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.
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...
The bikes I started three weeks ago are finally together; I opted for meltaguns over plasma because I needed some anti-armor punch. Even the bike champ is toting around a combi-melta liberated from my loyalist bits to provide that extra shot when necessary. The lord is front and center, with the spiky head, power sword, and Noise Champion torso. I'm contemplating doing a thin layer of greenstuff on the sword and sculpting in faces like the Chaos Lord in the DV box has, but I doubt my abilities with greenstuff enough that I might just leave it as-is.
Speaking of the DV box, the Chosen with a power maul is getting transformed...
...into a Dark Apostle, with the addition of some spikes from the vehicle sprue. The official model has a spiked halo, so I decided to play on that theme a little bit and do something similar. Here, I'll have to play with greenstuff to give him the long strips of parchment from his shoulders. I like that even his helm has a skull faced motif, making him thematically similar to a loyalist chaplain.
Meanwhile, I decided to tackle the autocannon Havocs in my new Chaos list without having to buy 4 boxes of Havocs. A number of conversion ideas online basically revolved around taking a heavy bolter and changing the barrel on it. Fortunately, I had plenty of heavy bolter bits that I'd never used, and I was lucky to have two extra twin-linked reaper autocannon bits that I acquired when I first bought my Chaos army, so it was time to do some cutting and combining. Here's what I ended up with:
Basically, you trim the barrel and the iron sight off of the heavy bolter and file down the front so it's smooth and even. Then, you take the end of the reaper autocannon, usually to just past the next-to-last vent hole in the barrel, trim that off, and file the ends until they're smooth. Glue the two together, and you have a serviceable autocannon that, even though it's built on a heavy bolter casing, won't be mistaken for a heavy bolter anytime soon. If you've ever seen the Chosen artwork from the Black Crusade RPG showing a Chaos Marine toting an autocannon as long as he is tall, this looks very similar (and is just about as long as a Chaos Marine mini is tall, in fact.) All assembled, the Havoc looks like so:
Here he is with two squadmates:
And a fourth just waiting to pull himself together:
All that remains is to build the Havoc champion (assuming I don't just use a standard bolter-bearing CSM), and then I can move onto my cultists. I'll actually have enough models to build a unit of 17 autogunners, 2 flamers, and a champ. If I want to expand beyond that, it'll mean picking up more DV bits; I'm definitely not paying $10 for 5 mixed cultists from GW when I can get Dark Vengeance leftovers at something like 10 (from the squad I need) for $15.
With the new Chaos Marine codex changing up point costs and making some units more attractive than before, I figured it was time to re-examine my Slaanesh CSM army and see what I could build out from my collection of abandoned sprues, as well as a few new purchases. First up - I'm adding bikes. Bikes are the new (old) hotness thanks to their massive point reduction and 6th Edition's bike rules, and I just happen to have 6 bike sprues that I've been sitting on for a few years now. That's just perfect for a Lord on a bike and a 5-man bike squad with the Icon of Excess. T5 I5 Feel No Pain bikes? Yes, please. My only conundrum at this point is whether to give the bikers plasmaguns or meltaguns. Meltaguns make them a threat against more vehicles, but plasma guns get more shots, are equally nasty against 2+ armor, and benefit from the bike's Relentless rule. I also have spare plasmagun bits, whereas I'd have to order more meltaguns, so there's definitely incentive to work with what I have.
I'm also thinking of expanding my Noise Marine squads, and that means more sonic weapons. Fortunately, the new Finecast sonic weapon add-on packs are available, and I have to say I'm a fan. I've ordered the old metal bits packs before, and the new packs are superior in just about every way. First, it's not metal. Oh, how I hate putting metal arms on a plastic mini. I'm really looking forward to using Finecast bits instead. Second, I'm impressed with the bits themselves. I really think that GW is shaking out the bugs in the Finecast process, because this set (and the Emperor's Children set next to it) are absolutely pristine. There's no miscasts or bubbles in the entire set that I've been able to find. Is there flash? Sure, but no where near the flash from the early days of Finecast, and it all cleans up very easily. Third, the price is one of the cases (which are slowly getting more common) where the Finecast switch has actually lead to a price decrease. The old metal bits were $22.50 (I verified from old order receipts); the new Finecast pack is $15. That's a win as far as I'm concerned.
Next up is Lucius. Now, while I waxed a bit ecstatic about Lucius in my last post, I've come around to realizing that he's not necessarily the bee's knees compared to a standard Lord - as I said, I'm looking at a Lord on a bike now. I still like him, though, and I promised myself when Finecast was announced that if/when Lucius came out in Finecast, I would buy one. Well, here he is, and once again, he's just about perfect in Finecast. Sharp detail, fits together like a charm, nice and light and easy to work with - everything I like about the material. I know there are people that hate the material, and GW definitely deserves some drubbing for the poor quality of a lot of the initial releases, but I think that their QA department has been stepping up their game over time. I'm looking forward to getting him painted up and looking appropriately scarred and terrible.
