Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Armageddon Released

Warhammer 40,000 Armageddon for the PC is now available. Head over to Steam or Matrix Games and get it this week for $10 off. I'm downloading it now and will have a review up in the near future. Looks great if you like the turn based wargame thing. Which I do, very much.

The Emperor Protects
Armageddon's Tourist Bureau has its work cut out for it.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Devil is in the Decals

Decals. That finishing touch to a model. Sometimes they curl up and fall off after a few months. They always look like decals, shiny and obvious. But that is not how is has to be!

This article is aimed at those who don't know the mystical and arcane art of applying decals. It's not simple, but it is worth the effort. The end result is decals that look painted on and never peel off.

Know your foe: Water slide decals like to adhere to a very smooth surface. If you did not paint with a gloss or satin finish you will need to transform the surface of the paint. This is easy. Clear glosscoat is available at most hobby shops in spray form. I use Testors ($7). The only danger here is that if the weather is outside nominal use parameters it may fog up and give the model a frosty look. This is easy to avoid, do not spray paint if it is cold or windy out. Use a light coat. One pass only. Then do not touch it for 24 hours. Fingerprints are next to impossible to remove.

Assemble your tools! Now that the glosscoat has set it is time to get down to business.

 You will need: the sharpest hobby knife on hand, a pair of tweezers, (the kind that stay closed are prefered), two old paint brushes, paper towels, a few Q-tips, and a bowl of warm water.

Plus chemicals. I have used Micro Set and Micro Sol for decades. (Get some from Amazon by clicking on the widget on the right--) You will need a bottle of each.

What they do: Micro Set aids greatly in the adhering of the decal to the paint finish. Micro Sol is a weak solvent that softens the decal allowing it to conform closely to the models surface. Don't drink them.

From here on out this is the method that works consistently well for me. Applying decals is like sex or cooking, everyone does it a little bit differently, but the same.

Cut out the decals. I use a new X-acto blade to cut out all the decals I will be using. Make sure to cover the decal sheet with a paper towel so your hand is not touching the sheet. The oils on your skin can cause problems with the film covering the decal. Some people avoid this by using scissors, but a lot of modern decals sheets are too crowded for me and scissors.
Put the decals in a bath of warm water. Cold water takes forever to loosen the glue and makes the decal stiffer. I give the decal 40-60 seconds under water and then pull it out and place it on a damp paper towel.
Giving the decal a few more seconds to soak up the water, I now apply some Micro Set on the spot where the decal is going to go. Don't worry about putting too much on too wide an area, it dries totally clear.

Now the tricky part. Slide the decal off the backing paper and onto the model. I use a damp Q-Tip to hold the decal down and slowly slide the backing paper away under it. This is the moment to move the decal around a bit to get it in position. You can add a bit of water or Micro Set to loosen it and reposition it.
After it is where you want it, very gently dab the decal with a paper towel taking care not to move it. Let it sit for a few minutes. Then apply some Micro Sol to it. After you have put on the Micro Sol do not move the decal! If you try it will disintegrate into mush. One coat is fine if the decal is on a smooth surface. If the decal is on a uneven or bumpy surface put another coat on after five-ish minutes.

I use separate brushes for the Set and Sol. Then I don't use the brushes for anything but the Set and Sol. Yes, I have them labeled. Let everything dry for at least a few hours. Now you have great looking decals on a really super shiny model. That's right, time for Dullcoat! Same drill as for putting on the Glosscoat, just a diffrent can. The Dullcoat also protects the decals very well so you don't have to worry about damage while handling the model.

And there you have it. It is a bit time consuming but the difference in appearance and durability makes the MicroSet/Sol choice an easy one.

The Emperor Protects
Decals now get a 2++ save 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Regular Brass Scorpion

When Apocalypse first came out in 2007 we were all excited to see that one of the new units was a 40K version of the old Epic Brass Scorpion.
I happened to have a unbuilt Defiler laying about. I picked up some extra bits, and like legions of others, went to work. I was pleased with my creation and it had many good games. Then Forge World released this monster:
About the size of a Baneblade, it was now the Greater Brass Scorpion and had new rules to reflect its much greater stature. It was almost twice as many points as before and far deadlier. My Defiler knock-off was puny in comparison, so what to do? 

For a while I just used my (Lesser) Brass Scorpion as a regular Defiler, but it always left me a bit unsatisfied. So after much deliberation I chose to make my own stats for the Regular Brass Scorpion. 

Taking the Defiler as a starting point, not that many changes were needed. No longer a Super Heavy, it did not need so many secondary weapons. Swapping out the Battle cannon for a Demolisher cannon was the first step. Ditching the Hellmaw flamers was sad, but necessary if it was to be a reasonable amount of points. Boosted its base attacks, the front armor value, and gave it Rage.  

The hardest part was the big gun the tail. On the Greater Scorpion it is an impressive STR 6, AP3, 10 shot weapon of death. A bit overpowered for a secondary weapon on a non-super heavy. I decided to go with a enhanced Reaper for the Regular Scorpion.

I am pleased with the results. Similar to a Defiler, it now feels more like an Khornate assault weapon rather than a artillery piece. 
As always, I welcome your feedback. 

Brass Scorpion…………………………220 points
                         WS  BS      S       F     S     R      I      A    HP
Brass Scorpion     3    3    6/10    13   12    10     3      4     4          

Unit Composition:
 1 Regular Brass Scorpion

Unit Type:
• Vehicle (Walker)

 Demolisher Cannon 
• Blood Reaper Autocannon
 2x Powerfist 
 Demonic Possession 

Special Rules:
• Fleet
 It Will Not Die

Heavy: The Brass Scorpion is a Heavy Support choice for a Chaos Space Marine army that includes at least one HQ selection that has a mark of Khorne.

Blood Reaper Autocannon: Same stats as a Reaper Autocannon, just now Heavy 3 

Blood for the Blood God!
And his Mechanical Daemons too

Friday, November 7, 2014

Painting in Bunches

When you decide to paint a unit, how do you proceed? One model at a time? Or the assembly line method? I normally try and paint an entire squad at the same time, but I usually paint one figure to completion more or less, and then use it as the example. Then I go full assembly line on the rest of the squad and any similar squads.

I also keep a notebook of what colors were used. This allows me to pick the squad or formation back up if I put them down, or decide to expand it, as was the case with my flight of Valkyries.
I painted the lead ship many months before I got around to doing the other two, but looking at the finished trio you couldn't tell.
My Knight formation was slow going, but I am happy with the way they are turning out. Next is that step that can make or break the whole thing: the dreaded decals. The Knights have so many large ones that gloss-coat is a must. As we all know, sometimes gloss-coat is a bit tricky and can go very badly to give your model that frosty look you did not want. Wish me luck.

 The Emperor Protects
He could look after my brush-tips a little more