2010 Astronomi-con Vancouver Army Preview

I haven’t been able to sleep the last three nights.  This evenings insomnia accomplishments was getting up to write down the back story for my 2010 Astronomi-con army.  I already knew the back story, I thought it up after all when I was picking the army list. I’d submitted the army list to Mike and Christian a month or two ago confident I would have no trouble getting it all painted seeing as I was unemployed.  In my last revision I had thrown in a Greater Daemon primarily for visual impact and as a nasty surprise for an opponent who didn’t read the fine print in my army list.

With about two weeks to go I realized I wasn’t going to have time to do justice to the Ultraforge Wardemon model I had bought to represent a generic Greater Daemon.  I actually had quite a few models I could use in my miniature display case so George was pressed into service.

After writing out the back story ensuring that it jived with all my previous back stories for major tournaments I went back to bed and tried to sleep.

I couldn’t.

Besides not finishing a new impressivly large demon model, I was really worried I wouldn’t have time to do a good job on my original two HQ choices.  I had converted them previously and a lot of planning went into them, especially the one based on a Forgeworld special character.  I never use the rules for special characters but this model was too cool and I had a unique idea for a Khorne Terminator Lord, so… I’ve had the idea for a while and told it to Craig at the Mini Astronomi-con.  Then I told him I was crazy enough to do it.

I’ve been working towards getting my army finished every since.

There are lots of things I had planned to do besides paint up some new army centerpiece models.  I had planned to improve the bases of some of the models, say with the 100 28mm skulls I got off of Black Cat Bases.  Mike and others are obsessed with drilling out bolter barrels or at least painting the black dot so I was going to go through every model and make sure that was done…  There are lots of little touch up and detail work I could do to my miniature collection.  I seem to have been touching up and improving models for the last eight or nine years.  I’ve finally getting around to starting to paint a new non-CSM army only in the last month or two.

In fact painting non-CSM stuff is what got me in this predictament.  I’ve been planning a Servants of Decay army for years. When I became unemployed I couldn’t help but do a test model for it.  I also did not one, but two test trench tiles.  My modular trench battlefield wasn’t going to make it to this year’s Astronomi-con no way no how, but even though I knew it was needed next year I spent about a month working on it and some test WW1 figures.  I figured if I’m going to build a trench battlefield, I might as well make a WW1 army to fight on it, or two WW1 armies as I’ll probably end up doing…

All this was fine, I had months to finish basically 5 or 6 models.  Then Warhammer 8th Edition came out and I got talked into joining a Mighty Empires Campaign at Strategies, which I have to play in tomorrow, err today actually seeing as it is 3:11 AM.  In about 1998, Owen Curtis figured out that I had almost enough Nurgle Daemons painted and on square bases that I could just play in the campaign he was organizing for Games Workshop Victoria, which he was managing at the time.  We were roommates so I dutifully converted up some Plaguebearer command and played several small points games of Warhammer.  It was a builder’s campaign eventually I was supposed to have say 2000 points but we started out at 750 or a 1000.  I got absolutely crushed both times so I think I grew disgusted and didn’t play Warhammer Fantasy Battle again for 11 years.

What about my 2010 Astronomi-con Vancouver Army you say? Well, while laying in bed on top of my covers because it is quite hot in Vancouver right now.  I’m sweating as I type this. I realized that I wasn’t going have time to do all the little things I had planned to do this year to try and make a run at Best Painted Army.  I’ve finished close at Astronomi-con before but I’ve lost points for not having bolters drilled out or having not 100% finished models.  Last year I stayed up for 24 hours straight trying to finish my army and in the end my Chosen weren’t fully painted and something like 15 bases weren’t painted.

One thing I always lose points on in tournaments recently, is not having a display base.  I was going to build a reuseable display base this year.  I’d built display bases before, in fact the original one served as inspiration for my trench table.  While lying awake I thought, that display base is just leaning up against a shelf in my living room, I should just take it to this year’s Astronomi-con Vancouver.  I made the display base for the very first Vancouver Grand Tournament.  I totally busted my ass painting and converting for that tournament.  I wanted to show those Calgary guys where they could stick their paintbrushes after the score they gave the Diseased Sons in my first Grand Tournament.

I think I ended up finishing tied for third.  I was alright with that as Vancouver has some great painters and I kinda bit off more than I could chew with some of my paint jobs and conversions time wise.  Ever since I’ve had more modest goals for getting stuff painted for tournament armies.

So anyway unable to sleep I got up and grabbed the display base that has sat unused pretty much in my mother’s basement for seven or so years.  It was in Vancouver as I wanted to see the brown dryburshed dirt and I decided I was going to rip out the tank traps and stuff to use as part of my trench table.  Since I hadn’t gotten around to that, I decided just for fun to set up my 2010 Astronomi-con Vancouver Army in the display in my living room at say 2:30 AM.  Then after staring at it a while, adjusting a few models, adding in George and the unfinished stuff, I thought of all the things I wouldn’t get done, all the things I’ve been typing about. Then I got my iPhone took a picture or two.

