Sunday, 12 January 2020

All aboard the Space Hulk - Part 3

After a very productive weekend I thought I'd break down the build a bit for you all to see where each room is going. I've refined the look of each area a bit as I felt each tile needed to be slightly more distinct. Here goes...

The Morgue

This is where a lot of the 3D printing work will appear, namely with the 'coffins' in which the bodies are stored. Lots of medical greens and depressingly pale ceramics in this room I think. Very Alien 3.

The Surgery (AKA Psychedelic Panic cell)

I was struggling a bit with this one for a while as it didn't really have anything that I felt was terribly unique about it. Then I saw some lovely work by 3D artist Ben Nicholas after the great Beksinski. So this room will be a psychedelic panic overload.

The Gallery

This was always where my JC Leyendecker portraits will hang. More on that later. But I jazzed it up a bit by adding torches modelled after those in the 1946 Jean Cocteau La Belle et la Bête. This room (actually a corridor which loops into the next room proper) will return to the warm ceramics. It'll have a decal floor (last image, which I'll cut to the 'L' shape).

The Ward

This is the largest room, with a replacement tiled plasticard floor. It's like Silent Hill meets an art nouveau clinic. It's actually bounded by the Morgue and the Gallery, so it'll be less open when it's finished. The gurney beds are coming along well. By which I mean; they look utterly terrifying. One wall will be 3x printed panels which came out with varying degrees of quality as I learned about the best methods for 3D printing. Anyway, I'm confident a forgiving paint job will hide some of the errors.

I've got a few ideas for banners too but, like the Leyendecker portraits, they deserve a bit more explanation.

But I think the overall take-away from this is; don't get ill in 40K!

Thursday, 9 January 2020

All aboard the Space Hulk - Part 2

Having completed a nice little collection of Warmaster models, it's now time to concentrate on my Space Hulk project. I'm playing two games in February - one as part of shibboleth02's Bucephalus endeavour and hopefully one with the Iron Sleet crowd as part of their Primogenior invitational.

I'm intending to write shorter blog posts a little bit more often but with less polished images and assets. This should hopefully give me a bit of momentum in the run up to February when it all kicks off...

Since I got my 3D printer I've been learning how to use it. Mainly by getting it wrong a fair few times. But to make a space hulk you have to break some eggs, and now I have some mastery of the dark art of 3D printing I possess good quality versions of the five upgrade pieces I want to incorporate. You can see two morgue pieces roughly in situ below, with a more descriptive shot underneath.

 I have also been planning the decor for another part of the medical bay. To this end I've been bastardising the art of the great J. C. Leyendecker. But more on my thinking and how these images will be incorporated soon.

I've got my five Tartarus pattern Terminators undercoated now, along with their Contemptor chaperon. I'll post pics once they've had their base coats applied.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Night Lords VS Harlequins Kill Team battle report

To mark the end of the Christmas break, my pal heresyandheroes and I decided to have a rumble in the sump. By which I mean he pitted his Harlequins against my Night Lords in a game of Kill Team.

As you can see, our teams were pretty glorious. Plus we got to play on one of the excellent Necromunda boards in Warhammer World. The Harlequins were a bit worried about their Christmas tights getting dirty, but they figured they could use stain remover if it came to it.

Some weird dice rolling on the scenarios table meant there was just one objective so it was going to be a bun fight to capture a single stash of archeotech. My Chaos Marines were far more numerous than the Harles, so they were able to capture some great vantage points. 'Ave dominus nox!' they shouted, while trying to remain stealthy and menacing.

With cries of, 'Yes, Master, anything you say, Master' the Cultists deployed in forward placements. Luckily they didn't pick up on the ominous connotations of Operation Meatshield (as their mission had been dubbed by their Astartes superiors). Or the fact the Marines referred to them as 'shreddies'. To their faces.

Full of beans, the Harles deployed in a dispersed fashion. They did that weird stretching that you see runners do. Like they're trying to move a building by leaning on it.

It was unsurprising that the Harles rushed forwards to engage the Night Lords. What was a shock was the effectiveness of my Overwatch fire. I rolled enough sixes for my opponent to lose one of his team to hip shooting. Ha ha - stupid melee troops!

Xan Kurus, my Gunner, wielded his definitely-not-dangerous plasma gun with aplomb. He suppressed the Harles but their dathedi (AKA holo-suits) (AKA 'sparkle pajamas') saved them from the worst of his fire.

The Harle leader took the high ground. And two flesh wounds as a result. Ha ha! What was less funny for me was her inability to die. She later fended off two Cultists and Xan Kurus.

Septimius, the Cultist, took the objective. He was later joined by Cyrion, who acted less as 'back up' and more like a Responsible Adult who isn't drinking.

With the objective safe on my left flank, I was 'happy' for the Harles to shred my right flank. No, really, it was fine. Honestly.  This is a photo of Foraven before he was turned into mince meat by a Harlequin's Kiss.

Xarl had been waiting for a fight for most of the game. And, oh boy, did he get one. It was over pretty quickly and, had his head still been attached to his shoulders, he would have learned a great deal about close combat tactics from such a professional opponent. Oh well. 

The game ended after Turn 5 and, with the objective under my control and only the Harle leader left, I think it's safe to say I won. heresyandheroes and I mused over a 0.5% beer afterwards ('Dry January') that Harles are actually one of the most difficult factions to play in Kill Team as their low numbers puts them at a massive disadvantage. They really struggle to sit on objectives and tend to get spread out really thinly. He put up a great fight though, and his Kill Team looked fantastic. Plus they didn't get their tights too mucky in the process.


Thursday, 2 January 2020

Death in the Drakwald - part III

Bad guys!

