Thursday, March 24, 2011

Beastman Rehab

Once upon a time, I used to play Beasts of Chaos in Warhammer Fantasy Battles.  The year was 2004, and the Beasts had just had their long-awaited 6th edition book released, and a slew of new models along with it.

Fast forward to today, and the Beastmen (as they're now called) have a newer release that's a couple years old and a whole bunch of new models.  I never updated my army - having taken a break from Warhammer in general, and having lost interest in the army as well - but as I struggle to collect models for a new army, I'm resigned to playing with the models I have. 

For a long time, I thought this meant I'd have to play my High Elves - another army I'm tired of.  Then, I listened to the Bad Dice Podcast's Beastmen episode (#56), which features Mark Wildman discussing his beast army and tactics.  What can I say?  I was inspired  :-)

So, I pulled out my old bins and found a neglected and partially destroyed Beastmen army in serious need of love and care - or whatever it is that beastmen need to grow and flourish.  I decided it was my duty to bring these models back into fighting trim.  Taking stock of what I had, I identified the following pros and cons for the project:

The Good:
  • The entire army is already painted to what I would consider an above-average standard.  Its not to my current tourney standard, but most of the hard work is done.
  • The army has some great conversions.  Not to pat myself on the back too hard, but I did a lot of work on this army.  Admittedly, it was in the infancy of my Greenstuff development, but there's some good stuff in there
  • The army is already focused toward lots of infantry.  The core of a solid 8th edition army is already there.
  • I've still got a bunch of unpainted chariots, gors, and monsters.

The Bad:
  • Many of the models have damage.  Weapons have broken off and disappeared.  Horns have vanished.  I'll have to dig deep into the bits for repairs
  • I used NMM when I painted the army.  It was a grand experiment & challenge when I originally created the army, but I've abandoned the technique in the intervening years.  I'll have to brush up on my skills and find some workarounds.
  • Despite the fact that I have a lot of models, its clear I'll need more to finish it off.  I hesitate to pour more money into the cause.
  • The old basing I did was horrible.  The entire army needs re-basing.

The Ugly:
  • There are new unit types available that I don't have models to represent
  • Some of the old models are no longer included in the army book - Dragon Ogres, anyone?
  • The army is prominently festooned with Khorne symbols, because once upon a time you could mark units.  This is going to look a little odd going forward - especially with all the magic I intend to employ.

So without further ado, lets take stock of where we're at, shall we?

Starting off with the worst of the bunch - The Bestigors
These guys were made on the cheap with old plastic Gors and even older plastic Chaos Warriors.  I say on the cheap, because it was literally a cost-saving measure for me at the time.  There are currently 15 models.

What they need:

  • New basing
  • Weapons repaired
  • Red improved
  • NMM gold and steel improved
  • Approximately 15 more models - perhaps new command models

Not so bad - The Minotaurs

I've actually got 8 of these bad boys, but 6 of them are in serviceable shape and I don't see myself fielding more than that.

What they need:

  • New basing
  • Horns/teeth repaired
  • NMM Gold and steel improved

Pretty close to good - The Harpies

These models were made from old metal warhawk wings, plastic gors, and dryad hands.  I have 5 of the buggers, and I figure I'll need at least 5 more.

What they need:

  • New basing
  • hands repaired
  • NMM gold improved
Ramshackle mess - The Chariots

I love chariots.  It pains to see all my lovelies in the shape they're in now.  Missing riders, broken sycthes and weapons, terrible bright green static grass - its painful I tells ya.

What they need:

  • New basing
  • Repairs galore
  • At least one charioteer
  • NMM gold and steel need improving
  • Red needs improving

Actually, these guys aren't so bad - The Characters

We're not too far off done with these guys.  The only issue being I'm short on shamen and long on wargors.  In addition, I've got another beastlord model (based off the Mordheim one) somewhere in another box.

What they need:

  • New basing
  • Some NMM gold and steel improvement
  • 2-3 more shamen models
  • repaired Braystaff

The unwanted - The Dragon Ogres

What can I say?  I put tons of work into these guys and they are no longer legitimate in the eyes of Games Workshop.  I'll have to find a use.  Ghorgon?  They do have four arms after all. . .

What they need:

  • New basing
  • not much else, to tell the truth

OK, that's all for now.  I still have to find my gors and ungors.  They're packed in a box somewhere if I'm lucky and filling a landfill somewhere if I'm not.  I should have approximately 30 of each, but time will tell.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fornost Veterans Complete!!!

At long last this project has come to completion!

When I started this army, I wanted three things:

1) A tough army - I like to play in tournaments, so the army has to be able to hold its own.  The F4, D6, and spears of the Warriors of Arnor are a great base for an army, and Elven characters rock.

2) A strong theme - I've always been fond of Glorfindel, and I've been looking for an army to include his Lord of the Westness in since I started playing.  What better way to include him than in the battle in which he epically predicted the Lord of the Nazgul's doom?

3) Lots of modelling and painting opportunities - I like to compete for best army/paint prizes.  I wanted the army to compete with the best anyone could bring anywhere in the world.  Not that I plan to travel the world, but you never know. :-)

I've done heavily converted armies before, but this one set a new standard for me with the amount of detailed sculpting and scratch building.  In addition, I took on a new color for me - Green.

Now, I know you're probably saying, "What's the big deal about green?  Doesn't just about every paint line have a complete suite of green colors to work with?"  

And you'd be right!

But I've never been overly impressed with armies that feature green, nor have I ever had much luck prior to this project making it look good.  So, in that respect, green was a big departure for me.

