Saturday, September 20, 2014

A 40k gamer in Gunpla-land...

So, it's been a little over 1 month since I started constructing and painting Gunpla in the style of my 40k minis.

On the whole, it's been heaps of fun. The poseability of the models has made for more interesting challenges in constructing and painting the models, i.e. rather than the single static pose I'm used to, I had to account for the fact that these models are meant to be movable. As such, I had to be a bit more thorough in reaching every nook and cranny of the model, which meant painting components separately, something quite alien to me.

Also, bringing my experience as a GW hobbyist into Gunpla, there were some things in Gunpla-land that struck me as odd, notably:

  • Gunpla markers - This just seemed like nonsense to me. Painting is meant to be done with a brush!
  • Coloured plastic sprues - I'm going to paint the model anyway; what use have I for coloured plastic? I'd rather they make everything in grey plastic, if that would keep costs (and hence prices) down...
  • Stickers - Not water-slide decals, mind you. These supposed High Grade kits come with stickers! Again, utterly useless to me, but I suppose this is to cater to the needs of small children, like the markers.  

Here's a summary of what kits I've tried thus far, in order of construction:

Gouf Custom

 This one holds a special place in my heart as the first I'd constructed, and it shows in the little errors I'd made in painting it, notably in the elbow joints (not visible in this pic). A nice, straightforward kit, with pretty much no superfluous bling. The gatling shield was a bit fiddly, though. As I had to strike a balance between what I could paint and what could be moved, I chose to glue the weapons permanently into the hands. Citadel colours weren't made for the wear and tear of constant friction like that, so I opted to glue weapons into the hands whenever possible.

Buster Gundam

I had good memories of watching Gundam SEED while in uni, and Buster's got a satisfyingly large gun, so I went for it. This kit annoyed me somewhat with how skinny it was - so scrawny that there's no space for an action base peg in its crotch. Also, on further consideration, I didn't like the cream colour on the original Buster, so sod that, Caliban Green all round!

Sengoku Astray

This is the first Gundam Build Fighters kit I did. I watched the series first, and long before that, I had been in kendo, hoping to one day win the right to bear 2 blades. I stopped kendo before that could happen (long story) but since then I'd always had a soft spot for minis carrying paired swords.

This one's stickers drew particular scorn from me. What use had I, a long time Necron player, for shiny green stickers? Anyway, on constructing the kit, I was drawn to how simple, versatile and flexible the Red Frame was, and became increasingly disenchanted with the over-the-top aesthetic of gunpla from Gundam Build Fighters.

As for the paint job, I tried staying faithful to the colours as seen in the anime, adding my own touch for the glowy green bits, of course. All in all, an ok kit.

Kampfer Amazing

Due to a mistake in spraying, my original plan to keep the colours close to the anime version went to pot, and thus I found myself painting my first miniature in Ultramarine colours. A nice model, but the legs are a little harder to pose, bulky as they are. Also, the weapon binders/thrusters were just too ludicrously big for me to take seriously, and so I left those out.

Genoace Custom

I am led to understand that suits from the Gundam AGE anime series are viewed as childishly simple and hence unsatisfying to build and paint. This one caught my eye for being completely white and so I thought I'd try my hand at doing a nice white model. On top of that, the pilot of this suit in the anime carries the monicker "White Wolf", so I figured it would be a good place to dump some Space Wolf transfers.

It was, as they say, absurdly easy to build and a very simplistic model. I think there's a kind of subdued beauty to it, but yeah, it was easily the quickest to construct, matched only by another AGE suit, Shaldoll Rogue.

I went with a simple white scheme, mostly spraying white, using Nuln Oil to blackline and then go over any mistakes with Ceramite White. As I've mentioned before, a ridiculously easy build.

Shaldoll Rogue

Another ludicrously simple kit from Gundam AGE. By this point, I'd gotten so little satisfaction out of building it, that I just couldn't be arsed to paint it, and so it sits, unpainted, waiting for some day when I've nothing else better to paint...

Jesta Cannon

My current WIP. A nice chunky kit with lotsa guns. By the time I was halfway through with this one, I came to realise that the Universal Century kits were more to my liking, with plenty of simple, practical-ish suits that look like they were designed by engineers rather than over-enthusiastic artists with a tenuous grasp of of real-world physics.

