Saturday, May 29, 2010

Flashbacks and Nightmares: Plaguebearers

While messing around with my Chaos Marines yesterday I took some extra pictures of my unit of Plaguebearers that I painted probably about seven years ago. I'm not sure exactly when these miniatures came out but it seems like it has been a long time now and I think they've stood the test of time nicely. This group of ten daemons is still one of my favorite units that I've ever painted and they always make me smile. Also, since the models are basically just a blob of gross on legs and a sword, I remember them being super easy to paint as well. There's no denying it, Nurgle is fun.

I painted these Plaguebearers having been inspired by two of my med school classes, anatomy lab and pathology, and wanted them to resemble the cadavers from class rather than going for the more classic, sort of fantastic style of daemons. It might be macabre but I thought this would be an appropriate way to differentiate my monsters somewhat and still represent the Nurgle aesthetic. I started by painting them like tanned skin and then proceeded to bruise and disease the hell out of them with numerous washes and glazes. One of my goals was to avoid the wet, slimy look and instead intended them to have more of a putrefying flesh vibe going on. I wanted this to be true even for the areas of exposed organs which I tried to make look like rotten fatty tissue streaked with a some blood and pus but without going overboard on this.

The challenge therefore was to use the thinned pigments, maybe even some inks but on that my memory is hazy, without letting too much shine build up. I am happy with the results and I feel like these guys do a good job conveying the cadaverous plague-corpse look that I had envisioned. Green is my favorite color to paint so I was also glad that there were a few nurglings scattered around to get my hue of preference involved. Per my usual style of photography, all these pictures turned out rather dark and shadowy so it's hard to make out the loathsome runts. I just wanted to note them as they were also one of my favorite elements of these miniatures to paint and are really characterful and quite expressive.

It's been fun taking another look at these guys and remembering all the vile times I've had with them over the years. These little abominations have been a staple of my Chaos Marine armies ever since I finished painting them and have been as satisfying to use in games as they were to paint. So thank you for indulging me once again in another trip down Psychosis Lane. Ciao!

(These are the seven I would normally use when feeling fluffy, or when short on points....)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Updating my Old Chaos Army

Inspired by Da Masta Cheef's recent post at Da Long Wayz Dezert Groop, I decided to dig out my old Chaos Space Marines and see what was there. I'm interested in seeing if I can revise them for the current edition of the codex and if possible have some fun with them again. I left this army on unpleasant terms so it would be cool to generate some positivity around them for old time's sake.

I collected this army from around 2000 until the summer of 2004 and it was my standard force for games of 40k until the release of the current edition of the Chaos Marine codex. I never really got around to finishing them, having last painted something for this army at approximately 3:00am the night before the '04 Atlanta Grand Tournament. I had a lot of fun with this bunch but couldn't get motivated enough to wrap things up. Plus I could never settle on what to paint for their chapter badge so I just learned to live with them being mistaken for World Eaters or Word Bearers. Without ever really meaning to my color scheme sort of became a mix of both so I certainly understood the confusion, especially as I didn't do anything to distinguish them visually. So for years now they've been hanging out, just some group of Red Chaos Marines who for whatever reason liked to wage war in particular against Necrons, Ultramarines, and 'Nids.

There were also some painting problems, too. After finishing probably 15 or so figures with GW paints I switched to Vallejo without doing a very good job of matching the primary shade of red. I didn't care enough to go back and repaint the original guys so that the army doesn't have a completely consistent appearance. The other big frustration was when I turned a finished squad almost entirely white due to me trying to defy the Washington, DC humidity with spray matte sealer. I did go back and try to touch them up but I was never able to get them looking right again. Lastly there is a squad of 10 Chaos Marines with bolt pistols and close combat weapons that only need to have some little mistakes cleaned up here and there and they would be done. This has not been done in the last six years due to a lack of interest and laziness. And that is basically where I left this army and haven't painted anything for it since then.

At this point I'm not entirely sure what I want to do with these guys. Is there enough here to make it worth the time required to truly update them for the new codex? Would I rather just spend the time working on something new?

I don't know how much more I'm willing to work on this army, though I think at a minimum I would like to finally give them chapter badges. That means I need to pick out which Chapter they're from, and that's where I would always get stuck in the past. If I'm willing to invest the time into this project I could paint some random panels on their armor black and make them into Red Corsairs. I like their background and I definitely dig the Huron Blackheart model. The quickest alternative would be to just make up an easy symbol to paint and come up with a name based on it, but that doesn't particularly appeal to me. I could also redo the banding on the power armor to silver and make them true Word Bearers. I like summoned daemons but the fact that the whole range of daemons all play the same still bugs me. So those are the three main directions I'm considering taking this collection.

