I finally got around to finishing my Venerable Dreadnought for the Independent Characters painting challenge; he only took me a month and a half to finish (although to be fair, April was a crazy month to try to get even one model painted in). The paint scheme wasn't anything really fancy, but black, white, and gold just the right combination of simple and striking for this guy.
I'm really happy with the edge highlighting I did on this model; I'm really getting comfortable with how the effect looks on black armor, and it's definitely more subtle yet effective on a larger model than it is on a smaller standard marine. The Power Fist looks particularly good, in my opinion.
I also tried my hand at more freehand details on this guy, something I started on my Emperor's Champion. While I'm not ready for full murals (without someone else doing the linework), doing scripting on blank spots seemed a challenge I could handle, so I went for it. On one shinguard, and on his parchment, I did blocks of scripting, complete with a colored, embellished dropcap.
There's one other freehand detail, and that's on his left shinguard - the Templar cross. Originally I'd intended to use a decal, as I did on the left arm, but the decals I had were just slightly too big to fit comfortably, and I didn't want to go with a more generic numeral or skull, so I bit the bullet and went ahead and tried freehanding a cross. Actually, I think it turned out rather well, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat (although I do like the decal on the arm, as it's sharper and cleaner).
I'm taking June off from the Templars, as I have a fair amount of Tau to paint for the Gateway Grand Tournament - 2 Riptides, 3 Broadsides, a Sky Ray, 8 Pathfinders, and 6 Fire Warriors. It's a crazy amount to squeeze in, especially considering that 2 of the Broadsides and the Fire Warriors aren't even built yet, but that's what the Memorial Day weekend is for, right? I think that if I can get everything finished this weekend, I can prime and paint them over the next 3 weeks and call it good. They might not be up to the full standard of the rest of the army, but I can get them close, especially with my spray gun for fast basecoating.
After magnetizing my Riptide more-or-less successfully, it was time to try another model - one of the new Broadsides. I love the look of the new Broadside, and the idea of magnetizing it so I can swap between the two primary weapon loadouts was very appealing. In practice, though... it's a pain in the ass, much moreso than the Riptide. There are two major reasons for this. The first is that the arms are heavy as far as plastic goes, so if you just try to magnetize them at the ball joints with the magnets pointing directly out to the sides, they'll pivot down as they lose the fight against gravity. Fortunately, there is a relatively simple solution: mount the magnets on the tops of the ball joints:
This leads to the second issue, though: the two sets of arms do not sit at the same angle on the joint. The High-Yield Missile Pod arms sit independently and swing a bit outward, while the Railgun arms join together and angle inward and a bit downward. This leads to some interesting magnet positions inside the sockets, and is really, really easy to mess up. This is one case where I wish I had a larger hand drill, rather than just my cordless Dremel; trying to get fine control with a high-speed drill is not a skill I've mastered. In the end, I had to cut one of the missile arms apart just above the elbow and re-point it because the magnet had it swinging too far inside. The railgun arms had their own issues. For ease of attachment, I had the two separate, with another pair of magnets joining them at the gun - but some excess glue that I thought had already dried stuck the two magnets together permanently, leaving me with glued-together arms. Not unworkable, but not what I wanted. In all honesty, though, the final results, while a bit chewed by the Dremel, aren't horrible:
I also managed to magnetize the back equipment hookups so that I can change up the weapons and wargear as needed. Getting these magnets placed was a bit difficult because of the small area and the necessity of getting them flush. I had to pull out and redo one of the magnets just to get it to sit right. Since I didn't have smaller magnets for the gear, I used my finishing nail trick to put small pieces of metal into their bases. It doesn't "click" as solidly as another magnet, but it works. The Dremel was a big aid here, as I could switch to a sanding bit and grind down the excess nail and get it flush with the plastic.
The question I was left with last night was, "Would I do this again?" The answer right now is, "I don't know". Magnetizing this suit was harder with the equipment I had, and the results weren't what I'd originally pictured in my mind. The time spent in trying to get magnet angles just right and trying to clean up the resulting damage to the plastic, such as filling in the sockets with material to keep the arms from swinging wildly (yes, the top-mounted magnets only worked somewhat) made me doubt that magnetizing the arms was a good idea. If they were a bit easier to do, then sure, but I don't know if I'd want to do it again as they are. The secondary weapons and gear, I might do again with smaller magnets and my pin vice. Still, there comes a point where the time spent outweighs the money saved. I might just make my next 2 Broadsides static.
Without smaller magnets, though, I am not touching any more Crisis Suits. I'm really feeling the limitations of 1/8" magnets, and as much as I love my Dremel, I need the finer control of my pin vice for that task.
