Warhammer Imperium- First Shipment

As soon as it was available in the states, I signed up for the Warhammer Imperium subscription service. A couple weeks ago, my first shipment came, and you know what, I’m excited for what’s to come.

So, what came in Issues 1-3? Honestly, as an experienced Warhammer player and hobbyist, it wasn’t anything terribly exciting. Included was 2 paints (Macragge Blue and Runelord Brass), a pretty piss-poor brush, 8 minis (3 Intercessors, 1 Lieutenant, 3 Necron Warriors, and a Necron Warden), a cool poster (I’m a sucker for this stuff), some dice and measuring tools.

I will say though, I love the poses of the Space Marines. A lot more dynamic than what you can get in the Indomitus box set, or the main kit. I believe these are from the Space Marine Start Painting set, but, I’m not 100% sure.

Assembling the Necrons reminded me how much I hate assembling Necrons. The wrists are so damn fiddly. One of the miniature’s left hands snapped and I had to reglue it back on. Not a huge deal, but, kind of a pain.

Now, as I said, all of that is not terribly exciting, however, I parted ways with my Space Marine army awhile ago, and I’ve been wanting to start from scratch with it. Same goes with the Necrons. While I think the two factions are cool, they aren’t what I want to mainly play- I mean, I’m a chaos fanboy at heart.

But, the factions are cool. They have some cool rules, and they look nice painted up. So, it’s a good cost effective way to get started.

I truthfully feel though that this magazine sub would be absolutely great for a newbie getting into Warhammer. It’s a relatively cheap monthly payment (considering what comes later in the subscription), and it will allow you to slowly build your army over time.

Well, I’m off to go prime these guys. Until next time! Happy Painting!

Conquest Core Set Miniature Review: The Spires

In my last post I was raving about Conquest. But, in this post I will take a step back and discuss the overall process, challenges, and successes of Para Bellum’s Spires from the Starter Box Set.

Ranks of fodder to chew through

For those of you who are not familiar, it contains:

  • 1x Pheromancer
  • 3x Brute Drones
  • 1x Abomination
  • 24x Force-Grown Drones

This force comes in around 575 points or so if I remember correctly, and is a nice starter army that will let you build on it.

For each of these models, the detail is amazing. For the Force-Grown Drones for example, you can make out each individual linen that they’re wrapped in, you can see each piece of bone armor, and the shape of how it fits on the soldier. However, there flipside of this is that painting the finished miniatures can become quite tedious.

All of the models come in many pieces. However, they are easy to assemble. There are no tricky pieces that you’ll find in Games Workshop models. Typically, the minis come in legs, body, arms, heads, and weapons. All the connection parts line up just fine, and the plastic is quite easy to work with. Using a liquid cement or super glue will make these miniatures hard as a rock.
When assembling the Abomination, I was faced with a challenge. The overall form seemed pretty static, and it’s overall size made it difficult to allow the cement to set. I had to come up with various ways to perch parts up so that everything would stay connected.

My absolute favorite models out of the bunch to work on are the Brutes. I’m not sure why I was so drawn to these guys, but, they seemed the most customizable. There are several different options for weapons, arms, and decoration. It allows for a nice variance if you were to have multiple units of these.

The Pheromancer was just fine. There was nothing terribly great or bad. It was a pretty standard leader model. Slightly more complicated than the troops to assemble, but, overall, really fun to paint.

The Good

  • Easy to assemble. Great contact points, most of the models will easily set and become tough as nails if you use the appropriate liquid cement.
  • Great individual detail: keeps your attention while painting, and with some of the master painters out there- paint jobs can highlight the great detail.
  • Plastic is amazing to work with and feels durable. It’s tough and easily cleaned and sanded.

The Bad

  • Limited customization. Only select models seem to have the ability to be customized and made unique in a pile of similar models.
  • The high detail can make it difficult to paint. While the detail keeps your attention, there is A LOT of it in regards to the linens and bone armor. If you want to focus on those, you can easily get overwhelmed.
  • It is VERY easy to lose some of the detail if you do multiple priming layers (such as zenithal priming)

Overall, it’s a great way to get started in Conquest, and even in the hobby. I know I’m looking forward to the Hundred Kingdom half as they were just as fun/easy to assemble.

Conquest: The Miniatures that got me re-interested in painting

So, it’s been a minute to say the least. The past few months I’ve been in a massive slump. Like many, I suffer from some pretty hefty seasonal depression as well as focusing issues. Those combined, plus an overall apathy from lack of free time kind of resulted in a lot of things getting pushed to the side.

