Friday, November 09, 2012

Deepthought: Wisdom of the Norns

This is a hobby editorial. I went to school to become and try to make my living as a writer. Though I love the hobby, and I'd like nothing better than to sculpt all day, posting amazing things on here for all to ogle, there are times when the urge to write strikes, and I try to use these interludes to delve deeper into important parts of the hobby. I hope you find the following article interesting, and I promise to get back to posting cool models soon!

Alright. So. I've been kind of out of the world for some time, but every so often, I think about Modern Synthesist and worry that I should be getting back to it. I've been dealing with some change and uncertainty in real life, which has caused me to switch trains, slightly, and put models on the back burner as I looked for work that actually paid.

What's more, as it's a subject that relates to this article (which I wrote MONTHS ago), My Norn Queen of just over two years is no more. Well, she's still around, just not with me. That being said, she is a remarkable person and was the inspiration for this article. In the hope that there are more people out there like her, and in the hope that some people can empathize with the weird, personal stigma I felt about 40K, here is the article. Also, I'm not going to go in and change all the language to the past tense because that seems weird.


This is kind of a weird idea for an Editorial (as most of them seem to be), so please bear with me...

So I've got myself a girlfriend, and I call her my Norn Queen. She does sweet stuff for me, like giving me tickets to GD UK for my birthday last year, and then being so interested in the event that she accompanied me to it. That seems like a perfectly normal act if this were any sane, equal relationship. However, unfortunately, I am a Geek of the 40K variety, so when a girlfriend buys me tickets to Games Day, and then asks to go with me, it is an Event: something to be celebrated and screamed from the rooftops...solely because she showed an interest in my hobby.

And, because you're all like me, you're probably thinking the same thing: wow! Amazing! What a girl! How rare! does that make any sense?

Somewhere along the line, I--like I expect so many of us have--came to the conclusion that this Hobby we're into was certainly dorky and possibly reprehensible. It was something to be discussed with other people who I was sure were into the hobby, and not with anyone else. All through high school it was this way: where my Warhammer 40K hobby was my dorky black spot, and I tried to keep it from my non-hobby friends for as long as I could manage.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Art of Yours Truly

Alright, so, I've been posting concept art, off and on, from--mostly--artists in the Tyranid community. Like I've said before, I love concept art and find it wonderfully inspiring. When I posted up my last ARTicle (see what I did there?), someone commented that, though I post sketches from all these other artists, I never post any of my own.

I tried to explain it away, saying that I wasn't much of an artist when it came to drawing, and that I got my ideas firmed up best in real models.

I later discovered that the Anonymous poster was, in fact, my own brother, which caused me to discount his comment entirely until he explained his reasoning. He said that he'd seen the kinds of random doodles I do to get ideas about how to lay out models/to preserve the images that flash through my brain. While he agreed that they weren't "Art," he thought that there may be people out there who were daunted by the idea of sketching something and who don't dare draw because they feel their drawings are terrible. He's a very different kind of artist than me, and I think that in this difference he has more patience with all kinds of art, while I tend to discount anything I do that isn't perfect.

All philosophical art posturing aside, he told me that I should whip up a post about the random sketches I do to show that cool models can come from random sketches. I think that maybe he's right, and in the vein of the How To Sculpt series, I hope that this post shows people that sometimes just doing something is enough: that you don't have to be amazing to at least be good.

If not, it should at least be good for some LOL'z.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Warning! Incoming Price Hike!

GW's generic announcement of their price hike at the end of May of last year. I had to really dig on their site to find this, and I haven't been able to find a similar one for this year's hike.

This is going to sound like belly-aching, but I just want to make sure that no one gets blind-sided by this. News coming in from independent retailers is that Games Workshop has sent around a message detailing products that are going to have their prices increased in June. The complete list of price increases can be found in the BoLS Lounge.

Price hikes are lame, and I think we can all agree on that. They're lamer still when they come out of nowhere with no warning. So, though the adequate response to a price hike should be a buying freeze, if you need to get some GW product right now, best to buy it soon before it goes up, and best to buy it from an independent retailer who offers a %-off and makes sure less cash flows into the company coffers.

Alright. Flame off. Consider yourselves advised. I promise I'll get back to making fun things now...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Announcements: Winners and Workshops

Howdy Folks,

I've now gotten in touch with both winners of the 10,000 View Giveaway, and they've both come back with their model choices, so I guess I'm good to announce them here.