Exia Dark Matter

I was suckered into getting this kit by the fact that it bore two blades. I will say this for the model: It SUCKS. The joints are mostly bereft of the polycaps that give most gunpla their poseability, instead using the same hard plastic as the rest of the model, resulting in joints that become way too loose too quickly. For another, the colour of the supposed red bits is in fact this vile shade of carmine; that is to say, it's pinkish. For someone who's been playing Blood Angels as long as I have, this colour is an abomination.

But, far be it from me to let good plastic go to waste. This one, I will paint. BUT it will never see tabletop action, and will have its joints glued permanently into position and spend the rest of it's days perched atop a GP Base.

So... what next? 
On to MG, I suppose! Well, I gotta have something to keep me busy while I wait for the new BA codex...

Friday, September 5, 2014

Done in less than 7 hours...

... the most absurdly simple yet handsome little Gunpla I've encountered yet, Genoace Custom:

Not 7 solid hours, mind you, I've neither the time nor energy for that. More like 7 hours snatched over 5 days. Nothing complicated here. Drybrush here, blackline there, a little metal for variety and Space Wolf decals to finish. Easiest thing in the world!

With so many clean white surfaces, it's really tempting to get a bit more crazy with the decals, but I think in the case of the White Wolf, the beauty is in the simplicity, no?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

WIP: Kampfer Ultra

So, following the debacle with the spray (goddammit, Krylon...) Kampfer Amazing is now to be designated Kampfer Ultra. I attempted to paint it in much the same manner as Gouf Mortis, i.e. have a base colour, drybrush a highlight on once, then drybrush a more extreme highlight, then blackline to shade. Here's where we are now:

All the bits getting painted before assembly... 

Where are mah GUNZ???

Looks like he's ready for some police work. It's ok for my purposes, I suppose. Bit messy, so I guess Kampfer Ultra will be my first victim for some experiments in weathering. And there definitely will be an Ultramarine decal or two or three on him when I'm done. Anyway, must move. Lots to do. In the meantime, here's a gratuitous pic of Sengoku Astray and Gouf Mortis settling their differences like gentlemen...

Monday, September 1, 2014


Goddammit, Krylon, wtf do you call this???

I am MOST disappointed. Partly coz I really was cradling hopes of a Crimson Fist detachment, but never mind that. I really wasn't expecting it to turn out the colour of the codex Militarum Tempestus. No matter. Time to improvise. I pulled out an old bottle of Mordian Blue, and here's where we are now.

And the plan now? Kampfer Sternguard! Smurf colours, white helm, white trim here and there, and excuse to unload more old Space Marine decals on a Gundam model. Pics will happen. Speaking of which, here's a couple of Sengoku Astray, nearing completion:

Sunday, August 31, 2014

WIP: Nils Nielsen has nothing on me...

... or indeed any 40k hobbyist who's halfway competent with a brush. Here's where we are now with Sengoku Astray/ proxy Commander Farsight:

I'm pretty pleased with how with glowy green bits turned out. The kit comes with these silly little stickers that are supposed to go there:

Gawd, that looks cheap. So, I applied pretty much the same technique I did for the glowy orbs on my Necrons, starting with Abbaddon Black, to Caliban Green, to Warboss Green, to Scorpion Green, then added a little white, and that was that.

The white was tedious as hell, even with the magical and fantastical Ceramite White. But worth it, I think. Just a little more to go, i.e. some metal bits here and there, an accent or two, if the mood takes me, perhaps a decal or two or three for flavour, some varnish and then on to the battlefield to CUT SHIT UP!

Elsewhere, the land of GW is still pretty dry for me, so I'm still focusing on my team of Gunpla:

Buster Gundam looks really weedy compared to the others, now that I look at it... Anyway, once I'm done with Sengoku Astray, on to this guy!

 Kampfer Amazing! Yeah, stupid name, but I like the look and I like those guns. No need to mess about with pansy-ass pistols or a long rifle that takes up both hands - I wanted the biggest guns it could reasonably carry in each hand!

And as I was finishing off the final touches of its construction in the lovely FLGS, the question I was asked most was: "Sooo... are you going to paint it red?"