My partner told me that I need to start taking Vitamin D, which, she’s probably not wrong. BUT, I also think a healthy dose of something interesting helped.

Several months ago, someone was selling a nice sized lot of Conquest minis on Facebook for a steal. I picked them up. Assembled a few, painted a few, then, left it on my shelf in a box. Awhile back I was cleaning and saw that box and thought to myself, “Well, I should probably move these. I’m never gonna get to them.” The box had the Conquest starter plus a few additional kits, so I thought I could flip it for a quick profit. However, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Every time I went to take pictures, I looked at the quality, the sculpts, and the artwork and said, “Damn, these are nice”. Then put them back in the box.

It took a few months of this back and forth for me to bring them all back out of the box and start working on them. Specifically, the Spires (I’m currently working on the Hundred Kingdoms, but that’s for another day).
I couldn’t get over how cool they looked and the overall ‘sci-fi fantasy’ vibe they had. After learning the lore behind them, and how they’re pretty much an alien elvish race that creates their own soldiers from the bio-mass of a planet… I was hooked. It was just such a refreshing take on them.

I started really churning threw them after that. I started with the Abomination first, and came up with the scheme I’ve got, and then the rest fell into place. I will say, the drones were a bit of big mouthful since there were so many, and since I already knew they were there to die, I didn’t really want to spend too much time on them.

But, the Avatara, oh, the Avatara are beautiful. The sculpts are unique and uncanny valley, slightly creepy, and just, wonderful. These were the models that completely fired me up about painting and minis again. With their odd proportions and hidden details, I couldn’t stop painting them.

So ultimately, I just want to say thank you Para Bellum. Even though I have yet to play a game of Conquest, I know if it’s anything like the miniatures, it will be a delight to do. I only wish I could find a group near me that does.

Well, this is embarrassing

So I’m gonna be real here. I’m bad at following my own advice sometimes.

Burnout is real. In a lot of things. In work, hobby, passions… life. And that’s kinda where I’ve been for the past however many months. While I really do enjoy blogging, when you try to make something enjoyable a job, it’s quite easy to burn out on it.

On top of that… I’m truthfully burned out with my job. It’s not that its a bad job, or that my employers are terrible (’cause even though they have their flaws, they aren’t terrible), it’s just, the stress has been getting to me.

It’s pretty much been a gauntlet of poor communication between departments and poor execution of decent ideas. Thankfully, one of the most problematic factors of the whole thing has finally retired. Now, we just need to get past this Covid scare and hopefully things can settle down a little more.

The real question is though, if things don’t change, what can I do? What can any of us do if our jobs are getting to be too much and taking up too much of your personal time. Just because I’m a salary man, it doesn’t mean I have to think about work when I’m not there. That’s my employers problem.

I’m been actually really considering a complete career shift. I’ve got a few ideas on what to shift to, but, I haven’t 100% settled on anything. With another kid on the way, I’m not sure now would be the best time to do so. Or heck, maybe just do it all at once and say screw it.

On the flip side though, I’ve been painting my Spires for Conquest, and it’s been kind of getting rid of some of that overall life burnout. The whole force is getting close to being done, and it just looks good together. I always forget how nice a fully painted, and cohesive force looks when laid out. I’ve actually found myself WANTING to paint again, and even looking forward to it.

All that’s left is adding grass to the drones

Just another box of brutes and some vanguard drones to put together, as well as painting the Avatara.

Well, dinner is about to ding, and I still got to go make some mashed potatoes.

Thanks for reading my little vent, and I hope all is well in your end of the world.

Until next time-

Happy painting!

How To Paint: Bloodborne Church Giant

The Bloodborne board game that was released a few months back has some amazing quality miniatures. As a fan of the Soulsborne series, I was elated to get this in from the kickstarter.

Recently, I’ve decided to start painting them, and I wanted to start with the Church Giant. I remember the first time I saw them in game, and was fairly intimidated by their large stature and massive axe.

And while they have a fairly easy paint scheme, there are a few certain colors that are present in the digital version.

I should note that I used zenithal priming on these models.

Cloak

The cloak was my favorite part to paint of this model. Since the model is supposed to look dirty and ragged, I actually found that drybrushing was the best way to proceed with it.

So, to begin, I started with a light gray. Specifically, I used Vallejo Sky Grey, however, I think Ulthuan Grey would work as well. Just be sure to thin it out and apply two coats.

After that dries, you can then apply the wash. We will be dry brushing the whole thing so we can cover the cloak in Nuln Oil. I found that the Nuln Oil wash will give it a dusty, kind of grimy look, while not interfering with the white color.

