Saturday, December 21, 2013

Freehanding Tutorial

I've recently made progress on my Grey Knights project to the point where I was ready to start working on the heraldry on their shoulder pads. I figured that this would be the perfect opportunity to post up a tutorial! If you've ever wanted to know how to freehand some cool designs onto your models, here's your first opportunity! Check out the How To page to see a new tutorial on freehanding skulls.

As I go (and as I work on future projects), I plan on making more tutorials. I want the How To page to be as large as possible. Keep checking back to see how it all goes, and to learn something along the way!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gaming Table Part 2

Between the craziness at work and having weekends filled up with house renovations, its difficult to find time to work on the hobby, let alone the blog. Despite all the work, I've finally managed to find time to devote to the hobby again. I've just recently done some work on the gaming table and on the new art room as a whole. Check out all the progress!

First up is the new table. It been painted and is now complete! All it needs now is the terrain and its ready to go!

Next is the terrain shelf. This is designed to hold all the extra terrain when I'm not using it. The whole idea here is that I have eighteen 2' x 2' wooden boards. Divided up into three equal piles, I have enough to build three separate 4' x 6' gaming surfaces. One will be a temperate board (with rocks and static grass). Another will be a desert board. The last one will be a city board, complete with roads and non-modular buildings. One set will stay on the table. The other two sets will fit into this shelving unit when not in use. All modular terrain is going to go onto the shelf under the gaming table.

These are my three stacks of six 2' x 2' boards. Eventually, these will become my terrain boards and go on the table (and into the shelf).

Aside from the table itself, I've also hung some pictures and set up the display cases. Here's how the room looks right now:
40k posters for the back wall.
The spare terrain shelf is supposed to go to the right
of the display cases.

 I'll keep you all updated with more pictures as progress continues. Hopefully, I'll have all the boards painted black and everything organized within the next few days.

Aside from working on the gaming room, I've managed to get some more paint on my models! Currently, I'm trying to finish a few Grey Knights for my Inquisitorial sideboard. They're to upgrade the five Grey Knights that I already have finished, so it's just two more squad leaders and two more heavy weapons.

I love how the red accents came out for the gun.

After the Grey Knights are complete, I'll be painting up Coteaz. Also, I'm planning on building and painting a black Chimera (with AQRF on the side) for my Arbites, who count as Inquisitorial henchmen. That'll round out the sideboard. I'll then finally start work on the Knights Bellicose! Check back soon to see how it all turns out!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Gaming Table Part 1

For those of you who don't know, my wife and I just bought our first house. These past few weeks, we've been working like crazy to finish renovations before we move in. The best part is that my awesome father-in-law helped me build a new gaming table. In its current state, here's how it looks:

I also hung those lights and changed the doorknobs myself.

We left a little space so the terrain boards will come out easier.

This is where the extra terrain goes when I'm not using it.

Those aren't shelves. Those are the spare 2' x 2' squares.

The table is designed to hold six 2' x 2' squares, which I will build terrain on. I have enough squares to build a temperate board, a desert board, and a city board. The shelf behind is will hold the extra squares when I'm not using them.

The next step is to paint everything black (that's why everything has a drop cloth under it). After that's all dry, I'll start putting terrain on the surfaces. When I have plans completed I'll be sure to post them for you all to see. I'm really excited to see how the city board turns out. Keep checking back for more terrain goodness! The "third army" has finally begun!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Grey Knights Progress, More Tests

Lately, I've been working on Grey Knights. My good buddy, Sean, gave me the idea of building 500 points worth of Grey Knights sideboard and, since I have a ton of random models laying around, this would be a good opportunity to finish some of them. In order to fit my Grey Knights (see the Other Models section for the existing squad) into the sideboard, I need options for different Justicars and different heavy weapons so I picked up a box of Grey Knights and started working on them. Here's my current progress so far.

I converted this thunder hammer so he's holding it higher.

This sideboard will also include the Arbites (again, see the Other Models section), Coteaz, and an Inquisitorial Chimera. I'm really looking forward to seing how the whole project turns out!

I recently purchased the Tentacle Maker tools from Green Stuff Industries. It'll be really helpful to be able to add power cables onto some of the conversions that I do. As soon as the tools came in, I immediately tested them out. Here's how it looks:

As soon as I use it on a model, I'll post up a tutorial about it. So stay tuned!