You can see in the pictures the various units I had collected for this army. Right now I don't anticipate wanting to build and paint anything new for them, however. I don't have big aspirations for the gaming side of things with this rabble as I know I'm not willing to adapt it entirely for playing in 5th edition as that seems like it would be more work than I'm looking to do. I just think it would be nice to have these dudes available to goof around a bit and maybe even kill some good guys.

So I think this could be an enjoyable side project for me and one that I should hopefully be able to finish quickly. That might be asking too much, but we'll see.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Going from 1 to 10

I saw a link today at The 25mm Warrior to a funny quiz complements of It's got 20 multiple choice questions to answer a very pressing question for us gamers. What polyhedral die are you? For me at least the result proved to be surprising insightful. So if you wonder how many faces you would have in die-form, follow the link below.

I am a d10

Take the quiz at

"You are a d10: You are analytical, rational, and logical. You see the world around you as a succession of problems that can only be navigated via insightful and elegant solutions. You insist on precision are often forced to waste valuable time correcting others. Your attention to detail is extraordinary, and will sometimes focus all your attention on details that others consider unimportant. You are not so interested in doing the right thing, as you are in finding the best way to do it. In other words, you're a complete nerd."

I've been called a nerd before, but now even a computer is calling me one. Great.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Curtains for 40k Radio

Who didn't see this coming? With all of the recent drama and ego-battling, the end of 40k Radio seemed to me to be a very predictable outcome. I am a little surprised at the speed with which the demise has come about, but then again I also did not anticipate this escalating to the level of creepy threats and other such grotesqueries directed at Spencer and his family. Once again I have underestimated the internet. This whole saga makes for a rather pitiful and unfortunate ending to what once was a cool addition to my hobby, though I apparently missed out on it's glory days.

Oh well... most accounts of the show I've heard lately have not been favorable and I haven't listened in a while, the one exception being Episode 76 featuring Scott and Chipley which I thought was pretty good. I personally hope everyone turns out better for this and I appreciate them having introduced me to wargamer podcasting. I don't get a lot of time to listen but I enjoy it when I can, though not long ago I learned even fun gaming chatter can't drown out the sound of dental drilling. Also I now feel even better for having decided against paying to join the Freebootaz a couple of weeks ago. :)

I've recently begun listening to two relatively new podcasts, Minions of the Monster Master and Tabletop Hooligans, and have enjoyed them a lot. The latter come across as a very fun group of friends and people with whom I'd gladly hang out and play some games. Also they're from Long Island so listening to them reminds me of visiting my wife's hometown in New York which is neat. What really caught my attention about the former, the Minions team, is that their blog features some of the coolest original artwork that I've seen on a gaming site. Plus they're Lovecraft fans, too! With the lights going out on 40k Radio, it seems I picked a good time to start shopping around for other podcast options.

I'd love to hear any other recommendations people might have, as I really am curious about what type of stuff is out there. So... anyone listening to something cool?

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Today marks the one year anniversary for diceRolla... woo-hoo! It's been a fun and rewarding experience for me and has really helped me stay motivated. I haven't found much support for gaming in my area so keeping this blog has been a good way for me to stay focused and active in my hobby. Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to read my ramblings and I would like to apologize for all of my nonsense. Hey, at least I'm no longer trying to post each day as that turned out rather disastrously... the internet already has enough crap as it is.

I am very grateful to those of you who have seen something here that you liked and decided to come back for more. I really appreciate the support and encouragement that you've offered me, as well as all of the useful suggestions, ideas, and feedback. Thank you, it's been great to hear from you and blogging has certainly been a lot more fun knowing people might actually take a look here. So for diceRolla's first birthday I would like to send out gifts to any of my loyal readers who would like to get some free gaming swag.

For the rest of the month, anyone who is a Follower [edit: or not, whatever...] of this blog can comment on this post to let me know you would like to receive something to commemorate the occasion. Plus you're welcome to tell me what type of stuff you're interested in or collect and I'll do my best to find an appropriate gift. On the first of May I will post a list of what I have picked out for each respondent and those who are happy with my selection can then tell me where to mail it. Easy, right? I've got lots of unassembled, and in many cases still new in the box, miniatures that I'd be happy to give away as part of this celebration and so I'm confident that I will be able to come up with some cool thank you gifts.