Lastly, dry brush the crap out of it with Pure White. You can be liberal with it from the zenith of the model, and lessen it’s usage the further down you go.

I added this for the Giant’s mask as well, then followed it up with a light wash of Nuln Oil to darken it.

Skin

For the skin, I wanted to go with more of an pale purple. I’ve always liked that look for undead models as it gives a sort of cold, bloodless look.

I decided to go with Dark Elf Skin from Reaper as the base coat. I then coated the purple with Druchii Violet wash. I then built up the color with Cold Flesh from Vallejo, being sure to follow the musculature on the abdomen and chest.

After doing the Cold Flesh highlight, I then added a lighter wash of Druchii Violet to some of the sections that appeared too bright for my taste.

Pants

In the game, the pants are more of a grey, however, I didn’t like the way all of that white/grey looked, so, decided to go with a dirty khaki color.

For the base color, I went with Khaki Shadow from Reaper. There are a lot of tears and holes in the pants, so, be mindful of where those are when you’re applying the base coat.

After that dries, apply a wash of Agrax Earthshade in the folds of the pants. Then, pick out the highlights with Faded Khaki from Reaper.

I also used the Khaki Shadow for the rope. Really, any Ochre like color would suffice.

Metals and Weapon Handle

The metals were quite simple really. A hard metallic base coat (Shadowed Steel in this case) with a light wash of Nuln Oil around the recesses, followed by a dry brush of Necron Compound.

For the wooden handle of the axe, I used Walnut Brown followed by a line highlight of Faded Khaki. I tried to give an illusion of woodgrain without picking out each line individually.

Base

Lastly is the base. And while you can do whatever basing you like, I am a personal fan of this muddy look. I used Stirland Mud and coated it on around the figure.

After giving it a liberal wash of Agrax Earthshade, I then dry brushed it with Ushatbi Bone. I feel it gave it a nice dirty look that you’d find in that universe.

I really enjoyed painting this guy, and hope that one day soon I can get some games of Bloodborne in so I can really appreciate him on the table top.

Hopefully, you got something out of this quick tutorial. If you like what you read, be sure to subscribe. I try to do at least one post a week.

Happy painting!

Hobby Help: Quick and Easy Red Armor

Today, I’d like to share my quick and easy recipe for, what I consider, an above tabletop quality red armor. I’m currently using this recipe for my Genesis chapter Space Marines, but it would work well with Blood Angels, Chaos Warriors, and pretty much anything that you want to have red armor.

Red is actually my favorite color to paint. It’s versatile, pretty hard to mess up, and well, it’s just a good color. So, let’s get to the recipe.

Step 1:

First thing is first. Do a zenithal highlight. If you don’t know what zenithal priming is, you can read my article on zenithal priming here. This will allow the red in the more recessed areas to remain darker. Be sure to get a solid covering over the entire miniature.

He’s not getting painted red, but, here’s a great example of zenithal rattlecan priming

Step 2:

Next, you will want to get your red out. For Blood Angels, Genesis, Order of the Bloody Rose, as well as any other armor you’d like this shade of red, use Mephiston Red. Get a nice dollop of it and put it on your wet palette. Get your thinner and give it two or so squirts. If your thinner is in a citadel style bottle instead of a dropper, I highly suggest either transferring them to a ketchup bottle, or, getting some Vallejo thinner instead. The dropper will make it much easier to add to the palette.

You can see some of the ‘pre-shades’ from the zenithal prime job

You will probably need to get at least two thinned down coats onto your miniature before moving on. The beauty of thinned paints is that they will allow for the shading to show underneath, and the more you saturate an area with that thinned color, the brighter that color will be.

Step 3:

For a quicker result, we can do an all over wash on the model. For red, I almost always exclusively use a purple wash. This contrasts better with the red and will make the end result pop even more.

After the wash dries, we will reapply the Mephiston Red as a drybrush layer. Be sure to make sure most of the paint is off of your brush before drybrushing. I like to come from the top down, that way it reinforces the zenithal highlight.

Our 3 steps so far

Step 4:

In the next step, we will need our next shade of red. You will want to go with a more darker scarlet shade of red. Personally, I use Vallejo’s Vermillion, however, if you’re sticking with the Citadel paint range, Evil Suns Scarlet will be a great choice. You can then use this to do a drybrush highlight. Once again, focus on the areas that will be ‘facing the lightsource’ of the model. And with it being a highlight, you do not want to go in as heavy as you did in the drybrush layer.