Lastly, work is progressing steadily on the Knights Bellicose. I only have two more tests to run before I can start doing real work on the army. I'm really excited to finally start working on them!

Right now, I'm in a bit of a transitional period. I'll be working crazy hours until I start school next year and I'm about to start moving. I'm using this as an opportunity to clean out all the random bits that I've collected over time. My plan is to build and paint all the boxes I have and donate the rest of the stuff I'll never, ever use to my local gaming store. I didn't think I'd ever add to my Ultramarines again, but I have Marneus Calgar (and his honor guard) and a box of Assault Terminators that won't fit into the new Knights Bellicose army. They'll be next to get painted up, as well as some terrain and some other random projects. It'll be really nice to get rid of all the stuff that's been cluttering up my hobby area. Keep checking back to see some random new projects! See you again soon!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Celebrity Encounter

This past weekend, I headed down to California to visit my best friends, Sean and Reuben. Just before I headed down, I heard that the guys from Masters of the Forge (formerly from Deepstrike Radio), were going to be down visiting The Independent Characters on that very same weekend! I thought to myself that it would be an awesome way to kill two birds with one stone, so I made arrangements to meet up with some of my favorite podcasters! Snorre from MotF was the only one to make it down to Game Kastle that day, but it was still cool to say hi and show my support for the podcast. It was really neat to be able to meet some of the people that I consider to be celebrities. I even got Snorre to sign an autograph for me! I'll have a picture of it once it's hanging in my art room.

Snorre (right) and I standing in front of
Game Kastle in Santa Clara

One of the coolest parts of the whole day was how Snorre gave me a great idea for the blog. In the coming weeks, stay tuned for a whole new array of cool topics like starting a fluff-based army and what to think about when writing the background for your new army.

In other news, my new additions to the Grey Knight squad is nearing completion. Also, I was given an Inquisitor Coteaz model to paint up. Pretty soon, my 250-point Grey Knights sideboard will be completed. Keep checking back to see the new progress and to get some good ideas for your DIY army!

I hope to see you again soon!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

How to Start a New Army

When the new Space Marine codex came out, I decided to stop working on the Ultramarines and formally begin work on my home-brewed chapter, the Knights Bellicose.

Before I jumped right into gluing and painting models, however, I wanted to do a bit of research first. I've had my test model from a while back, but that wasn't quite enough. How was I going to do the shoulders? How about the bases? There are many different things to consider when starting an army from scratch. In my opinion, it's best to get it all figured out before any real final work begins.Trying to figure stuff out on the fly is the easiest way to end up with inconsistencies in your army.

As you've seen in my recent blog posts, I've been working on shoulder pads, trying to nail down what shapes I'll be using and how the insignia itself will go. I moved the squad numbers up to the shoulder pads (whereas the Ultramarines had it on their legs) to make them easier to see. I've also decided on hand-painting the symbols instead of using transfers, as I think the hand-painted ones look better. Testing out my markings also helps us develop theories on how to paint each symbol. In the case of the assault squad symbol, for instance, I've realized that painting the crossed arrows is far to difficult to paint consistently, so I went with a simple "X" design. Simpler designs seem to work better for me and can look more realistic.

Aside from the shoulder pads, the bases have also been an issue for me. I know that I want to have painted bases, instead of just gluing rocks down after the models are sealed (again, like the Ultramarines). I like the bases on the Eldar, but they won't work either. Since brown is a huge color for the Knights Bellicose color scheme, I'm afraid that brown bases will detract from the overall model. So how do I fix this? Well, I do a test.

I've prepared several bases to test different color schemes The three on the bottom are going to have different sized rocks on the blank spots so I can test out different textures.

Even if you're using a pre-existing chapter, there's a lot to think about. Lets say you're painting Imperial Fists. Yes, they're yellow, but what shade will you be using? What exact colors are you going to use? It's best to make up a few test models to test out all your colors and techniques. That way, you'll know everything you're going to do before hand and you'll be more confident while painting.

