Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pendragon Diorama-rama (Again)

[This was my eighth entry for the Fifth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, reposted here for folks not following that blog.]

In between painting my Epic Orks, I took the time to bang out a small diorama.

This is a project for a tabletop role-playing game campaign I'm currently running, the Great Pendragon Campaign for the King Arthur Pendragon RPG. This is a massive adventure that takes players through the entire sweep of the Arthurian saga, from Uther's downfall to the final battle between Arthur and Mordred. Along the way, the campaign follows the timespan of the Middle Ages, such that Uther's reign is similar to the 11th century while at Camlann the troops are accoutered in a manner reminiscent of the War of the Roses.

As a visual aide, I've been making these little dioramas to show the players as different types of arms and armor appear. Likewise, outside of enchanted Britain, the world goes along much as it did in our own 6th century, and whenever that element intrudes into the mythic timeline, I'll include a bit of it in the diorama.

Right now, we're in the "Conquest Phase", which takes its cues from Malory's and Geoffrey of Monmouth's descriptions of young Arthur's wars against the "Roman Empire" and the Irish. To reflect this age of war, this diorama features only military men (I usually try and include some civilians and ladies in the set pieces). I crafted a base divided into three parts, an homage to medieval maps that showed continental divisions with narrow little waterways.

On the "Britain" portion, we have Arthur's men, sporting their "early-13th-century" (the point where the campaign is currently at) arms and armor. Miniatures are primarily Curteys (as are the transfers), with the herald, er, heralding from Barony Miniatures.

On the "Ireland" portion, we have tribal Irish (from Crusader). This was my first go at painting plaid patterns, and I just had to muddle through as best I could.

And on the "continental" portion, we have late-Roman infantry (also from Crusader) ready to defend their crumbled empire.

A fun little project, and one that particularly emphasizes the at-times rather gonzo nature of the Great Pendragon Campaign - this is sort of the medievalist equivalent of mixing cavemen and dinosaurs! But that's what's in the literature, and we're having great fun with it. We've been playing for a year of real time and still have about nine months (and 40 game years!) left to complete...

Epic Orks: Blood Axes

[This was my seventh entry for the Fifth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, reposted here for folks not following that blog.]

The Epic project rolls on. Having finished my Titan Legion last week, I turn now to their green-skinned foes. My Ork army consists of three clans, all of which are a bit on the...B-list as far as popularity goes. But what can I say? I like my Orks weird. So first up we've got the Blood Axes...

About half the clan...I'll have to figure out a way to shoot larger groupings of troops...
For those unfamiliar with Orky backstory, the Blood Axes are a clan of Orks that "trade openly with the worlds of the Imperium, parley with the foe, and will even consider retreating from battle if faced with insurmountable odds." Of course, every other Ork clan hates them for this distinctly un-Orky behavior.

Half the infantry and their Rhinos.
In the background I've worked up for my army, this clan is a mercenary company that's hired on with the warboss (who will hopefully be showing up in the next update). Due to the fact that they're mounted in Rhinos, I've dubbed them "Panzork-Grenadiers" and have given them an appropriate palette - dunkelgelb for the armored bits and the heavy weapons, feldgrau for the fabric bits (which are only visible here and there in these pics).

And the other half.
I gave every stand a missile launcher and all the Nobz stands feature a ludicrously oversized autocannon - I figured all the extra heavy weaponry emphasizes this clan's role as seasoned mercs. Likewise, I went heavy on the weathering for the vehicles. These are hard-bitten campaigners who move from war to war, fighting for the highest bidder. They don't have time to keep their kit parade-ground clean!

And the Nobz.
Given the prevalence of those humie Rhinos, I had to attach a section of black-market Land Raiders as well. These old plastic sculpts aren't the best, but they're totally iconic for me, as they were part of those 1st and 2nd edition Space Marine boxed sets that so many of us hold fond memories of.

This clan also sports a couple support units, and they'll be showing up in next week's Epic update, along with the second clan of the army.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Reaver and Warhound Titans - Better Late Than Never!

In the course of posting my Titan Defense Company, I realized I'd never gotten around to posting pics of my completed Reaver and Warhound Titans as promised last April. Along with my four Warlord Titans, these comprise the entirety of my Iron Skulls (Legio Metalica) force. I actually finished painting them last summer, but I got distracted by a rather large home redecorating project that followed immediately here they are, better late than never!

These Reavers were picked up along with my plastic Warlords in that initial eBay auction that got me back into this whole Epic jag. I was particularly excited about landing these guys, as I never had any of my own back in the day and they are quite possibly my favorite Titan design, bar none.

They painted up quite nicely; the Legio Metalica color scheme is particularly well-suited to this class of Titan. I slapped a spare purity seal on one of them, and I designed some banners but have yet to go through with the process of painting and mounting them because, frankly, I kind of like how the Reavers are looking without any further adornment. We'll see if I feel like adding them in the future.

And here are the Warhounds, another model of Titan I didn't actually own in my original Epic days.

When I was younger, I didn't particularly care for these guys design-wise, but nowadays I'm finding I like them a lot more. They fit on the same size of base that I'm using to mount my tanks, they're that small!

I'd love to run a Heresy-era list that used all four of these guys as my sole Titan complement against, say, one or two Warlords - it would make for an interesting cat-and-mouse scenario.