I was seriously tempted. BUT, since the Gunpla is, by nautre, something of a break from my 40k habits, I figured I'd check out the local handware stores for some other options and...

Note that this does NOT necessarily mean I'm going to collect a small detachment of Crimson Fists...

Oh, wow, the more I think about it...

Friday, August 29, 2014

WIP: Sengoku Astray

Still churning out Gunpla, seeing as:

  1. I've a bit of a wait until the Blood Angels receive their new codex;
  2. Even after the new codex comes out, there's no guarantee (really!) that I'll find myself investing in moar plastic crack; and 
  3. I've just gotten involved in a group that uses the Mobile Frame Zero rules to put Gunpla on the battlefield, thus cementing the relationship between Gunpla and my love of tabletop wargaming.
So, here's the box art of the current project:

Here's how it looks in naked plastic:

Suffice it to say, I can't be having with this naked plastic nonsense. It's quite a mystery to me how Gunpla enthusiasts tolerate it, but different strokes for different folks, I guess. So, not long after I finished getting it to that stage, I took my Sengoku Astry apart...

Those sticks are pure awesome-sauce. Wish I'd gotten my hands on them sooner! I sprayed first in Krylon Flat Black, then Army Painter Pure Red, reasoning that with Ceramite White, it shouldn't be too hard to get back from red to a solid white, rather than vice versa. Besides, it would be easier to highlight the red with a gentle drybrushing with orange and yellow first.

Things have been a bit busy at work, so the pace is pretty slow. I spent a little time focusing on just the head...

The most tedious bit is the white. Ceramite White is awesome and all, but it still means having to apply layer upon layer of the stuff. Here's my progress at the time of writing.

Will post more pics as I make more progress. Here's hoping I can put together a team of 5 before the year's out!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Buster Gundam is totally a Broadside...

Just look at it!

Looks better than the old Broadside model, I think...

That said, I really can't bring myself to field Tau (yet?). Besides, I kinda prefer Buster like this:

Also cleaned up that first Gundam I'd built yonks ago, Cherudim.

Looks okay from the front, but seriously, a lot of the models from Gundam 00 have absurd sticky-outy bits on their backs that I think are just annoying. In other news, here's a little something that's been long overdue...

Yep, at long last, a good old Land Raider for the Blood Angels. I just really hope the upcoming new codex doesn't shake things up too much...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Gouf Custom - Almost there!

A bit of paint, a little ink, some decal work, and here we are now:

One little thing about this kit that irks me: the grip of the right hand around the sword is too rigid! No self-respecting swordsman would hold his blade like that! Also, felt compelled to dig up a little more about the Gouf Custom. Here it is in all its badassery,with awful voice-acting to go with it... 

Gouf Custom WIP

Here's a pic of the mini as described in the manual:

And here's my current progress:

Nothing complicated. The red turned out far better than I'd expected. It's Army Painter's Pure Red on top of a Krylon Flat Black base, drybrushed with Trollslayer Orange, then drybrushed (very gently) one more time with Iyanden Darksun. Gotta admit, I'm really tempted to slap on some leftover decals from the GW kits. Speaking of which, I also picked up this gem in Taiwan:

I for one think it's absolutely beautiful. And now I'm kicking myself because I only bought one. Dammit... Anyway, moar painting to do...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A 40k gamer delves into Gunpla...

So, after many months of ogling Gunpla models in various places, I stumbled on a crazy cheap stash of them while on honeymoon in Taiwan. At about a third of the price of the kits in M'sia, I couldn't possibly resist, and loaded up on 3 of them and some nifty tools for general modelling.

This building is the one you want.

There are about half a dozen shops like this one on the 4th floor. So. Much. Plastic...

Truth be told, I gave a Gunpla set a try something like 4 years ago, but never got round to finishing it, as that was when my other armies were taking shape. Since I'm more or less happy with the state of my armies with very little expansion planned, I figured now is a good time to have some fun modelling something different...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

So, I had a couple of games of 7th...

Note: This post has been sitting in my draft folder for a few weeks now. I've had quite a few more games of 7th ed since I first started this post, but not much has changed regarding how I feel about 7th, so I'm putting this up anyway. 