As far as painting is concerned, I've decided to make a change to my color scheme. While I like the overall colors, I'm considering changing the colors of the boltguns. Since my current test model is brown, I'm afraid it'll blend into the model too much and make it too difficult to see when I'm playing a game. I like that the Ultramarines have a nice red-on-blue contrast with all their weapons and wargear. I'll be painting several test models to help me figure out how I want to do this.

Also, I prefer to have one beakie helmet in every five helmets. If I was playing something like Raven Guard, however, I might want to have them more often. Also, I like having lots of little details on my models, so I make sure that every marine with a bolter has a magazine pouch to go with it. Its best to write down all the little bits rules you plan on following so that you can remain consistent throughout your army.

As you can see, there is a whole lot to think about whether you are making your own army or building a pre-existing chapter. Stay tuned to see more progress on my research and to see how it all turns out! I should have the results of my base test before too long. After that, I make a few test models and then I'm ready to start painting my first real Knights Bellicose models! Keep checking back to see what happens!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Harlequins Uploaded, Research Complete

After way too many hours of staring into a magnifying glass, I'm happy to report that the Harlequins have finally been completed!

You can see them in all their glory over on the Eldar page!

But first, remember this little guy?

Remember me?
This was part of a test I started last week to test out some transfers I wanted to use on my shoulder pads when I started my Knights Bellicose army. If you recall, this is how they turned out:


You can see the film around the edges.
As you can see from these close-up shots, the film is clearly visible around the edges of the water transfer. Also, much of the transfer wouldn't lay flat across the curved shoulder pad. Having decided this was no way to make an entire chapter, I decided that, like my Ultramarines, I would be hand-painting my shoulder insignia once again.

I wanted to make some changes, though. I came to the conclusion that the squad markings that I had placed on the legs of my Ultramarines was too difficult to see when I had multiple squads in close combat, making it too difficult to see who was in each squad. To fix this problem, I'm going to be painting the roman numerals onto the shoulder pads, next to the squad markings.

Lastly, I'll be continuing to paint the colors on the rims of the shoulder pads according to what company they're in, adhering to the Codex Astartes in true fashion. Years down the road, when I've completed the entire chapter, this will look amazing, I think.

So without further ado, here are the results of my most recent painting test:

The whole model

I'm considering using sculpted symbols just
for the first company. I haven't decided yet.

This is what my chapter symbol is going to
look like.

You can see how I'm putting the squad
numbers on the shoulder pad this time.

Sometimes, I had to remove some of the
tactical markings (this one is an assault
marking)  so the squad number would fit.

You can see how I had to remove some of my
devastator marking to fit this number in too.

Scouts don't get a color or a symbol. They just
get a large roman numeral for a squad number.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Knights Bellicose, Eldar Progress

With the release of the new Codex: Space Marine, I've decided to formally begin work on the Knights Bellicose. When thinking about the new army, I've considered changing up some of my techniques. One thing I've considered doing is to use waterslide transfers to apply the tactical markings to my units. To test this, I took a large flying stand and glued a bunch of posts to it. I then hung a shoulder pad from each one of those. I painted each shoulder pad as if it were from a different company, just to see how they would all look. After that, I started applying some waterslide transfers to them, just to see how it would look. Here's how it turned out:

Left: waterslide transfers / Right: hand-painted (incomplete)

You can see the edge of the film pretty obviously
As you can see, the waterslide transfers are far too obvious and would detract from the models. It looks like I'll be hand painting them. When I complete my second test (the one on the right in the first picture), I'll be sure to post more pictures and let you know how it turned out!

Progress on the Eldar army is coming along nicely. The Harlequins are almost done! Most of the models are done and sealed. All I have left is the Troop Master and the Shadowseer. Keep checking back to see how the progress is going, but you can have a sneak peek right now!

The masks really make the model stand out.
So Drew, you're working on three armies now? What? No! Well, kind of.

Since I'm going to start working on the Knights Bellicose, I'm setting aside the Ultramarines. In the beginning, they weren't intended to be a full army anyway. 1,000 points is a nice round number to stop them at for a nice little side project. I'm now going to devote my time to getting the Knights Bellicose up to full strength. I plan on building the entire chapter someday! So right now, the only two armies I'm putting effort into is the Eldar and the Knights Bellicose. I think that if I try to do more than two armies at once, I'll get too bogged down and I won't ever finish anything.

