Warhammer Rescues: Taurox the Brass Bull

Off The Top of My Head

Games Workshop has a reputation for occasionally making rules with no models. I’ve actually seen some complaints on this and it’s a trend they seem to be moving away from, however I feel that the spirit of this concept was to allow players and hobbyists to create their own versions of the character or unit in question using existing models as bases or even scratch building pieces.

I have a big Skaven army I got practically new on the sprue and Skaven remain my favorite fantasy battles army, however, I was able to get my hands on a great Beastmen army, in various stages of construction, last year and started to mess around with them a bit too. Though they seem to be one of the least popular choices, their personality appealed to me and this force came with lots of models and options, some of which are hard to find now.

One piece I got was an incomplete pewter Doombull.

It was a bare metal piece with no arms, weapon, or decorations I thought would be fun to convert into one of the Beastmen lords with no model, Taurox the Brass Bull.

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I used the rune-inscribed axes from the minotaur kit to make his “Rune Tortured Axes.”

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His shoulder guards are actually vambraces from the Cygor/Ghorgon kit I didn’t use. Because his body is metallic I got a chance to play with the Nihilic Oxide technical paint I’ve been wanting to try and gave his armor and ancient, oxidized tone to make it stand out from the copper-gold used on the rest of the model.

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I originally had a severed hand as base décor, but decided for someone as massive and vicious as Taurox that would never do… Using a Lord of the Rings Elf horseman archer, I cut his legs off and sculpted some guts out of green stuff. The head comes from a Skaven Stormvermin sprue (it was two heads clutched in a fangleader’s claws, I simply cut one off) and sculpted some hair out of more green stuff. Painting the guts was layers of Biel Tan Green, Carroburg Crimson, and Nurgle’s Rot to give it the slimy, transparent sheen.

Just to use the rest of the technical paints I hadn’t played with I used Agrellan Earth for the base.

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I hope GW keeps the rules without models in the army books and codexes for years to come. Creating your own versions are some of the most fun a hobbyist can have. You’ll never see two Tauroxes that look the same!

 

Check out my previous painting posts for more!

Black Reach

Dredtrukk

Warboss with Attack Squig

Boss Zagstruk

Stormboy Nob on Flying Base

Bad Moons Nazdreg

Dark Angels Dreadnought

Dark Angels Standard Bearer

Dark Angels Librarian

Warhammer 40k Scenery

40k Rescue: Blood Angels Land Raider

And for more 40k my Kharn illustration posts! Part 1 and Part 2.  And my fond farewell to the World of Battle.

Warhammer Rescues: Blood Angels Land Raider

Off The Top of My Head

Warhammer Rescue Projects

No one would ever think Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, or any miniatures game is cheap. In fact a lot of board/table top games are pretty pricey (take a look at Fantasy Flight, Steve Jackson, or Fireside Games…they’re pretty high for what’s in the box…) but they usually don’t require maintenance or additions or new pieces. It basically comes down to how you want to spend your hobby money. Do you want to spend $500 on a new video game console, plus $60-$70 for new games to support it, or $500 on a playable starter army and $60-$70 on new units? I’ve preferred the latter recently. But it’s not always easy to shell out $69 plus shipping and taxes for a new unit. Especially when, with a little work, you can get a similar or identical unit for far less! You find them on eBay. They usually consist of damaged, incomplete, or poorly painted models. With the copious bits provided by GW with their sets (Deathwing set for example, it makes Deathwing Terminators, Deathwing Knights, or Deathwing Command squad, so you get a lot of extras) you can take a damaged model or one missing parts, add the extras, and make some nice custom pieces. I’ve found all it takes is some patience, a hobby blade, a toothbrush, and some LAs Totally Awesome cleanser and just about any model can be recovered.

Blood Angels Land Raider

This lander raider was sold as a “needs love” project. Boy was that an understatement.  It was originally a chaos land raider and I considered using it as one, however the idea of deep striking one of these things with my lil Blood Angels army was too tempting.

Original Condition:

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It was a situation where you wonder who originally bought a $75 model and then didn’t seem to look at the instructions.  The top hull was glued on top of the side hulls leaving awful gap clearly visible on the top.  Also the side sponsons were glued on upside down.

The entire piece was so heavily glued it took over an hour with a very sharp hobby knife to get it all apart and, yes, some of it was damaged so badly it was impossible to make it look “as good as new.”

It got an overnight bath in LA’s Totally Awesome cleaner (seriously, it’s about $3 for a big bottle, soak overnight, it strips ANY paint off of metal, plastic, resin, without damaging the model.  Just warm water and a toothbrush.) then reglued correctly.

