Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Another "Chaos Convert" Comic

Two in a row, I know. I don't really have any more of these planned, so don't get too riled up.

EDIT: Changed image to reflect Tristan's higher spelling standards.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Comic: Chaos Convert

LINK: Here's a blank version if anyone wants to play around with it.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Burning Brand of Skalathrax

I am more and more interested in this Chaos Artefact, probably because (as far as I can tell) it's the only ranged weapon a Daemon Prince can take. Am I wrong? The uillustration shows him with a big ol' boltgun, but I sure can't find any way to give him anything from the wargear section.

Woot for ap3 and torrent. This thing can lay a template of hurt pretty much where you want it and kills half the loyalists under it dead. Add sould blaze for the change of another kill or two. Admittedly, at its absolute highest number of hits, soul blaze only has a 25% chance of killing one marine (0.5 burn out x 3 hits * 0.5 to wound * 0.33 armor, right?) I suppose it might be a little worrisome if you stick it on a lightly armored IC. 

So here's the more epic version of the BBoS. It's just a dragon head and hook from the chaos vehicle sprue, along with the igniter from the original flamer muzzle. Looking at the photo I can see gaps, so I'm guessing I'll be filling or filing/re-gluing soon. Ah, bleary eyes and late night hobbying.

rawr. I flame at you.

I spent most of the weekend writing PHP for work in prep for a dog & pony on Monday, so any hobbying I did was distinctly jeopardizing my deadlines. Poor, poor me.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Nurgle Jump Pack Throttle Bio-Control

No need to elucidate on this one.

The Lord of Pestilence continues. Like most sculpting I do the underlying volume is aluminum foil. I used colour shapers (oh, hey! pictured unintentionally in the top pic) to shape the green stuff more organically. A regular GW sculpting tool was used for the sphincters. I just pushed it straight into the center with the blade pointing in different directions. After that I used a colour shaper to compress the outside diameter a little. I also pinned a chaos space marine flamer to his left arm to represent the Burning Brand of Skalathrax, a chaos artefact. It's supposed to be an uber flamer, and as far as I can tell the only ranged weapon a daemon prince can purchase, but the flamer I used looks a little weedy. I might find something a bit beefier or sculpt one myself. I was trying to avoid using GW parts as much as possible, but I don't really know why. I'm using this as a 40k model, and that's all I plan on doing with it. Mixing some GW IP will tie it into the rest of the army.
Next item is a large bladder to act as fuel, sitting in the middle of the thrusters and some hoses and tubes to duct the ... whatever is going on there to wherever it needs to be.

Posted Progress and Secret Projects

The Nurgle Demon Prince continues to get work. Tonight I did the basic work to build his jump pack to make him a flying monstrous creature. Swooping with S6 AP3 vector strikes plus the Burning Brand of Skalathrax will be an interesting combination. 

The basic construction is the protection tubes that my W&N brushes were mailed in. I cut the tubes down and left the caps on for structural support. I then glued styrene bars to form a frame. Getting the isosceles triangle wasn't as has as I had imagined it would be. I cut the long leg first to fit where I wanted the thrusters to sit on the shoulders. I then positioned the third thruster roughly where I wanted it, cut a length of bar the distance between the third thruster and one of the others, then cut another bar that same size. I also used some thin styrene to wrap the open ends, but I'm not convinced that step did much for me. 
 Once the basic structure was build, I placed milliput domes on the top of each. I drilled the holes out in the classic nurgle pattern once the milliput was getting firm but wasn't yet cured. I will go over it and sand them smooth later. I imagine this to be the air intake for the jump pack, but in a world of disease demon princes I don't suppose any sort of rationale is necessary.
I smeared a thin coat of Vallejo black lava over the jump pack and a good part of the base. I love the semi-random texture it adds. Hopefully it will turn out as I am envisioning.

The first half of the DV cultists is built, bringing my assembled total to 58. That includes the 30 plague zombies.
I would say that brings me significantly close to having my army ready to roll, except I acquired 25 Flagellants in trade, and I'm sure they will see table time as cultists. I'd like to come up with some sort of autopistol for them to have. hmmm.
Lastly, we have the secret project. It's not that big a deal really, but my kids and I came up with this idea so I'm acting on it. I'd tell you what it is but you'd laugh, then realize I'm serious, then laugh some more.

