When EpicA first came out I cobbled together a Steel Legion army using vehicles from my SMv1 era Imperial Guard mixed in with Epic40k era vehicles. I was never keen on how the army looked with half of it looking Heresy era and half of it looking quite modern in terms of design. As the years passed I decided that my SMv1 Imperial Guard vehicles would be used as a Heresy era Imperial Guard army only and my Epic40k and EpicA era Imperial Guard vehicles would be used for my Cadian Shock Troops and Minervan Tank Legion armies. My Steel Legion army would instead be built using vehicles from the SMv2 era and only using vehicles with the very flat chassis armour pictured below:

chassis

I’m not quite sure how I managed to end up with so many of these vehicles from this particular range given that I wasn’t actively collecting them. However, I did recently buy the Chimera variants (Chimerro and Chimerax) on ebay for a very reasonable price to finish the army off.

Sculpted by Norman Swales and Dave Andrews, this is my least favourite range of Imperial Guard vehicles. The flat chassis armour coupled with minimal detail just looks so flat and boring. There is also the issue of bad mould slippage on both sides of the chassis armour. It ranges from barely any to so much you’ll never get it cleaned off and, unfortunately, it’s pretty bad on half of the vehicles I own. Amazingly it’s even on the White Dwarf advert for the Basilisk:

BasiliskAd
And worse than that some of them have double mould lines. Again this can be seen in an advert for White Dwarf:
Double Mould Line
It’s really quite shocking to see these sorts of problems in adverts for the models when they’ve just been released.
I usually dive in with a needle file for this sort of work but I found that using a very sharp knife to scrape the worst of the mold slippage off gave a better result. Even so, not all of the mould lines could be cleaned and I’ll just have to reluctantly live with them.

After all of that moaning, imagine my surprise when painting these models that they’re not only quick to paint but, gasp(!), I they look really great. Once the whole army is painted it’ll have a very coherent look to it. The intention was to paint the army as a modern Russian force but the colourscheme looked a bit bland on the test model I painted (no photo, it was quickly stripped and repainted) so I went with an olive green colourscheme. I like it but it it did occur to me that it’s quite close to the Space Marine Salamander Chapter colours.  Unfortunately, there’s no photo of the models I painted (6x Basilisks and 4x Manticores) because when I applied my Army Painter Anti-Shine Matt Varnish it dried horribly and now those ten models are sat in the stripping queue. I’m not impressed, moreso given that I checked the varnish on a test model first which dried perfectly. Very annoying..!

Although this range is fairly comprehensive it’s missing an appropriate Bombard sculpt. I own quite a lot of the Mk1 Bombard models so I converted three Bombards that would fit more with this range using three spare chassis from this range and the original Mk1 Bombard guns. A lot of the detail was filed off the Mk1 Bombard guns to keep the simple, flat, look of this range:

bombard

It’s really not a great photo because the model isn’t that green or shiny but I wanted to upload what I’d done to make the Bombard.

Finally, I did a quick check of how many Epic Imperial Guard and Space Marine vehicles that are now in my collection. I’ve now amassed 716 Imperial Guard and 297 Space Marine vehicles with more working their way to me in the post. That’s twice what I thought and I’m now not going to count my Ork vehicles nor am I going to tell my wife! 😉 Before you ask just over 200 are painted. If I pull my finger out I’m sure I can get another hundred or so painted this year.

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Like a lot of wargamers I ‘ve got too many projects on the go and I dip in and out of them as the mood takes me. One project I’ve been working on on a very ad-hoc basis is building a Minervan Armoured Legion for as little money as I can manage while I concentrate on my main Epic projects; Vraks and Krieg.

The Minervan Armoured Legion is a fun project because, unsurprisingly, you get to field a wide variety of tanks. Not only that but there’s a lot of scope to convert the Leman Russ variant tanks available for use with this army. Some of might be thinking why would I want to convert the tanks when the Forgeworld models are reasonably readily available? There are three reasons for this:

Firstly, I’m not willing to pay what some of these Forgeworld tanks go for on the second hand market. For example, Leman Russ Tank Destroyers for an average for £8-10 each? That’s far too pricey for me!

Secondly, (this is going to make me sound a bit weird) I like my tank sculpts within an army to look coherent, particularly the tracks. I realise that in a real world conflict involving armoured vehicles are all shapes and sizes but on the wargames table I like a nice coherent look if I can achieve that. Moving swiftly on…

Thirdly, Forgeworld didn’t release sculpts for the Leman Russ Annihilator or Exterminator variants, although the Annihilator variant isn’t in the Minervan Armoured Legion.

