Thursday, November 8, 2012

Review: Imperial Armoury (Webstore)


Imperial Armoury is a webstore that sells Warhammer 40K bits, specifically for Imperial Guard armies. It has an edge over other bits webstores as it specialises in Guard, which means it'll often have a lot of bits in stock at a given time.

I found my order from IA waiting for me in the mailbox when I got home. It was especially pleasant as I had all but given up hope that I would receive my order.

I made my order on the website about two months ago which is a considerable period of time. I was offered free shipping as he was away on honeymoon when I had ordered (congratulations!), which I thought was really nice.

However, it took ages to get here. I got suspicious when he hadn't replied to my emails. Apparently, other people had trouble contacting him as well. Please IA, always always ALWAYS respond quickly to consumer inquiries! I was scared I had been scammed.

Poor customer service. Absolutely no attempt of contact between business and customer. Took forever for my order to arrive. That being said, I think I will use them in future as it's just so convenient to have all the Imperial Guard bits together in one webstore. I did end up getting my order, which I suppose is what really matters. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Weekly Snapshot:First of my Sanguinary Priests

Meet the first of my Sanguinary Priests for my Blood Angels army. It may be a little surprising that I started work on them what with their almost mandatory inclusion in BA lists, but I haven't played a Warhammer 40K game in over a year.

For this guy, almost all of the bits are from the Sanguinary Guard box set, except for the narthecium and apothecary torso. It's a very simple kit bash, but I think it works decently for a Blood Angeled up apothecary.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Making Pre-Heresy 'T' pattern helmets

You know those 'T' helmets you commonly see on the Chaos Space marine sprues? Well I thought it would be cool to have them on my Blood Angels.

Here's how you do it:

1. Cut off the side bits on a normal Space Marine helmet. 

2. Small ball of putty on his mouth. 

3. Flatten out the sides so that you get a distinct raised area in the center. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekly Snapshot: Paperhammering a Leman Russ Part 3

This week, I went back and cleaned up the basecoats. The camo I had last week was the first camo job I ever did on a tank, so it did not look pretty. I made it a little more interesting by adding variations into the pattern, instead of just vertical stripes.

It's not looking great so far, but it's not looking bad. Hopefully, the finished paintjob will make this Leman Russ look like a real 40K model, instead of just a cheap cardboard imitation.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: Let the Dice Decide (webstore)

About a week ago, I received a package from Let the Dice Decide, a miniature bits seller based in the UK. Their website is at:

I ordered some bits for my scratchbuilt Leman Russes and for my upcoming Imperial Guard force. They dispatched my order the day after I had placed it. And arrived here in Australia, which is a good distance away from the UK, in about a week or so. Crazy, crazy fast. 

My package arrived in a nice padded envelope, with the bits placed nicely inside this plastic bag. Everything was in excellent form, and everything I ordered was there. 

Besides the excellent service, they have some reasonable prices up on their website. I thought my order was reasonably priced as well. 

Excellent service, excellent prices and fast delivery. I highly recommend them, and look forward to purchasing some 40K sprues from their complete sprues section in future. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Weekly Snapshot: Paperhammering a Leman Russ Pt 2

If you missed the Weekly Snapshot two weeks back, here's the link. So I've finished the modelling and assembling which took a veeeeery long time. It ate up quite a bit of my hobby time and effort, but I think it was worth it in the end.

The only money I spent on this Leman Russ is the demolisher cannon and the heavy flamer. I decided it was too hard to do the weapons so I bought them off Let the Dice Decide, which arrived stupidly fast.

It does look feth ugly at this stage, because I was rushing to put on the base coats for upload. Hopefully, it will turn out nicely and integrate well with a Steel Legion force I'm coming up with.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sculpting your own urban pavement bases

Here is how you sculpt your own urban pavement bases for Warhammer 40K, WFB, etc. It's a tutorial that can be universally across all game systems.

The idea is to create an urban environment that has been heavily destroyed by war and/or natural forces. It's quite a simple tutorial that involves simple sculpting skills.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weekly Snapshot: Imma step on my shield!

It's been a bit of a slow week. The scratchbuilt Leman Russ is on hold as I await the arrival of some turret weapons I ordered over the internet. Darn cardboard just doesn't work well when trying to make cylinders.