Yes, I'm sculpting cat heads. They are definitely "heroic" scale  compared to normal cars, but they're still pretty darn small. This is pass #1 at them, and I'll go over with watered down milliput after they cure to smooth things out. Maybe I should have just done one and instamold reproduced it. Hmmm. I still can, I guess, if one turns out far superior to the rest.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Nurgle Demon Prince (Ultraforge)

Another hobby night comes and goes and I didn't do what I had planned. I did however do something with which I am pleased.

As I experienced in the past, Ultraforge makes some quality yuckiness. Now that I have my own CSM army, I thought I'd give this fellow another go as a Demon Prince. I've never been a big fan of GW's demon prince models, and this fellow looks like he could be an exalted plague marine just fine. 
I constructed the base from styrene, with a thick brass rod used to add structural integrity to the platform. The diagonal support beams are just for aesthetic. The goal was to suspend as much of the model over negative space as possible, and there is definitely a strange visual flow to the piece when you look at it. I think once the base is more muted and the mini more prominent it will be more like how I envisioned. I still intend to scratch build a large jump pack to act as "wings" for him. I'm thinking  1/2" tube, cut and arranged as three thrusters in the general nurgle trio shape. The outer two would be more or less in line with his shoulder joins, and the third centered on him and a bit more away from him. Jimmy suggested I grab some Ork Stormboy packs and use those, but I'd have to see how they size up. 

So the tally comes to about 70 playable models (painted or just assembled) and I have my first 2k game arranged soon vs. Blood Angels. This guy likes plasma cannons, but I think I can minimize damage if I keep distance between the models. Killing two or three 4-point models per plasma cannon shot will not wear this army down terrible fast. Unless he brings 15 of them. Then I have some problems. 

Ideas or suggestions for the jump pack or the base?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Forge World Chaos Sorcerer of Nurgle

This is the first thing I've submitted to CMON in over two years. It doesn't seem that long.

If you like it, please go vote on it!

If you don't like it.... well just look at it longer, I guess. Maybe it will grow on you. Heh. Nurgle will grow on you. Ewww.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chaos Cultists: Wargames Factory Style

I'm all in on Chaos Space Marines after putting the Rat Flail Cultist conversion together. Chaos is like crazy, crazy, crazy in your face, all the time. I traded a bunch of unassembled vanilla Marines for a bunch of painted Chaos Space Marines, so I have ready to.. um... repaint. They are good, but I just have something else in mind. But back to Cultists... DV comes with a paltry 20 Cultists, organized as two units of 10. Considering Cultist units can have 35 models in them these units don't seem very survivable. Enter the box of Wargames Factory Shock Troops I bought many moons ago. I didn't know what I wanted to do with them, but they seemed pretty cool and it was a pseudo-impulse-buy at the model shop I frequent. After a little time and energy, all of which was today oddly enough, here is an 18 model Cultist squad with autoguns.
These guys are normally built with their kaiser helmet / gas mask heads that make them look like DKoK. (They are pictured on the box that way, fwiw.) For Cultists, I went with the head I had the least interest in when I first got them..., the bug eyed mask (gas mask maybe?) with open back. For Cultists, it just seemed perfect, and I'm pleased with the result.

Oh, and did I mention that a box of 18 of these guys is $20? That's list price, not street price. 18 minis for $20. I am unaccustomed to that level of value. The squat little boxes they come in have six stacks of identical sprues with three figures and lots of options on each.

So the Cultists were built with almost completely stock parts, but I did throw a few knives on as bayonets. There are a few I used GW parts on to give them more of a Chaos flavor or switched parts around a little differently, and I'll show them isolated.
These four are the only models I did any real conversion work on, and even then it's barely conversion. The guy on the far left got the barrel of his gun extended by attaching the end of the flamethrower barrel to it. Since all six sprues have a flamethrower (and a grenade launcher, and the most uninspiring pistol in miniature wargaming history) there were plenty to chop up. The guy on the far right merely has a little chain from the Chaos Space Marine command sprue hanging from his gun. The third guy is nearly stock, but I glued the leftover axe blade from the Rat Flail conversion. The only real conversion work was on the second guy, who I will be using as Cultist Champion in the unit. The icon and spike are from the same command sprue as the chain from #4. The outstretched arm is the same pointing arm that #3 has (you can see him pointing better in the first pic) with the normal gun cradling hand glued in place of the pointing hand and the thumb re-sculpted the Space Marine helmet. The helmet is hollowed out, and after a rough cut getting a lot of material removed, I put some very thin Flex-I-File Plast-I-Weld (for the Touch-N-Flow application system... someone kill me Ple-A-Se.) and let it soften the plastic inside the helmet to a much smoother surface when it dried. The head is one of the regular shock troop heads with the top knot shape cut down. It looks like he's about to mic-drop that helmet. BMM-- wheeeeee.....