Right then, hopefully this will be fun. I appreciate everyone who's contributed to my hobby experience and look forward to more of it in the future. This has been a good year for me and I just want to do something nice in return. So again, thanks!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Flashbacks and Nightmares: The Call of Cthulhu

While digging through a box of old miniatures, I came across this handful of RAFM Call of Cthulhu models. I'm not sure when I painted them but have a feeling they come from the early to mid 90s, making them probably fifteen or more years old. I was reading tons of Lovecraft back then and loved everything Cthulhu. As a miniatures guy as well, I bought these over the course of a few years and then painted all of them in two days. I sure did paint a hell of a lot faster in those days... ;) I may have planned on using them somehow for the CoC roleplaying game but I imagine there would have been significant scale problems with that. So they ended up being display pieces that spent the majority of the last decade or so squished between layers of bubble wrap in a humble shipping box.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to post some pictures of these madness-inducing monsters as sort of a look back at my painting past and such, especially as most of these figures appear to be no longer in production. I remember it being enjoyable to paint those crazy colors but my miniatures still fall humorously short of inspiring any of the same type of fear and insanity as their literary counterparts do. As hard as it is to represent Lovercraftian horror in art, I was never going to be able to do it real justice with little metal models. Regardless, I still think they're some cool buggers and I'm glad I held onto them all this time.

After taking just a couple of photos I noticed my camera was no longer focusing properly on the miniatures. I don't think I did anything improper but suddenly all of my pictures were turning out either much too dark or else very blurry. Hmm, surely a sign of the mythos at work. The only way I could get anything at all in focus was to put the camera right up to the model and then use the flash. The pictures looked weird but didn't seem all that inappropriate considering the subject matter. Well, if that's what Cthulhu wants, so be it. I decided to just make do with the conditions at hand and play around a bit, taking somewhat unusual shots that emphasis for me the sense odd angles that make Great Old Ones smile. Plus another lesson I've learned is don't mess around with cosmic evil, or else Cthulhu will break your camera.

So here's some blurry, overexposed pictures of weirdly colorful Mythos creatures for your enjoyment... hooray for random posting!


(I can't remember this guy's exact name, but it was something like Byakkhi... I'll look it up when I can.)


Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath

Tsathoggua (one of my personal favorites of the Great Old Ones)

[EDIT: The pictured mythos creature above whose name I couldn't remember is called a Byakhee, so I was at least close.]

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Proto-Homer WIP

I've been working away at the test mini for Captain Homer's color scheme and think I should be able to finish him up tonight. I could easily spend a lot more time on him trying to correct all my mistakes and get things right, but since I'm doing this just for practice I'll most likely stop long before then. I'm quite satisfied to see my vision of a Homer marine finally realized and don't mind leaving it a bit on the sloppy side. There's really not much left at this point that I still want to do, primarily just highlighting the yellow and then having my first go at painting the chapter badge. After that I think I'll be ready to move on to the next version.

I'm thankful for this practice run as I have decided to do a couple of things differently on the next one. Even though I'm happy with how the painting has gone so far, I am pretty sure my experiment with white primer has ended in failure. I appreciate the vibrant quality of the paints over white but I haven't noticed anything so different as to make it worthwhile. Plus I haven't had any problems getting Foundation Paints to cover black primer which is my preferred starting point. I have a feeling grey primer would work well for this color scheme but I don't want to buy a can of it for only one model. I also seem to have a lot more trouble getting a smooth coat of paint from white primer and you can see especially in the last picture some grainy clumping. I live right next to coastal marshlands so humidity is always going to be an issue for me. I'm therefore willing to do almost anything to avoid additional complications in using spray primer. I think I'll try painting a yellow helmet primed black just to be sure, though.

Okay, that's it for now. I hope to spend a little time this afternoon practicing drawing the Stonecutters' symbol in anticipation of doing some freehand painting tonight. I haven't had much time to paint the last couple of days but I'm trying to make the most it. Also this weekend I plan to get some more done on the gameboard so hopefully the next few days will be productive.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Building a Better Homer

Just a quick update today but one I am pretty excited to make... I've finished assembling Captain Homer! No fancy conversion work was involved so I know this isn't too big of deal, but it nonetheless feels significant to me as I had not previously done anything specific to 40k since finishing that Dark Angels dreadnought last January. It may be just a single model built but it's still nice to finally have some real progress to report. There's no denying it now, the Stonecutters are underway. Woo-hoo!