They weren’t very good pictures, there is no light in my living room, but I shone a lamp onto the display base and retook the pictures and deemed it worthy of a blog post.  I had another beer to try and keep cool and ended up typing a much longer post then I originally intended.  I wanted to show a few people that one of my major hobby projects was actually coming together and although it wouldn’t be as good as I could make it, it still looked pretty good, and despite everything, and by everything I mean a whole lot of setbacks and problems in my life, I was still going to Astronomi-con 2010 and people better look out because this year I might actually win a game.

WIP 2010 Astronomi-con Vancouver Army

I hope to win more than one game actually. I haven’t been able to stop the Landraider full of elite close combat troops or the Orky equivalent in the last few years.  So since I was going Chaos Space Marines again I decided to join them and devised my own “Landraider of Pain” army list.  Since I’m a Nurgle guy and I had decided Bob the Necessary Evil’s adventures would continue I thought what could I put in a Landraider to help the Plaguemarines out?

Plaguemarines are tough, but they have low initiative and generally win by attrition or more accurately just refuse to die thus spoiling the enemy’s plan.  They don’t kill much even with two special weapons and a champion with a powerfist.  I had dreamed up the Khorne Lord with Chainfist, who also goes last in H2H so I added a ‘right hand man’ for him in the form of Chaos Sorcerer of Slaneesh who hopefully would strike first and with his Force Weapon get rid of some annoying opponents who might kill my Lord or the Plaguemarines before they get to fight.

With a plan, an army list, a back story, even a display board I decided to blog about it and post to the Astronomi-con mailing list.  A keen observer will note that a few models actually fit perfectly into the display base, they were in my 2003 Vancouver GT army.  I’m not sure how many models were in both armies, you’d have to pick them up and look carefully at the campaign badges.  It is easy to spot the unfinished models.  It is also pretty easy at least for me to spot the model with the oldest paint job, but bolstered by the success I had throwing down models with almost as old of paint jobs in the form of the Beasts of Nurgle, particularily Sluggie, who’s paint job is more primative than even George’s, I decided what the hell, I’ll take a cab and bring an actual display base to this year’s Astronomi-con Vancouver.  I still doubt I’ll win best painted, let alone overall, but hopefully I still get a good score in painting and even with the comp hit I hope to do better overall than I have at the previous two Astros.

Nick, Malcolm, and Jason have been eerily quite on the Astro front.  Dean announced he was dropping out and Rob, a regular opponent, is also out this year.  Some Americans are coming, some people form Kelowna are undoubtably coming, supposedly even some people from Winnipeg are coming to Vancouver this year.  I may have been correct in my prediction that the opportunity to win a gold ticket to the official North American Grand Tournament of all Tournaments would attract some fresh and highly competitive players to Vancouver’s favourite 40K tournament.

Hopefully unlike the Nova Open and the War Games Con or even worse ‘Ard Boyz, they remember to paint their own damn miniatures, or at least get a mercenary painter and announce they are out of the running for best painted and hopefully overall and are just trying for best general or better still, just playing for fun.  Or I will mock them online, especially the Americans and at least two people will know they are sad pathetic human beings who really need a new hobby as miniature wargaming has always involved painting miniatures and converting model battlefields and no amount of online bluster will change that.

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Back to painting power armour

I’m actually quite worried I won’t get my 2010 Astronomi-con Vancouver army painted in time.  I’ve decided I’m only 5 mini’s away from being done, but besides these three rank and file models I have to paint both my HQ choices.  I was going to paint a Greater Daemon too, but now I’ve realized I’ll never get it done.  If you want to see what it will eventually look like, just go back in time and see the purple Bloodletter I’ve been painting…

Models painted Black and Tin Bitz
Models painted Black and Tin Bitz

As for the three models I’ve been working on tonight, I haven’t made much progress.  After finishing the Chaos Sorcerer for the Mighty Empires Campaign at Strategies, I ran some errands and applied to a few jobs.  It also got a lot hotter.  I slept in and had to delay painting until later into the evening.  I even bought some beer to try and fight the heat.  I really should get a fan.  I just sit in my apartment and sweat.  I have to go to the washroom and wipe the sweat from my forehead.

All these models are ‘kit bashed’.  They are made of various plastic, metal, and resin bits that I’ve acquired over the years.  I’m actually running out of in-print backpacks and I think chaos space marine legs.  I have extra torsos because I use metal and resin ones, but legs I’ve mostly used up.  I’ll have to buy another box of rank and file CSM someday.

Highlighted Black Power Armour
Highlighted Black Power Armour

I’ve actually decided to change things up.  Even after painting well over 100 Chaos Space Marines I’m still trying to get it down.  By getting it down, I mean paint more efficiently.  Give me 60 hours and I’ll paint you a really nice model.  But if your goal is to paint an entire 1500 point army, especially to a high standard you have to be smart about it.  I’ve moved to the cult of the black primer, but I’m trying to give grey a shot for some models.  I seem to spend a lot of time painting black into recesses after spraying my models with Chaos Black.  I think I may give Army Painter Primer or Testors or something a try.