So now that I have almost doubled the number of Cultists I own by adding these, let's talk about Cultists in a Typhus army that are plague zombies! PZ's are fearless and have feel no pain, but you can't buy them upgrades and they can't use their guns. GW recently FAQ'd that you can add zombies beyond the starting count of 10 models. (Yes, there were some people arguing that adding models counted as an upgrades. Sigh.)

Here are the six I have assembled so far.
Unlike the Shock Troops, I feel like I'm missing something with these guys. Five of the six models on each spue have separate torso/legs, and one has combined torso/legs.  Hold on a second.... I need to get this out of the way...

Did I mention that a box of 30 of these guys is $20? Yeah, <$1 per zombie.

Okay, I feel better. Anyway I've only built 6/30 of these models but I don't feel like I'm doing it quite right. Some of the bodies didn't fit with the legs all that well, and I suspect there are combos that work better than others. I have plenty more to get the hang of them. As my previous post showed, they are a little less heroic scaled than GW models, but an empty Cadian helmet is going to fit one of them nicely. 
So between a starter box, $40 of Wargames Factory minis and a few dozen models acquired in trade I have better than 2k points, ready to be assembled. Let the Galaxy Burn, one insufficiently terrain covered table at a time.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hobby Tip: Use Satin Floss for Straps

A recent post on From The Warp discussed straps for bolters, so I figured I'd share my favorite non-hobby hobby item for this. Oral-B (a common dental manufacturer in the U.S.) makes a type of dental floss branded "Satin" that is a wide tape instead of a twisted cord like most other floss.

Yup. Looks like dental floss.
I've been using it for a few years for any leather strap or cloth wrap that I need to create. It's already the right size to represent am approximately 4" wide strap, and it's thin and durable. It takes superglue beautifully, and I typically glue the end to what I'm working on, then wrap the floss around after the glue has set and cut/glue the other side in place. This saves me a lot of trouble cutting putty sheets or styrene to shape/size. Plus, at 25m per container there's something like 1.5km of scale material. I'm thinking about buying a second box just in case they stop making it before I run out.
It's about the right size for a rifle strap.
Here I've used it for leather reins for a wolf, more to justify the crazy outstretched hand of the goblin shaman I wanted as rider than anything. The execution is a little clumsy, but you can see how the floss looks used as leather strap.

For my Skaven Giant, I wanted to attach some dwarf shields that  were painted in the scheme of a friend's army to replace the Empire shields that are normally on the giant's left arm. I cut holes in the shields and threaded floss through them to wrap around the arm, then painted it to blend in with the cloth straps that were already sculpted there.

Does anyone have a similar material they use out of the box for these sorts of tasks?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Chaos Sorcerer, Plague Zombie and a Rat Flail

So after purchasing a Dark Vengeance set and a CSM codex, I find myself wanting to put something together to field. Another army. Even I am surprised. I had bought Nurgle Lord Typhus a while ago, and between a unit of plague marines I traded for, the Hellbrute, HQ, Chosen and cultists in DV I figured I am most of the way to a fieldable army. I like the fact that Typhus can turn any unit of cultists into plague zombies. The only issue I had was the idea of giving up the cultists shooting for the sake of zombification. Enter FLGS and a box of Wargames Factory zombies. For a meager $20 you get 30 modern looking zombies with lots of permutation options, with 5 sprues of six zombies in each box. When I first opened them I was a little worried about scale, but seeing them next to a cultist leader from DV and alongside lots of other 40k models I am not so worried now. 

Size comparison shot ... Space Marine, Eldar Guardian, Imperial guardsman,
Wargames Factory Zombie, Chaos Cultist, Nurgle Chaos Sorcerer, Blood Bowl Dwarf

Sure, they look smaller than a Space Marine, but not appreciable smaller than an Imperial Guardsman. They will make excellent civilian zombies.