Krewl Rain from Warpshadow was our first winner, and she has asked me to whip up a Tyranid Prime for her, armed with bonesword, lashwhip, and some other mystery weapon. I feel rather guilty about it, but I haven't, actually, made a Tyranid Prime since the codex came out, despite having all kinds of decent ideas for them. This project will be a good kick in the rump to get those ideas down in a model.

Next up, Natfka, from Faeit 212 won the second prize, and he has requested that I craft him a convincing Asdrubael Vect (can you believe I've been calling him Absurdrael all these years? how fitting is that?) stand-in as the only current Games Workshop model for that powerful character is pewter and wears a funny hat. I've already envisioned the dark lord striding down the deck of his Dias of Destruction with his Scepter of the Dark City held aloft. I'm taking this as an opportunity to experiment with a non-combat pose, and I'm hoping that I can make Vect look at once menacing and regal. I'm excited about making the Scepter, as it should be the focal point of the model, but I'm also keen for the opportunity to really pimp out Vect's ghostplate armour.

I can't wait to start on both models, and I'll surely be posting progress here.

I'd also like to plug a Workshop that Simon Elsen (also known as Terrorfex on Warpshadow or Katan on 5th Dimension) is organizing for September. He's taking a step down the road of the Massive Voodoo kids and is offering his first ever painting workshop. If you're wondering why you should want to join Simon's workshop, you need look no further than the GW What's New blog, which he has been frequenting of late, or his galleries over on 5th Dimension.

The workshop is taking place in Germany, so if that is where you hail from, or if you can get there without too much trouble, check out the details over on 5th Dimension. So far they've only been posted in German, so I hope you're fluent.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

10,000 Views Giveaway Announcement

The results are in, and I'd like to congratulate the two lucky winners of my first-ever Commission Giveaway contest. They were drawn earlier today by a special guest, and you can see the results without further ado in the following video:

If you were lucky enough to be selected, please get in touch with me and let me know what kind of commission you'd like me to make, provided that it falls within the aforementioned guidelines. If you weren't chosen this time, then don't worry as I'm sure I'll be doing another giveaway some time soon.

I can't wait to see what kind of projects the winners come up with...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Coven Raider Update

Here's an update for my Coven Raider project, but it's been so long since I posted it that I figure this may be the first time that some people are seeing the project.

My concept for the Coven Raider was something a little more than the common Raider+Tentacles. Though it was a little more expensive than slapping some tentacles on a Raider, I wanted to have a Raider that was powered by a Talos. My idea was a bit like the Talos would be pulling the Raider, except it would be built into the body.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Olden Demon Entries

Yes, that's right: Olden Demon Entries.

Despite fraternizing with and doing commissions for Golden Demon winning artists, I've never actually scored a demon for myself. Years ago I tried: once with a Red Terror and once with an Old One Eye (somehow that seems fitting). Though I've taken shots of these two models before, while I had my photography set up out to take some other photos, I thought I should try to get some nicer ones of these models as well.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Deepthought: We. Are. The Hobby.

This is a hobby editorial. I went to school to become and try to make my living as a writer. Though I love the hobby, and I'd like nothing better than to sculpt all day, posting amazing things on here for all to ogle, there are times when the urge to write strikes, and I try to use these interludes to delve deeper into important parts of the hobby. I hope you find the following article interesting, and I promise to get back to posting cool models soon!

First off, I'd like to state that this is not going to be one of those articles.

Anyone who knows me from Warpshadow knows that I don't go in for Games Workshop bashing. Though this may start with a bit of negative sentiment, I would ask you to stick with the article and read it through 'til the end as the end, in a way, is the most important part. That being said, it's a biggie, so best to grab a cuppa something to go along with it.

Though I don't go in for Company Bashing, I got very close last May, when it seemed like The Company was doing everything in their power to squeeze more money out of their Hobbyists (heck, at one point I was planning a revolution). On May 18th of last year, at the height of the Internet furor over price hikes, Finecast (and its further price hikes), and the restriction of UK-based, world-wide online retailers, Games Workshop CEO Mark Wells sent out a letter to hobbyists. If you missed it, the full letter can be viewed on Beasts of War.

There are many things I could take issue with in this letter, but the greatest and most glaring of them is the following, taken verbatim from the letter that Mark Wells, CEO of Games Workshop, sent out to a hobbyist:

...the simple fact is that European internet traders will not invest any money in growing the hobby in your country. Their model is to minimise their costs and free-ride on the investment of Games Workshop and local independent shops in creating a customer base.