Because of the circumstances I find myself in, I have the opportunity to have a gaming table once again. My awesome father-in-law is helping me build it. That means that in a few months, I'm going to be able to start working on terrain! When that happens, I'm going to devote some attention to building and painting some awesome terrain to play on and take pictures on! I'm going to put as much effort into the terrain as I do the armies I build. Hopefully, we'll have some pretty awesome terrain to use! Keep checking back to see how it all turns out! I'll be sure to post up some tutorials as the terrain happens!

Until next time, have fun painting!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Guardians Finished, New Blog!

Last weekend, I was able to finish my third and final Guardian squad. With this squad finished, I now have all my troops completed for both my Eldar and my Ultramarines. After fighting through all that monotony, I can finally shift my focus onto more elite and interesting units.The new squad can be seen on the Eldar page, so go check them out!

With the completion of the Guardians, my next squad is the Harlequins. I must say that I'm a little worried about painting them. It'll be my most detailed squad yet. I'm still going back and forth about if I'm even going to put a pattern on them or if it'll look better without. I'll post pictures throughout the painting process so you can see what I came up with.

On the topic of learning painting tricks, I have a new tutorial up for you! This one covers Eldar armor, which is really useful no matter what Edar unit you're working on. You can find the new tutorial on the How To page. Also, don't forget that you can email me at and suggest new tutorials that you'd like to see.

Just the other day one of my two best friends, Reuben Qualls, started his new blog: The Tabletop Generation. Where my blog solely revolves around the 40k hobby and community, his takes a broader approach and encompasses all forms of tabletop gaming. When you finally get tired of reading about my 40k musings and would like to expand your horizons a bit, head on over to his blog for game and store reviews, tips, techniques, and everything in between!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Loyal Local Craft Show

On Sunday, August 4th, I went to a craft show with my wife. This show, called the Loyal Local event, was a craft show put on by Made in Vancouver, a group of local crafters looking to turn their hobby into a successful business. I'm not a member of this group, however, as I have no interest in painting for money.

Let me back up. Every once in a while, it's my wife's turn to host "craft nights" at the house, where about a dozen MiV women come over and knit, crochet, work beads, or whatever else they do. They also use this as an opportunity to network and discuss business ideas. I generally just sit in the living room and paint like I always do. I don't mind having them over because it generally means free pizza for me, as well as a bunch of new people looking at my models and saying how cool they are. For the purposes of this story, it's also important to note that my display case is also in the living room.

My display case at home

On one particular craft night, one of the higher-ups in the MiV group saw my models and offered me a free table at the upcoming Loyal Local event. Since it was free, I jumped at the chance to hand out business cards and generate some traffic (and maybe even a discussion or two) for the blog.

My table at the event
It was a pretty neat event! Since I wasn't selling anything, I had nothing to lose! I handed out 32 of the 34 business cards I brought, and hopefully that will do well for the blog and the Facebook page! Only time will tell!

In hobby news, work is progressing steadily on my last Guardian squad. I'm just finishing up the guns and arms today. Hopefully, those will be done by the end of the day. After that, all that's lfet is the head, antenna, and rims of the base. And the heavy weapon platform. . .

I'm remembering to take pictures along the way for the Eldar armor tutorial. I'm hoping to have that one up on the site not long after the squad is finished. Shouldn't be long now!

As was to be expected, rumors have started flying around about the new Space Marine codex. In my personal opinion, the Space Marines have too rich a background already to be able to give them new units. One rumor is regarding a new Whirlwind-style tank that has Skyfire. I actually like that and can absolutely see how it fits into a Space Marine chapter. There's another one about handing out assault cannons to tactical squads and devastators. That one's not bad either. It makes sense to me. The one I don't like is something about a new suit of armor called "Centurions." If the Astartes have had this armor, why are we only hearing about it now? Why is it not in the Horus Heresy? I very strongly disapprove of Games Workshop so vastly changing their rich background like this. I sincerely hope this one is just a rumor and we won't see such a giant plot hole in the new codex. Only time will tell.

