn't order enough bases - gotta wait for the next package from Secret Weapon to arrive. Curses!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Heresy Era Alpha Legion - Tactical Squad built

All work and no play makes Mord a dull boy, and it's been plenty dull of late. On the up side, there was a box o' joy which arrived Friday evening and I finally got my hands on the new Betrayal at Calth box set. Others have and will do more in-depth critiques and content listings, but suffice it to say that I'm overjoyed with the miniatures, and immediately got stuck in with the cornerstone of any self-respecting Heresy army and put together a 20-man Tactical Squad.

The Alpha Legion upgrade kits I'd picked up from FW worked a treat, and in order to keep the majority of the models fairly 'vanilla' (which I think suits the Alpha's modus operandi) only the sergeants really got blinged out. Thus, the Sergeant is easily shown to be wearing artificer armour with the fancy torso and helmet to accompany the Alpha Legion shoulder pads the rest of the battle brothers wear. So far so good, and I have to say that for basic rank-and-file troopers these plastics are absolutely perfect for the job! Definitely planning to pick up another couple boxes after the holidays and get the Thousand Sons going again...

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Stateside readers! For the rest, I hope you will have a pleasant Thursday this week regardless. Cheers, everyone!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Heresy Era Imperial Army - Geno Five-Two fire support squad built

So it turns out I was overestimating exactly how much space the gunners would take up on the bases for the autocannon teams, once I'd gotten the crew all built I started experimenting with positioning and for the most part was able to fit two per base in such a way that they make interesting vignettes and should still be easy to paint.

Rather pleased with how they've turned out so far and quite looking forward to getting some paint on both these and the first infantry squad. Unfortunately it's been rather chilly of late and I've not had much luck finding a time to get them primered. Argh!

Shuffling the army list around a bit to account for the upcoming heresy plastics (the Alpha Legion allies may be taking up a bit more of their share of the 2500 point list I'm currently building towards), so the lascannon team bits have gone into the Closet of Doom for use with the Prospero Spireguard army that lies in wait for the Thousand Sons to rise again...

...And with the upcoming plastics, they may very well do so sooner rather than later!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Heresy Era Imperial Army - first Geno Five-Two squad built!

Over the last few days the final bits have arrived and I was able to get the first 20-man squad of the Geno Five-Two Dancers Company built. I thought I'd write a bit about my miniature build/posing philosophy, as folks sometimes remark on the natural/dynamic poses I get with the miniatures, and that comes down to a couple key concepts I utilize when putting 'em together.

Starting off, you gotta stick the legs down to the base, no crazy surprise there. After that I'll generally attach the torsos to the models, generally alternating between having them 'straight on' with the hips, canted around to the right about 45 degrees or canted around to the left about 45 degrees. In general real life movement, one's torso doesn't usually twist much farther than this, and when the models are turned much farther than that, the miniature starts to look a bit 'off'. Once the torsos are firmly attached, I'll note the position of the feet, and imagine an angle drawn between the points of the toes (#2 above) as that will act as a bit of a reference guide for the next steps.

On many models carrying a rifle, it's held across the chest in a fairly predictable position, and the torso twist applied in the earlier step will inform where the muzzle of the weapon ends up pointing. Where possible I try to lean towards torso/weapon positions such that the muzzle falls within the angle described by the feet in the previous step (#1 and 2 above), as that approximates a braced firing position. Models whose torso is canted around to the left will naturally have the muzzle of the weapon fall outside the angle of the feet (#3 above), but that's okay as we'll discuss in a moment. In order to get a model to point a rifle held across the chest all the way around to the right, the model's torso would have had to been twisted far beyond the 45 degree mark and would look anatomically inaccurate (so generally I don't ever end up with any built models that would look that way), but there are character models brandishing one-handed weapons that may 'break the rules'. In those cases, I try not to have the weapon pointing at a more than 90 degree angle from the line drawn through the opposing foot (#4), as that would mean the model would essentially be aiming behind it which can look rather awkward.

The last step is the head, positioning of which is very important. The main rule I follow here is that the angle of the feet is more important than the position of the weapon when deciding which way to point the head. Where the muzzle of the weapon weapon lies within the angle of the feet, I tend to have the model's head sighting down the weapon, as that results in a natural-looking firing position (#1 and 2 above). When the muzzle of the weapon points outside the angle of the feet, the head should STILL face somewhere within the angle of the feet (#3 above), as that results in a model that appears to be advancing with his weapon held at the ready prior to assuming a firing stance. The exception applies for characters with one-handed weapons, and in those cases the head may be canted a little further around to sight down the outstretched barrel, but I stick with the 90 degree angle from the opposing foot rule here as well.

Bashaws Lon and Shah here are examples of the one-hander rules. In these cases I dry-fit the arms onto the torsos first before gluing the torsos to the legs, to ensure that the weapons positioning wouldn't violate 'the rules'. Lon's sword and pistol ended up lining up nicely with his feet, and as his sword is the obvious direction of interest, his head was aligned to sight down the blade. Shah on the other hand sights down the barrel of his pistol which is just shy of a 90 degree angle from the torso. Canting the torso around such that the weapon falls within the angle of the advancing feet meant that it would have violated the 45 degree twist rule, so that means instead his head must point outside the angle of the feet in order to align with the pistol, but by keeping it to within the 90 degree angle from his right foot it still looks like a natural pose as no single element of the body is twisted around farther than would be natural.

Not sure if that explanation makes a lot of sense, but happy to answer any questions about the method!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Heresy Era Imperial Army - Geno Five-Two Fire Support Squad begins

Sadly Real Life(tm) continues to eat up the majority of my time recently, but I did get a big box o' joy from Victoria Lamb Miniatures on Friday which was a nice way to end an otherwise rather irritating week! The box included the remaining legs and torsos for the Geno Five-Two infantry squads, a bunch of arms and weapons (that will be going into the spares bucket now that I have the integrated arms/weapon sprues on the way), as well as all the bits to make up the heavy weapons for the Fire Support Squads. I was really impressed with the kits, super crisp castings and the ones I've built thus far have gone together like a dream!

I did manage to squeeze in enough hobby time over the weekend to get the bits washed and dried, and put together the first five of the heavy weapon carriages. When all is said and done there will be five autocannons and five lascannons, which should give the army a little extra punch. I'm considering how I want to do the crew - considering putting one member on the 60mm base with the gun, and putting the second man on a separate base to facilitate wound tracking, or possibly just having both members be separate - I'm finding the carriage takes up a surprising amount of room on the base and I'm afraid packing both crewmen on will make them too busy (not to mention rather hard to paint).