With the tournament on the 18th coming up soon, I've been working on revising my 1000-point Tau list, and I've decided on a couple of tweaks and revisions:
NOTE: Thanks to Rathstar's catching one illegal model which threw off the entire list, I've reworked this. Consider this draft 2.1. Thanks, Rathstar!
HQ (55 pts)
- Ethereal [Honour Blade] (55 pts)
Elites (401 pts)
- XV8 Crisis Team [2x Shas'Ui w/2x Missile Pod, Flamer; Shas'vre w/2x Missile Pod, Puretide Engram Chip] (191 pts)
- XV104 Riptide [Ion Accelerator, Twin-linked Fusion Blaster, Early Warning Override, Velocity Tracker] (210 pts)
Troops (255 pts)
- 10x Fire Warriors with Pulse Rifles (90 pts)
- 10x Fire Warriors with Pulse Rifles (90 pts)
- Kroot Carnivore Squad [10x Kroot, 1 Kroot Hound, Sniper Rounds] (75 pts)
Fast Attack (132 pts)
- 6x Pathfinders (66pts)
- 6x Pathfinders (66pts)
Heavy Support (156 pts)
- Hammerhead Gunship [Railgun, Submunition Rounds, Twin-linked Smart Missile System, Disruption pod, Point Defense System, Blacksun Filter] (146 pts)
Total: 999 pts
- Dropped the two Stealth Suit teams in exchange for one Crisis Suit squad. Instead of Burst Cannons and a pair of Fusion Blasters, I've decided to pack a set of Deathrains instead.
The Early Warning Override and Twin-Linked Missile Pods will allow the team to act as an almost-Skyfire anti-flier team, and the shas'vre with his Puretide chip allows them to be flexible and deadly to just about anything on the table. Bonding knife ritual? Technically useless (I'll never be below 25% with 3 suits), but I had 3 points left over. The list could just as easily sit at 997 points. I know I could drop the EWO and un-twin-link the pods (and I still might), but for right now we'll see how this does.I've got double missile pods on the suits to try to maximize their firepower, and a Puretide chip on the shas'vre to make the unit a threat to both MCs and vehicles. A pair of flamers gives the unit tools for overwatch as well.
- Swapped the Riptide's SMS for Fusion Blasters. Trading shots for armor-cracking capabilities.
- Gave the Riptide a Velocity Tracker. Having a true Skyfire unit on the table can't hurt.
- Added a Blacksun Filter to the Hammerhead. No Hammerhead should be without it, and for only 1 point, why skip it?
- Dropping the Fireblade. 2 HQs for 1000 points is a bit much, and I can use those points to improve the Crisis Team and the Pathfinders. I lose firepower from one unit, but gain the freedom to move that unit as needed.
- Using up the extra points. A Point Defense System for the Hammerhead, and an Honour Blade for the Ethereal. I'm running out of things to spend the points on. I suppose I could add one Fire Warrior instead, but I think I'm good with what I've got.
I'm hoping that I can get a test game in this week. If not, this variation will go in cold, but I'm familiar enough with Tau toys that I think it'll have a good run.
In other news, I'm planning on going to the Gateway Grand Tournament in June, and I need to put together a 2,000 single-FOC point list. I'm thinking about expanding upon the list we built on Preferred Enemies. After all, I should put my money where my mouth is, shouldn't I? And it will be money, because the extra Broadside and Riptide, along with some Fire Warrior bodies to slap Pulse Carbines onto, will cost me a bit of cash.
After building and painting a lot of 40K miniatures (and I now have bits for 10 Tau Pathfinders queued up on my workbench), it's nice to take a bit of a breather and paint something completely different. I've had my Malifaux crew primed since November, and it's finally time to getting around to painting them. Most of what I've painted has been completely armored, or, in the case of my daemonettes, completely inhuman in skintone. Painting the Viktorias and their crew is an exercise in learning to paint human skin, and, well... I'm getting there. Not there yet, but getting there. The twins themselves actually weren't that difficult, because a lot of their skin is covered by costume, whether it's a coat and corset or just a bunch of belts and swords. Blonde hair, though, is very easy - I paint it much like I'd paint parchment, just with a different density of highlighting.
Lady Hammerstrike, however, was a pain. I've repainted her face and abs once, and while it's still not as good as I think it was going to be in my head, she looks decent. I'm still learning wet blending, so the edges on the highlights are a bit sharper/more stark than I'd like, but she's coming along. The sculpt of her hair had a bit less definition that I'd like, but I think I made do well enough with highlighting.
