Psychic Skittles

When I first did these, they sort of looked like Easter eggs. After a while they looked less like Easter eggs and more like Skittles. Regardless, these are the spirit stones I wanted to make into objectives. Notice, of course, that they were designed to integrate with the table I'm currently working on...

Spirit Stones

Ever have one of those ideas that has to be done RIGHT NOW OR YOU'LL LOSE IT FOREVER? Well, I had one of those tonight. I was thinking about how Farseers cast Spirit Stones on the ground to forsee the future; they toss the baubles on the floor and then something mystical happens.

Then I thought "Man, what if Spirit Stones could be an objective?", so I made six markers that will go well with my upcoming table (thatineverworkonanymoreshh); three based on the tile motif, three based on sand.

And there you have it.


Yeah, I'm Gonna Make You Look At It

Done today while trying to open a box of tiny trees for my kids to play with on their green game table.

Xacto blade cut, angle #1
Xacto blade cut, angle #2


I wrote this in my blog a little over a year ago. I'd forgotten I wrote it, and when I was rifling around in the archives, I was pleasantly surprised to see it.

I was in a Games Workshop store recently talking to some guys about I forget what, when I overheard a conversation between some of the patrons and some of the staff. It was an animated conversation about how one of the Warhammer armies, named "Skaven" was created and came into the world. You see, there's this thing about a tower that some village was trying to build and then a stranger came to the village one day and said "I'll help you build the tower" and so they let him and when he did something bad happened and rats grew big and picked up weapons and started killing everyone. I kinda checked in and out of the conversation as it progressed, but what amazed me was the length of time that this conversation was spanning; it was a good 20 minute conversation about how Skaven came into the world. They then all joined into an animated discussion about who that mystery person who built the tower was. Could he have been this guy? That guy? The other guy? (The names escape me. Sorry). It was not a casual discussion... this was something these guys really cared about. This was something that they obviously gave a lot of thought to on those nights when they lie awake, staring at the darkness. I thought to myself "Is this how far these people are out of touch with reality? That they put this kind of thought and energy into wondering where non-existent rat people came into being and who was the other non-existent person who made it happen?" I felt a little weird being around this, so I left. I was a little worried that if I stayed there for too long that my own grasp on reality might start to dissolve, it was that serious.

I wandered next door to a hair salon that I frequent and looked for some new shampoo, of which I was in need. Now, as you can imagine if you have ever been in a hair salon, there was no shortage of hair products. I stood before the shelf which served my usual brand and started rifling through the bottles to find the shampoo. I found conditioner, which isn't really that exotic of a choice. I found leave-in conditioner, which is a bit more unusual, given that most people use a conditioner before they get out of the shower/bath/whatever. There was a styling gel, which was also nothing unsual. "Firm" and "light" varieties indicated the differing degrees of hold that each could offer. I also found styling gel for thick hair and for thinning hair. Ok, good enough. There was also styling cream, forming cream, pomade and sculpting cream. There was a product I forget the name of, the purpose of which was to make your hair shinier and one called "mud" that was intended to make it less shiny. If the mud wasn't interesting to you, there was also "clay" and "stucco". There was a finishing rinse, for when you were done washing and conditioning, as well as a product I couldn't quite get the hang of but appeared to be a sort of varnish that held your hair in place once you got it "just so". In addition I also saw several varieties of hair spray and no fewer (I kid you not) than five permutations of shampoo. This is all from the same company, by the way. I did a little quick math and realized that if I were to use all their products in one sitting that I would be putting roughly a gallon of product on my head every morning, would take ninety minutes to get ready to leave the house and could pay about $200 monthly in upkeep to make sure the products didn't run out. There were several posted advertisements which shockingly indicated that, yes... this is what they expected you to do.

At that moment I rethought my perspective that the nerds in Games Workshop were out of touch with reality. At first I thought that they were as far gone from planet earth as it was possible to get, but after visiting the hair salon I realized it's quite easy to go a whole lot further.


