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20th April 2009: Tomb

We are really into 40K at the moment, and have just started our first campaign. The trouble is, from the very first battle I realised to tell interesting stories (which is what I see campaigns as being all about) it is necessary to have more specialized pieces of terrain than just a few hills and ruins. Just recently I've started making such a special terrain piece to use specifically in our campaign.

The early battles of the campaign are about Necrons being awoken by constant battles between the Orks and the Imperium on the planet of Kaloris Secundus. So it seemed pretty obvious we needed some kind of tomb entrance for these mechanical monstrosities to enter the campaign from.
I'd got some old polystyrene printer packaging with a segment that looked a little door-like, so I cut that out and started to build other scraps of polystyrene up around it. Rather than make a whole massive tomb I decided it would be easier to try and create a little "extension" to the hills we have already got. It would look a little odd, but it would save us making a new massive hilly thing that we would hardly ever get to use again.

I had a vague recollection of what the tomb entrances looked like in the Dark Crusade computer game, so started to arrange the polystyrene pieces to make it look sort of like those:

Once the pieces were glued together (with PVA) I hacked around the edges, then used a cheap and cheerful papier-mâché technique on the cliff/rock sections to cover the gaps and take away the polystyrene look. Then I slapped the first coat of paint on:

Tomb entrance assembled

Tomb entrance assembled

Tomb gets a base coat

Tomb gets a base coat

7th April 2009: Rise Of The 6mm Machines

It has always been a dream of mine to create an entire new race or army for one of the wargames we play. During the evolution of the Epic-S ruleset, I came across the website of Dark Realm Miniatures, a company new to me that also made 6mm models. I soon hit upon the idea of using some of their models as a new army in Epic-S, and though I wouldn't actually be creating my own army and models from scratch, I figured creating the rules and background for them would be a good enough substitute.
Though there is not really any obvious line between good and evil armies in Games Workshop's background in the 40K universe, it has always cheesed me off a bit that the typically "good" armies such as Tau, Eldar and humans tend to stick to ranged or clever hit and run tactics to win their games. There has never been what we would call a civilized army to my knowledge that uses the "charge forward and beat the crap out of them" style of play. Similarly, what we would call the "evil" armies, such as Orks, Chaos and Tyranids, all favour close combat and don't really have an army that specialises in long ranged death (OK maybe the Necrons, but these are a relatively new army and did not exist back in the old Epic Space Marine days).
So what I want to do is try and cover one of these situations with the models from Dark Realm miniatures, and who knows, maybe cover the other one at a later date if the first attempt turns out to be successful.

After looking through the available Dark Realm Miniatures range, I immediately started to get good feelings about the robotic forces of the Andrayada. I didn't really see the point in their human range as the Imperial Guard have got that covered. Their other available force, the Kraytonian, have some good vehicles but I'm really not into their infantry much (and I just knew I was gonna have to have the Aryx no matter what).
From what I can gather, in Dark Realm's ruleset (called Seeds Of War) the Andrayada seem to fight with masses of short ranged firepower to overwhelm their foes. But I think their models, especially their infantry, look like they should be more adept at dealing death from afar. And so my choice was made: the Andrayada would join Epic-S as a robotic army programmed to kill anything in its path with volleys of long ranged laser fire.

The main problem with Dark Realm models is the fact that you get no bases with them. Luckily, a work colleague gave me some grand assistance and cut out some bases for me from some thin white plastic.

The Andrayada arrive

The Andrayada arrive

Assembling the bases

Assembling the bases

2nd picture left to right: unassembled light artillery and commander bases, completed infantry base, fully assembled Hubries, Alpha Commander and Infantry Phalanx stands.

As you can see from the picture above, I have decided to create square bases so they will fit in more with my old Epic collection. I have also only put 4 infantry models on a base. This was to save some money and also make it easier to paint everything. My only error with these bases was the fact I over estimated the size of the holes needed, as I had got the bases made up before I even ordered anything. Therefore the hole is too big for the infantry to fit and leaves a small annoying gap all around. Hopefully this will not be obvious when the bases are eventually flocked.

February 2009: Fly, My Pretties

While Space Marines have always been my main army in both Epic and 40K, I have over the years got steadily more and more frustrated with the fact that nearly everybody else has also got Space Marine armies. I've sporadically been collecting second hand Tyranid figures from eBay, though without ever really getting the chance to use them. So in mid 2008, when we decided we were really gonna give 40K a go of it, I decided to get my Nidz the new GW battleforce, which would give them a serious boost and make them much more tempting to use.
Though the battleforce contained the very cool latest Carnifex model, the models I were most interested in were the Tyranid Warriors. I had already got lots of the older style Warriors, most armed with ranged weapons, so I wanted to do something considerably different with these. It was quite an obvious choice I suppose, considering they can now have wings. I didn't want to pay the hysterically monumental price for Forge World wings, so I originally planned on scratch building my own. A little later, my mate Scooby gave me some spare harpy wings he had got, but as usual, something else got my attention and my poor Warriors were once again forgotten...
I recently got my ass motivated to do something about them. It only took about a second to decide whether I should continue with the idea of scratch building the wings, or modify the harpy wings. Afterall, I'm very lazy.