After Reassembly and Priming:

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I made my retail land raider in the “Crusader” variant due to its high-troop transport capacity, so I had all the “Redeemer” variant bits available.  I moved the sponsons up, added some pieces of off a Baal Predator I had left over, and some various other parts from additional Space Marine vehicles.  Upon reassembly I had to take some liberties and change the basics of the model.  For example the sponson optics were broken and gone so I replaced them with spotlights.  I wanted assault cannons rather than heavy bolters so I clipped the barrels off of two extras from my Ravenwin upgrade sprues and glued them to the heavy bolters it came with.  There was a gap over the frag launchers I filled with standard poles from a Gors unit.  I also had to glued the front door closed as the original hinge was glued to the hull and had to be broken to disassemble it.

Work in Progress:

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As I said it was impossible to hide the damage to the model so I “hung a lantern on it” as it were.  I wrote it into the story of the model, as though it’s a chapter relic and has been through serious wars, has received awful damage, but the might of the vehicle keeps it going.  This was especially true on the left side of the model where the awful over-gluing left major plastic damage to the unit.  You can see where I used some corrosion to make it appear as though it is battle damaged.

I used copious amounts of Typhus corrosion and some Forge World weathering powder to show the wear on the sides and the front door.

Nearly Finished Rescue Model:

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There are some other little touches I’d like to add but I think it’s pretty table ready now.  There are still some gaps that need filling and additional details I’d like to include but it’s worlds from where it started.

Is it the best Land Raider out there?  Not by far…  but for less than half price of the retail version and made with other additional parts I consider it a salvation of this vehicle’s machine spirit.  It may not be perfect…but I think the priests of Mars would approve…

 

Check out my previous painting posts for more!

Black Reach

Dredtrukk

Warboss with Attack Squig

Boss Zagstruk

Stormboy Nob on Flying Base

Bad Moons Nazdreg

Dark Angels Dreadnought

Dark Angels Standard Bearer

Dark Angels Librarian

Warhammer 40k Scenery

And for more 40k my Kharn illustration posts! Part 1 and Part 2.  And my fond farewell to the World of Battle.

Cellphone Game: Bluetooth or Crazy

Off The Top of My Head

In conjunction with the Cell Phone Annoyances post from Sunday I thought I’d share a game I came up with a few years ago.

Allow me to set the stage: When I worked in downtown Nashville my RevPub partner and I used to have lunch two or three times a week on the phone. We called them “car” lunches, though usually I sat on the steps of the state capitol or on a hill overlooking the bicentennial mall.

One time while waiting for her to call I was sitting watching the myriad of people stroll by when I observed something: there is a very thin line between a ponce talking vociferously on his/her ridiculous Bluetooth in public and slightly disturbed street people who mutter loudly to themselves about the voices in their heads.

That experience prompted me to create a slightly non-PC time-waster game for people in urban environments, Wal-Marts, Krogers, all kinds of places all over the world.

I called it “Bluetooth or Crazy” and surprisingly after a quick review of the internet I found I wasn’t the only one to think of this!  It’s very simple and played like this:

You can play alone or with friends. It’s kind of a betting game. You can bet change, or snacks, or something similarly silly. When someone walks by chattering inanely to themselves you weigh their appearance and the substance of their over-loud droning. You then declare “Bluetooth!” if you think they are talking to some distant, equally irritating person on a wireless headset, or “Crazy!” if you think they are some disturbed individual discussing the value of their tin foil hat in preventing space rays from harvesting their tooth enamel.

The results can surprise you. In my most memorable play-through I randomly encountered a wild hipster douche-lord. He rambled loudly and angrily about something to do with his job. His velvet blue jacket, striped dress shirt, and corduroys clearly marking out his alignment. As he approached I instantly declared “Bluetooth!” and was shocked as he passed that he had NO earpiece or mic of any kind. He was just shouting randomly to Tennessee’s capital city. I would have lost my precious white powder donut six pack if I’d been betting for real! So you never know!

I now work in a suburb with very little foot traffic, but still when I’m out shopping or dining I seize the opportunity to play.

If I could create it as an app for this it would be interesting to play world-wide Bluetooth or Crazy. Hear all the incredibly awful Bluetooth conversations from Bangkok to Brighton and all the random stuff people rant about on street corners from Lima to Lushunkou. I bet douches are douchey and crazies are similarly crazy world wide, we aren’t that different after all.

It would sure make Angry Birds look pretty monotonous! Oh wait… 😉

Off the Top of My Head: Painting 40k Scenery

Off The Top of My Head

Wrahammer 40k and Citadel Scenery Painting

Official TableTop Day has come and gone but those of us who play table top games every day can be a table top day.  40k isn’t usually thought of in the same realm as “table top  games” even though it truly is.  I consider it almost a “table top lifestyle” as it really starts to seep into your thinking and, for an artist, your aesthetic.