To Do List

I have...

  • One Wraithlord to do touch ups on.
  • One Wraithlord to finish painting.
  • One Wraithlord to build.
  • A bunch of War Walkers to assemble and paint.
  • Two grav tanks to build and paint.
  • Three Warlocks to build and paint.
  • A bunch of Wraithguard to build and paint.
  • Soul Shrines to finish building and painting.
  • Aspect Shrines to start building and painting.
  • A really big table to finish building, including sand dunes, tiles, and foundations for Aspect Shrines.
  • A Warp Gate to build.
  • Basing for everything that stands.

I've got until April 1 to have it all finished.

Say Hello To My Little Friend

Meet my little friend, Ferdinand.

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He is, as you can no doubt tell for yourself, a little dead scorpion locked in a hunk of clear plastic. As I explained here, I am seekingt o make Aspect shrines. One of these will be for the Striking Scorpions aspect, and I will perch Ferdinand atop the shrine (borrowed from a Mayan style of temple), sunk into a bit of foam, and he will make for a bizzarre but captivating addition to the shrine.

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Here are hunks of foam. Unremarkable as these may appear, they are cut into square pieces and sanded and, best of all, will form the foundation of several of my shrines. So this is the beginning...


All My Base Is Belong To Drywall Compound

When the Craftworld Donn'Alaich Sian was seen again by the eyes of its lost family, it was not the home they once knew. The halls, the shrines, the homes and chambers stayed still under a veneer of dust and sand. Most sobering of all, the remaining jetsam and flotsam of the battle which forced these Eldar to abandon their birthplace; broken Wraithbone, violated by drunken patterns bolter fire, rusty with dry blood lay scattered on the tiled floors. In the short hours before the arrival of the Black Seer and his corrupted vassals, the silent witches and warriors of Donn'Alaich Sian wandered through the dark corridors, heads unhelmeted, hearts cold in their chests. Each silently meditated on how these might once have been the environs of a mighty, unbroken Eldar civilization... peaceful and prosperous. Now, the skeletal remains and untouched clutter of warfare which robbed House Donn'Alaich Sian of their destiny were all that remained.

In the few hours before the arrival of the Black Seer, there were bitter tears of grief for a history that never had a chance to unravel.

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Large bases, drywall compound, scattered bits. If you follow my work then you'll know that there's paint and sand coming soon. I love seeing things come into their own from humble, sloppy beginnings into lush, interesting terrain. I'm seeing some great stuff ahead for this kind of thing. I think it's gonna rock.

To Fin Or Not To Fin

What you see below are four bits which I will refer to as "fins".

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Three of them are from the Epic-scale Revenant Titan, and one is the bitz-ordered head from a Wraithguard model. You can probably figure out which is which.

I had this kind of ridiculous idea, but it could end up being cool as hell. If you look at this pic then you'll see the fin stick out of the back (it looks like a bunch of hockey sticks). I think it'd be cool to take it off the titan and stick it onto something else, like a War Walker or Wraithlord. There's no doubt in my mind that they'd look amazing if I do, but then I am left with two finless titans... and that seems kind of stupid. It's either steal it or cast it in Green Stuff... because you can't bitz order these pieces. That's the problem. No bitz-ordering Epic-scale stuff.

I don't like the thought of casting, but I'm willing to listen.

I then realized that maybe I could convert the leftover Revenants into Warlocks or Farseers with the heads from the Wraithgard (I have two).

Please... gimme your thoughts!

Not Quite Done

Nowhere near done, but this is just another step forward (I think). Anyhow, there's a busted Soul Shrine, sand all over the place, and a Wraithlord getting ready to BBQ someone.

Compare to the "before" picture...

Looks like a 4+ cover save to me!


My mom lives in Israel. She visits me once, sometimes two times a year and usually stays for a couple weeks.

I've decided that when she next visits me that I will insist she play a Warhammer game against me on my completed table. I will force her if I must.