For all my lack of Games Workshop bashing, that was a statement that rankled me. Though there may well be some free-riding internet retailers, there are also SCADS more internet retailers who support themselves by selling models so that they can spend the rest of their days writing hobby articles or creating cool conversions for other hobbyists to use. Some of these online retailers who invest a goodly portion of their time into growing the hobby online took the statement as what it was: a direct slap in the face, and they posted comments like this one from Matthew over at

The gist of this letter seemed to be the idea that Games Workshop invests more time and money than anyone in growing this hobby, so it makes sense to pay their prices and not to support freeloading online retailers. It got me thinking about just how much time and money all of us in this interconnected, online, miniature community invest into this hobby. I had a revelation about the nature of what our communities had evolved into: I thought that if we could ever herd together the 1,000 cats of our online community and convince them to dream a single dream, we would be the ones at the controls of this hobby community and not The Company. I came to a realization that is the first main thrust of this article. It was a simple statement that belies the foundation-shaking strength of the sentiment behind it:

We. Are. The Hobby.

You, and me; what we do here, and the interactions that hobbyists have on miniature-based blogs and forums all over the net. We are the hobby.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

That's All, Folks!

That's it; that's all. The window of opportunity for the 10,000 view giveaway has now closed. Thanks to all of you who emailed and commented and linked to the blog. I hope everyone managed to get their comments and emails in on time. As I'm about to go away for an extended long weekend, I may not be able to draw the two winners until next week sometime, but we'll see how things shake out. I'm really excited to see who wins and see what kind of diabolical things they come up with for me to make for them.

If you missed this opportunity, I'm pretty sure that I'll be doing another giveaway in the near future based on how much interest there has ben in this one, so keep on pointing people to the blog, and we'll see how long it takes to reach another milestone.

25,000 views? 50,000 views? Who knows?!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How To Sculpt Miniatures 4: What to Buy

This How to Sculpt Miniatures series is my attempt to demystify the idea of sculpting your own miniatures. It seems that more and more people are taking cracks at it these days as the means of production are getting so very cheap and third-party casting companies are growing like mushrooms. Still, no matter how many head-swap bits are retailed, there is going to come a time when you have an awesome idea for a miniature, and there might not be a compatible, ready-made bit. You're going to have to make it yourself, and it is my belief that the only thing standing in your way is a few helpful tips.

Greetings Epoxy Crafters!

I was trying to decide whether to write this article or not to write this article. I figured that if anyone was interested in procuring the tools/materials I highlighted, they would probably just look them up on the Internet, but, in case you're lazy or you're looking for some direction, I'll go over where I found the tools and materials I recommend.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rocketgaunts: Alternate Plastic Gargoyles

REMINDER: If you haven't gotten around to it yet, you've only got until tomorrow at midnight to enter the 10,000 View Commission Giveaway, so be sure to get on it :)

For all my talk of making Tyranids, there have been painfully few of them kicking around this blog for a while now, so here's an attempt to address that discrepancy! Anyone who has been around Warpshadow has, likely, already run across my Rocketgaunt concept, but I thought I'd dig out my rats with wings, dust them off, and take some better photographs of them.

The Rocketgaunt originated back when the idea of plastic gargoyles was just a rumour on the breeze. The only gargoyles available were the annoying, precarious, flying-brick pewter models. I was determined to find a way to build plastic gargoyles out of a pile of Macragge Termagaunts and some other more-or-less unneeded Tyranid bits. I took my inspiration from Tyson Koch, also known as Menelker, and his Rocket Tyrant solution for a flying Hive Tyrant:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Feel More Pain: Wracks' Pain Counters Done

They were pretty far along when last I posted my first update about them, but the Pain Counters for the Wracks squad are now complete. 
I have a good deal of love for the Grotesque squad's pain counters as they were my first and they helped me pioneer the idea of the counter representing one victim becoming more twisted by pain. Still, I think that I'm happier with how these guys came out. They seem a little cleaner (in terms of construction) than the former, while also seeming more messy (in terms of the scenes being depicted).

That being said, for my next set of pain counters, I'm going to go back to the idea of the victim becoming a testament to pain: a kind of twisted sculpture. While working on the coven, I've become obsessed with the whole "external spine" idea, and I think I can get decent milage out of a face-down victim whose spine is turning into a veritable work of art growing out of his back.