Painting canvas isn’t something I do well or enjoy, unlike my RevPub Player 2, but I do love to paint models. and as I said in my Nazdreg post I love to create bases. One of my other favorite things to paint is scenery. Games Workshop/Citadel release some great-looking scenery for 40k. I love the little details and terrain pieces, especially rubble and ruins, and it’s fun to try to test some painting techniques on them.

These are from the Urban Barricades set and I painted them last year. With some of the new technical paints out now I’d like to maybe add some new touches to them, but I think they came out pretty well, at least well enough to be table ready!

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I love this one with the Space Marine bike.

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All the little skeletons and pieces are great small details.

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This one with the door and unexploded ordinance is also wonderfully detailed.  I like the bullet holes, battle damage, and debris in these pieces.

 Over the holidays Citadel released some new technical paints that got me pretty excited. Yes I’m lame enough to get excited over technical paints, but I like to paint, I have a lot of fun with scenery, and I’ve been waiting for these kinds of paints to be available.

One of my favorite scenery pieces is the “battlescape” piece with the dead trees, craters, and the wrecked Rhino, complete with combat damage and customizable doors.

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The base was basic Mournfang Brown then dry brushed with Longbeard Grey and Praxeti White.

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The trees were the most difficult actually, I started with more Mournfang, dry brushed Praxeti, shaded with Biel-Tan Green, and glazed with Waywatcher Green.

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The Rhino I painted in Macragge Blue, then used the Typhus Corrosion + Ryza Rust combination shown in the technical paints video released late last year.  I also used some Forge World rust weathering powder to give the impression of the rust running off into the terrain.

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The craters I plan to add some water effect mixed with some combination of Moot Green and Skavenblight Dinge to make a murky green with a bit of oil. I’ve got an extra arm from an Ungor kit and some extra chaos bits so it’s not just the imperium showing the damage in this piece 😉

 Once the piece is completely finished (I’m still testing the water effect…) I’ll post an update!

Check out my previous painting posts for more!

Black Reach

Dredtrukk

Warboss with Attack Squig

Boss Zagstruk

Stormboy Nob on Flying Base

Bad Moons Nazdreg

Dark Angels Dreadnought

Dark Angels Standard Bearer

Dark Angels Librarian

And for more 40k my Kharn illustration posts! Part 1 and Part 2.  And my fond farewell to the World of Battle.

The End of the World (of Battle) as We Know It

Off The Top of My Head

As a Warhammer fan living in Tennessee I’ve always been relatively lucky. My orders ship very quickly, shops are usually well-stocked, and there are a lot of hobbyists to create a pretty good community. Part of this is because the Games Workshop North American Headquarters was located in my state; Memphis to be exact.
I live a fair drive from Memphis but not too far. Not so far that it’s excusable that I’d never before visited the Memphis HQ and gaming site “World of Battle” over the last couple of years. I was suddenly motivated to do so when they broke the news on their Facebook page they would be effected by the Games Workshop restructuring (they are centralizing their operations back in Nottingham rather than maintaining multi-employee shops and several international HQs) and would be converting the epic World of Battle gaming hall into a single-person store on the day this post goes out, March 26th 2014. With that news I knew I’d be heading to Memphis before that occurred so I could see the World of Battle while still in its epic-scale format.
A couple of non-Warhammer folks came along for the ride, and even they were impressed and became interested in the hobby just being in the environment.

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The outside of the building itself was impressive, the huge imperial eagle and the wicked space marine statue standing guard.

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The full-sized Blood Angel still stands in the shop and he’s just as intimidating as a 7-foot tall bloke in red armor would be. Especially since he carried a gun the size of my torso.

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There’s a nice case with Eldar Striking Scorpion gear in it. It is stylized to look like it’s been collected and tagged by an Ordo Xenos agent.

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Loved this Ork Waaagh-Bannah!

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This city table was amazing. We kept wandering around it looking at all the details.

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This fantasy castle was equally incredible.

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One of my favorite sections was the back hall that contained “historical artifacts” from Games Workshop’s history. And a GREAT Dark Angels banner.

I’m not a Games Workshop hater. They are a publicly traded company, they are beholden to make a profit for their shareholders, they do things for business reasons certainly, etc. They have also create a GREAT gaming system, painting systems, and as I said in my Kharn post, one of the best “worlds” I’ve seen in fiction. Some of their decisions, however, I can’t see as being positive. I had a ton of fun in the Woodfield Mall store while I was in Chicago. I went two nights in five days and just swapped war stories (“The Little Commissar who Could” one of the clerks told me was terrific) the same was true for World of Battle. I got a chance to chat with Price there about Imperial Knights tactics, the benefits of the new Crimson Slaughter Supplement, and creative use of bits to make unique terrain. He never tried to sell me anything. Just discussed it. I just wanted to BUY everything.