Man, that thought just makes me smile for some reason.

An Insight Into What It's Like To Be Me

Tonight I was trying to organize my life and get some order in my immediate living space. Right now it's a tornado of pink foam and bits of grey plastic sprue and chopped up plasticard. I really need some order here, so I analyzed where things were at and and decided that I needed to consolidate my space so that there's a work area and a non-work area. By "work" I mean painting space dollies.

Ok, so just to ensure that I'm clear: I need a work area and a non-work area.

So to get a good work area it means putting things in order so that there's less garbage around. I got the garbage can out and put bits of foam and plasticard in the bucket. I managed to get part way through that and then I realized I had to parse what was garbage and what wasn't in the massive pile of plastic and pewter.

So this led to me making piles of stuff based on its function; tools vs. models vs. garbage and, well, you get the idea.

Ok, fast forward far enough to see me at 5:55 AM sorting tiny little swords into three piles: Eldar, Wood Elf, and non-Eldar-Wood-Elf. I've been doing it for about 45 minues now and, when I'm done, I'll be moving on to making a pile of Eldar tank bits which need a canopy and Eldar tank bits which don't. I expect this will take me to lunch.

If any of you cared about me, you'd just kill me.


Shrine Pedestal

Call it a dias, an altar or a pedestal... it's the thing that holds the shrines up so they don't fall over.

I do a fair amount of painting and showing here on Hammerblog. There are two things about my work which I think are very important to understand: First, I think it's a good idea to show how something is done in a blog like this. What's the point of saying "TA-DAHH!" and not giving any idea of the gestation process? Any learning or sharing there is to be had comes from the observation of the process, not the end result. Second, I don't consider myself to be a gifted or extraordinary modeler/painter/whatever. I am not so blind to see that I fall somewhere in the middle between neophyte and virtuoso. And I'm fine with that. What I don't want you to think is that by showing how to do what I do that I am suggesting everyone will automatically want to reap the benefit of my great wisdom, blah blah blah. It's something I provide so that you can take whatever you like from the repository of my experience as a budding modeler and use it to your own benefit, possibly with greater skill and talent than mine.

Ok? Ok. With that, let me show you how to make the Shrine Pedestal.

Make a circular hunk of foam by using an empty container of instant Kimchee to trace a circle on said foam. Use a wire cutter to hack it out, sand down the edges.
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Establish where the center is by measuring the width and halving it. This will take a bit of practice, but stick with it. Make a dot with a felt marker in the middle (not a ball point or something that will make an impression on the foam). Then put a small flying base over it and trace it with a ball point or something that will make an impression on the foam (not a marker).
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Do the same thing with the bigger flying base.
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Next, a roll of masking tape. Trace the INSIDE of the roll as well as out.
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There's a number of ways to draw a straight line, but I used the plastic trowel thingie I got from Home Depot (intended for use with drywall compound) to make straight lines. Make sure you get the right angle between the up-down line and the left-right line bang on or it'll look funny. I used the corner of a sheet of plasticard to make sure I got it right. Other things around the house will do it, but make sure you don't cheat on getting that right angle just so.

I also skipped one outer ring and the center circle when drawing the line. This is more in keeping with ornate circular floor tile and makes it look fancier.
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I eyeballed the "X" lines (but used that plasticard again to make sure those right angles were also straight), and made more lines.
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I used the ball point to draw a typical Eldar rune into the center. This part is purely optional, of course.
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Just before I started painting it black with the Canadian Tire acrylic, I broke a chunk off to create the illusion that it was damaged. A good way (but not the only way) to do this is to make a couple cuts with an xacto blade which follow the grooves between the tiles. That way it'll break off in a believable manner.