I skimmed through the army list and decided to convert three Leman Russ Exterminators using some broken Leman Russ Tanks I won on ebay:

exterminators1
exterminators2
exterminators3
exterminators4

How did I convert them? When I got hold of my Vraksian Malcador tanks they came with two types of guns meaning that they could be built as either the standard Malcadors or Malcador Annihilators. I’m intending to only build three of the Malcadors as Annihilators leaving me with seven of the below Annihilator guns:

exterminatorguns
The mold slippage is quite bad on some of them, which is surprising given how cleanly cast the tanks are, but these guns are actually very quick to clean up. To remove the Lascannon look the Annihilator guns have I filed down the angular barrel. I think it works enough, this is 6mm scale after all!

Next up will be converting Executioner, Destroyer and Thunderer variants which don’t actually look to difficult to achieve.

Image  —  Posted: March 1, 2015 in Uncategorized
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I’ve not had a lot of hobby time  this week but I managed to squeeze in building my Novan Dictum Command Centre. I was pleasantly surprised at just how quick it was to build as there was almost nothing to clean up on the model and the gaps were easily filled with a bit of green stuff. I don’t think I spent more than ten minutes putting the model together from start to finish and it looks great in bare metal:

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One bit of advice I would give is that the plug on the main turret is very small in comparison to what it plugs into:

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I filled the bit it plugs into with a blob of greenstuff to ensure a good fit.

Over the Christmas break I took some time to update my spreadsheet inventory of my Imperial Guard miniatures because I bought so many of them last year (and this year, oops!) I was a bit lost with which models I was intending to use with which army. After juggling things around on said spreadsheet I realised that I had enough models to run a Cadian Shock Troops list. This list would give me the opportunity to scratch build a couple of Stormlord Super Heavy tanks (I realise that the Stormlord Super Heavy tanks are “out there in the wild” but I’ve failed to get hold of any) and I would finally be able to field a Leviathan in EpicA in a “proper” list.

I really like the idea behind the Imperial Guard Leviathan. There’s just something about an Imperial Guard army backed up by huge Leviathan command centres that appeals to me more than using Titans. I own three in my Heresy era Imperial Guard army because you need to field at least three of them in a list to make using them worthwhile due to them being such juicy targets. However, I’ve never been a fan of the sculpt. It’s an ugly beast, with little detail, and getting it to fit together properly is an exercise in patience with an end result that just makes me go “meh”. Mine have been half painted for years and looking at them now I just can’t build up any enthusiasm to finish painting them.

leviathan

Anyway, I wanted to keep all three of my half painted ones for my Heresy era Imperial Guard army and the thought of coughing up £12-£15 for another model I don’t like didn’t appeal. I’ve been aware of Troublemaker Games for a while and their Troublemaker Novan Dictum Command Centre looked like a decent update of the classic (classic?) Citadel model:

dictum

First impressions of the model are very good. The detail is well defined and the casting is crisp with no flash.

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I really liked that the model has internal detail for those who want to keep the rear doors open on their model. I’ll be gluing my doors shut but it’s a nice touch all the same.

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Attempting to dry fit the model proved tricky. Like the Citadel one the two halves of the main body of the model don’t fit flush and the tracks didn’t fit particularly well into the main body of the model. To be fair, it’s nothing shocking but it is a reminder that multipart metal models like this require a bit more preparation before assembly. Oh and green stuff. 😉 Below is a photo of the initial dry fit:

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Some size comparisons with the initial dry fit of the model:

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All in all I’m really impressed with it. It fits perfectly with my existing Epic models and has enough detail to make painting it rewarding. All I need to do now is put it together properly.

Years ago I was very much against basing Epic scale tanks. I didn’t like the look of them and I thought that based tanks would look strange if they were based, for example, as urban bases but where then fielded on tables covered in grass. As time went on I warmed to the idea of basing my Epic scale tanks because it reduced the handling of the models themselves when moving them around. I originally used to use Warmaster bases but moved over to equivalent sized bases when I discovered them. I really liked the look I got with the bases and have since kept basing my tanks. In terms of gaming with based tanks I measure all distances from the tanks hull.

