Wednesday 28 April 2010

A Thousand Sons

Anyone visiting this Blog will, at the very least know about the epic Horus Heresy series, and I'm guessing many of you will be following it. The most recent release, Graham McNeill's
A Thousand Sons charts the fate of the eponymous Legion, familar in their 40k incarnation as sorcerous Chaos Space Marines the story goes a long way to explaining the downfall of these once noble warriors while thankfully avoiding many of the potential traps and cliches already plundered in lesser Black Library piblications.

With the Horus Heresy now numbering a dozen books, including an excellent anthology of short stories edited by the head honcho himself- Rick Priestley. The quality has been a bit patchy to say the least. As far as genre literature goes the overall quality has been good, and having my first exposure to the great Heresy aged a measly ten years of age I have found my expectations probably unfairly high. Fans, while loving their adopted material can also be the most partisan of critics and I'm sure the Black Library are more than aware of this. Personally I found the series got off to a good start, with truly epic scenes depicting the rise of Horus and the prosecution of the Emperors great bloody work- The Great Crusade, becoming Homeresque in their recounting. The low point so far I would have to say would be Mechanicum, McNeill's last outing in the series and, to be fair a difficult subject (making the reader sympathise with mechanical characters seems pretty difficult) made me approach A Thousand Sons with some trepidation.

So it is satisfying indeed that the Author has trumped the series by writing a novel that makes the reader love the main characters, undoubtedly the most human Astartes we have met yet, before plunging them into a wicked tragedy that takes the reader into a downward spiral as if a brother of the Thousand Sons legion himself. Magnus the Red, arguably the most powerful and potent of the Primarchs is a flawed gem of a character. His humility and philosophical outlook enamour the reader, while his veiled ambition and pride shows portent of his downfall, his love of knowledge and outlook for humanity leave you in no doubt that he is good. So all the more tragic the outcome, we know the fate of the legion- their transformation is skillfully written. Be it known the Emperor makes mistakes, and this book encompasses that very hubris in a skillfully written account that could be no further from the black and white good versus evil version of the 'current' 40k background, here instead find the multitude of greys that colour the human condition.

Good science fiction tells you about humanity, and Graham McNeill has put the Black Library back on track with this latest installment- top marks.

Friday 12 February 2010

Black Reach Ork

Just a quick post today, having nearly got my Crimson Fists done I have decided to make a start on the Orks that came with Assault on Black Reach. I'm going for Evil Sunz as they have the potential for a nice paint scheme without being too gaudy, it also gives me the chance to make lots of crazy orkish vehicles :o)
Since Orks are a horde army, the criterium for painting is to be fairly simple. I'm using the citadel wash range to full effect, it saves time and they look good. The ork flesh is Goblin Green, two Thraka washes then highlight Goblin Green. The other base colours I used for the clothing, straps and boots are Codex Grey, Graveyard Earth and Vomit Brown. They all get the same treatment of a Badab Black wash followed by a highlight in the original colour. The teef and claws are Scorched Brown followed by Bleached Bone, and a minimal White highlight. The metal surfaces start as Boltgun metal, and get a wash of Badab and Devlan Mud, then highlighted with Chainmail. The red Bitz are simply metal areas daubed with Mechrite and Blood Red in a haphazard 'orkish' style.

The citadel washes are a godsend for painting large volumes of troops quickly, they have halved the amount of shading and highlighting I do.

Monday 8 February 2010

Crimson Fists Dreadnought- Weathered.

Hello everyone. Sorry for the lack of posts recently, looking for a new job and other multitudinous 'life administration' tasks have been getting in the way of my beloved wargaming. My recent painting activity has centered around trying to finish my Crimson Fists, and they would have been finished by now if i hadn't decided to start experimenting with weathering techniques.

My thinking is that, as the galaxies elite warriors, Space Marines would 'honour their wargear' and would look pretty immaculate at all times, until that is, they contact the enemy. It is said that the best battle plan will not survive contact with the enemy, and the same could be said of immaculately buffed power armour! As my Crimson Fists force is set just after the Rynns World disaster it is meant to depict a band of desperate warriors who have just had their Fortress Monastery destroyed and are fighting a valiant guerilla war behind enemy lines in order to link up with their allies in New Rynn City. That's where the weathering comes in. I wanted the Dreadnought to look as if having slogged hundreds of miles across the grassy plains, through skirmishes and plain bad luck.

The painting technique is the same as outlined below for the Tactical Marines, with the addition of paint chips done by adding Codex Grey areas with spots and scratches of Boltgun Metal in the middle. The grey is meant to represent undercoat/ primer that is exposed by bashes and repeated contact and the metal represent the metal underneath (of course). I also brushed on ochre and grey pastels, you can get these from any art shop and scrape a small amount onto a palette then use an old brush to sweep the 'muck' into corners and recesses, especially on the lower parts of the model. I'm fairly pleased with the results but with weathering part of the trick is to know when to stop- overcook it and your model can end up looking like a spawn of nurgle.