I had a Vanguard Veteran that was lying around for quite some time and decided to give him a base. You can't really see it from this angle, but he's stepping on a combat shield from the Space Marines Assault Squad box that I had lying around. I made some scratches and bullet holes into the shield to give it an abandoned and war torn feel.
Really sorry about the lack of photos guys, I cannot be bothered to set up my mini photography studio again.

I did some experiments on this guy with a new weathering technique. I just loaded my brush with silver paint and scratched away. I think the metal could do with some further work, it's quite bright in inappropriate places because of the light. Maybe a wash on the darkest parts?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cutting Costs: The Primer

This is Part 4 of Cutting Costs.

We all know that enjoying our little hobby can be tough on our wallets. And your ears as your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend/dog repeatedly complains about those "little men". 

Pretty much the first piece of  advice new wargamers hear is "Use a primer to create a workable surface on your miniatures before painting".

Let me tell you this: I've been in this hobby since 2008, which is by no means long, but I have never EVER used primer. That's right.

Although a can of primer will only cost you about $10 and is able to cover about 30-50 miniatures, it's still an expense, which means it can be eliminated.

I think the first painting tutorials GW provided in the Assault on Black Reach set really affected me. It was always undercoat with black (didn't mention prime), basecoat and then highlight. I have never run into issues where the paint won't stick to the surface of plastic properly.

If you've noticed, a lot of the photos (actually, pretty much all to my great shame) on this blog show a partly painted miniature, with some bits in their unpainted grey. I just skip the priming step and move onto the basecoat, saving me money and time.

Metal is an altogether different story. Thankfully, GW has moved away from metal to Finecast, but primer is needed for metal figs. The paint won't adhere to the surface like it will do with plastic without primer.

To sum up: you don't need primer for plastic models. Instead save it for metal models, which will save you money, seeing as how metal models are becoming less common (outside of GW, this statement is becoming more relevant as many miniature businesses are switching to plastic)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Weekly Snapshot: Paperhammering a Leman Russ

I decided to start work on a Leman Russ for my new Imperial Guard force, which I'm waiting for to arrive. I've never really bought vehicles despite all the glory in 5th Edition, instead focusing on building up my infantry.

But vehicles are bloody expensive. Whereas you can get 10 infantry models for say $30, a tank costs $50 for one model.

So I decided to go the cheap, 'Paper hammer' way. As you can see, I built the beginnings of a Leman Russ with bits of cardboard cut out from a cereal box, and a template I got from the interwebs. It's fething tiring and my fingers are sore, but it helps me save some money.

Virtual Stranger at his blog: does an amazing job with these. When painted up, it looks basically indistinguishable from a real 40K model.

Perhaps in a month's time, I'll be able to achieve this level of quality...Hopefully.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Review: Vallejo Decal Fix + Medium with Tutorial

A couple of weeks ago, I received my order from Maelstrom Games. Vallejo's Decal Medium and Decal Fix.

I've always had a problem with my decals.

The surface would never be quite even and was always shiny. It was so obvious to a casual looker that I had applied a decal on my minis. There was even a stage where the decals I had applied previously simply slipped off.

What a waste of decals!

Decal Fix lets the decal apply securely to the mini, whilst Decal Medium gets rid of that uneven surface or sheen. At least that's what is supposed to happen.
On to the review/tutorial!:

Cut your decal out of the sheet, making sure that stick close to the edges. With rounded surfaces like Space Marine shoulder pads, compensate for the uneven surface by cutting a 'V' as shown. 

This isn't mandatory, but it is recommended. Apply a thin coat of gloss varnish so that you'll get a nice smooth surface. Wait for it to dry!

Apply the Decal Fix onto the surface. Dunk the decal in water as usual (GW provides us with basic instructions on the back of their decal sheets). Slowly and carefully ease the decal off the sheet with the help of a brush, onto the surface of the mini. 

Once it's dried, apply a thin coat of Decal Medium. 

Once it's dried, it could be a little shiny but can be easily solved by a matte varnish, which you would do normally anyway. 

So what do I think? These are amazing! I'm really pleased by the way it's turned out. It looks like it's been painted on, which was exactly what I was aiming for. There's a tonne in each bottle which will last you a few armies probably. 

Great value, great results. 

Final verdict: 

I am definitely glad I made the purchase, and has reinforced my affection of Vallejo even more!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Combating Plastic Crack Addiction

I've done nothing on the hobby this week, so no Weekly Snapshot from me :(

One problem I have been coming across lately is plastic crack addiction, or PCA. As the name suggests, it pretty much means that you're so addicted to buying new models and starting new armies, that you don't even have the time or money to finish any of them.