That's enough ranting for me for one day. Have fun painting!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Staying Engaged

When I work on my models, it's like I'm in my own little world. I'll listen to music while I paint, or perhaps put something simple on the television. I'll generally watch something science fiction related, something that I can listen to and don't have to look at. As of late, I've been watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. I've seen enough of it in the past that I can listen to it without having to focus on it. The distraction helps me devote attention to my models and keep me motivated enough to work for longer periods of time without getting bored with the painting process itself. Despite the motivation I have to work on models when they're right in front of me, I need to keep that motivation while I'm not painting, so that I'll keep coming back and continuing my work.

In my day job, I am a professional truck driver. Since I drive for long hours, I am unable to read novels, browse the internet, or receive any other visual stimulation to keep me interested in the hobby. Instead, I download a bunch of 40k-related podcasts to listen to when I drive. Listening to battle reports or hobby progress from other 40k players always makes me want to work on my models.

What do you do to motivate yourself when you're working on your hobby? Even if you don't paint models, what gives you to motivation to keep up with your creativity? When you're not working on your hobby (painting, knitting, etc), what keeps you coming back for more? Leave a comment below and let me know about how you do your hobby.

As for my own personal hobby progress, work is continuing steadily on the third and final Guardian squad. Today, I've basecoated the arms and am preparing to attach them to the Guardians. I've also basecoated the weapon platform. This squad is getting steadily closer to being finished. I'm looking forward to being finished with this squad so that I can start working on more ambitious projects. After this squad is finished, the Harlequins will be getting some work. I'm looking forward to seeing how the squad markings work. Keep checking back to see how the Guardians turn out!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Seer Council

The other day, I took a break from painting the third Guardian squad to focus on their squad leader, the Warlock. After an entire day staring into my magnifying glass, he's completely finished. With my third Warlock completed, I've been presented with an idea. Next time I play, I'm going to try running a Seer Council instead of tossing them into the Guardian squads like I normally do. I've realized that I'm having trouble getting their powers to work effectively and am having limited usefulness in their current position. I think, in the end, I'll keep them in their Guardian squads (where their squad markings will make more sense), but for the next game or two I'm going to try keeping them together so that I'll have more freedom with their powers. Feel free to post comments below and let me know what you think.

As for now, check out how the third Warlock came out. I think they look pretty sweet as a Seer Council.

As for the Guardians themselves, they're coming along nicely! I should have them done in another week or so. With all the pictures I've taken of all the steps, it looks like its going to be a fantastic tutorial when its done! Keep checking back!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Trying the New Eldar

Yesterday, I went down to Games Workshop: Eastport Plaza to see if I could get a game. I haven't played with the Eldar since the new codex came out, so I wanted to try them out. I ended up finding a game with Avery and Eric, who play Space Marines and Necrons, respectively. We played a 1,500 point game with my army verses the two of them (it's how the points ended up). In order for me to round out to a nice even 1,500 points, I used the Eldar as my main force and allied in a few squads of my Ultramarines.

We played for objectives, so when you see my Titan crew wandering around the board, that's why. They were the objectives.

The pictures below tell most of the story, but I'll give you a few highlights first. For starters, I took 6 troop choices (2 Guardians, 2 Dire Avengers, & 2 Tactical Squads), an Autarch, a Farseer, a Space Marine captain, and to a lesser extent, a dreadnaught. When you look through the pictures, you'll notice that the dreadnaught isn't in any of them. Why is that, you ask? Because it was immediately destroyed before it could take its first shot.

Also, in most of the pictures, the only Space Marines you'll see are mine. This is because the entirety of Avery's force was outflanking or deep striking and didn't make it on until late in the game.

That being said, I was still annihilated. Eric's Tesla-whatevers just killed squad after squad. In the end, I ended up losing, but I still learned a whole lot about how the new Eldar play, as well as what choices I should make in the future to have more successful games.

Check out the pictures below to see how the battle went!

Battle lines are drawn
Awesomely airbrushed Necron vehicles:
the bane of my existance
Eldar Guardians worked out amazingly well, even if they
didn't make it to the end of the game.
Space Marine allies outflank me!
This is the end. . .
 In hobby news, the last squad of Eldar Guardians is coming along swimmingly. I'm really looking forward to having them finished. When this last squad is done, I'll have all my troops done for both armies and I can focus on painting the fun stuff! Keep checking back to see the progress on the final troop squad!