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Posts Tagged ‘Warhammer’


September 5th, 2012 No comments

After a two-year hiatus, I’ve climbed back aboard the Warhammer 40,000 battle wagon. For too long, I allowed myself to be mocked by my unbuilt soldiers in their cardboard coffins. I sold off the Necron battleforce box I’d bought several years ago when I contemplated adding a third army to my existing Tyranids and Sisters of Battle. I even began to consider chucking my entire collection onto eBay.

Then my friend Kyle went on a summer vacation frenzy of buying and building a Space Wolves army. It turned out that all I needed to reignite my enthusiasm for painting little troops was someone who didn’t mind my lack of familiarity with the current Warhammer 40K rules.

As someone who grew up unskilled at model-building–I literally used to have my dad put together my Aurora monster kits–I’m proud that I not only have I successfully completed at least 125 soldiers and vehicles, but have engaged in customizing and even kitbashing my own creations.

Recently, I was inspired by another modeler’s kitbashed Zoanthrope. (A Zoanthrope is a Tyranid elite unit with a huge, exposed brain that floats around the battlefield unleashing deadly psychic blasts.) While I didn’t have enough of the plastic parts in my bits box to follow his design, I crafted something along similar lines.

Here’s the model prior to painting. Astute 40K modelers will recognize a Tyranid Warrior’s skull, a Genestealer torso–with Genestealer claws to serve as its stunted talons–and a Carnifex spike. The tail is a decorative piece from the old Battle for Macragge boxed set. The rest is sculpted Green Putty. (The rock piece was also from the Macragge set, but ultimately I had to go a different way for the base, as the model kept snapping off.)

Here’s the finished product on the left–with a piece of gravel from my driveway acting as ballast–and the official Games Workshop model on the right.

And here are two other views, so you can get a look at the brain. I’m never going to be much of a sculptor, but painted up it doesn’t look bad.

My other major project was a Mycetic Spore. It’s the Tyranid equivalent of the Space Marines’ drop pods, only as befits the techno-organic ‘Nids, it’s a big, fleshy sack that disgorges troops into battle. There’s no official model, so people have come up with all manner of kitbashed Spores.

Again, the Maximum Heresy blog provided the inspiration. Instead of a kids’ ball, I used a large craft egg from Hobby Lobby as the core. The tentacles were made from Green Putty wrapped around speaker wire, tipped with leftover Genestealer claws.

A couple of other decorative pieces from the dear old Battle of Macragge were used, one of which was meant to become a toothy maw/access point. Unfortunately, I became so enamored with the hot glue gun that I almost completely obscured the plastic piece, with the result being more of a blobby mound. I ultimately added some toothpick-tip teeth to sell it as a mouth.

An old CD became the base. It was decorated with more driveway rocks and some fine gravel typically used in model railroad layouts.

Here’s the side view, as well as a close-up of the mouth. There’s a Genestealer just beginning to emerge!

Honestly, I’m a little less enamored with the final product. It reminds me more of an angry avocado. Still it gets the job done; the job being dropping a load of bitey, shooty Tyranid troops behind Kyle’s Space Wolves lines.

I still have a couple of squads’ worth of Tyranids to paint, and at some point I intend to add a flying Hive Tyrant to command my forces. And somewhere further down the line, I have schemes for a kitbashed Carnifex. Watch this space.

Categories: Games Tags: ,

In The Grim Darkness Of The Far Future, There Is Only Warhammer

May 7th, 2010 No comments

A few days after the fact, here are photos from the recent Warhammer 40,000 Weekend I held at Casa del Thiel. It was fun, as always, to see my good friends Donn and Tonya again. The bout of stomach flu was rather less fun.

As usual, my Sisters underachieved. Can anyone remind me why I chose one as my primary army one of the trickiest to play? Oh yeah, it was because I thought flying nuns were funny.

Happily, Donn and I had the chance to combine our Tyranid hordes and crush Tonya’s defending Space Marines. Snicker snack!

The Sisters deploy amid Donn's impressive scratch-built Mordheim ruins.

Tyranid warriors burst through the wall!

I knew I should've taken that left on Imperial Boulevard...