Step 5:

Finally, we will want to really make it pop with the final highlight. In the most prominent highlighted areas, do a small line highlight of a lighter scarlet color. Wild rider red is a great choice for Citadel paints. If you use Vallejo, go with Scarlet.

The final stage of red should look something like this. There’s a lot of subtle blending going on with the slightly saturated scarlet colors

And that’s that! While it won’t win you any Golden Daemons, it is a quick and easy way to really churn out some marines or knights. Later, I’ll discuss the methods of doing a more layered approach to painting, instead of a drybrush method.

And don’t forget, subscribe for more tutorials!

Hobby Help: Zenithal Priming with Rattle Cans

In the before times, I primed with whatever I had available. In my blissful ignorance, I simply thought a base coat of whatever would be fine. I never gave much thought as to what I was base coating with, simply that it was a vessel to allow me to paint.

While, yes, that’s all fine and good, and I’m not going say that’s strictly inferior, I’ve realized that there are more beneficial ways to prime. I started looking at the shade of what I wanted to paint, and going with how light I wanted the miniature I was painting to be.

Fast forward to about a year ago, when I finally decided to try zenithal priming. I had always thought that you needed to do it with an airbrush, which, while I have one and do use one on occasion, I would rather use a brush. I saw a great tutorial by Dana Howl that mentioned rattle can zenithal priming, and I haven’t looked back.

Make sure you use a flat primer. Citadel primers are fantastic, but, I also find Rust-oleum primers work very nicely as well.

First, what is zenithal priming? Zenithal priming is a way to base coat your model to help represent the way light naturally lands on real life objects. The light comes from the zenith, which, is where you get it’s name. You will need flat black, grey, and white primers.

So, I have some Bloodborne miniatures that I’ve been itching to paint, and thought it would be a good time to help explain this process. First, spray the entire model black. Be sure to do multiple short bursts so that the the paint does not get too thick, as you’ll be doing multiple colors.

After that paint dries, you then do a priming layer of grey. You’ll want to focus this on the areas that the light shines on, but, not directly. If you’re looking at the miniature, and having the light source directly on top, you’ll want to aim for about a 45 degree angle around the top half of the model.

Lastly, comes the direct light source. Using the white primer, spray directly over the top of all of models. As the spray falls, it will land on all the areas that will be more directly hit by the natural light.

The end result should look something like this

Here’s a quick diagram I found, all credit goes to Board Game Quest. You can read their article here. They’ve got a lot of great info and I highly suggest following them.

Honestly, you can even use this method of priming for helping pick out highlights for when your painting. However, this method really shines for when you use glazes to paint over the minis. The dark and light areas will respectively shade and brighten where you primed.

In a future article, I’ll discuss how to do use glazes to achieve the most out of zenithal priming.

4 Surprising Ways to Declare Victory Over Hobby Burnout

In my last post, I briefly discussed some of the frustrations and burnout that I was experiencing for the past month or so. These periods frequently come and go for a miniature hobbyist, however, sometimes the periods are so bad, you can’t help yourself from purging all your miniatures and starting over.

We’ve all been to that point. We’ve looked at our pile of shame and thought to ourselves, “Why do I have this? I’ll never get to it”, only to sell it and regret it later. I’ve gone through multiple periods of this, and from my experience, I’ve regretted almost every single time.

Before it gets to the ‘purging stage’, there are things you can do to prevent that. I’d like to share some of my experiences, as well as some of the ways I’ve learned to avoid the possible regret that comes later.