Now, this one has nothing to do with my Slaaneshi CSM, but it's more about where they play. I don't have the space for a gaming table in our house, but we do have a round, oblong kitchen table. The rounded edges making playing 40K as-is problematic, but if I had a playing surface to set on it, I'd be good to go. Somehow, my friendly local game store lucked upon a Realm of Battle board back when they were originally released, and it's been sitting and gathering dust for years. I managed to score some extra funds, and on Friday I finally made it mine. Getting this painted, flocked, and prepped for use will be a bit of a project, but maybe I can enlist a couple of friends to speed the process up... and then play games on it!
A friend of mine new to miniature painting was having issues with painting metal models and asked me for help, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to describe my priming setup (especially since I just finished priming the first batch of my Black Templar army). The picture above gives a quick rundown of what I used in this latest batch of miniatures, and I have to say it's given me my best priming results so far.
- Priming sticks. You basically put double-sided tape on these, stick the bottoms of the minis to the tape, and then hold the stick about 8 inches from your spray can while you prime. From top to bottom, you can see the plain stick, the stick with tape, and a taped stick with miniatures. Always leave enough space to use as a handle. Unless you're using a really long stick (which can be unwieldy), you can usually get about 5 minis on a stick. Any more than that, and they'll be too crowded to get good coverage on all sides. Here, I'm using paint stirring sticks from a hardware store. Most paint departments will give these out for free, so grab a handful if you can. They're perfect for 25-30mm bases. For larger bases (for example, 40mm Terminator-sized bases), I prefer a wider stick. In this instance, I bought a yardstick and sawed it in half. Again, I can get about 5 larger minis on the stick. Anything larger than that (on a 60mm base, for instance), and I just hold the mini by the base while I prime. You can also use the stick for vehicles with flat bottoms, such as Rhinos and Land Raiders. With irregularly shaped vehicles, though, expect to be holding them by hand.
- Double-sided tape. For this, I found a double-sided mounting tape at my local hardware store that's rated for 2 pounds of weight - more than enough for all but the very, very largest minis. The tape was strong enough to hold a Land Raider upside down. To put this on the stick, just roll out the desired length, and cut it off with a hobby knife. Then peel back the paper and stick on your minis. To free your minis, you can just pull them off of the tape, but it's best to use your hobby knife to pry the base up from the tape, so as not to risk pulling the miniature off of its base and breaking it.
- Respirator mask. You're working with spray paint. You don't need to be breathing in the overspray. You don't need anything fancy; just something that will filter the air you're breathing.
- Rubber gloves. You want to avoid getting paint on your hands if at all possible. Not only are you going to be spraying near your hands, but with larger/oddly-shaped models, you'll often be holding the model in your hand and spraying the visible surfaces. This just makes post-priming clean-up much easier. You might end up with a faint ring of overspray near the base of the glove, but it beats having hands covered in wet paint. I chose nitrile gloves over latex because my wife's allergic to latex and I'd like to be able to touch her after priming without making her break out in hives.
- Primer. This is actually the least specific part of the set-up, because there's a multitude of opinions on what the best primer is. What's universal is that it actually needs to be a primer. You need something that will stick to the material underneath and provide a good painting surface. Ordinary spray paint won't do. Fortunately, there's a lot of different primers out there. Krylon, Duplicolor, Citadel, Army Painter, or something else - choose the brand and color (black, white, grey, or other) that fits your budget and preferences. I like Krylon myself, because it provides a good priming coat at a decent price. Whatever you get, use it around 8 inches from the miniatures and do short, controlled sprays. Try to prime when it's not too hot out, because otherwise the primer might start drying before it hits the mini, resulting in a gritty, powdery coat. With the heat wave that's been hitting us this summer, I've been doing my priming early in the morning. If you prime outside and use short bursts, you don't end up with a lot of overspray on the ground, and the air carries off any excess fumes and particulates. Set the stick down to dry once you're done, and in about 15 minutes you should be able to remove the models from the stick and set them aside to fully dry.
So, that's pretty much it on what I use to prime these days. The above set-up cost me around $35 from the hardware store, but other than replacing empty cans of primer it should last me through another army or two. It's a simple, easy investment that doesn't take much set-up time to use. In fact, I have tomorrow's priming already taped to the sticks and ready to go. Here's yesterday's batch, all primed:
The only tricky parts were the Land Speeders and the Venerable Dreadnought. On the former, I held the model by the sensor array on the bottom, sprayed the rest of the mini (thank goodness for gloves!), let it dry, and then turned it over in my hands and sprayed the sensor array. For the latter, I removed the arms and sprayed them separately, hanging them off of a pair of chopsticks. Once the body was primed and dry, I reattached the arms. Beyond the Templars, I also managed to get my Eldar War Walkers, Farseer, and Warlocks primed, and now the rest of the Eldar force is on the priming sticks and ready to go.