Until then, let's take some more looks at these guys. I'm happy these pain counters gave me the chance to get more hemavores out on the field. I think these things are super creepy, but they are in no way present in most of the Coven kits. I look forward to trying to remedy that by sculpting many more of them.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

10,000 View Commission Giveaway

UPDATE: The 10,000 View Giveaway is now closed and I've shut down the comments for this post. Thank you for your entries, and I look forward to the next milestone giveaway I'm able to run.

Folks, it happened sometime Monday night: Modern Synthesist broke 10,000 views. Now, I know there are blogs out there that are viewed a heck of a lot more than that, but it's a momentous sort of a milestone for me now, shortly after this little bloggerino celebrated its first birthday.
There are certain folks I should thank for getting the Modern Synthesist name out there:

Warpshadow - The crazy, tentacle-saluting kids who have been with me since the beginning (nearly 10 years ago, EEK!), commenting on all my Nid projects and helping to make them perfect. If you've been looking for a positive, constructive, talented group of Tyranid players and modelers, you should check out the forums on Warpshadow.

The Dark City - I've lurked around the Dark City for a while, but I only began posting there recently. A more wretched hive of scum and villainy you will never find, so if you're into Dark Eldar, check the forum out. The folks over there have been wonderfully complimentary of my modest progress on my Coven units.

Eye of Error - LuckyNo.5's fantastic conversion blog. If you haven't seen it, you need to check it out. He's got some great Dark Eldar projects, and he's currently working on some Undersea Chaos Marines, with all kinds of sweet diving gear and TENTACLES! Also, he's come up with a clever Grotesques conversion that I love second only to my own (in fact, his may be a bit more elegant than mine).

Faeit 212 - I've been following Natfka's 40K Rumours blog for about a year now, and he always keeps me in the know. I'm pretty sure it was him adding me to his list of blog affiliates that pushed me over the 10,000 mark last night, so I'm glad that we're talking about sharing some of my modeling content on his blog as it's the least I could do to repay him for the favour. What's more, if you've come here from Faeit, this post will be your chance to possibly be rewarded for your hard work!

To say thanks to all you fine folks who roll up here so frequently, as well as to those who have just stumbled across this blog, I thought I should do...something. I wasn't really sure what to do, so I'll jump in with both feet and probably bite off more than I can chew:

Mr_Pink's First Ever Commission Giveaway!

Monday, May 07, 2012

How to Sculpt Miniatures 3: Sculpting Skills

This How to Sculpt Miniatures series is my attempt to demystify the idea of sculpting your own miniatures. It seems that more and more people are taking cracks at it these days as the means of production are getting so very cheap and third-party casting companies are growing like mushrooms. Still, no matter how many head-swap bits are retailed, there is going to come a time when you have an awesome idea for a miniature, and there might not be a compatible, ready-made bit. You're going to have to make it yourself, and it is my belief that the only thing standing in your way is a few helpful tips.

UPDATE: I updated this article on Wednesday May 9 to add in a fourth Caveat. It was the type of thing that seemed obvious, so I left it out, but I have since realized that it is pretty important if you've never sculpted before or are just starting. Be sure to check it out below!

The following is best viewed as a continuation of How to Sculpt Miniatures 2 as I wasn't exactly sure where you break that article. Now that I've gone over the putties I use and have talked a bit about how to get a bit more out of them, I'll be getting into the nitty gritty of how parts 1 (tools) and 2 (putties) come together.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Shambling Masses: Wracks. Done.

There wasn't a whole helluvalot changed since my last update on the Wracks, but I am happy to say that they are now DONESKI! I hope that the gentleman who commissioned them will be well pleased with how they turned out. Both they and the Grotesques wound up being far bigger a project than either one of us had expected, but, for me, that is mostly because I wound up putting a lot more work into them than I had expected they'd need.

Fortunately, I'm happy with the finished product, and I will be sad to see them go when it comes time to send them on their way to their new owner.

For now, though, here are some photos of them. I've been working on my model photography as well, and the addition of an external flash has opened up whole new worlds of glorious lighting to me. Though I could have gone in and edited the colours a bit, these turned out pretty well for a straight shot-to-net process.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

How to Sculpt Miniatures 2: How to use Epoxy Putty, Greenstuff, Apoxie Sculpt

This How to Sculpt Miniatures series is my attempt to demystify the idea of sculpting your own miniatures. It seems that more and more people are taking cracks at it these days as the means of production are getting so very cheap and third-party casting companies are growing like mushrooms. Still, no matter how many head-swap bits are retailed, there is going to come a time when you have an awesome idea for a miniature, and there might not be a compatible, ready-made bit. You're going to have to make it yourself, and it is my belief that the only thing standing in your way is a few helpful tips.