  1. Take An Inventory of What You Have:
    One of the biggest obstacles I’ve faced with hobby burnout is the pile of shame. It’s an overwhelming feeling to know that you spent money on all these games or kits, and you just freeze there like a deer in headlights. So, take an inventory! You don’t know what you have to work on until you look at all of it.
    Pull out your pile (or in my case, closet) of shame and sort it via factions. If you have multiple gaming systems you play, separate it by game, then faction. By doing this, you will see exactly what you have and give you a much clearer picture of the mountain you’re facing.
    From there, I like to take a ‘time inventory’ of what I have. So, I will estimate exactly how long each kit will take. The breakdown I generally use is- 30-45 minutes per infantry, 3-4 hours for a vehicle or monster, and heroes will generally be between 1 hour and 2 hours, depending on if they have a mount/vehicle or not. These times will also need to account for assembly if applicable. While not 100% accurate, this will give you a general idea of how long it will take you to finish a certain portion of the pile, and you can generally weigh that against what time you personally have available.
    Seeing the time investment you will need to put into new factions, games, etc., can always snap you back to reality on what you really want to paint/build/play, and can even get you excited for what you want to play as you won’t feel that overwhelming shadow from your shame pile.
    This will also allow you to really see what you want to keep, and would help get a little extra cash back into your pocket.
  2. Have a Palate Cleanser Project:
    This may seem counter productive to the previous entry, but, just hear me out. When you have 2000 points of Orks, you get really sick of painting green. It’s a lot of green. I mean… A LOT of green. Most individuals will get burned out of painting the same green base, green shade, and green highlight 200+ times only to then have to go back over and paint all the armor and clothing. It can get incredibly dull if you are doing that sort of assembly line painting for such a large army.
    So, to combat this, get a palate cleanser project. This can be pretty much anything. I’d suggest something small, like a box set of something unrelated, or even a starter set from another game that you don’t play as much, or are just dipping your toes into. Something that I have used in the past are Malifaux gang boxes. You have some varied paint schemes in the set themselves, while also having a limited number of miniatures to paint. So, if you don’t make a lot of progress quickly, it’s alright, you don’t have the same mountain to climb as painting a massive army of Orks.
    I’d also very strongly suggest Reaper miniatures as palate cleansers. These are great things to just break away from your standard painting style and try something new. You finish them up and they look great on your shelf, and, more often than not, you feel refreshed after painting one or two of them. With all the different designs and models they have, you would for sure find something new to try.
    Doing terrain and scenery is also a very good cleanser as well.
  3. Make a Completion Sheet:
    This is something that should not only help you feel accomplished in your hobby, but help prevent your pile of shame from getting too large. You can use this sheet I’ve linked here, and keep track of your kits purchased and completed. I will be using this to make myself not get too deep into new armies before completing what I have. Feel free to download it and make adjustments for how you’d like to use it.
    The theory behind this is to see completion and accomplishment. We can all look at our pile getting smaller, but, it’s really cool to see the total number of completed models go up as a definitive piece of data. I find this motivating, and it makes me want to complete more.
  4. Take a Break:
    Sometimes, the best reset can be just walking away. We’re human (well, most of us anyways). We have a limited amount of interest to place into certain things, and sometimes we just need to let it reset naturally. Distance makes the heard grow fonder after all. Let your brain cool off and get back to it the next week. You’ll be surprised how much you missed it.

The Glorious Return of The Mummified Spell Slinging Kermit

Games Workshop has been knocking it out of the park lately. Their new sculpts have been truly dynamic, interesting, just centerpiece worthy (I’m looking at you Belakor).

Today, GW announced a new model (2 actually, but, this is the one worth discussing) for the Seraphon line. The old model for Lord Kroak was, well, meh. It worked fine enough, but it was finecast, and that had its whole host of issues.

T’was a fiddly little thing

Thankfully, today they announced Kroak’s upgrade, and it’s stunning. I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.

I especially love the gyroscopic design they went with on the throne, as well as the added jungle fauna. It adds a nice additional dimension that gives it the whole “Augh, I guess I’ll get out of bed and do it myself” feel. It also appears that you can build this as a Slann Priest, if you don’t have a need for lord dead frog.

I’m not a Seraphon player, however, it’s something that looks incredibly fun to paint.

Price Breakdown: Precept Maniple Battleforce

Today, a new battleforce went on pre-order for Adeptus Titanicus, and holy crap does it seem to be just brimming with value. I’ve always been a little AT-curious, and truthfully, love the models. But, just how good of a value is this new set?

The new battleforce consists of:

1 Warlord Titan
1 Reaver Titan
1 Warbringer Nemesis Titan
2 Warhound Titans

As you can tell, this is a complete army for Titanicus. While the titans each have their own load outs included, there is nothing stopping you from making sure all the weapons are magnetized so all you have to do is buy the upgrade sprues to swap out other loadouts (honestly, I think this is encouraged in the Titanicus community).

So, lets break down the price. The battleforce comes in at $185 retail.

Warlord- $110
Reaver- $60
Nemesis- $90
Warhounds- $65

Simple math tells you that full retail on all of that is $325. The price of the battleforce is nearly 57% of full retail on all of those items. That is an astounding deal.

When Adeptus Titanicus first came out, I know there was a lot of discussion about how it’s a ‘prestige’ game. The models are more detailed, so they will cost more. This sort of deal makes me think that either Games Workshop is trying to really push AT to take off, or they want to destigmatize that initial impression. But, I also know they have the new Warmaster Titan which they are hoping to push as well. But that sexy beast is a discussion for another day.

Either way, if I can swing it, I just may pick me up one. If you’re at all interested, I would highly suggest you do the same.