I used some spare pairs of Gaunt Spinefist arms as the starting point, and started hacking out a place to glue the wings to.

Because I've never used green stuff (and as mentioned before I'm very lazy) I decided on a very fast and easy method for blending the join between the plastic arm and the metal wings. I decided to slap on a load of pva glue and wrap the areas with small pieces of toilet roll. Hopefully when the wings are painted the joins will be much less obvious, and have the added bonues of adding more strength. When this was dry I used clippers and a small drill bit to prepare the wings for pinning to the model. Though the drill bit was the smallest I could find it still looks too big for the thin metal strips I use as pins. Though if it works, I don't care.

So with the wings ready I prepped the models for the join, and stuck everything together. Because the join area was not too great I also carefully "painted" parts of the completed joins with more pva glue, hoping it wold give them more strength.

All that I need to do now is to get around to painting them...

Initial wing construction

Initial wing construction

PVA and toilet roll to the rescue

PVA and toilet roll to the rescue

Assembled and ready for paint

Assembled and ready for paint

August 2005: Forming The Battlefields

I tend to always be fiddling with little bits and bobs in the wargaming hobby, but I've never really got very far in terms of completing anything. I've got five (and a bit) 40K armies to paint, about seven Epic armies to paint, Epic-S rules to finalise, 5 Blood Bowl teams to finish painting, and terrain to make, let alone getting the actual games set up and played. Anyway, just to prove that I do actually try and get some stuff done, I decided to start documenting what I've been doing.
And no it's not lost on me that if I didn't use up my time by taking pictures and documenting pointless stuff like this I'd actually get more real work done. But I don't care.

A large gap of over a year and a half had passed without any playing of Games Workshop games. Finally in late Summer 2005 it was decided that we would get back into the dice rollin' swing of things. This time though, fingz wudd be diffrunt.

In the big gap of no playing between 1998 and 2001 a lot of the old terrain we used to have had been thrown away, as it was assumed we'd never play again, with us growing up, getting jobs and such and such. The old hills, river, and no less than three Games Workshop W40K bunkers had been binned as the miniatures themselves were dumped into lofts to gather dust.

Between 2001 and 2003 we were more into the playing of the games rather than worrying about terrain. But very often we would talk about how cool it would be to have good terrain. Top of our list was a much missed river and a large hill that had got ravines and cliffs cut through it with bridges spanning the gaps. But apart from buying a couple of interesting looking rock things we still never bothered about terrain.

2004 and most of 2005 passed without incident, though I had been quietly hoarding materials for a few years in anticipation of a possible big terrain build. The ice finally broke when a large computer delivery at my place of work landed me with almost unlimited amounts of polystyrene and thick card. Finally we could see our idea turning into a reality.

Here, you can view the progression of the terrain as we built it...

After the first week of work, the river sections and hills had been cut out of their respective materials and glued together. Filler was then applied to build up the river banks and smooth off the cliff faces. The river was painted a dark blue gloss, and the grass areas painted green.

"Stebloke's Jolly Mixture" (dirt,sand,pebbles,pva glue,black paint) was then applied to the cliff areas and river banks, before all being drybrushed heavily with white. Static grass was then applied to the green areas.

Seeing how well Stebloke's Jolly Mixture worked with a heavy white drybrush, this technique was used on a fish tank decoration that we bought a few years back, as well as two old ruin sections made out of polystyrene trays. These things all looked shite before, and were in need of attention.

Then I started to look into some forest sections, using fish tank plastic plants. The trees were undercoated with black spray, then given a light coating of brown spray. Leftovers from a sheet of static grass were trimmed for gluing onto the card bases. Where there were breaks in the static grass pieces, I glued some sand just to cover them up.
The only thing the forests needed then was for the plastic palm trees to be painted.

After getting sick of all the polystyrene packing I had stuffed in my loft I finally got round to hacking some of it up with a new foam cutter. Handy little gizmo. I pretty much tried to copy Games Workshop's rocks from their old battle reports and stuff, though they're obviously nowhere near as good.

The rocks were finished using the good old jolly mixture and a white drybrush to give them texture. Also, a couple of simple bridges have been made as places to cross over the river. At last, the more natural elements to our terrain are finished. I think I might have a break before getting stuck into all those buildings I have planned...

Construction begins

Construction begins

Filling the gaps

Filling the gaps

More painting

More painting

Applying the Jolly Mixture

Applying the Jolly Mixture

Finished river sections and hill

Finished river sections and hill

Jolly Mixture results, and starting the trees

Jolly Mixture results, and starting the trees

Working on the trees

Working on the trees

Completed forest sections

Completed forest sections

Polystyrene rocks on the go

Polystyrene rocks on the go

Completed terrain pieces

Completed terrain pieces

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