Like I mentioned in my previous article on tools: I don't consider myself a trained professional, just an experienced amateur. Thus, I'm going to be talking about the putties I use, but, unfortunately, I won't be able to tell you anything about super sculpey or milliput, procreate or brown stuff. But that's alright because it's my goal to convince you that all you really need for 98% of your sculpting projects are two reasonably cheap, readily available putties. This article will be a general overview with a few tips about how to have more control over your putty, but it got a little long, so I will be saving hands-on techniques for my next installment. Still, I hope you find this one helpful in getting you better acquainted with sculpting mediums.

UPDATE: I've just polished off the video versions of these tutorials, and you'll find the second video, all about putty, below. The video is best consumed as an illustration to this article, so I'd still recommend reviewing both. ENJOY!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tyran Table Interview with

I got lost in the woods with the Norn Queen this week, which has meant that it has been a slower week when it comes to modeling projects, so I thought I'd post the following blast from the past. Back in 2009, when I tried to coordinate the first, full-scale Warpshadow table build while entertaining Germans, wrapping up my full-time job, and preparing to head to Japan for two years, we took on the task of recreating the battle at Tyran (it was for this project that Tom Box and I took a run at modernizing the Screamer Killer).

Tyran was the first official encounter between the Imperium and the eponymously named "Tyranids". It is the oldest of bits of Tyranid fluff, and it was the kind of thing a board full of Tyranid players wanted to do right when it came to creating a table to portray it. However, I was the project manager, and with all the aforementioned distractions going on, I feel like I never really managed to do the table build justice. I was stressed right up until the day, and though I'm sure folks had a good time and the table went alright, I was left focusing on what we missed out on, rather than what we accomplished.

Anyway. The Infestation of Casavant Prime it wasn't, but I guess I should revel in the fact that we did manage to coordinate Tyranid modelers from all over the globe to get it done. At Games Day Toronto 2009, the Canadian dudes rolled on by to film the table and to interview me, and here's how it came out.

NOTE: In the caption below the video, it identifies the Nids in the video as belonging to my army. This is very much not the case (particularly since some of Moloch's Lictors and Hormagaunts were in there), and once the project was over, I wound up shipping the majority of the nids back to their respective creators. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to Sculpt Miniatures 1: Best tools for sculpting miniatures

This How to Sculpt Miniatures series is my attempt to demystify the idea of sculpting your own miniatures. It seems that more and more people are taking cracks at it these days as the means of production are getting so very cheap. Whether you take it on the old fashioned way, with rubber and resin and lots of painstaking sculpting, or via the Quick N Dirty route of 3D CAD/Printing, the Internet has offered the instructions and made cheap the tools required to make your own models. This has lead to third-party miniature companies growing like mushrooms, increasing the diversity of 28mm scale models out there to a degree that was never previously imagined.

Still, no matter how many head-swap bits are retailed, there is going to come a time when you have an awesome idea for a miniature, and there might not be a compatible, ready-made bit. You're going to have to make it yourself. I speak from experience when I say this is a daunting prospect. I am not a Sculptor. I was not professionally trained, and I dropped out of Art after the tenth grade on the belief that I wasn't talented enough to continue. Anything I know about sculpting, I learned by doing, and I learned it trying to make better models. All I can tell you is what I have learned, but it is my hope that through some simple articles, I might be able to impart all the basic knowledge you need to get started at sculpting. After  that, it's all up to how much you practice :)

I wasn't sure whether to start this series with Tools or Materials, but I've elected to go with Tools. In this article, I'm going to give examples of the kinds of tools I use along with photos of each one.

UPDATE: I've just polished off the video versions of these tutorials, and you'll find the first video, all about tools, below. The video is best consumed as an illustration to this article, so I'd still recommend reviewing both. ENJOY!

Sculpting miniatures becomes much easier once you have some proper tools to work with, but that isn't to say that you should head out to your local art shop and buy up every sculpting tool they have on hand. I have been rather disappointed to find that the majority of the tools in my local art shops are for sculpting clay, and they are nowhere near fine enough for the kind of work you want to do when sculpting miniatures.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Return of Moloch: Hive Fleet Ouroboros

As the recent White Dwarf featuring the new Tyranid releases may have caused some confusion, I thought it be best if I set the record straight about where "Hive Fleet Ouroboros" originated. You may have previously seen these kicking around the ol' bloggerino:

They are all projects that Moloch and I have collaborated on over the years. However, compared to the photos from my slew of Hive Fleet Moloch posts, you may wonder about the shift in colour scheme from the Moloch reds and blacks. Well, these were certainly all painted by Moloch, and they mark a shift in his Tyranid evolution that took place shortly after the release of the fourth edition Tyranid codex. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Coven Wracks Update

The Wracks are the next unit from Bob's Big Bad Haemonculus Coven that are nearing completion.
As a couple of them have been pretty much done for a while, I focused more on the ones who have come a long way of late for this update.