A few weeks ago during hobby night, Mike made me a "rat flail" for one of my cultists to wield. It goes well with the pose of the model. Original rat flail inspiration here.
Here's a little closer pic of the DV cultist and the WGF zombie. On a regular GW base they don't look too out of place.

Lastly we have the completed Nurgle Sorcerer. The fly on the banner turned out quite a bit more cartoony than I had hoped. Oh, well. He's off to his owner as soon as I can get over there. I will likely face him on the field of simulated battle one day. Considering I have played maybe 5 games of 40k in the last two years, it may be a while. Despite infrequent play, I still like to think of myself as a player of the game. Evidence says otherwise.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Disable TouchPad on Dell E6510 in Ubuntu

The touch pad on my laptop is way too sensitive. When I am typing on the keyboard my palms frequently brush the corners and send the mouse pointer flying off into unexpected screen real estate. For that reason I use this little command, stored in a script, for easy shell execution when I have an external mouse.

xinput | grep TouchPad | sed s/id=// | awk '{system("xinput set-prop " $7 " \"Device Enabled\" 0")}'

So here's the novice explanation of what this does. (I'll assume you know that the pipe ( "|" ) sends the output of one command as input to the next.) The command xinput controls the various input devices. Running the command on its own displays a list of input devices and (crucially) their id. Since the id changes from time to time we can't hard code it. So we run xinput and pipe the results through grep to get just the line we want, which includes the word TouchPad. Any other unique string from that line item would have sufficed. The actual description is "AlpsPS/2 ALPS DualPoint TouchPad". So now we have this line, returned from xinput and filtered by grep:

⎜   ↳ AlpsPS/2 ALPS DualPoint TouchPad         id=13 [slave  pointer  (2)]

Lots of extra info there since all we want is the 13. awk is a useful script for pulling apart tokens in a line, but it first needs the 13 to be by itself. To do that we'll use sed (stream editor) and run this line through the regular expression s/id=//. That just replaces all instances of the string "id=" and replaces them with "". So now we have:

⎜   ↳ AlpsPS/2 ALPS DualPoint TouchPad         13 [slave  pointer  (2)]

Great! Time to craft our xinput command to actually disable the touchpad. The actual command we want is as follows:

xinput set-prop 13 "Device Enabled" 0

We use awk to run that as a system command, passing our altered line from sed to it and sticking token 7 in between set-prop and "Device Enabled". There. Stick it into a .sh file and chmod u+x and you're done! Oh, and to turn it back on, use a 1 instead of a 0.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Carnivean Hates Vassal of Menoth


I suspect it's just paint envy though.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Unmatched Rat Meta

I have been playing Book of Heroes casually for a couple months now. It's fun, and modestly social if you are raiding in guilds.

But the clincher? The rats. Oh, man. Check this guy out. He's a rat, riding a bigger rat, swinging a flail made from the skull of a rat. Way to pack in the rats, Book of Heroes. The rat people are called Rath'een, and are the closest thing to Skaven I think they could include without needing to retain legal counsel. I was amused that the proper names for the Rath'een could have come right out of The Underempire too. Skar? Trask? Yeah, pretty sure I remember them. Heck, maybe the authors hung out there and the names are an homage. If I run into a Vorg I'll know it's true.

Short version: BoH is fun. Try it.

Monday, October 01, 2012

40k Nurgle Sorcerer WIP 2

I put some more work in on Mr. Nurgle here. He's looking about how I had expected, even if the Nurglings are a little low-contrast for my taste Once the backpack and banner are on I think he'll look more complete

The dark green bubbles on the base are liquid green stuff. This is the first time I've used it, and it was goopier than I expected. I ended up thinning a little with water before using it, much like I do with milliput. Once thinned it took a pretty nice hemisphere shape. I should have held it upside down a little while to let it set better.

The base is cork layers, Vallejo black lava for texture and little metal bits (grating and a gear) from the GW 40k basing set. I ended up carving down some spots for his feet to avoid the ever popular "floating on the base" look. I hate that, but it's really hard to avoid if you are making bases with any kind of complexity.

Oh, and tonight's secret sauce? Vallejo Model Color "black glaze" (70855.) I used it like crazy tonight, sometimes straight and sometimes mixed with a little brown glaze (70854.) I know shading with black has problems, but it just worked for me tonight. It certainly has a a different quality of color than VMC black (70950) does.