Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Trains, (no planes) and Automobiles

For those who don't get the title reference click here.

Sadly, none of my terrain will ever look this good!

My Beloved Wolfy and I skipped town for a weekend to go and visit her sister and brother-in-law in Nashville, TN. Its an easy 5 hour drive (unless its pouring rain the whole time in which it was a miserable 7 hours back on Monday). They were nice enough to advance our birthday presents and put us up in a hotel suite that was well out of our price range (birthdays, anniversary, Christmas...and any other special occasion they want to lump in there is fine with me!). 

The 2020 Nissan Altima we rented for the weekend...yeah, could I afford one I'd buy it (and that's coming from a guy who's driven Dodge Rams for 20+ years).

On Saturday we spent most the day at their house just chatting about whatever, but eventually Wolfy and Mandy wanted some 'sister time' and so I accompanied Micheal down to his hobby room where he showed off his latest model train work-in-progress.  

Completely different from the last time we visited, and nearly twice the size (if not more), I was truly impressed! Indeed, I was drooling so much I took far too few pics (hell, should have taken some videos of the two separate switching stations in action). He also gave me a primer on the use of weathering powders which he is a big fan of and I've been meaning to try out. 

We also discussed the advances of 3D printed terrain, and swapped manufactures that we like for potential future purchases. Whilst discussing the hobbying points, I pointed out that his work station was too terribly organized and offered to destroy it to be more in line with mine. Curiously he declined the offer. 

So whilst the girls had their time we geeked out in the basement. Here's the few pics I did take:

As you can see, still a WIP.

The interior of the right most brick building in the previous photo. Note the light beyond the right door at the far end, it is on an engine that had just rolled out. 

This ought to have been a video of it rotating this engine to it's next track. 

Looking into the window of the building into the opposite side of the prior photo. 

This little scene was probably my favorite part of the whole setup. According to Micheal, it's everybody's. Something of which he's immensely proud (and rightly so!). 

On a different note...for several years now I've had a penchant for hiding minis in family members' homes. My grandparents had gotten the lion's share of these endeavors (it's good to keep em' on their toes), though my mother and father in-law have as well. Whilst my grandmother treats it as a game that she pretends to not like (whereas I'm pretty sure she does), Wolfy's folks have proudly displayed their mini since finding it a few years back. 

As such, I felt the need to leave behind a deep cover operative (the pink haired mini from that ill-fated project) in Nashville. I had hoped to hide it in the train set up, but was never able to be left alone with it, thus I found another location within the home. However given how immaculately clean their house is, I fret that she will be located all too quickly... 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

My first Astral Claws Tactical Squad is complete!


Curiously (or is it sadly?), these are the most marines of a single color scheme that I've had since my 30k Alpha Legionnaires (who in the end only clocked in at a whopping 13 minis total) and the most of any single squad going all the way back to my......Storm Wardens (circa 2013-14). 

The closest thing I could find to a whole Storm Wardens army shot on this blog...

Yeah, wow. Consistency, it's not my thing apparently. 

Anyways, back to the present.

The chapter icons went on well enough, though a few of the tactical arrows required considerable profanity to achieve proper adhesion... 

In the end, this squad was kinda fun to paint despite how much I normally dislike batch painting (even small batches of 3-4). At least at this point I'm not loathing the prospect of painting more of 'em. 

The squad's 'big guns'.

The squad's leg greaves are rather muddy meaning the squad at some point had to wade across a flooded trench, gully or the like which lead to the curiously dirty state of one battle brother in particular: 

Genetically enhanced or not
everybody falls in the mud!
We're not quite sure what exactly it was that caused brother Lucius to fall bodily into the muddy water.

Was it a hole unseen beneath the murk? Perhaps the shock wave of a nearby explosion? Or was it just an opportune shove delivered at just the right moment by one of his malicious brethren?

Its hard to say, but squad comms have been unusually quiet ever since the trench crossing...'incident'.

The battlefield debris on their bases is a bit inconsistent, but in the end won't really be noticeable. The first few had Eldar bits added to their bases as those were readily available without any effort required to sift through my pile o' spare bitz. That said, the Astral Claws were previously tasked with containing the Maelstrom's renegade and Xenos scourges meaning Eldar debris isn't too far off of the mark. Perhaps the Eldar were simply raiders or traders who mistakenly wandered into yet another Space Marine conflict

The Executioners' chapter Rhino door, partial hatch and helm are in line with the Badab war background. Whether or not they were friend or foe at this point is unknown. Executioners aside, the squad sergeant has a half buried helm of one of his fellow sergeants on his base and in true 40k form, human skulls are  sprinkled throughout.