Little known fact: Space Marines love to circle dance.

My Canoness gave as good as she got versus the Hive Tyrant, but ultimately went down swinging.

Tyranids mass for battle.

Tonya's defenses were strong.

These scout snipers proved to be irritating. They also proved to be tasty! Yum!

Parking regulations are cruelly enforced.

Activity Fun: Spot the Space Marine!

Categories: Games Tags:

The Box Of Delights

February 2nd, 2010 No comments

The other, non-a cappella reason I was largely incommunicado these past couple of weeks was that I was prepping for Winter War, Champaign’s annual wargaming convention. Unlike many past years, when I only showed up long enough to participate in the auction, this time I signed up for three days of events.

I played:

  • Age of Conan (a Risk-like strategy game set in the world of Robert E. Howard’s barbarian hero)
  • Heroscape (a rules-light wargame set on a massive board with a mixture of snow, lava and swamp terrain, plus a big castle in the middle)
  • Doctor Who (which I thought would be the new role-playing game based on the TV show, but was actually a terrible, old Games Workshop boardgame I used to own before I happily got rid of it for its awfulness)
  • Battlestar Galactica (everyone’s favorite “who’s the secret Cylon?” boardgame, with the “Pegasus” expanded rules)
  • Warhammer 40,000 (a tournament event of the popular tabletop futuristic wargame)

Age of Conan was enjoyable, though I think I’d hesitate in adding it to my collection. I already have a bunch of games that involve pushing plastic soldiers around a map of the world/galaxy. Plus, it’s expensive ($80 SRP), and perhaps a bit too complicated for a night of casual gaming. My Aquilonian empire got off to a crummy start, unable to generate more than a couple of soldiers while the Turanians were out making diplomatic woo to all their neighbors, but by the end of the game we were knocking on the doors of Cimmeria itself and I managed to take second place.

My friend/co-worker Deane and his daughter were among the Cylon suspects who played Battlestar Galactica. For the uninitiated, BSG is a semi-cooperative game in which the players are characters from the TV show trying to survive frequent attacks by Cylon space fleets and sabotage by certain members of their own group who are secretly working for the other side. This was the first game of BSG I’ve played in which I was one of the Cylons…and it was also the first game in which the Cylons failed to stop the human fleet from reaching their destination.

As for the Warhammer tournament…well, I’m coming to that.

First there was the game auction. I love the auction. It is–no joke–one of my favorite things each year. This year I took a vorpal sword to my game collection and unloaded a storage bin full of stuff. And if that had been all that happened, it would have been enough.

But then there was the Box.

The Box was an oversized Sterilite container chock-full of plastic gaming miniatures. Mostly Dungeons & Dragons, but also Star Wars, Heroscape, Heroclix and Mage Knight. There were even a few lone stragglers from Creepy Freaks, Dreamblade and Horror Clix, not to mention a few zombies from the Zombies!!! boardgame, a Lego skeleton, a Darth Maul toy and, inexplicably, a dry erase marker.

And when I saw it, I said, “I will walk out of here with this box.”

The Box.

The Box.

I wound up paying a mere thirty bucks for it, which was a steal considering that I would’ve gone as high as sixty and still felt good about it. I also bought a big bag of Heroscape terrain pieces (presumably from the same person, as it was a similarly random assortment of stuff) for $15.

The Bag o' Heroscape.

The Bag.

That evening I pieced it out. There were 360 D&D figures, 88 Heroscape (without their army cards, but still) and 54 Star Wars. Lots of rare figures, too, including a Huge Red Dragon and a couple of Rampaging Wampas.

Contents of the Box.

Contents of the Box.

Contents of the Bag.

Contents of the Bag.

I sorted out what I considered to be the dross (including all of the Mage Knight minis) and sold it the next morning for ten bucks to a guy who just wanted some fantasy miniatures for his kids. Net cost: $35.

They say that money cannot buy happiness, but they did not bring home a metric fuckton of plastic fun.

Sunday morning brought the Warhammer 40,000 tournament. I hadn’t played 40K in a couple of years, and had never played with the current edition of the rules. I was kinda nervous about it, and spent a lot of time in the preceding two weeks relearning the rules and adding some fiddly bits to my Sisters of Battle army.