And here's the lot:

I'll have to set up a photoshoot soon with the entire Titan Legion on display...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Going Small: Epic 40K Titan Defense Company

[This was my sixth entry for the Fifth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, reposted here for folks not following that blog.]

As promised in my last post, I'm finally getting a start on my big "small" project.

Back in 2013, I spotted a very nice deal on eBay for a bunch of old Epic-scale Warlord and Reaver Titans. Adeptus Titanicus was my first GW game, and the second minis game I ever bought, so seeing those old sculpts really brought back a flood of nostalgia. I had discovered my own personal version of OldHammer.

A return to Epic scale also meant a return to painting in 6mm, something I haven't done in 20-plus years. I painted up my newly-acquired Titans in the colors of Legio Mortis and Legio Metalica so that they could fight proper Adeptus Titanicus battles, but I wanted to add some infantry as well so that I could field my Titan Legions in games of Epic 40K. Wanting my Titan Legion infantry to look somewhat different than their Imperial Guard brethren, I settled on using proxy miniatures to represent the grunts tasked with keeping the Titans safe from other enemy infantry and tanks, and found some great selections among the "Pax Arcadia" line from Dark Realm Miniatures.

This is the Heavy Weapon Platoon using the "AT Infantry" pack from Dark Sword. Each stand sports a las-cannon and heavy bolter. For color scheme, I went with the classic Imperial uniform of grey fabric and red helmets/body armor.

Here's the Titan Defense Company proper, six five-man squads to a platoon. Dark Sword's "Light Infantry" supplied the requisite figures.

For the Company's leaders, I invoked the Adeptus Mechanicus with the command stands; Dark Sword's "Industrial Infantry" did the trick nicely here with their flowing robes and industrial equipage.

The command HQ stand also comes with its own Rhino for riding in style. I chose a camo scheme suitable for fighting in urban ruins, since that's what my Epic terrain consists of.

Likewise, the basing was kept purposely muted so as to suggest rubble and ruin. I achieved the texture by emptying out a bunch of Earl Grey tea bags, the gluing the grounds to the bases. It's a bit more "in scale" than the basing sand I had on hand.

Speaking of the bases, I went with standard 28mm slottabases rather than the usual wafer-thin bases one typically sees with Epic. The reason I did this was two-fold: first, I like a bit more thickness to my bases when it comes to any scale smaller than 15mm, so that it's easier to pick up without inadvertently grabbing the fragile figures; second, I realized the slottabases were the same thickness as the standard Titan bases. So now everyone's on the same level, as it were, giving an excellent sense of the true scale between the Titans and the swarms of infantry and vehicles.

A selection of infantry and vehicles alongside a Legio Metalica Warlord.
I also threw in a platoon of Leman Russ tanks. These are some of the latter-day metal castings from the line, which came after I stopped playing Epic. I was quite impressed with how each tank is highly individualized with stowage and other customization.

This completes my Titan Defense Company, and therefore my Titan Legion project. However, I'll be back in coming weeks as I begin work on my next Epic endeavor: da Orks!

The grunt's-eye view...

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

The Last Malifaux Roundup

[This was my fifth entry for the Fifth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, reposted here for folks not following that blog.]

In my last post, I mentioned that I'd finally managed to track down the original Perdita Ortega miniature for my Latigo Posse crew for Malifaux. Well, the lot I won on eBay also came with a few of the other first-edition Ortega sculpts, and wouldn't you know that I preferred them to the current plastic offerings as well.

(Yeah, that's right - I'm giving Malifaux the Oldhammer treatment! I hereby coin the term "Malif-Old" for those of you who want to take up the banner as well.)

All joking aside, as I've mentioned before, sometimes the newer plastics are my cup of tea, and sometimes it's the older metals. It's nice, actually, to have a bit of variety to choose from. And at the end of the day, of the three metal models here only one actually replaced a plastic.

And here he is: Papa Loco. The older metal sculpt has waaaay more character than the new plastic, and his role as a crazy dynamite-chucker is much more clearly laid out here.

Once patriarch of the Ortega clan, Papa Loco is now a shell of his former self. His recent time as an inmate in Malifaux Sanitarium did little to help his addled mind, and he still dresses in the accouterments of that grim institution.

It didn't quite come out in the photo, but the placard from his time in the asylum identifies him as Inmate 24601...

A new addition to the clan (and the final "brother" figure) is Santiago, the resident tank of the family.

As you can see from his burly build, he's tailor-made to go wading into combat, shrugging off whatever the enemy throws at him.

I did do a bit of customizing with his guns; I didn't like how cartoony his sculpted guns were, so out came the clippers and off came the hands and guns to be replaced by more reasonable (yet still threatening) smoke wagons.

Lastly, we have Perdita's "pet" - an Enslaved Nephilim. The Ortegas hunt the demons endemic to Malifaux, the Neverborn. Among the worst of their kind are the giant winged demons known as Nephilim.

The Ortegas, willing to do anything to win the battle against the Neverborn, captured a juvenile Nephilim and clipped its wings off, then bound it to enchanted shackles that prevent it from growing and force it to do their will.

Hey, no one ever said the Ortegas were particularly nice people...

So that makes three 28mm figures for 15 points, and a bow tied on my Malifaux project (for now...). Next week, I'll be going small for the first time in years...

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