This year I made the decision to use slightly bigger bases for my tanks because some of the Epic 40k Imperial Guard range are quite wide what with them having additional armour plates on them or whatever and they look a bit squeezed onto the 20x40mm base. Instead I upped the base size for standard sized tanks, such as Leman Russ, to fit on 25x40mm bases. They look the right size giving a better visual balance to the base and model:

bases1

This was all great until I realised that the army I’m building and painting at the moment will include Forgeworld Epic models. As much as I really like the out of production Forgeworld Epic range the tanks are rather small compared to Citadel Epic models because they’re not quite the same scale and the Leman Russ tanks don’t come with side sponson weapons. This means that they look even more tiny on a 25x40mm base:

bases2

Yet a Forgeworld Hydra looks not only the right size on a 25x40mm base its guns will get a bit more protection when moving the model around:

bases3

However, I want all of my similar sized models to be on the same size of base. I decided that, sod it, they’ll all be on the same base and that the Leman Russ sized models will just look a little lost on their bases. This was all well and good until I finally managed to buy some Forgeworld Leman Russ Vanquishers for a sane price using the “Epic 40,000 Armageddon Buy Swap and Sell” Facebook group. The seller had based his tanks, IIRC, on 20x40mm bases with the tanks right at the very back of the base to offer a bit of protection to the tanks very fragile gun barrel. It was a good idea but sticking the Vanquisher at the back of the base looked odd. On a 25x40mm base it looked even more odd:

bases4

The solution was to put them on scenic bases. I really like the look of scenic bases but I’ve never done them because they can be time consuming but given how few Forgeworld tanks I own (currently 56) it shouldn’t add too much time if I did the bases in batches. I decided to start with the Vanquishers. The first thing was to chop up one of the small ruins sprues that used to come with the Epic 40k infantry bases, I’ve got a huge bag full of of these so I don’t need to worry too much about cutting a few up. I then planted Coal Ballast Scatter into the Greenstuff to be used as either big rocks or debris from the building:

vanquisherbases1

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The razor wire was from Army Painter:

razorwire

The razor wire was twisted around a small drill bit, stretched and then planted into the green stuff. It looked far too neat so I clipped it in various places and squashed it a bit. I then added coarse sand I bought from a pet shop about 15 years ago and applied that to the base near to the building ruins:

bases5

I painted over the coarse sand and once dry I applied fine sand to the rest of the base:

bases6

I then painted the ruins and coarse sand Vallejo Basalt Grey (70.869):

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After that the bases were painted as:

  • Army Painter Dark Tone wash over all of the grey areas
  • All grey areas were drybrushed Vallejo Basalt Grey (70.869)
  • The fine sand was painted Vallejo Chocolate Brown (70.872)
  • Vallejo Beige Brown (70.875) dry brush on the fine sand
  • Vallejo German Camo Beige (70.821) dry brush on the fine sand

The razor wire was painted as follows:

  • Vallejo Black (72.051)
  • Vallejo Gunmetal Grey (70.863)
  • Citadel Chestnut ink wash
  • Vallejo Gunmetal Grey dry brush

The finished bases, and tanks, looking as follows:

vanquishers

vanquishers1vanquishers2

vanquishers3

2014 was not a good year for me when it came to painting miniatures. Don’t worry, I won’t bore you all with the details but the long and short of it was that I only painted one model. All year. Oh dear.. On a brighter note I bought a large number of miniatures and I did some very successful trading enabling me to get hold of miniatures I honestly didn’t think I’d ever get my grubby hands on.

It was this trading that resulted in me getting hold of a lot of now long OOP Epic forumware that I’ve been after for a few years. The Epic miniatures in question being Vraksian and Deathkorps of Krieg models. They were well worth the effort because they are, without a doubt, fantastic sculpts.

The colour scheme I’ve used is very similar in tone to that used in the Forgeworld Siege of Vraks books. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to photograph particularly well making the models look either too green or too orange. Anyway, the colour scheme required using colours I wouldn’t normally use that are mainly from the Vallejo Model Colour range. I also resisted the temptation to paint the tank tracks silver and, instead, painted them dark grey then applied a black wash to them. It looks more realistic and I think I prefer it to the traditional silver with a black wash.

Anyway onto the models I’ve painted so far:

Malcador Defenders

I absolutely love these Malcador Defender models, there’s a very WW1 feel to them.

malcadordefender1

malcadordefender2

malcadordefender3

Valdor Tank Hunters

Another great Forgeworld model shrunk down into Epic scale:

valdortankhunter1

valdortankhunter2

The models have since been based with fine basing sand that was painted a dark brown then highlighted. It’s much more simple than I normally do but it fits the models.

I’ve now got nine Malcador tanks and three Malcador Annihilators to build and paint. These look very fiddly to build but should be well worth the effort.

I’m not even going to look at when I last did a blog post because I know it was a very long time ago. Life in 2014 has been very hectic and my hobby time has revolved more around buying and selling miniatures than anything else. Disappointing to say the least but sometimes that’s just how things go.