Turned out that I needn’t have worried, since I was one of only three people who signed up. That was okay, though, as I wasn’t really in it for the tournament anyway. I just wanted an excuse to blow the dust off my space nuns and get up to date on the new rules.

"To battle! In the name of the Emperor!"

"To battle! In the name of the Emperor!"

Good thing too, as I got slaughtered by the other players’ Space Marines. The only game I won was the the third one, and that was because my jetpack girls were able to “capture the flags” and get them back to my side of the board. Turns out that my army–which is based entirely around what I happen to have in my collection–isn’t really up to fighting a fully tricked-out Space Marine force. It was disheartening to see gal after gal fall under what seemed to be a never-ending stream of long-range fire. Still, it was okay, as I had no intention of actually winning.

The cave tunnels were especially frustrating for my jetpack troops.

The cave tunnels were especially frustrating for my jetpack troops.

However, I did win the “sportsmanship” award, which ought to be amusing to anyone who has gamed with me on a regular basis. Granted that I’m far from the poorest sport I’ve known, but I certainly shouldn’t be getting any awards for it.

The event organizer also graded our modelling and painting skills*, and that was when I dearly wanted to say something that would’ve cost me my sportsmanship recognition.

Look, I have no illusions that I’m any great shakes as a model-builder. When I was a kid, I made my dad build and paint all of my monster models.

But when I think about the state of my abilities when I bought my first set of space nuns to where I am today, I’m very proud of what I’ve managed to accomplish over the years. I’ve become much more confident and more likely to experiment with modifications and conversions.

*That’s actually pretty common for events based on Games Workshop games, as modelling is such a big part of the hobby.

So I was pretty annoyed when the organizer went down his painting checklist:


First off, I really wasn’t bringing my army to show off my mad painting skills.

Plus, even though I realize that what I’m asking for here is an “Everyone Gets a Prize” prize, I feel as if I ought to at least get some credit for the progress I’ve made. And for bringing such an oddball army as Sisters of Battle when everyone else had boring, ol’ Space Marines.

And finally, while the winning army was more technically proficient, Marines–most of whom are encased in relatively featureless ovoid armor suits–are not nearly as tricky to paint as Sisters. Battle Sisters are 1) smaller, 2) insanely detailed and 3) less likely to cover their faces with helmets. (I hate painting faces!) I mean, really…figure skating and diving give points for degree of difficulty; why not wargame modelling?

So, even though I don’t regret participating in the tournament, I don’t see me ever doing it again.

In the end, I had a great weekend overall. For the first time in far too long, I felt energized and ready to take on the next week! (Maybe I’ll practice my painting.)

Categories: Games Tags: , ,

I. Want. This.

February 12th, 2009 No comments

A real-life Warhammer 40,000 Rhino transport, built to promote the next Dawn of War PC game.

Categories: Games Tags: ,

The Horns Of A Familiar Dilemma

October 12th, 2008 No comments

Two things about today’s Foxtrot:

1) This is pretty much the feeling I had when I was digging through my miniatures for Friday night’s D&D session and realized that I only had one vampire.

2) I would bet cash money that this is the first time the Sunday funnies have namechecked a Warhammer Khorne Bloodletter.

A Hero No More

April 19th, 2005 No comments

This morning I dropped my subscription to the City of Heroes online role-playing game. There was nothing wrong; in fact, I quite enjoyed my time in Paragon City. It’s just that I realized that I hadn’t played in at least a couple of months, and that I’m simply more interested in other stuff right now. So long, Ms. Mesmer, you were a valiant heroine.

One of my current activities is, ironically enough, another superhero-based computer game: Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich. It’s a squad-based strategy game in which one leads an ever-changing roster of ’60s style comic book heroes against the forces of badness, including, I’m told, Nazis. I love old-fashioned, earnest superheroics, and I love fighting Nazis, so I’m having a good time.