On the other hand, I'm really happy with how the Convict Gunslinger's skin turned out. The scars were particularly fun to paint; once I had the rest of the body done, I went over/around the scars with a blend of Scab Red and Tallarn Flesh (yes, I'm still using my older Citadel paints until they're gone), then lined over the scar ridges with Elf Flesh. Gives them that nice healing/raised flesh look, and his skin took a wash really well to make sure it was properly shaded.
I've got a trio of Ronin with skin base-coated and washed, but they're not ready to show off, even in work-in-progress status. I also have the Viktorias avatars' skin base-coated, but again, there's not much to show beyond that. That's not saying that I haven't been working on anything else, though. Besides taking small steps on my Venerable Dreadnought, I've also been working on a couple of minis from CoolMiniOrNot.com.
If I wanted skin practice, these two ladies have given me a lot of opportunity for that. I'm planning on using them as objective markers for my Slaanesh CSM army, hence why they're glued onto 40mm bases. They haven't turned out badly, and I was actually working on them before I worked on the Malifaux minis, so I'm surprised that their skin turned out better, but it's all a learning experience. Again, my blending techniques need a lot of work, but I'm getting used to building up the highlights in thin layers. The more I practice, the better I'll get.
And no, Malifaux isn't replacing 40K for me. It's just a chance to paint (and eventually play) something different. Small skirmish-scale games provide a nice alternative to large company-scale wargames from time to time. Of course, with Malifaux 2.0 coming in a few months, there's no point in learning to play right now...
With the Riptide kit being $85, I'm not really willing to buy multiples just to have multiple configurations available. Now, in the past, I've been wary of magnetizing things because I have two small kids and no dedicated workspace, so the risk of tiny rare earth magnets getting lost and eaten, with horrible consequences, made it a non-starter for a long time. Now, though, I have a dedicated workspace separate from the rest of the house and a place to keep the magnets far from tiny hands, so this was the time to embark on the adventure that is magnetizing my Tau minis.
I picked up a set of 100 1/8" by 1/16" magnets on Amazon. In retrospect, these are probably a bit large for Crisis Suits, but for a Riptide they're great. I mounted them in the tops of the jetpacks and above and below the gun arm. I don't have a hand drill for a 1/8" bit, but I do have a cordless Dremel:
This made quick work of inserting the magnets into the Riptide, as well as the large guns. On the other accessories, it was a bit trickier. My first attempt, a bit that was once a multi-tracker and is now a velocity tracker, got its base absolutely chewed up by the Dremel, and I had to resculpt the magnet housing with green stuff. The next attempt, a twin-linked fusion blaster, went a bit better, but the 1/8" bit was just a bit large for that kind of delicate work. For the smaller weapon and system bits, I decided to forgo adding magnets, and went with pieces of metal instead - in this case, pieces of finishing nails.
From left to right, you can see three different styles of making the bits magnet friendly. First, the twin-linked fusion blaster has a magnet mounted in the base. The magnet is a bit large, and there's also the issue of making sure your polarities line up. In the middle, the twin-linked smart missile system. It's hard to see, but in the center there's a piece of finishing nail shank embedded in. I drilled the hole with my pin vice and carefully squeezed the piece in with needle-nose pliers on top and bottom. It doesn't click as strongly as having two magnets, but it's much kinder to the plastic bit and still holds well enough. Last, there's a burst cannon from a Crisis Suit. That one has the nail's head and part of the shank. Here, I used the Dremel to make a countersink for the nail's head, used the pin vice to drill an additional hole for the shank, and pushed the metal in place. This one holds a bit better than the SMS because there's a bit more surface area. With a combination of these techniques, I was able to get all the gear for my Riptide ready.
Since the Riptide went well, I decided to try my hand at a Crisis Suit. Eventually, I might try to retro-magnetize my existing painted suits, but for now I had a spare unfinished suit that I could work with.
The actual magnetization didn't go too badly, although I think the 1/8" magnets are a bit too large; they destroy the recesses in the original Crisis Suit design. That's not necessarily the end of the world. One interesting bit of difficulty I found was putting in the shoulder magnets after the arm magnets; because the field is so strong, the shoulder magnets wanted to align themselves parallel to the arm magnets. This led to shoulder magnets that were nearly standing on their sides when first dropped into their receptacles. Fortunately, I was able to hold each of them in place with a toothpick while the glue set to get them oriented how I wanted. I'm thinking smaller magnets will be the way to go; maybe a 1/16" magnet will be a better choice. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I'll go ahead and magnetize a set of weapons for this one and see how it goes.