First up, Sir Inspired by 300!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Art of Mark Wood

The concept series is my schizophrenic attempt to shine light on the art that inspires me. I always do some of my best work when working from concept sketches. I find the hard lines and white space conducive to creation as they give you just enough definition to get you going, while still leaving space to do your own thing. Here's hoping you find these sketches as helpful and inspiring as I do.

It's been a FREAKING long time since I posted any concept sketches, so I thought I'd return to my "Art of" idea with a Warpshadow artist who I missed in my initial run. This week we'll be looking at the art of Mark Wood.

Mark is a prodigiously productive artist. It often seems that any time someone has a unique idea on the board, Mark, or "Wormwood" as he goes by online, is ready to take a run at drawing it. Thus, thought I've collected only a few of my favourite Wormwood sketches below, you can find far more in Mark's Warpshadow gallery.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Not particularly interesting, but as you may be able to see if you've been 'round these parts before, I've done a bit of Sexification on the ol' bloggerino. I'd always been intending to apply some design savvy to this place, but it took a generous and very beautiful gift to get me going––a wonderful piece of art from a woman who I wouldn't know from a hole in the wall were it not for the wonder of The Internet.

She and I had arranged to do a Tyranid bits swap by mail, but then I realized that me and Hyrda and The Norn Queen would be heading through Sforementioned Internet Personality's neck of the woods here in Ontario anyway on our road trip, so we made a stop, all met each other IRL, and it was lovely. She gave us a tour of her workspace and her woMAN cave (it put every other man cave I've seen to shame), and in addition to the bits we'd arranged to trade, she gave me this:
Which is, of course, Hel: one of my oldest and dearest conversions, re-imagined as a bad-ass cartoon version of herself. I thought it would be a pretty good anchor for a new header for the site, and while I was working on that, I thought I should finally whip up that greenstuff "Y" that I'd envisioned a while back for the Modern Synthesist name, and before I knew it I was in the advanced Blogger settings, tweaking this and that.

And all of it was thanks to that one sketch. One day I'll get around to writing the post I've been intending to do for a while now about how everything I know about sculpting I learned from friends I met online, but until then, here's photographic proof of the wonders of the interweb:

Also, here is the artistic wonder that is Krewl Rain:

Saturday, April 07, 2012

MORE PAIN.....counters

Hydra's been visiting here for the last week or so, and on Thursday we put in a solid day of modeling together on various projects. Call me a dork, but it's fantastic to work like that with a good friend. Anyway, it's late, and we've got a game of space hulk to play, so I'll cut to the chase. While working on the Wracks squad, I started in on the squad's pain counters, and then, surprisingly, they were near done in just a few hours. I blame Hydra, entirely, and his magnificent tools.

It got to the point where I was feeling a little sick/disgusted at making them, and I figure that's a good indication. Just like the last pain counters, these are meant to be a progression on a single victim. Rather than ranking up 2 or 3 separate counters beside a squad, you replace the "1" counter with the "2" one as the squad accrues more counters, and then replace the "2" with the "3" one. Though they don't have numbers on them, I think they're pretty obvious >:)

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Way of PAIN...counters

To compliment my recently completed Grotesque unit, I finished off the Pain Counters I'd shown earlier. Instead of each of them representing one pain counter each, my idea was for them to be a progression: one victim being put through successively worse pain that was twisting his mangled frame. I'm really happy with the effect, and I can't wait to start on the next set of pain counters for the Wracks squad. That one will feature some Haemavores.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Catching the Bug: Quick and Dirty Mycetic Spores

After playing a game of 40k for the first time in what feels like a billion years at the Ajax GW 40K 25th Anniversary, I've kind of gotten bitten by a bug to get back to my bugs with the end goal of actually getting them on the table and playing some games with them. That has meant some stripping and some basing...

...but mostly I have been wishing I had some actual mycetic spore models to put on the table. Though I've got fully sculpting and possibly casting my own spores on the back burner, based on the original design I came up with for the Casavant Prime board, I wanted something that could be done quicker to stand in in the interim.