I’ve also been doing more Warhammer 40K modeling. I used my “educator’s discount” at Borders last weekend to pick up a copy of the Battle for Macragge starter set, which includes a full squad of Space Marines and a couple of units of nasty, alien Tyranids. I’m hoping to put together a small Tyranid army in the not-so-distant future, and also to give my Sisters of Battle a bit of Space Marine help.

Categories: Videogames Tags: ,

And Then There Were Nuns

March 8th, 2005 No comments

Last night, I finally completed a project which has been dogging my heels since the Clinton Administration: painting my Sisters of Battle army for the Warhammer 40K miniatures game. To be honest with myself, they’ll probably never be absolutely finished. I still want to texture their bases, and I’m sure I’ll keep finding little details that I’ll want to retouch. But as I glued the backpack onto the final Sister after midnight, I felt a sense of completion, and a desperate need for sleep.

Here, at long last, is a photo gallery of my work:

Above is my HQ squad, led by the Canoness. On the right are my Retributor heavy weapons gals. While Games Workshop tends to paint their armies to follow a single color scheme, I wanted to have a bit more diversity, especially given the relatively few different Sisters of Battle miniatures available.

On the left are my Priests. The one in the center is a custom model, using an old figure of Lady Galadrial, and a banner pole recycled from an action figure accessory. The plastic peg behind her head is empty for right now, but I mean to craft a sort of hovering “halo.” On the right are the dreaded Seraphim, the flying nuns that first caught my eye when choosing a Warhammer army. One of them is not an official GW miniature, but rather an appropriate figure from a defunct competitor called Void. The animal skull on the base of the lead Seraphim was made from Sculpey.

Standard Battle Sisters on the left. Note that one is actually a crudely modified Seraphim Sister Superior which I mounted directly to a built-up base. On the right is the back of that same figure. I somehow ran out of backpacks, so I substituted another action figure accessory of approximately the proper shape and size. Again, it provides a bit more variety, plus it makes a certain sense that the squad leaders would be further differentiated. I painted a couple of SoB insignia on the back.

Custom terrain pieces. First is some engine wreckage culled from an old Space: 1999 model kit, then a toxic waste spill.

Finally, here’s a photo of my entire army. Click on the photo for a very large version.

I plan to take a break from painting and modeling for a bit, but I have a number of other projects I’d like to work on eventually, including a squad of Space Marines.

By the way, I had a difficult time deciding upon a title for this post. Other candidates included “Nun Better,” “Only The Good Die Nun” and “Nun Is The Loneliest Number.”

Categories: Games Tags: ,

More Random Access

March 7th, 2005 No comments

Haven’t had much time to post lately, as last week was fairly hectic. First, there was the Meeting from Hell: a two-and-a-half day Strategic Planning Session for the WILL stations. As meetings go, it was actually productive and worthwhile, but two-and-a-half days of anything is too much.

Thankfully, I got out of the final day because it was time for Vicky’s annual heart check-up. Even more thankfully, everything looked good under the hood and the clock has been reset for another year!

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been spending about every waking moment not at work painting nuns. No, it’s not what you’re thinking, though come to think of it, I don’t know what you’re thinking. Rather, I’ve been painting my Sisters of Battle miniatures for the Warhammer 40K game. I’ve had these flying nuns for about five years now, and they’ve been half(-assed) painted for an embarrassingly long time. I finally decided that enough was enough, and that by my next Warhammer gaming weekend, I would field a fully-painted army of armor-plated, ass-kicking nuns.

My efforts have been hampered by two things: 1) I suck at painting (impatience and shaky hands), and 2) my ability to be diverted by side projects. For instance, I took entirely too much time converting a non-Games Workshop miniature of Lady Galadriel from Lord of the Rings into an Imperial Priestess. However, I’ve been making great progress, and all I have left to complete are about 15 backpacks.

Here are photos of my Canoness, complete with customized backpack made from an robot action figure’s foot and a flame made of Sculpey.

More photos once I’m done! May it be soon!

Still testing out the new digital camera, which naturally means more cat photos. Here are some images (suitable for the desktop) of Hobbes.

And here’s one of Vicky with Cupid and Hobbes.

WILL-TV’s spring pledge drive started last Friday, and as of this morning we were at $29,675. Wish us luck!

Categories: General Tags: ,