Ok, excuses over, where am I? I’m still slowly finishing off collecting my pre-slotta Dark Elf army off and I’m currently, very slowly, trying to put a unit of 25 Gnomes for my Dwarf army using primarily Grenadier sculpts. These seem to be fairly hard to get hold of so progress is rather slow with only three collected in six months, it could take me a while to build that unit of 25! Because of this I started to look around for other options. Although they’re very easy to come by I don’t want to use Citadel Gnomes because I’m not keen on them and I don’t think that they’ll mix well with my Grenadier Dwarves. So, I had a look around and nothing seemed to catch my eye enough to make me want to buy a unit of them. However, I did like the look of two Reaper miniatures; Ingrid and Elliwyn Heatherlark. I thought that Ingrid would make a good unit leader and Elliwyn would work as a musician because she has a horn on her belt. I wasn’t too keen on the price of these models, more so given that they might be too big for the unit they were joining (the Grenadier Gnomes are tiny), and then I noticed that they were available as part of the Reaper Bones range for just over £1 each. Hmm.. tempting!

bones1

I’ve been aware of Reaper Bones since their Kickstarter was first announced and I really liked the idea of a one piece cast model for a very cheap price. It does go against the grain to buy polymer plastic instead of metal but at just over £1 each they were worth a punt. Two days later they turned up and my immediate thoughts were positive. The detail looked good enough and size wise Ingrid was fine but Elliwyn would require being removed from her base which shouldn’t be a big deal.

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However, I discovered how horribly bendy they are. In the below picture I’m barely applying any pressure to the sword arm:

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I was expecting them to be a similar plastic to the old Citadel Warlock of Firetop Mountain plastics (I think it’s because of the white polymer plastic) and instead they reminded me of cheapo 70’s plastic toy soldiers, you know the ones with the really bendy rifles? Yes, them. The only problem with Ingrid was how bendy her sword was, it’s was so weak I replaced it with something out of my bits box:

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Elliwyn on the other hand has very bendy arms and her ankles are very weak. I realise that the models I bought are small, and cheap, but even so Elliwyn wasn’t far off from being bits box fodder.

As I’m not one to throw things out, I decided to convert Elliwyn to improve the strength of the model while at the same time giving my unit a standard bearer. The first thing I had to do was to remove the mold lines from the model. This is a different experience to the usual scraping plastic models require as I had to carefully carve the mold lines from the model. This isn’t a problem with a good small sharp blade but there were still some fiddly bits like in-between the fingers.

Next, I carefully removed the solid base and carved it into a slotta base using a sharp hobby knife. This was an easy process, even with the models bendy ankles. Removing the shield was also fairly easy even though her arm would bend away from the pressure of the knife. If you’ve ever carved slightly bendy Green Stuff it was much like that. I glued on a Citadel shield that was also big enough to glue the shield firmly in place against the knapsack on her back securing her arm in place.

The next step was to cut her sword off and replace the hilt so she is holding brass rod for a standard. I had to ponder this because I wasn’t convinced that I could successfully drill through such a small hand that was made out of a rubbery polymer plastic. Instead I cut the hilt out of her hand then placing the tip of the craft knife at the top of her hand and drilled a hole using the tip of a craft knife. This worked very well and I had a neatly removed hilt plus created a decent hole in her hand to push the brass rod through. Ok, the problem was that I only had 2mm brass rod and the hole look about 1mm. I didn’t want to wait until I’d ordered some 1mm brass rod and my metal Gnomes are all holding weapons with hafts that are about 2mm thick. Instead, I decided to push the 2mm brass rod through the hole thinking that I’d probably have to cut where the thumb joins her hand and this is where I got a pleasant surprise.. The hole stretched and I managed to feed the brass rod through it. Even better it looked “right”. I drilled a hole in the plastic base and fed the rod through that meaning that I’d made the bendy figure about as strong as you’d expect a plastic figure to be and the right height to the other models when ranked up:

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I’d read that the Reaper polymer plastic doesn’t require undercoating and that paint applied to it is almost impossible to rub off. My Vallejo black undercoat took to the model very well but it did rub off if you put effort into it, as you’d expect with any model.

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In review, I was pleasantly surprised and disappointed in equal measure with the models. I realise that these models are aimed more at the budget dungeon crawl/RPG market than the wargames market so your mileage will vary with them. I’m still not keen on how bendy the models are and the Elliwyn Heatherlark was only rescued from ending up in my bits box with a bit of, admittedly easy, converting. I guess the large models in the Reaper Bones range won’t suffer from being bendy or it’ll be a less noticeable. The detail is fairly good but there are areas of soft definition, typically on the chainmail sections and hair. I will have to see how they paint up and compare them against other budget plastic models I own. Although I spent less than this, the average price for the two models I bought is nearly £2 each which feels expensive for what you’re getting. I’m not sure if I’d buy any more of them unless the only way to get a particular sculpt was from the Reaper Bones range.

Finally, I also got around to basing these:

UndeadOgres

But more on those next time. 🙂