When painting, the important thing is to make sure the black goes into the grooves. It's important to get black all over, of course, but you'll drybrush several layers over the flat surfaces; the black in the grooves will remain and has to be opaque. You can't have someone looking between the tiles and seeing pink. If you are having trouble accomplishing this, water the black down and add several layers.
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Most paint takes more than one coat to cover the pink. Don't give up!
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Now it's starting to look like something.
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Drybrush first with Shadow Grey, then with Space Wolves Grey, then with Bleached Bone, then with Skull White. Notice how the "stone" just comes to life when you do this.
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And that's how I do it, folks.



Tonight I started working with the interior acrylic latex paint available from Canadian Tire. I took paint chips colored with Shadow Grey, Bestial Brown, and Graveyard Earth to CT and had them matched. The reason should be obvious; I don't feel like paying a zillion dollars for ten pots of each color from Games Workshop, and doing it this way is very affordable.

The object of my attention tonight was the Soul Shrines. I decided that rather than consider what I'm doing with them to be a "final", I've put one aside in order to use it as a tester. I also designed a base for the shrines; a round pedestal based on Games Workshop tips on Storm Of Chaos scenery (I'm borrowing the circular tile motif).

Ironically, I didn't use the Canadian Tire paint on the Soul Shrine. I started with Snakebite Leather (which I debated getting in a can; I may still do so) and then drybrushed the living crap out of it with Bleached Bone (another candidate for the can rather than the pot). Once finished, I was very happy with the base effect but found it very bland and lacking in character. I added some stick-on gems I got from a craft store, thinking they'd make it look fancier and cooler, but it increased the stupidity factor by 100. I decided I preferred boring and bland, so I peeled them off. The final Soul Shrines will have runes and patterns carved into the foam before it's drybrushed.

The pedestal is as you see it; Canadian Tire black (called "Deep Onyx"), Canadian Tire Shadow Grey, GW Bleached Bone, GW white. I'm really fond of the results here and I expect that the tester is just scratching the surface of the effect I'll get in the end.

There's one other change I've made to my overall paint scheme which will either strike you as dramatically major or banal and minor: My original plan for "sand" was going to be a base of Snakebite Leather, a heavy drybrush with Bubonic Brown, a lighter drybrush of Bleached Bone and then an even lighter drybrush of white. I've decided (hang onto your seats) to replace Snakebite Leather with Graveyard Earth. I found the end result to be less "red" and more natural. While the Graveyard Earth makes the sand look more like dirt, the Snakebite makes it look as if there's some odd red coloring to the ground. I've included a pic to illustrate the difference (the Wraithlord is on a Snakebite Leather base).

Anyhow... a photo is worth a thousand words, so here's: 1. Graveyard Earth vs Snakebite Leather, 2. Snakebite Leather base on the Soul Shrine, 3. The pedestal, 4. The pedestal + Soul Shrine, 5. The pedestal + soul shrine + Wraithlord!

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And So It Begins...

The first few strains of the new Eldar models begin to slip through the cracks of Games Workshop's chitinous armor.

It's a little thing, ladies and gentlemen, but it's the opening notes of a great symphony to come...

*Sigh* ...I think I'm in love.



Think of it this way: The population of China (1,306,313,812 people) and the population of Finland (5,223,442) are quite different. The former is about 250 times higher than the latter. Obviously one is a lot more populated than the other. Compare these, if you will, to the Imperium and the Eldar civilization. Could each of these countries fill a shopping mall? Could they fill a football stadium? When you witness a large gathering in either China or Finland, you can't tell that there's a huge population difference there at a glance because that's not where you'd see it. If China had to put some tanks and maybe 100 soldiers in a theater of war, they could do it, but so could Finland. There's no difference there.

Over time, if China had to field that same force again and again, they would be unlikely to run out of trained soldiers. One battle after another would be staffed with hardened personnel and China would never have to worry about putting anything but their best people into the fray. If Finland had to do the same thing, it'd be different. After several battles, Finland's resources to field fully trained soldiers would diminish and wane because they just wouldn't have enough human bodies to serve as fighters. They could still put a full force on the field, but it would have to be mixed wth fewer "true" soldiers, and more militia conscripts/volunteers. They'd have to pad the ranks with citizens who weren't quite as prepared for battle as the Chinese.