This weekend I caught up on some serious 40k-ing. Got in my first game of 7th, fielding Deathwing against Adi's Tau, then another game using 30 Blood Angel Tactical marines against Wong's Grey Knights. First impressions? Let's try and be organized about this...

Blood Angel Tacticals SUCK 
Had to get that out of the way. They are more expensive and in every possible way inferior to their counterparts from other chapters. And the one thing that makes them uniquely Blood Angels (i.e. the Red Thirst) only makes them worse at being Tactical Marines. Fearless means no going to ground. Furious Charge means having to choose between the bolter and their hardly adequate close combat prowess.

Pictured: Fail on two legs

So, here I sit, with 3 lovely squads of Tactical marines, relegated to shelf garrison duty. Or maybe I just suck at using them. Whatever the case may be, I'm going back to my good old Assault Marines and their magnificent Razorbacks. If anyone reading this has a clever way to use Blood Angel Tacticals, do tell, coz I'm certainly curious to see how they work...

The Psychic Phase
The source of much mixed feelings thus far, and this has greatly changed the way my Blood Angels operate. In 6th ed, one of the pillars of a decent Blood Angel list was that 100 pt Librarian who'd be puttering about and enhancing his comrades with Prescience. In this edition, 1 Librarian, even an Epistolary is no guarantee of pulling off Prescience reliably. In 6th, 2 Epistolaries equated to 4 powers being cast with great reliability. In 7th, you'll be lucky to get off 2, and that's assuming your opponent can't do much about it. If your opponent has an overwhelmingly greater number of Warp Charges, then your Librarians are pretty much useless, as all your powers get squelched by your psychically superior foe.

Obviously a better psyker than mine

I've mixed feelings about this. On one hand, it's an interesting new mechanic, and yay, Prescience is no longer an auto-include. On the other hand... well, I suppose it's going to take a while for psychically weak armies to find their sweet spot, in terms of how much to invest in psychic powers and which discipline serves them best. And, of course, this means a resurgence in the power of seriously psychic armies, notably Grey Knights, Daemons, and perhaps a little Eldar.

Tactical Objectives
Honestly? I don't like them. For years, I've been pretty used to the idea of putting your army on the board with a clear mission in mind long before the first dice is rolled. Now, I put stuff on the board, and I know where the objectives are but I don't know whether they'll reward me. In fact, until I draw my first hand of objective cards, I have NO idea what I'm playing for. There are a few ways to react to this:
  1. Just roll with it. It helps if you have an army that can respond quickly to the changing objectives. 
  2. Ignore it, and focus on killing your opponent's army. Coz if he's dead, he can't score, right?
  3. Don't play it, and just stick with the Eternal War missions. 
Personally... I'm kinda inclined towards 2 and 3. Mainly because it feels a bit silly when you put a couple of hours into the game only to essentially have it decided by luck of the draw. It's a little more random than I like, I think.

What do?
Well, first off, it's pretty clear that I can't rely on psykers as much anymore. Also, vehicles are back in a big way, thanks to the buffing of the vehicle damage chart and the nerfing of the Smash USR.  So... what does this realistically mean for my armies?
  1. Blood Angels - Well, on one hand, I can't rely on my Librarian for Prescience anymore. On the other hand, packing close combat death in a Land Raider is back in fashion, so I think my Chaplain/Reclusiarch may see some action, together with my new Land Raider Crusader...
  2. Deathwing - Yay! Null deployment is on! This edition is excellent for Deathwing, so no changes here.
  3. Necrons - No Psykers, so no real difference. Haven't seen action yet, though...
  4. Astra Militarum - My atheist army of men. Again, I place no faith in Psykers here, and play a large volume of vehicles. This army quite likely has gotten stronger with this edition, so no need to change anything.
  5. Chaos Space Marines - Another army without a Psyker. But you know what? I've a Daemon Prince that just might be tempted to start turning to Malefic Daemonology... 
Meta-wise, however, it's worth noting that at my FLGS, the players with more mature armies with larger collections (like myself) are moving on from 1,750 pts to 1,850 pts. No biggie. Fortifications for everybody!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Almost got a new Librarian... Aaaand he's done!

Soon, soon...