It's a problem many wargamers suffer from, and I suffer from it severely. Just this past week, I made the decision to start an allied Imperial Guard force, which knowing my PCA, will probably grow into a fully fledged army...

Besides that, I've had urges to start a Dark Eldar army, a Death Guard army and a Grey Knight Henchmen army. All in one week.

Wow. Well done GW. You've given me so many excuses to start new armies with the allied forces in 6th. But it hurts our wallets and our armies really hard.

Some tips to stop PCA:
  • Give yourself time to sit down and paint ONE army 
  • Look at some artwork or nicely done miniatures of ONE army
  • Finish ONE army so that it is fully assembled, painted and ready to field
  • Start a painting/modelling blog 
  • Sell off any armies that you don't really need/like
If you've noticed, ONE army is key. If you work to complete one army, then you don't need to start any new armies. It might even reinforce your loyalty to one army so that it'll be more enjoyable to paint and field. 

With any luck, your PCA will be at an end, and you and your wallet will thank you! 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Weekly Snapshot:SM to Plague Marine

Again, I haven't gotten much done this week because I've got some exams coming up.

However, I did manage to convert a regular Space Marine to a Death Guard plague marine. Let me tell you one thing.

Nurgle conversions are easy to achieve and look awesome. This guy was actually the FIRST 40K model I had ever painted. You know those cheap snap fit space marines that they give you for your first demo painting session at Games Workshop?

Yep. This is him. Papa Nurgle decided that he would strip the guy, chop him up and repose him. Then add some lovely little textures to the surface of the armour to make it look disgusting and appropriately Nurgly.

I don't know if this plague marine will be the first of many in a new army (new Chaos codex!) or just a fun thing I did. Either way it cost me pretty much nothing.
Just spare space marine bits, the demo SM, and bits of sprue and sand for the base.

If you're interested in reposing your snap fit marine (from either AOBR or the new Dark Vengeance, etc.) I made a tutorial a while back here

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Weekly Snapshot: AOBR Ork Convershun

I haven't been doing too much hobby this past week because I've got an exam coming up in a couple of weeks. So don't expect too many posts from me until their completion, I'm afraid.

Dark Vengeance, the new 40K starter set has been released, but I'm not planning on getting it this time round. For now...

So I've decided to repaint and convert my old Ork army which I've scrounged up from just purely AOBR Orks. I did a little reposing and made him look more...human. I was planning to run these guys as a WWII German inspired Blood Axe force.

Wow the guy hardly looks like an Ork anymore. He's still in the middle of painting, but I tried out a camo pattern on him which was new for me.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weekly Snapshot: Knightly Blood Angel Conversion

I've been looking at the Horus Heresy: Collected Vision for some inspiration, and I've found some really interesting looking Space Marine helmet designs.

Pictured above is an AOBR marine converted to be taller than the average marine and have a more dynamic pose. The reposing tutorial can be found here.

From a normal marine helmet, I raised the top of his head a little bit, gave him a 'beak' and added a cross design. It kinda looks like a medieval knight helmet.

I got my inspiration from this picture, of Chapter Master Astelan in the Collected Visions book:

Another pre-heresy space marine tutorial coming soon!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Explorations of Miniature Photography

I have a serious issue with my photography skills. No matter how hard I try, the picture ends up looking too dark or the colours don't come out right. I don't think I need to provide a picture as proof, because I believe my older blog posts will do...

Here is what I do so far:

  • Switch to Macro mode
    -ensures objects that are extremely close to the camera lens, are in focus
  • Sit the camera on the table top (or tripod)
    -so that there aren't any wobbles or disruptions in the photograph
  • Use a lightbox
    -so that light will be evenly dispersed across the whole model, and prevent shadows 
  • Use three white lamps
    -maximum lighting!
  • Use a white backdrop 
    -so that light will bounce off and onto the model
  • Shoot in a dark room
    -prevents external light from interfering and distorting the photograph

These are the fundamentals of taking good photographs of minis, but just what is wrong with me?
Exposure. This is how much light your camera lets in. So the higher your exposure, the more light your photograph will be.

Zero exposure

1.5 Exposure
Definitely a huge improvement! The problem is, it looks a little unnatural and the reds are too harsh. 

A little editing on Photoshop and voila! I think I may have found the solution to my problem!
I'll try to figure out other ways of improving my photography.

