Duelling Farseers

My buddy Bill challenged me to a "Paint Off". Turns out we both have one of those old, old Farseer models with the pointy finger, and in the course of an MSN chat he challenged me to a competition. After a few "Oh No You Dinnits" and "Mm-Hmms" for posturing, we agreed to set the end of November as a deadline for Most Fabulous Farseer 2005, to be judged by the members of Deep Space.

This is how the Farseer basically looks (with a little black primer). Notice that, like a lot of old models, the details aren't so sharp. I, personally, find that a bit of a challenge, but whatever.

Step one:
When I bought this guy he was already primed black, so work with what ya got, right? Slathered him with a few layers of Enchanted Blue to get the basic color going. Later decided it'd be cool to have a yellow sash and made the ridiculously retarded decision to paint the sash in yellow. God, what a mistake. 40 layers later and it looks all chalky and still doesn't cover what's underneath. Guhh. Ok, I also put some white down to form a base for the Wraithbone painting. The exposed parts of the helmet innards (the nose thing, the eyes, the "trench" at the back of the head) were wet-blended from lightened Scorpion Green to Enchanted Blue & Scorpion Green. Black-lined the eyes.
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Step two:
Wraithbone helmet: Snakebite Leather, Bleached Bone blended with SB Leather, then Bleached Bone. Wash with a mix of Brown Ink and Flesh Wash (watered way down) and then do some highlights with Bleached Bone and Reaper Mini's Pure White. A touch of highlighting on the blue, but I've realized that I'm going to probably have to do that last if I want it to look good... so that can just wait for now.
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Step three:
Black sash, gloss varnish on the eyes, more yellow.
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Ok, not real sure what to do next. I believe I will cover this bastard in runes from head to toe. I imagine I'll have to come up with something clever for the bracelets around his wrist and something for the sword as well... but what? I'll just have to let inspiration direct me. There will be something very special for the base, though... so keep an eye peeled for that later :)


Playing To Win

Yesterday I went to Games Workshop for an afternoon and got three games in: One 2000 point game of USF vs. Tau, one 1000 point game of Biel Tan against Orks and another 1000 point game of Biel Tan against Codex Eldar.

These were games that I wanted to win. Now, don't get me wrong; I'm not saying I wanted to win at the expense of my opponents' fun or that I was willing to cheese out. I just decided that I didn't feel like experimenting today. I didn't feel like trying new things. I didn't feel like test-driving a previously untried idea. Nope... today was about playing games with known quantities and trying to beat my opponent instead of having a "learning experience". I've had lots of those lately. This time I just wanted to kill some stuff.

Jason is an experienced Tau player with a damn fine-looking army. We played a Secure and Control game at Alpha level, and I decided not to give him nearly as many chances to kick my butt as I gave him the last time we played (about a month ago). I hunkered down into a corner, annointed everyone with Fortune and Guide, and let the rockets fly like nobody's business. It was still a tough game; Jason knows how to shoot, I'll tell you that. In the end, I managed to take him down and win, but it was a good, solid game.
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Known to Deep Space members as "Bunny Of Doom", James brought a spritely Ork force to the table, and some fun was had in a Gamma level Recon game. My small Biel Tan force was bringing massive pain in the form of Scatter Lasers, Shuriken Cannons and the Forgeworld "Firestorm" tank (which boasts long-barreled, gattling AA mounted Scatter Lasers). I was mowing James down like there was no tomorrow until something happened to me which has never happened before: He launched a Grot Bomb and pasted one of my Wave Serpents. Blam. Dead. Not 30 seconds later, his Slaver got a lucky shot in on the OTHER Wave Serpent and killed that one, too. In the end I beat him with two scoring units in his deployment zone and a comparable number of victory points, but he had me worried for a while, there.
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David is new to Eldar and is still learning the ropes of that particular army, so... for fun we switched lists and I tried to give him a few tips from my own body of experience (such as it is). Unfortunately, he lost his transports (or are those my transports?) pretty early on and didn't quite recover, but it was still a fun game on a really cool table with huge ledges and cliffs. Notice my Farseer on a Jetbike has made a re-appearance after being out of commission for over a year.
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Baby Steps

Falcon gets a few more touches. Wraithguard get all done up and, even though they look like they're standing on wet cement with cocoa powder mixed in, they still look kinda neat. It's probably just the rush of seeing some Epic-scale stuff actually coming close to completion, but I really like these.

The Wraithlord is still being worked on... but not much to show yet. Just more Bleached Bone. I'll cap it when I get this layer done and before I wash it with the ink.

Now, I realize that children in Africa are starving to death, but I'm really suffering from this existential crisis: I can't figure out which color to make the gems. I don't want to do red, but it's the perfect compliment to the bone/yellow/blue. I want to do green, but it'll be hard to make that pop out in the same way red would.

Red. Green. Red. Green. Red. Green. Do you now see the battles I must fight in my personal hell? Lord, give me strength.


Other Projects

Epic Eldar... Epic appeals to me because it's cheap, it's easy to paint, and (according to those who play it) the strategic and tactical elements overshadow 40k. This ties in a little with my current Wraithlord project in that I am indulging my insatiable taste for Wraithbone. I'm just so in love with the organic and lush texture/feel of Wraithbone (at least by the formula I've been using) that I can't get enough of it. As you can see by looking at this little unfinished Falcon, I'm going to go ahead and give my Epic army a Wraithbone theme. There is, of course, the question of which Craftworld I will adhere to in that game and, frankly, I've always liked to paint in a neutral way so that I can use whatever Craftworld interests me at the time. As an Eldar player this is somewhat essential due to the fact that the codex is slowly going stale and anything that can be done to keep the experience fresh in the short-term is valuable. Anyhow, I'm digressing; I'm actually going to play an Ulthwe Craftworld at first and see how I like it. Not sure how that'll affect the paintjob just yet, but I'll keep an open mind. I have a Guardian Warhost box all set up now and I'm going to put some sand down on the bases before I get started with painting them. Naturally, pics will appear here.

I'm actually a little uninspired by the utilitarian bases that are used in Epic. If I stick with this game system I may make my own bases that have a bit more life to them. BTW, that Falcon isn't done. It's a WIP... but you can get a sense of how it's going to look from this pic.

You may also have thought I've forgotten this sleek bastard. I've been avoiding the work necessary to do the runes on the Scorpion II because, frankly, it's just so much, but I sat down and started getting it done. In case you might not have been following my psychotic ramblings about the Scorpion... I intend to fill the entire red section of this superheavy tank with a grid of tiny runes like the ones you see in this picture. Just so you know where it's going.


Painting The Wraithlord Is Scaring Me

The Wraithlord is now getting to look very, very basically like the Wraithlord I want to have at the end of this process. It's a bit of a slippery slope for me painting this guy as it is when I do painting schemes of this kind; you start off with a base coat that looks bad, then you cover it with a wash that looks bad, then you cover it with a highlight that looks bad, then you highlight it some more and it looks only 90% as bad as it did, then you wash it and pick out some details and so-on and suddenly it's gorgeous. Having the trust to get to the end of the prcoess requires a certain degree of patience that usually eludes me. As I now look at this Wraithlord, I can't help but think "all hope is lost. I've blown it". The only reason why I hang on is because I always think that.

I started with a base of Games Workshop's Skull White primer, which has never been my favorite primer anyhow, and added a substantial wash of Games Workshop's Snakebite Leather. Over it, I've started to add a nice thin layer of Bleached Bone, which I'll go over several times before I'm done. You can see the progression below, which I wanted to capture before I got it all the way to the end. I'll wash it in a half-flesh-wash/half-brown-ink/mostly-water solution later and that's usually when the magic happens. I've tried this scheme several times already on a few "throw-away" models, and I like the outcome. I'm just always scared during the process itself. :)


Oh, and one more thing...

The Wrist.

Stop In The Name Of Love

The upturned hand makes me think of the whole "Stop In The Name Of Love" song thing.

Er. Nevermind.

This turned into quite a little project. It includes (so far):
- Create a notch in the weapons mount on the "backpack" for a Rare Earth Magnet using a jeweler's saw, a file and some greenstuff.
- Cutting the flamer off of the right arm and fixing up all the signs that there ever was one by using jeweler's saw, side-cutters, files and sandpaper.
- Removing the Shuriken Catapult from the left arm using the saw, side-cutters, files and sandpaper... but leaving a nice space for the double-barreled flamer to be mounted.
- Making a double-barreled flamer for the left arm (so I can still count him as having two flamers) using two flamers from the old Eldar weapons sprue, filing them down, gluing them together and attaching them to the arm.
- Bending the right arm so it's in the right position. Not that big of a deal.
- Green-Stuffing the pock-marks out of the shoulders. This, by the way, marks a new strata for me and Green Stuff; I've started using a tiny bit of vegetable oil on my fingers when I shape it, and that makes a hell of a difference. I don't know why I didn't do this before. Water is not as good.
- The tricky part: Using the saw to cut the left hand off, attaching some "wrist meat" made out of Green Stuff, adding "ribs" (akin to many of the exposed areas of the WL's body), re-attaching the hand in a new position.
- Using the usual tools, trimming up some Wraithguard heads I bitz-ordered and attaching the "fins" to the legs. Just something I wanted to do for flavor.

There are some shaky joints, an excess of Green Stuff in certain areas and the possibility of some extra doo-dads (like a tabard or a flag), but this fella is close to being ready for paint.

I'll try to get a nicer shot of that wrist later. It's one of the better things I've accomplished.

The New/Old Wraithlord

Started working on a new Wraithlord tonight. This is a second-hand fella who may or may not join my army, and I want to make him look interesting and dynamic. I have a hard time with the basic Wraithlord pose because it looks so much like "Hello. I am a Wraithlord. Would you like to shake my hand? That would be splendid. Thank you for shaking my hand. I will walk away now. Once I have done that, I will shoot you. I am a Wraithlord. Thank you". Also, that Wraithlord seems to be saying "Hello. I am standing on oatmeal". But whatever.

As you've already gathered, I'm not a fan of the static, unmoving Wraithlord position. I try really hard to twist him and move him until he looks like he's a living, moving thing. Also, I like to bring out the mystical "Eldary" feel, which means I don't want him simply to look like a big, scary monster. I want him to look intelligent and spiritual, but also powerful. I may not have achieved it, but it's what I'm hoping for.

This guy will be turning to one side and, leaning into the front leg. I also added green stuff to the base to give it some raised areas. I find that really big bases need to have that or they look more like a carpet instead of actual "ground". Anyhow, he's step one... there will be more to come...

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Mystery Quote

There's a well-known piece of literature that I was thinking about that has some quotes which made me think of the Eldar. The book describes a "Prince With A Thousand Enemies" and, in doing so, the prince is warned:

"If they catch you, they will kill you... but first, they have to catch you."

Anyone know where this quote is from? Don't be cheap and look it up on Google... try your memory, o readers of great literature!


The Tau Beat Me Down... Again

Today I played Jason, aka An00bis... a good 1500-point Seek & Destroy mission at Omega level. I lost... and it wasn't one of those "close" losses people talk about when two people of equal skill meet face to face and square off. No, this was one of those things where Jason took out his wrench, unscrewed all my bolts and just let my army fall into a giant heap of scrap parts.

Basically, here are the main points of note:
- The list was: Seer Council (3 Farseers, 3 Warlocks), One Black Guardian Storm Squads in Wave Serpents & Enhanced by Warlocks, One Falcon tooled to the nines, Three War Walkers armed to the teeth with Starcannons.
- I was playing Ulthwe, not Ulthwe Strike Force. I shouldn't have done that. Playing Ulthwe Strike Force requires a certain degree of balls and, when I considered the fact that I was playing against Tau, I left mine in my other pants. And I paid for it; Ulthwe is what brought me down, ultimately... because I really just played straight into his strengths. As I am rather afraid of Tau, I always assume I can't use my usual tactics. What I tend to forget is that my usual tactics are what I do best and changing to do something that isn't what I do best is actually a step backwards.
- Escalation fucked me. He started with almost everything on the table. Me? Because I had almost everything mounted, I started with my Seer Council on the table... and nothing more. He managed to get into position and get some nice lanes of crossfire going. I only managed to shove a Seer Council behind a rock as they all hugged each other in terror and pooped their rune armor.
- The rolls in this game (both his and mine) were unbelievably bad. Now, I realize that all players who roll dice have this "one that got away" tall-tale tradition about how bad their dice rolls are, but... I've never seen rolling so bad. I've never seen someone pick up three dice, roll a one, a two, and a one... pick them up again, roll them again, and get three ones on the second try. It just got downright silly. Both Jason and I conceded that if we had been rolling "average" rolls, the game would have turned out quite differently.
- If you're careful with your War Walkers and you pick your battles, they can be quite resilient. This is yet one more game where I'm surprised how well they fared. Don't get me wrong; they're always dead by the end of the game, but they tend to easily make their points back before they end up eating dirt.

I've got a nice collection of pics here; more than the average amount, in fact. I didn't post thumbnails this time because the bandwidth drag would be kinda heavy, so I just labeled them and you can click whatever catches your fancy.

* Gun-Slingin' Broadside
* Fire Warriors En Regalia
* Broadside Takes Aim
* Crisis Suits Touch Down
* Kroot In Their Natural Habitat
* The Rail-Gunnenator
* Possibly The Only In-Focus, Close-Up Photo Of My War-Walker I've Ever Taken In My Life
* Kroot And Storm Guardians Tango
* The Battle Heats Up
* Off-Road Hammerheadin'
* Tau Human Auxilliaries
* The Tau Commander