I've kept to my usual habit of blending red to yellow on force weapons, though this time, I've gone with a different technique. Usually, I start by painting the area for blending Mephiston Red, then work from one end and blend as I go with Blood Red, Trollslayer Orange, Golden Yellow and Vallejo's Pale Yellow. This time, I started with Iyanden Darksun, then blended starting from the centre. I found this saved quite a bit more time and effort.

The blue is achieved with Ultramarine Blue washed with Asurmen Blue, line highlighted with Lothern Blue. I still intend to highlight a little further, perhaps mixing some white in.

As I mentioned earlier, I'd decided to base all the gold areas with Iyanden Darksun before painting on Shining Gold, shading with Devlan Mud. I daresay that is what made a really big difference compared to my old technique of painting layer upon layer of Shining Gold on black, then shading with Chestnut Ink, making the mini as a whole appear much brighter.

<Moments later...>

And here he is, standing amongst my old Librarians for comparison:

What we have here is a small psychic nuclear weapon worth of Librarians... Is that a cat's whisker I see before me? 
Well, I'm pleased with how he turned out, and I've a list or two which I'm itching to try out... Next up, I think it's high time I got back to work on my Grey Knights...

Here he is again, in all his glory, ready to deliver the Emperor's wrath...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

WIP: Another Librarian

Just got back from a quick break in Sydney a couple of days ago. The thing about going to Australia is that it is, for me, GW hell. Why? EVERYTHING is about 30 to 50% more expensive compared to Malaysia. And just to add insult to injury, there are a LOT of GW shops over there.... That said, I couldn't go all the way to Sydney and not make at least one pilgrimage to a friendly GW, so I stopped at GW Chatswood, staffed by the exceedingly friendly Franz, and picked up one dinky model: A plastic Librarian.

Here's how it's looking now...

Suffice it to say, I had to swap out the head for something a bit more fitting for a Blood Angel, i.e. hairier. I also left out the creepy cherub thing. Yeah, I know his skin tone seems a bit different from his bros in the back. In the past, I used Tallarn Flesh as a base and Elf Flesh to highlight. I'm currently using Vallejo's Dwarf Skin and Basic Skintone now.

Like the plastic commissar, the Librarian is a wonderfully detailed model. There are two things in particular I really like about this model:

  1. The head socket gives you the freedom to pop in a different head, should you so choose. Tight fit, mind you.
  2. The arms and staff are a single piece, allowing you to just paint those bits separately and glue them on later. 
Still lots to do. Right now, I'm trying to decide whether I want to base the gold bits in Iyanden Darksun first. Then comes the fiddly markings on the staff. Force weapons take me ages...

Later that day...

Yeah, I went with the Iyanden Darksun undercoat. I like. Those who know me may notice this is the first time I've deigned to paint in the eyes. Since he's a psyker, I don't have to dot them, hah!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hungry for 7th...

Man, I am dying for a game of 7th ed... So, to keep myself from going insane, I've been keeping myself busy catching up with some old models and making them presentable. Also, I just whipped these up:

Nothing complicated here. Just a little paint and varnish and putting some old, old decals to good use. For Eternal War missions, I'd just use them like I used to. For Maelstrom of War, the Mysterious Objective dice can just be left beside it, so as not to obscure the number.

Inspired by the performance of the Red Thunder, I decided my Blood Angels needed more boots on the ground, so here are my 3 Tactical Squads to bolster the ranks.

I assembled the heavy bolter dude a long, long time ago, mostly because I thought the gun looked cool. Then, having played around with Razorback Assault Squads for a while, I promptly forgot him. Now, after a few more games of putting mere mortals on the board, a gene-enhanced super-soldier toting a massive, rapid-firing gun is looking more attractive than ever, so I painted this guy up, just in case.

I'm pleased to see that 2 editions since I started my Blood Angels, the meltagun still hasn't gone out of fashion. You gotta love a weapon designed to kill any one thing it's pointed at...

While I can say my technique with decals has improved over the years, the quality of Space Marine decals has not. Seriously, how do you get these things to lie perfectly flat on those pauldrons??

Left: New grunt, right: Very, very old grunt. From my first Tactical Squad, in fact. 
There's still plenty of line highlights that need doing here, but on the whole I'm pretty pleased with my rank and file.  Now let's see how well I keep them alive...