Hope it helped for others as well!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Weekly Snapshot: "We're Big Boys Now!"

"We're big boys now!" says my Blood Angels. Well, at least one of them.

This week, I made one of my boys true scale... in a manner of speaking. I simply chopped off his legs, pinned them so that they were longer, and filled the gap with green stuff.

Real simple stuff, but it has made my Space Marine so much more intimidating and realistic.
I've always had an issue with the proportions of the GW Space Marine. It was so...squat and even cuddly looking!

My reasoning behind this conversion was that I wanted to get the look of a genuine true scale conversion, but without all the hard work.

Doghouse Pattern Truescale Marine
Pictured above is Doghouse's amazing true scale marine. There's a link to his tutorial on Bolter and Chainsword if you're interested: here

But the thing is, it requires a feth load of time, effort, skill and loads of terminators legs.

A regular male's lower body is about the length of 4 heads stacked on top of another, excluding the groin. But GW's Space Marines aren't exactly in proportion. The upper part of the legs are shorter than the lower parts.

So I simply extended the upper parts so that they were equal in length to the lower parts. See my reasoning?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cutting Costs: The Sculpting Tool(s)

This is Part 3 of Cutting Costs.

We all know that enjoying our little hobby can be tough on our wallets. And your ears as your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend/dog repeatedly complains about those "little men". 

I've been trying my hand at sculpting lately, as you can see by the posts lately. Getting the right results can be tough. It's also frustrating when your giant fingerprint suddenly appears on the beautiful work you accomplished.

There's no real secret to sculpting. You need sculpting tools to do it. Imagine if you had to paint a tiny 28mm figure with your finger. Good luck with that!

But like all tools, dedicated sculpting tools are a liability; one that eats into your budget allocated for miniatures. 

Alright, I admit it. I'm guilty of using dedicated sculpting tools, one which I bought of course. But there's nothing wrong with using cheaper alternatives, you can achieve the same results most of the time.
I recommend this:

Good for your teeth, and good for your details! Use these for sculpting the details. Or, if you want a slightly larger size, you could always use the end of your brush. 

Sculpting putty has a habit of sticking to our fingers and our tools. A lot of people like to use oil or lubricant, but I use:

Water! Wet your hands and tools periodically with this. 

Next up:

These are good for achieving smooth areas. It's flat, cheap and also gives you an excuse to enjoy something delicious!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Weekly Snapshot: Stuck...On a floating Island!

So today, I don't have a 40K or even wargaming related Weekly Snapshot. Why? Because I've been playing this all week!

Minecraft. Aaah... The only thing that is more addictive than the plastic and resin crack Games Workshop and Forgeworld  produces.

It is ridiculously addictive.

Now I realise many of you would probably have already heard of this map, or even played it. But I just wanted to share how awesome it is anyway. 

So this past week, I've been trying out a custom built map called Skyblock. Basically, you start off on 
an island...that is floating in the sky. 

You can barely walk anywhere without falling off. You're given a couple of resources that will help you survive and expand your little island. Above is where you start off. Scary, huh.

In the screenshot above that, you can see I've expanded my island significantly. The thing is, you have to balance between expanding and maintaining. If you expand too much, monsters will spawn on your island and can absolutely wreak havoc especially because of the small area.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tutorial - Easy MK4 Space Marine Helmets

In last week's Weekly Snapshot, I went from a default MKVII Space Marine helmet, to an MKIV.

So how would one achieve such a thing?
First of all, make sure you have these:
  • An MKVII SM helmet
  • Some form of sculpting tools
  • Sculpting putty (I used Green Stuff)
  • Your hands

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Weekly Snapshot: Assault Marines!

So today, I spent a couple of hours working on my Blood Angels again. Man, I hadn't touched red paint in ages!

You'd think that the main parts of the mini; for example the red of the assault marines, would be the most difficult and time consuming to paint.


Yes, the red does take the longest to paint, but the details; helmet lenses, chainsword teeth, parchment, etc., are the most annoying. You have to keep switching the colour of the paint. They're so small, but they consume a surprisingly large amount of your painting time.

It's ridiculous.

I've spent all this time on them, yet I'm not happy with them. At least, not with the photographs.
I really don't know why they turn out darker than they should, I use a lightbox.

Perhaps I'll explore this issue in a post in the future.