I want Captain Homer to be largely unadorned as befits a man of action, and therefore I used mostly parts from the standard tactical sprue. I'm going to rely primarily on his unique color scheme to make Homer stand out from the rest of the army and so used only the legs from the Space Marine commander box. I did however add some ammo pouches and grenades which was fun as I normally leave off those extra bits, but this time around I intend to make better use of them. I want as many of the Stonecutters as possible to have at least one extra piece of kit or gear with the aim of making each individual just a bit more personalized and characterful. After ignoring all those little doodads included on the sprues for so many years, I'm curious to see how I can go about adding them to my marines rather than simply throwing them into my bits box to never be seen again.

Also you can see in the photo that I'm now using cork so that I can paint my minis separately from their bases. I've noticed some of the bloggers that I follow doing this and decided to give it a try myself. This seemed reasonable to me considering the style of bases I've chosen for this army and I really don't mind taking the extra time it will require. It's not like I would otherwise finish this project quickly, so why not? My first experience with it was still frustrating however as I seemed to have broken yet another pin vice drill, this time within minutes of taking it out of its packaging.

Maybe I'm pressing down too hard or something but I can't ever get the squeezie part of the drill to hold onto the bit without slipping. It therefore took me most of Thursday evening to pin two pairs of feet and one marine head to their cork stoppers as I had to spin the little drill bit manually between finger and thumb. I did most of the actual assembly work on Friday but was then too tired to do anything more last night after a day spent chasing my daughter around the yard. Fortunately I am now ready to start painting my army's commander, though I still plan on first doing a test mini to give me some practice painting yellow and white. Plus I'll soon reveal what's up with the extra set of feet for this HQ unit that had to be pinned. Ooooooh... how's that for suspense?

Sorry, that was dumb. More WIP shots will hopefully come soon as I should be able to do some painting tonight.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Resting Panda

After spending so much time at Adepticon learning from some awesome painters, I decided that I wanted to start doing a few pieces solely for display and the sheer enjoyment of painting. I have no illusions about my skill level, nor do I have any desire for competing. I am interested, however, in taking the occasional break from army painting to try out different things and just have fun. This feels very liberating for me as I had become quite narrowly focused over the years on painting only for the purpose of gaming. I appreciate the almost limitless range of possibilities offered by this other aspect of the hobby and I'm grateful to have an excuse to check out the quirky, more obscure manufacturers' lines of models. When I first started painting miniatures they were all just random figures that I had picked out simply because they looked cool. I think it is a welcome return for me to this earlier approach to painting.

So after four terrible days spent in Fayetteville, NC for a wedding I was going to freak out if I didn't paint something soon. I had anticipated this and primed Sad Panda by Dark Sword Miniatures before leaving town, but was then too exhausted to work on him the night we got back home. I did most of the painting on him the next night and just had to do the bedroll, hat, and flocking the following evening. Overall I'm happy with how he turned out but I am not satisfied with the snow flocking. It looks alright but still rather fake and I now understand why so many people mix up their own concoctions of the stuff. I just used Woodland Scenics snow flock glued directly onto greenstuff painted white and it reminds me of those cheap Christmas displays you see in department stores. Oh well, I'm not planning on doing anything with snow anytime soon so no big deal.

I do like the way the water turned out, especially as that was the first time I've poured resin in probably six or more years. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be frozen or just chilly but I like it nonetheless. Also the bamboo staff was fun but researching it was frustrating. No matter how many pictures I looked at I still had no idea how to paint that effect, so I winged it and just made something up. I like the result even if it doesn't make sense. So long as I avoid any botanists I should be in the clear. The absolute best part of this quick project though had to have been the google image search for panda bears.... Awwwww. That in itself was enough justification for me.

Sorry about the shadows and crappy photos. I hope to get a light box thingy set up sometime after the remodeling turmoil has quieted a bit. I've renamed this one Resting Panda at the request of my wife, who was happy I finally painted something that isn't scary, mean or gross. I've accumulated a bunch of random and odd minis so there's plenty more to work on in the future when I need a short break. Maybe I'll have learned how to take a decent photo by the time I paint another.

Okay, I feel refreshed... time now for some marines!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sniper Exceeds 36" Range...

... by approximately 8,117 feet! British army sniper Craig Harrison recently killed two Taliban machine gunners from 1.54 miles away, surpassing the previous record by 148 feet. The 8.59mm caliber bullets took three seconds to reach the Taliban fighters who were actively firing on his commander's vehicle.

Wow. That's some impressive shooting, especially considering he had previously had both of his arms broken in a roadside bombing attack.

As a former military kid, I am grateful to all those who serve.

Full story here via the UK Daily Mail. (I apologize if this is old news for people, I just saw the story myself.)