I had some of my cast Tyranid Barricades lying around that I wasn't using, so I propped them up on some extra insulation foam, covered over them with some Apoxie sculpt to make it look like ploughed-up dirt, and VOILA!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Grotesques from Bio-Terrors: Mission Accomplished

Well, last June I started in on my first models for the Haemonculus Coven, and they were destined to be Grotesques. I based them on Paulson Games' Bioterror models, and from four identical models, I managed to squeeze out the four following original poses:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Grotesques complete!

More images and information soon, but for now it's time for a happy dance!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tyranid Archive: Looking forward to 6th Generation

If you've been keeping up with my Tyranid Archive posts, you'll know that I've spent the last month or so documenting the successive iterations of the Tyranid codex since 1st Edition, focusing mostly on how the Tyranid model line has evolved. Though there are some yawning gaps in my Tyranid history (Space Hulk and Genestealer cults to name a few), I've got a guest expert or two lined up to fill these gaps.

As last Wednesday's article brought us up to speed with 5th Edition and its models, I thought that this week I should open things up for a bit of wishlisting/predictions for the next Tyranid model release.

So, I'll start with my own predictions/hopes for the next generation of Tyranid models, but I'd also like to hear what you all think will be coming up next for Tyranids when their codex is eventually revised and the line is refreshed. Please focus on the models rather than on the rules, and post your ideas/wishes in the comments below.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hive Fleet Moloch: GOZILLA! continued...

I went trawling through my closet full of white dwarfs again the other day, and I uncovered the article I'd missed in the last batch of Hive Fleet Moloch scans. As I'd thought, this one featured the Godzilla army that Moloch had whipped up for the studio. The article is mostly written by the man himself, so it gives a good deal of insight into the thought that went into the army. I must apologize for the poor quality of the scans and the dark quality of the images as they appeared in White Dwarf. Hopefully they are still legible enough that people can draw some inspiration or further understanding from them.

(EDIT) Someone pointed out that, due to the way Blogger displays photos, these may not be the easiest to read on here. Thus, here's a link to the actual gallery on picasa, wherein you can click on the loupe/magnifying glass above each image to see them full sized.)

White Dwarf 307
(August 2005)

Hive Fleet Moloch Godzilla Swarm

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Tyranid Archive - 5th Generation (2010, 2012)

In honour of 40k's 25th Birthday this year, I'm working at an ongoing series called "The Tyranid Archive," which is meant to be a historical look back on where Tyranids came from and how far they've come. Here's our last installment, for now, tracking the chronology of the main Tyranid model line's evolution. However, there are some gaping holes in this chronology that I'm trying to get some help to fill (Space Hulk? Genestealer Cults?), so those may be cropping up soon.

5th Generation (2010, 2012)
(Also known as The Age of The Trygon, Great! New Units!...Now Where Are The Models?, and Oh You'll Get Your Second Wave...Someday)

With this article, we're brought up to the current generation of Tyranid models and rules. As it's the one that current Tyranid players are most familiar with, I won't spend much time talking about the rules. However, some notable changes from 4th Generation/Edition for those of you who only started Nids recently were things like the strength and number of shots of ranged weapons going back to being an absolute value, rather than based on the strength/attacks of the creature carrying them. Our Niddy guns hadn't been like this since second edition, and though it makes things a little easier, I far preferred when the creature influenced the strength/attacks. It made for comedic possibilities like Carnifexes totting Str 9 or 10 Fleshborers. Then again, the new system makes things like devourers a little more useful on gaunts

Just like with my 4th Generation write-up last week, I'll be skipping over the tried-and-true models that remained in service from the old codex refresh through to the new one. However, If you're keeping score: Plastic Gaunts, Hormagaunts, Rippers, Warriors, Genestealers and Carnifex; Metal Hive Tyrant, Lictor, Tyrant Guard, Broodlord, Biovore, Spore Mines, and Zoanthrope.

With all those ranked up, you'd wonder what model slots were left to fill in the Tyranid range. Well, that'd be a good question because there weren't any. We had models for every unit in the 4th Generation Tyranid Codex. So how was Games Workshop going to justify a new Tyranid Codex? How were they going to sell new models if people already had access to the whole of the range?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Warpshadow has gone dark

Howdy folks.

Anyone who knows me from Adam knows that I've been involved with, pretty much, since the inception. It is a place near and dear to my heart, and though I know nothing about WebMagicTomfoolery, I have an abundant amount of enthusiasm for the board. Unfortunately, boards don't run on enthusiasm alone, and as much as I love the board, that love can't obliterate the nefarious work of hackers.