I swear the models are never perfectly cleaned and primed no matter how much effort I put into them.

The first thing I did was paint the armour trim Tin Bitz.  All three of these models will have different coloured power armour as they are in three different squads.  Two of them are Plaguemarines and one is a Chosen of Chaos.  I decided to paint the trim first as it defines the model.  It is something I’ve been experimenting with while painting test Bezerkers.  The trim outlines the model which helps in painting the rest and in photographing.

Innis and Gunn Beer
Innis and Gunn Beer

I painted the Chosen first as it has Black Power Armour which is actually easy to highlight if you follow my system.  I spent a lot of time working on an efficient method of highlighting black.  I also leave room for the Purple Flames which are the signature feature of the Nefarious Fire Chaos Space Marine Warband.  To highlight black after much experimentation I use Foundry Triad #34 Charcoal Black.  I apply the paint in the following order Shade, Charcoal Black, Highlight, Shade.  I use the second layer of Shade to shape the highlights.  Then I give them a little Badaab Black wash to darken and blend the highlights.  Then I use the Highlight (34C) again and if I want the model to pop, I use a lighter grey.  This time I used the new light grey I bought which is Vallejo Sky Grey.  It is actually a bit too light, but any lighter grey will serve.

I’ve gotten more selective in what I highlight.  You have to do this if you’re trying to paint entire armies and squads, especially for the square based game.  The most important parts of a model are the face, hands, and the weapon.  I left the weapons black as they will mostly be a silver metallic colour, not Tin Bitz or Brass.  The hands I did highlight up to Sky Grey but this model has no helmet, he’ll get a blue tinged flesh like most of my CSM.

It is almost midnight and I’m on to my third beer.  So this is the end for the evening.  Tomorrow I have to get up earlier walk to Strategies and try to win my first game of Warhammer 8th Edition.  I don’t fancy my chances. I will be trying to get these three models done quickly to maximize the time I have for my HQ choices.

Whenever non-hobby people see my models they always ask what size brush I used so since I’ve had to buy some new brushes and although I’m not super picky, all brushes are not created equal, here are the brushes I’m using lately.  Most of them were bought at Deserres.

Tools of the Trade
Tools of the Trade

Freshly Assembled Miniatures

So despite today being a big sports day and despite it possibly being the best UFC card ever, I walked home and immediately started working on finishing up the models I started assembling today.  These are the models I mentioned in my previous post.  From right to left they are an all metal GW plaguebearer, a Foundry 25mm British/Canadian WW1 Rifleman,  an old OOP plastic Khorne Bezerker, an almost as old plastic Necromunda Orlock, a hodgepodge of a Plaguemarine armed with a melta gun, and finally, another kit bash of a Chaos Space Marine armed with a heavy bolter.

Some of my old OOP GW figures

These models will be part of my Diseased Sons, Nefarious Fire, or Servants of Decay armies/warbands.  The plaguebearer is mainly for fun and the WW1 model is to test a paint scheme for the Canadian Corps.  The rifleman is noticeably smaller than more recent models, even the Orlock looks small but that is actually correctly scaled next to a Chaos Space Marine.  The Necromunda fig is so old, it hasn’t seen the light of day since I lived in Yellowknife.  That was during the second edition of Warhammer 40,000.  I’m surprised I even remembered it was an Orlock.  The Goliath gangers may look more chaotic, but I think the Orlock will allow me to test my brown, black, and purple paint scheme better. Models before UFC PPV

Some of the knifes got broken off the Goliaths but I repaired them.  There are basically two poses per gang with a variety of guns.  There were spare guns and lord knows I have bits, the problem is most of my bits are for space marines.  My vaunted bit box is running out of Chaos Space Marine legs, even torsos.  I was also out of backpacks of the non-Khorne variety.  The only plastic chaos backpacks I could turn up were from second or first edition.  I’ve converted so many loyalists to the dark side I’ve used up most of my backpacks and torsos.  I gotta stop buying loyalists… Of course I’m trying not to buy any models, I have plenty of one piece metal chaos space marines, including a pile of Bezerkers.

Models after UFC PPV and more workI also am running out of suitably Nurgly heads.  One of the most recent, in fact the most recent chaos kits I’ve bought is the possessed so those bits are getting pressed into service.  One thing I have plenty of is shoulder pads, if you like your shoulder pads fancy.  I have piles of metal Deathguard ones, so I keep using about one a mini when I do a Nurgle guy.  I used one of the new Space Wolf shoulder pads on the Heavy Bolter guy.  His legs and torso are pretty plane Jane, but I made sure to get his gun assembled well, though it too two tries.  His head is a loyalist head, from the Black Templars upgrade sprue I think, I like heads with targeters for my heavy weapons guys.