Anyway, I know y'all are here for the pics and not to read my ditherings, so here's the top-down shot so you can see the placement of the models and scenery:

The base of the display is just a plain old picture frame (and a cannibalized one, at that).  The frame is a nice one, though, and I plan to re-use the frame itself for other armies.  To this end, I haven't glued the guts of the display in permanently or anything.  I can take the back off the frame and pop the whole thing out.  sweeeet!

Some isometric shots from the corner for perspective.

A close up of Glorfindel, as he leads the remnants of the Fornost garrison out of the hills in an attack on the Witchking's rearguard.

A shot of the command group.  These three models have more conversions than any other model in the army - including the hornblower, who's every detail is scratch built

Same shot a little further back so you can see some of the detail dispersed throughout the army.  The Warrior of Arnor in the foreground has an arrow protruding from his belly.  Pity he won't be making it back from this campaign.

I'm using Rangers of the North as my Dunedain.  I figure this scene goes down before the complete decline of the North, so the Dunedain could still afford decent threads.  Plus, I like the models and there are no other Dunedain models in the army to confuse people.

A shot of one of the ranger groups.  Its harder to see the detail on these guys, but no model in the army is alike.  Each one has a small addition or two - pouches, daggers, etc. - to distinguish them from one another

Watch out for sneaky rangers!

I'll be following up this post with a number of model spotlights, and how-to articles to show off some of the work that went into it.  Hope you enjoyed it!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

February Project Complete - More or less

I finished the last couple of figs and based them all, so I'm calling this army complete!  There is one small exception as you'll see below. . .

New since the last entry are the Mounted Orc Trackers, Amdur Lord of Blades, and the Morannon Orc Standard Bearer 

Here are the orc trackers.  The color scheme I used is essentially what GW uses - though I'm not a fan of doing the faces in a different color from the body.  With these guys, you can start to see the limitation of what Quickshade can do.  Too much brown means not a lot of contrast.

Here's a shot of the Easterling 'command.'  You can see the difference between priming white and priming black when you compare Amdur to the rest of the group.  Exact same paint colors, but a completely different tone even after the Armypainter Quickshade is applied.

And finally, here's a tight shot of the Morannon 'command' - and the reason I say the army is only 'sort of' complete.  Notice the Standard Bearer.

Where's your arm, mate?

I had this guy completely painted, dipped, and dull-coted before I realized that somewhere in the scrum his arm had vanished.  No idea what happened to it.  Now I'll have to find some way to repair it with other bits, but that will be a task for another day.  I don't have to deliver this army for about a month, so for now I'm moving on to other projects

A full list of previous posts on this army:

Post 1
Post 2
Post 3
Post 4
Post 5

Monday, March 14, 2011

Progress on Fornost Display

This is a final layout for this army display.

What you see is a picture frame with the glass and inserts replaced by hardboard glued to cardboard.  And by cardboard, I mean I took the back off the picture frame, traced the shape on a cardboard box, and then cut it out with a box cutter.  The hardboard I bought at Lowe's Home Improvment in one big piece and I had them cut it down to 2x2 sections that were more manageable.

I drilled the holes in the hardwood with two different bits - again, both available at Lowes.  The big round one is meant for drilling holes in doors.

The holes in the foam were a bit more problematic.  I resorted to tracing the models' bases with a pencil and then using my foam cutter stylus to to melt out the circle.  Not optimal!!

Next step is to fill the cracks and glue on some sand and scatter. . .

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Making an Arnor battleboard

I've had a battleboard project in the back of my head for quite some time, and I've finally gotten around to putting pencil to paper to start planning it.

Last year I had intended to make a Moria board for my goblins to play on.  I wanted to have it complete in time for the Shadow in the East GT last June, but then somebody else beat me to the punch (*cough* Dave) and I ended up abandoning my plans. This time, however, I've got my Arnor army complete and its high time I made a board to match.

I spent a lot of time perusing the Ruin of Arnor sourcebook (which is a beautiful supplement, BTW) for inspiration, and I decided to include a lot of the features the GW guys came up with.  Specifically, I wanted a ravine - because I love 3D boards - and some flat, raised spaces for ruins.

Here's what I came up with:

I've got the board quartered so that I can use it in smaller parts for scenarios, and also to make it easier to store.

The topography represents 3/4 inch foam rises, and the numbers correspond to the level of stacking.  I haven't included anything specific around features, but there will be scattered rock outcroppings, stone bridges, and some cave mouths.  I'm still undecided as to whether I should make the ground snowy or grassy.

Above all, I want a board that's interesting, but still playable.  I want to encourage maneuver, so I placed the rises so that from most angles its impossible to see every part of the board - thereby making it harder to stand off and shoot while the enemy approaches.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Switching Gears - Back to Fornost

While the February Project is 90% finished, I've decided to take a little break and get back to my own stuff.

Case in point, my Fornost Veterans need a home.  I don't have any really brilliant ideas for a display, but I broke out the foam cutter the other night and came up with this:

The set up is a bit of a departure for me when it comes to displays for a couple reasons

  • I usually like symmetry on displays, but I'm playing with the balance on this one; sacrificing visuals for what I hope will be realism.
  •  Most of the time I build layers front to back so that all the models can be seen.  This time, I've raised up Glorfindel's spot to make him look suitably heroic - leading the remnants of Fornost's forces out of the hills in ambush.
  • Its a lot smaller than previous displays.  Sometimes I find its difficult to store my displays inbetween games, and I'm also looking towards ease of packing for travel.  Not sure this is working.  The display is pretty crowded "as is."
Here's the top-down shot: