Saturday, March 24, 2012

My Space Wolves successor work

My last post showed my work on thunderwolf cavalry. I love the fluff and feel of the Space Wolves, but I've always felt a need to take my own spin on things. So the Blood Wolves came about. With dark grey and red armor (and overall paint scheme), and unlike their SW forbearer the Blood Wolves come from a world that isn't continually locked in a winter. Their world is covered in mountains, forests, and rocky wastes, interspersed with areas of agriculture. The people of their world are a mix of Japanese, Norse, and Scottish decent. And the various peoples intermingled and also segregated from each other by the harsh landscapes and extreme ferocity of the native wildlife.

With these ideas in mind, I began working on how I'd work those cultures (fallen back to medieval technology overall, and a little black powder mixed in) into a Space Wolves successor. Firstly I decided that the chapter was founded in the 36th millennium, as an experiment in stabilizing the Space Wolves geneseed through mixing of select zygot into their founding. And while it seems to have helped for some time, it had drastic effects after the first millennium. The Wulfen 'curse' began to become a rampant issue, and a high percentage of aspirants to the chapter had to be culled. Even after making it through the early stages of being a Blood Wolf, many would fall within the first century to the curse.

This genetic curse has caused the Blood Wolves chapter to routinely be at under 400 full Space Marines. But this wasn't the only trouble the Blood Wolves have had. During the 39th millennium an Ork Waagh! instigated by Dark Eldar caught a Blood Wolves crusading force unprepared. Half of the Blood Wolves fleet assets were destroyed before reinforcements could arrive to extract the remaining Battle Brothers. Over the next fifty years a number of Dark Eldar strikes crippled a large portion of the remainder of the Blood Wolf fleet, leaving the chapter with their Battle Barge, a Strike Cruiser, and 3 Sword class Frigates as the full remaining space forces remaining.

The Blood Wolves finally tracked down the base of the raiders who had systematically reduced their power and ability to project force in the Eastern Fringe (where they were located). The remaining might of the chapter fell on the small moon that housed their facilities, and over the course of several weeks every member of the Dark Eldar Kabal involved were reduced to corpses. The Blood Wolves hadn't been unscathed though, and nearly 100 brothers died from the various poisons and deadly xenos technologies used in the campaign.

It took nearly 500 years to regain their former strength, as they couldn't remove themselves from obligations across the region they protected. By the late 40th millennium the chapter had risen to an unheard of for millennia 437 battle brothers. Unfortunately (in the minds of the chapter battle brothers) for the chapter nearly 9% of the brothers showed signs of the Wulfen curse. And of the two dozen dreadnaughts the chapter had in the first millennia of operations, only 9 remained. The fleet had grown through the reclaimation of a pair of frigates from renegades, but this did little to alleviate the massive losses of the previous millenia.

On the bright side, the chapter had managed to keep much of their industry untouched within their battle barge. Land Raiders, Rhinos (and their variant combat vehicles), as well as Terminator armor were in good supply. And over the many hundreds of years a fair number of battle brothers had become pack brothers to the Blood Wolves of their homeworld (Biologically they are so close to Fenrisian Thunderwolves as to be a total fluke), as well as several large packs of the lesser Wild Wolves becoming like brothers to the Space Marines.

The rune priests of the chapter use a mix of techniques drawn from their homeworld to foresee events, as well as primal 'spirits' and forces in combat, much like their distant Primogenitors. Oddly enough, the Blood Wolves aren't sure if they are geneseed decendants of the Space Wolves, but they truly don't care one way or the other. Several outside observers have noted they structure theirselves much like the Space Wolves, and have many similar customs and traditions.

Until later!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The things on the work desk... a new semi-regular feature

Seeing as I've enjoyed seeing the updates on others work desks, I've decided that it might be fun to do that as well. So I'll try to do this at least once, possibly twice a month.

For the first installment... Super Dungeon Explore, Thunderwolf Cavalry, and Fenrisian Wolves!

My always cluttered work space, Space Wolves in the front, SDE in the back.

The Angry Bear transformation for the Druid in SDE.

The nearly completed Druid from SDE.
I'm using Super Dungeon Explore (SDE) as my 'venting and relaxing' work between main projects now. The figs are a TON of fun to paint, and let me go with an anime style of painting. It's a great relaxation to not have to work on 'realistic' skin work, shadow/highlight, and other things. Anime style painting is so much more about shadow and less about highlights, plus the use of more pastel coloring.

My Blood Wolf T-cav w/Frost Blade.

The Thunderwolf Cavalry are roughly 98% finished, just a few bits of detail work, and a little work on the faces to fix a couple of issues. The wolves are still in the wash stages, as I'm working on adjusting their patterning through washes before I go in for highlighting and such. I've downloaded dozens of pictures of real wolves to help with dealing with them, and the variation in patterning of the fur is pretty amazing. Going with one solid coat and not adjusting for pattern just does wolf models a total disservice.

A few examples from my wolf picture library.

As you can see, even in the 'solid' areas there are a number of variations. While I'm not going for 'perfect' with my wolves, I am working towards a somewhat natural look in my painting.

On a side note... my camera is good... but I really do need a better camera for taking close in pics. Only so much you can do with a middle of the road digital camera at times.

Until later!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Thunderwolf Cavalry, thoughts on the new box

With the release of the Thunderwolf Cav a lot of people are finally able to use one of the best units in the Space Wolves codex. While I won't down any of the alternative Tcav models out there, most are pretty awesome (even if the price tag is like a knife to the wallet on some), this is my take on the kit after taking 10 hours assembling and painting up the contents of one box (pics soon).

Upon opening the box there were 3 sprues, each containing one wolf, the accessories, weapons, and riders being spread across the three sprues. On first examination there seemed to be quite a lot of things on the sprue, but after a few minutes I realized that while there is a lot it isn't nearly as good a deal as the Space Wolf Pack box is. Sure there are about 100 or so pieces, but the weapons are a little sparce. 1 Thunder hammer, 1 frost weapon/power weapon, 2 bolters, a number of bolt pistols, 3 Storm Shields, 4 or so chainswords, 1 plasma pistol. While this is a good mix, I feel they should have added an alternative power/frost weapon to the sprues in addition to the axe. And maybe an additional t-hammer, but hey I just like having extra bits sometimes.

Assembly was the best I've seen from GW kits in some time. Even the alternative parts assembled easily and without much fuss. I have to give GW credit, they are getting better at assembly design on their kits.

I'll cover painting the kit in a post in a few days... kind of hard to get things organized this weekend with a birthday party for my youngest boy (I'll post up a pic with one of his bday presents... I painted up a replacement AoBR captain for him... errr... I kind of broked his original one so I HAD to make it up to him).

Until later!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Super Dungeon Explore! (A Review)

After seeing the figs and artwork associated with Super Dungeon Explore (SDE), I knew I'd have to pick up a copy eventually. When the chance to do so came up I jumped at the opportunity. Once it arrived I had to crack it open and take a look at the contents.

The box is pretty big, and the artwork on the box just awesome in so many ways. Super Deformed characters (hero and monster) have always had a bit of a place in my nerd-zone, so as I opened the box I just had to know how the figs will come out. 52 miniatures, 6 double sided game board sections, dice, tokens, etc. Basically a LOT of stuff, and all of it very well done.

The miniatures have a bit of an issue, some parts don't quite match up and need a bit of work to fit together. And there are gaps due to the molds they use, which can be reduced to negligible with a bit of work. But overall the figs are really nice, and truly fit the artwork.

Even if you don't plan to paint the figs, they are color coded for play, with the grey figs being the heroes and red the monsters. This makes it playable after a bit of construction in a short time. At this point I'm about 50% finished painting the heroes out of the box, but I didn't really do much 'clean-up' on them so there are gaps. I looked at this purchase as a chance to get a fun game to play with the family, and not a showcase for my modelling/painting skills.

The price tag of $89.99 may seem high, but for the amount of plastic pieces, as well as the quality, you are getting a huge deal with this game. Soda Pop Miniatures typically run from $12.95 and up, and all of these figs are high quality, I'd expect to pay a minimum of $15.95 for each if sold seperately by the company. (Keep in mind, there are 6 different single/multi packs of Special Edition/Limited Edition figs available directly from Soda Pop Miniatres as well).

I haven't had a chance to play yet, but reading through the rules brings to mind the time of 8-bit Nintendo games. And from my understanding that is exactly the feel the game designers were looking for, that Japanese Anime themed old school video game feel.

My stance is that if you want a game that will give you a fun time playing (and I'm sure it will), and a lot of fun painting figs, this is the game to buy.

Until Later!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sisters of Battle finished, and up for auction

The only thing that held me back from finishing the army finally arrived... backpacks. With that I got them done in no time flat. Overall this army came out quite a bit better than I expected, using the same technique as used on the War Sphinx in the WD article came out very interesting. Though using it on the tanks didn't really work nearly as well, I'll have to think on how to make it work better on larger surfaces. But now I have them up for bid on eBay.

Here are pics of the army (check the gadget on the side of the blog for a link to the auction if interested).

I totally admit... I'm a painter not a photographer... but I'm getting better, a little at least. All told this army was fun and a huge pain to deal with, for a lot of different reasons. Learned a big lesson during the work on this army, take breaks, paint other things or build other things, because doing the same handful of figs over and over can burn you out bad.

I really could use a better camera, but in this case a lot of the trouble was lighting in general... just too bright today and it messed with the light levels of the photographing area.

I'll be posting about my work on some other figs either tonight or tomorrow, been a busy bee this week. Oh, and a bit of a review of Super Dungeon Explore soon too... just unboxed it last night and started assembly of the figs. Looking forward to painting them up, they are all pretty cool.

Until later!