Gadding-about the Drakwald isn't going to be much fun unless there's a punch up in sight. And in order to facilitate some of the old ultra-violence I purchased this from ebay:

It is, of course, the character pack for the Tomb Kings (though they might just have been classed as 'Undead' when released). I bought this particular blister because it actually holds almost 10 individual minis, so I'll get a proper array of opponents for my Empire lads to duff up.

Trouble is, some of them have less-than-useful tabs on their little bony feet. This would make attaching them to my washer bases really hard. But I now have a 3D printer. So I designed some plug-in discs with apertures to hold the mini's pin. Seems to work well.

Here are some WIPs of the cadaverous fellows. As you can see I'm going for the classic Middlehammer colour combo of blue and purple, which both vibrate really nicely against the bone. I then added glowing green elements as an accent to make them pop.

I've also been looking at GW sprues for little components which might work as terrain at 10mm scale. I came across this fellow (from one of the Ogor Mawtribes sprues, I think).

Intended to be a dead cat (or maybe dog?) at Age of Sigmar scale, he works excellently as a rather more menacing giant carcass. I added the gold coins thinking that the local folk would be so in awe of the skeleton they've been leaving pennies by it for luck (much in the same way that folk throw pennies into wells for good fortune). Yes, skeletons are all fun and games, aren't they, until a Necromancer comes along? Oh, shoot...

Better photos of all the finished things soon.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

A Merry Nikon Christmas! Part 2

Obviously one can never have enough Nikon cameras. On this basis I bought yet another body. A lovely, if somewhat scrappy, digital D2X.

I saw this puppy going for cheap in a tech store and part exchanged my very old D100 and a kit lens for it. It'll form a solid backup for when I'm doing shoots.

The D2X was first released waaaaay back in 2004. This is an eon in digital camera time. Nonetheless, it was Nikon's flagship body of the day, and is consequently built like a tank and has a load of features. It cost $5,500 when new, so I feel like I got a steal! Its images still stand up today, and its so much better than the D100 I parted with to acquire it. It was the last of Nikon's pro bodies with the smaller sensors, giving a (very annoying) magnification to lenses, before Nikon heard the dull but constant roar of complaints and moved to full frame sensors with the D3.

I'm not going to dwell on all the beast's features, as they are multifarious and will make a very boring post. The main reason I love the camera is the experience of using it. Much like my beloved manual Nikons, this thing is solid, weighty, and dense. It's so satisfyingly massive that when the shutter pops you barely feel the camera vibrate. You can take much of it apart to clean it, which is a strangely therapeutic exercise. It has loads of funky little buttons and levers which you can toggle, all engineered with a precision that makes them fun to play with. Who knew that closing the eyepiece gate would be so rewarding? Not me, that's for sure...

Below are some of the sample shots I took from my first outing with the D2X. In good light it performs exceptionally well. The thing is so bulky, it feels like I'm taking it for a walk. Turns out my puppy has had 160k shutter actuations (actuations are kind of like the mileage on a car). It's got a bit of life left in it yet, I hope. If it dies I'll probably look at getting a D3 as I really enjoy using these old flagship models.

Monday, 23 December 2019

A Merry Nikon Christmas! Part 1

My occasional posts about my love for Nikon cameras are weirdly popular, it seems. So hopefully you'll indulge me as I brag about my latest purchase(s).

While in Manchester a few weeks ago I was lucky to find a Nikon F2 in very good condition. Not only that, there are quite a few variants of this beast, and it was the exact one I wanted: silver with the non-metered prism.

The F2 was Nikon's flagship camera for the 70s. It improved on the previous flagship, the F, by being slightly lighter, smaller and having improved technical specs. It also had a 'swing back' - the mode of opening the back which lasted until the end of the film SLR era. Much like its predecessor it is a fully mechanical 'system camera', meaning that it's highly modular allowing users to replace things like the prism and back to fit metered heads, high speed backs and then clip on motor drives. The body is notoriously sturdy. It's essentially a block of aluminium with a shutter in it. I think someone famous once said you'd never be mugged while carrying an F2 because throwing the camera at your assailant would ensure they had a really bad day.

One of the great features of this camera is the plethora of viewfinders which it can mount. On board light meter technology was improving in the 60s and 70s and this was the end of the era when photographers had to carry a separate metering device. Consequently the F2 could mount various 'metered heads'. All of which are very ugly. The connection between the lens and the metered heads is particularly abstruse and requires 'bunny ear' lenses to allow the communication of the aperture to the meter. So I was really pleased to find a silver model with a much prettier 'non-metered head'. Meaning I have to rely on a light meter app in my phone (while trying to also not use my phone to take the photo - damn you convenient 2019 technology!). Also, I can mount most Nikon lenses from the 2000s backwards. No metering, no bunny ears needed.

The famous Nikon 'bunny ears' showing how they connect to a metered head. Photo courtesy of DPReview.

The F2 is a simple beast by today's standards. But an absolute joy to use. The ca-chunk of the shutter is incredibly satisfying, as is feeling the gentle thudding of the gears as you alter the dials. Without a metered head attached, there is no need for any batteries. So you can use the thing in the cold without fear of it powering down.

In terms of its cultural impact, the F2 was the camera of the 70s. Weirdly it's a bit under-represented in Hollywood, with the F being 'the camera that shot Vietnam' and the pro-sumer FM featuring in The Eyes of Laura Mars. Nick Nolte uses an F2 in the 1982 movie Under Fire, set in 1979 Nicaragua, though.

Below are some of the best shots I got with the test roll. To finish,  I'd highly recommend a visit to The Real Camera Co. in Manchester if you're in the area. They have an amazing array of stock and are very generous with their time and advice.

Part 2 will follow very soon, which showcases another purchase. Because you can never own enough Nikons...