Even my two friends came away interested, just being in the environment and watching the massive Last Stand battle going on.

I think this is the kind of place GW needs to retain. It brings people in. Gets them started. Just being in the presence of this kind of World of Battle sparks fascination in everyone, Warhammer fanatics, neophytes, and outsiders.

I’m hopeful that as Games Workshop completes its restructuring and rebuilds itself as in a modern economic environment World of Battle will rise from the ashes and opens its epic gaming hall tables for North American Hobbyists.

World of Battle’s FB Page!

Life Lessons from Video Games: Finding a Good Player 2 in a Beat em Up World!

LifeLessonsHeaderIt’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but a recent conversation with my muse of a RevPub partner provided inspiration.  A lot of stock is placed on “multiplayer” in video games nowadays.  I admit, I don’t care for the feature for one simple reason: Anonymity.  Playing a game online to me is playing a video game in a chat room from the 90s.  Everyone is anonymous, which for some reason increases the a-hole quotient by 75% in about 85% of people.

In the arcade days, you had jerks that ran the machine, kids that tried to step up, and challenges face-to-face, but in the skating rink I played arcade games in people would get cocky, talk trash, and laugh about it later.  Even losing didn’t seem so bad.  With online gaming now, the lack of a person to play face-to-face with just makes a lot of people act 12 even if they’re 30…  With the prevalence of online gaming, it seems we’ve started missing out on one of my favorite kinds of gaming: two player games…the kind you play when you’re actually IN the same room as your player two.

When I first started home-gaming this was THE way to play many games — my favorite of which was the side-scrolling beat ‘em up.  My best friend Mike and I (friends for over 20 years) became good friends during games of Streets of Rage 2Street Fighter II, and Final Fight.  My lovely but vicious RevPub counterpart, Raven, and I played the new Double Dragon Neon and proved how effective we could be as a fighting team, as well as a writing team.  You learn a lot about the people you play with during the course of these games.  I submit that you can tell whether someone could be a good friend, fair-weather friend, or mortal enemy based on how they behave during a side-scrolling beat ‘em up.  It’s the basics of life in a microcosm of 16-bit simulation.  Here are some benefits to playing these games with perspective friends, co-workers, mates, whatever.  It’s a great relationship barometer.  So just some basic thoughts on finding (and being) a good player 2 in a beat ’em up world:

Cardinal Rule of two-player side scrolling beat ’em ups: NO friendly fire! Working as a team is pretty easy.  You can even do team moves, but you start punching me on purpose in the game someone’s getting hurt out of game!

Axel is whacking Blaze…with a weapon no less. Breaking the cardinal rule of co-op beat em up gaming!

1.)    Does everyone share the Found Food? There’s really an etiquette to this.  Found food power ups go to the person with the lowest health, or failing that, the one with the weakest constitution (usually the girl or kid character…sorry PC people) if a player rushes in to take that roast turkey when you’re in the red and they’ve got nearly full yellow they might be the “out for themselves” type.

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Roasted fowl found on the street. It’s good for everyone!

2.)    Similarly, how are found weapons treated? Did you know weapons can be found EVERYWHERE?  Trash cans, mail boxes, phone booths; everything hides a weapon.  Two players with weapons are a juggernaut of insurmountable proportions. Beware the second player who drops his or her pipe (thereby maybe making it mysteriously vanish) to grab the recently found sword rather than keeping his pipe so you can have the sword and making a stronger team.

From the SoR remake. Axel with a pipe, Blaze with a knife. Life is good.

3.)    A good friend won’t leave you in the midst of a multithug pummeling.  Even if it means taking half the damage, the idea behind two player co-op is twice the enemies, twice the damage.  Good player twos are there to thrash and get thrashed in turn right there with you.

Streets of Rage 2 bosses…and yep good player 2’s would be right there with you!

4.)    If player two ever says “Ok, I’ll let them target me…it’ll give you the chance to take them out…” they’re a keeper.  We all need more friends like these.  As long as they don’t hog all your shared continues…

Shiva…anyone willing take take hits from this guy for you is a true friend…

5.)    Real friends will avenge your untimely demise by viciously beating your assailant into blinking pixels.  If you drop dead from a well-placed punch, kick, pipe, sword, barrel, whatever, a good player two should turn into Wolverine in a berserker rage and, in the words of Mack from, Predator cut your name into them!

Cody’s Down, Haggar to the Rescue.

With Wil Wheaton’s Table Top bringing tabletop gaming back into vogue, I can only hope Felicia/Ryon Day’s show Co-Optitude can do the same for playing video games in person!