Thus, as we had recently come under the crosshairs of hackers, and there were all kinds of weird redirects happening when people tried to access the board for about a week now, we contacted out service provider and asked for help. They took a look through our files, found some ones that had been messed with, and, promptly, obliterated those files.

Unfortunately, those files were rather essential for the operation of the Phpbb backend of the message board  :|

So, when they removed the infected files, Warpshadow went dark.

Now the Gestalt is faced with the mammoth task of resurrecting the board from our back-ups and patching the holes that let the hackers through in the first place. Understand that NONE of us are web-heads, so we are, pretty much, clueless when it comes to how to move forward. We will be relying a great deal on our service provider for help with this, and I ask that you all have patience with the other members of the Gestalt/Admin team. Unfortunately, I will be away and out of synapse range for the next week, so I am trusting this all to Yaleling, Hydra, Hive Node, and Moloch. If anyone has any help that they could provide to them, I encourage them to do so.

Rest assured that we will restore the Shadow in the Warp as soon as we are able!

Hive Fleet Moloch: GOZILLA Swarm!

In the Piece of the Hive Mind introduction, I mentioned that Moloch used to have a pretty decent relationship with some of the lads in the Studio. Never was this relationship more decent than in the run up to the 4th Generation/Edition Tyranid release. While we were all hmmm'ing and hawwww'ing, trying to figure out what, exactly, a plastic Carnifex was exactly supposed to look like, Moloch was lucky enough to already have his hands on the kit.

No, sorry, wait. He was lucky enough to already have his hands on SIX of the kits, and two metal Hive Tyrants to boot! The studio had supplied him with the models early with the understanding that he would convert and paint them up to represent a Godzilla swarm: a Hive Fleet list that maxed out the number of Tyranid Monstrous Creatures you could include at 8! This seems like small potatoes these days, where Harpies and Tervigons mean that the most TMCs you can fit in a list is 17 (Do the math: 2 Tyrants/Tervigons as HQ, 3 Tervigons as Troops alongside three broods of Termags, 3 Harpies as Fast Attack, and 3 units of 3 identically equipped Carnifexes as Heavy Support. Now, that isn't to say you could actually cram all that into a normal point limit...), but back in 4th Edition, the idea of the Godzilla swarm struck fear into the hearts of Marines everywhere.

The studio entrusted Moloch to make this newest of Tyranid monster lists look good, and I think he may just have exceeded their expectations!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hive Fleet Moloch: The White Dwarf Articles

I had meant to scan most of these in time for the two original Hive Fleet Moloch articles, but I only got around to it recently. I've scanned the covers of the magazines each article appeared in for reference sake. I feel like they're just further proof that Marco's Fleet was a big deal, and even Games Workshop recognized that. As these pertain to, IIRC, 4th Edition, they are, essentially, nostalgia pieces, but there are some good photos in there, so I wanted to share them with folks.

(EDIT) Someone pointed out that, due to the way Blogger displays photos, these may not be the easiest to read on here. Thus, here's a link to the actual gallery on picasa, wherein you can click on the loupe/magnifying glass above each image to see them full sized.)

White Dwarf 276
(March 2003)
Hive Fleet Moloch Feature 
(from the Nottingham Grand Tournament)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hive Fleet Moloch: A Killer Team

As I mentioned in my previous post about the diabolical mind behind Hive Fleet Moloch, Marco was always into the creepy story behind the Tyranids. He communicated this in how he chose to photograph his Nids, but he also paid particular attention to their posing and basing. Nowhere is this fact more apparent than with the Crimson Stalkers of Tenebra Prime: a Tyranid Kill Team that Marco put together shortly following the release of the new plastic Genestealers in fourth edition.

(If you've not heard of Kill Team, it is a simplified rules set that Games Workshop introduced some time in...4th? Edition. It is some times referred to as 40K in 40 minutes as it used smaller, more characterful forces for skirmish-sized games. It was loved by gamers, so much so that there is a fan-made ruleset entitled "Killzone" that can be downloaded for free and is, IIRC, updated to be able to play in 5th Edition.)

Once again, I've been limited in what I can post by the fact that I mined most of these photos using the Way Back Machine as is currently offline and being occupied by cyber squatters. That being said, I was able to find a goodly number of photos.

So, I present to you, The Crimson Stalkers of Tenebra Prime: