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.

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 ups 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 predicament. 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 thousand.  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 and took a picture or two.

They weren’t very good pictures, there is no light in my living room, but I used a lamp 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 but thought what else 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.

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.

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 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 really 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

I’m such an idiot sometimes

Astronomi-con Vancouver is August 21st and 22nd.  Some how it had disappeared from iCal, but now it is back. Since I switched back to iCal and my iPhone away from Entourage and my old job’s Blackberry it seems appointments I enter magically don’t appear and other oddness. I’m in Horseshoe Bay going to Nanaimo and Vancouver Island for a cousin’s wedding so no painting for the week. That leaves me about two weeks to paint 5 models, plus I might do a sixth special bonus model. It doesn’t sound like much to some, considering I painted five Night Goblins in one day and I’m still unemployed…

However these aren’t Night Goblins, they are bigger, more elaborate, and I had planned to do a bang up job on them. All of them are converted or kit-bashed. Some of them use Forgeworld bitz and bobs. They are not one pose plastic rank and file models. Now I’ve gone and put the pressure on myself again, by leaving them so late.

The two weeks I busted my ass painting Warhammer Fantasy Battle models, or the weeks I spent doing test models for my post-tournament projects, or even the terrain tiles I jumped the gun and started making. All that might come and bite me in the ass. Last Astronomi-con I stayed up all night working on the paint jobs and bases for my Nefarious Fire models. I never did finish 15 bases or the Chosen exactly. All those models are done and more, but I need to do one new Chosen, one Plaguemarine Champion, and one Plagumarine with melta gun and my HQ. Some of these models aren’t strictly necessary but hopefully will improve my painting score a smidgon.

Astronomi-con Vancouver attracts some good painters so it is a tough prize to win. I think I’ve come a couple points away the last two years and if I really tried hard maybe I could win. Alas this year doesn’t seem to be my year either. Oh well next year the Servants of Decay will have to give it a go.

When I get back from Vancouver Island expect to see a return to my flurry of updates, hopefully painting all the rank and file models hasn’t sapped my fine motor skills too much.

I posted a picture of my army as is, here is a picture of most of the Chosen that didn’t get done last year, but are completed now. Flickr has gone and changed their UI, not sure if I like it, though you can do some fancy zooming or pseudo zooming…

Chosen Chaos Space Marine

Chosen Chaos Space Marine

Chosen Chaos Space Marine

Chosen Chaos Space Marine

Yes they all have comb-meltas. The photos are blurry because my camera was dying. I really should take some more photos of my minis. One day I’ll buy a good camera again.

Two more links and news

I have had these two links I’ve been meaning to work into a blog post, but I’ve had plenty of pictures and lots of old stuff to show… Anyway the news is I finally have another job interview. This job seems real promising, but you should never count your chickens before they hatch. I think they might be as interested in me as I am in them. I’m not one to make lofty demands.

Now back to the hobby. The Tau of War wants you to stop using Chaos Black primer and start using Army Painter colored primer. I talked to Darren about this, he carries Army Painter at Strategies. I’ve been doing a lot of black painting for my trench table and perhaps brown would work just as well if not better, but I think you will find that trying to wash an entire 6*4 foot table plus all the scatter terrain gets expensive and awkward. I’ll stick to the all mighty dry brush, a technique I almost never use on individual miniatures.

I may have to try one of the colored primers when I have a better bank balance. In the mean time I will use cheap black paint for the most part on my terrain. I’ll also probably stick to black primer for my upcoming models, though I have some Krylon Grey spray primer I bought a while back I’m always going to test.

The other thing I’ve mentioned in just about every post, is Astronomi-con. It is one of the better, if not the best independent Warhammer 40,000 tournaments out there. It has grown from its origins in Winnipeg to this year being run in four separate cities in North America. The brains behind the tournament (Christian and Mike) are old time 40K mailing list members I’ve known for years. They’ve put a lot of effort into growing the hobby in the ‘Peg and giving Canadian 40K players something to look forward to with the demise of the Grand Tournaments and the Conflicts in Canada.

Now they’ve done gone to Texas and from most accounts it was a success. Maybe it’ll give the overly competitive American Internet know-it-alls something to think about besides ‘Ard Boyz. Maybe some of them will journey North where the minis are painted and the missions are complex and the opponents drink beer afterwards and sometimes during the games.

Clay Smith yet another old time 40K mailing lister has a detailed account filled with pictures, I won’t ruin it for you, but he enjoyed the experience and did well with his Orks. They had some nice scenery, but if it was like the ‘Ard Boyz or other US tournaments there was some underpainted armies, ‘Ard Boyz had a lot of primer in the pictures I saw. I remember when if it wasn’t painted it didn’t appear on the table, it is still that way at Strategies, but Darren is old school like me.

I’d like to see the Leaf Blowers shave off 1000 points and come to Vancouver in 2010, give No Musk’s Land a go. My other thought was if a “Leaf Blower” blows ‘Ard Boyz does that make them Fluffers?

Well I better get going I have to prepare for a job interview and watch glue dry…

One Tile Down, Twenty-three to go

So it took a while, and the last wash is still drying, but the first tile in my modular trench table is finished. Now I only have to make 23 more. Even at one a week that is 23 weeks and that doesn’t even count all the time I spent already, especially doing research. I scoured the internet for bits and tutorials. I bought books, I’m going to see a few movies, but basically I got it right, not historically perfect, but good enough. Almost Done

Things to improve, more grit. I will put beach sand over most of the tile next time. Cat liter can bunch up and not let scatter terrain sit on it very well, but beach sand, nothing I make is going to be so delicate that it can’t sit on top of beach sand. I’ll still have the really fine sand for some spots, but their won’t be bare foam showing like on this tile. I drybrushed it, but the grittier stuff takes the drybrush better. I could do a heavier drybrush but I’m trying to get better at drybrushing not worse.

I wish I would have put another piece of battlefield debris by the crater I carved into the tile. That didn’t come out as nice as the ‘bought’ craters, but it may be cover-able with scatter terrain, if not on this tile then on some other.  The other option is to put a lot more grit, maybe even some foam or cork. I bought some scrap cork the other day, as part of my two dollar expenditure at the strange craft store on Main Street.

Awesome Paint Job Rust PigmentsThe next tile won’t be done for a while. I need to finish off my army for this years Astronomi-con Vancouver. I think I need to paint five more guys, a couple rank and file and my HQ. I put enough effort into this tile, hopefully I get better. I plan to thin the Terra Cotta paint next time, this time I just put it on pretty much out it came out of the container.

One last thing I tried out was some pigments I got off of AwesomePaintJob.com, this was a bit of an impulse buy, as I already had some pigments, but I was big into trying out new techniques, and one I’ve never used much is pigments. I also mixed into my rust mixtures, Rust Brown Ink, water and later, the Foundation Orange. I’ve tried out a lot of new, small, one person hobby companies, after reading about them on Table Top Gaming News or elsewhere.

Down in the Trenches

The Finished Tile