Now just do some adjustment of scale for populations that are into the billions and trillions and it's a similar thing for the Eldar. They would not fail to put enough bodies on the field of war, but their access to hardened warriors would dwindle. This is where Guardians, drawn from the general population of Eldar, would enter the scene and serve alongside their more seasoned brethren (and, uh... sisteren).

Throughout history it's been done many, many times in countless military situaions: Civilizations of limited numbers will draw from the general populace to meet a military challenge in full force.


Two Games

The St. Laurent Games Workshop store has a Battle Bunker and, with Christmas so close, the mall is open hella late (11 PM). I took advantage of that to get some games in. The first was a Challenge Game (read: cheese-fest) against Bunny Of Doom's Orks (he's also known as James). There's really no way to soften the report on this 1000 pt. Gamme take-and-hold mission: I pummeled the poor guy. He's a good sport and didn't utter a single word of complaint, so he gets points from me for that... but it was a challenge game. I brought my A-game and put him in the pain locker.

The real shame is that a lot of my pics of his army were too blurry to post. Sorry, James :( I'll get more pics next time.

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Later I played against Daniel, who is a new 40k fan who is playing Sisters of Battle. We had a 1000 point game of Omega Seek and Destroy, and I didn't bring my A game; instead, I took mainly troops (Dire Avengers, two squads of Guardian Defenders without platforms, and a big Storm Guardian squad), some HQ (two Farseers) and a Heavy (a Wraithlord). I did beat him, but it was a tight game with lots of shooting, lots of hand-to-hand and lots of swinging back and forth. I won by a small margin and it was a lot of fun. My first game against Sisters, too!

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Now That's Just Cuckoo

I admire it, and it also scares me.

More Wreckage!


Busted Stuff

Soul Shrines == Block Line Of Sight
Busted Soul Shrines == Good Cover to shoot from behind!

I have four that aren't busted, three that are. I wasn't going to break any in my original plan, but I did such a bad job of cutting the last three that this was the only way to put them out of my misery.

I've been trying to create the look of Eldar stuff that's been hammered with Marine firepower. We'll see how it goes.

I think the plan of trying to stick the foam to the plasticard by using drywall compound is probably a bad idea, though.


Can You Feel It?

I'm feelin' it.

What Was I Thinking? pt. II

I couldn't face making more grooves on a giant piece of flat pink foam, so I decided to turn my thoughts towards terrain.

I couldn't face making Aspect shrines. Not tonight. So I decided that making Soul shrines was the best way to go. See, I intend to use them just as terrain; blocking line of sight and providing for a more interesting table. I'll likely make these out of foamcore, though I haven't really decided yet.

I thought I might just pull out the old xacto blade and start slicing. Well, when I considered how precise the pretty patterns on the shrines in the picture are, I realized that was a bad idea. So I thought I'd need to have to come up with some sort of pre-planned measurments. Then I realized that just having a few notches marked off on the ruler wasn't good enough. I realized I'd have to make a template of some kind. I got some thin plasticard, my gigantic aluminum T square (which was way too big for this job) and started making some lines. Then I had to start cutting...

Well... here's what I ended up with.

Do I have Soul shrines now? Oh, mais non. As is my tradition, I have everything but the actual thing I wanted to make.

We'll see how this goes.

I couldn't just leave it sitting there. I had to know how it was going to turn out.

I pulled out a chunk of pink foam and went to work on it. Here's what I came up with:

Hey, you know... that didn't turn out too bad after all!

I used the xacto blade and the hot wire cutter thing. Close inspection will show you that it's not perfect, of course, but the truth is that it's actually darn good and closer than I thought it'd be. Definitely close enough to live with... and I'll start making a whole bunch more ASAP!

This is fun!