Overall I'm quite happy with these guys (shitty photos aside), so keep an eye out for more Astral Claws in the future. 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Almost there...


If it's taken this long to mostly paint just 10 friggin' guys, how in
the hell am I going to get thru the other 50+ marines?

I had a marathon painting session Saturday (well, by my meager standards at least) and got the last four members of my Astral Claws' red tactical squad painted up to the 'ready for decals' stage. Decals will be applied later on this evening, and once dry these will then be slathered in ink. Wednesday evening I'll hopefully have time to do their bases, as well as applying the mud/grime to their legs and in doing so my first tac. squad will (hopefully) be complete! 

That's the plan anyways. As you all well know, I rarely am running on the rails...

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Rearming the Troops (Literally)


Yes I know havoc champions can't use signums, but they look cool and besides, did the Astral Claws' signums really cease functioning just because they started shooting at their brethren?

In and amongst the slow crawl of progress that is my painting queue, I've been repositioning several of the characters that I got from Kushial. Mostly this is just a straight replacement/swap of the arms and weapons, but occasionally the head as well. Whereas in the case of the captain there in the center, he is an amalgamation of several minis along with some bits poached from my meagre collection of spares. 

A little battlefield debris has been added also (mostly skulls). Indeed, the last four bolter grunts needed to complete my first Astral Claws tac. squad received basing skulls/bitz as well, however as they're now primed black they don't photograph worth a shit. 

Clearly  enough for two armies...

One thing of note: the two Forgeworld Apothecaries are REALLY cool minis that I've always wanted! That being said, I'm using the Chaos codex for the Astral Claws meaning they have no place in the army. As such those two as well as that captain with be siphoned off with some other extras that didn't fit in with the claws for a second small Black Templars army. 

Come didn't really think I'd paint all of these in the same colors did you? 

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Tres Hombres

The ML gunner was originally standing on a slab of cork,
before I swapped it out for the wrecked Rhino door.

It took awhile (due mainly to distraction) but I have three more painted tactical marines for the Astral claws. It all went much the same as the first three with the exception of the missile gunner's base which features a door that has been blown off of an Executioners chapter Rhino. For those wondering, The Executioners initially fought on the secessionist side during the early-to-mid stages of the Badab war, though only to honor a long-standing blood debt to the Astral Claws.

Kindova shitty photo as my camera focused on the background, rather than the marines in front of it, but at least you can see that these are also part of the 'red' tactical squad.

Savage and unpredictable when on the attack, the Executioners fought both honorably and on their own terms much to the irritation of Lugft Huron and the Astral Claws. Eventually they turned on their allies in the so-called 'Red Hour' after the Astral Claws violated their honor/terms during the surrender and capture of a Salamanders' vessel. Following that, for a brief time the Executioners fought both loyalist and secessionist alike in their own private war before leaving the conflict altogether.

In the end, I think that door took as much time
to paint as it did the marine standing on it!

The Executioners use different color pauldrons to denote unit types (ironically, FW seems to have dropped this for their Badab war books), with green representing tactical marines. Originally this was to be a Raptor's door, as I (quite mistakenly) thought that I had Raptors decals. I did have quite a few double headed axe icons though and so to the Executioners this door went. 

Saturday, January 25, 2020

To the trees!


Watch out for the poison ivy...

I gotta bunch of 'train trees' for Christmas to use in making some traversable forests for both my 15mm 40k and Classic Battletech. As such I added hex lines for use with the latter which was something of a nightmare. Normally I only discuss Battletech on my other blog, but figured duplicate posts would be kinda pointless for a mere stand of trees. 

Luckily this Locust won't devour everything in sight...

I didn't clear coat this prior to adding the hex lines and trees due to inclement weather resulting in considerable frustration as the flocking was coming off at the slightest touch. As such this was partially reflocked multiple times up until I just said fuck it! and left the little bare spots as they were. Future forests will be clear coated prior to the addition of hex lines and the trees themselves

Friday, January 17, 2020

Astral Claws test minis


I had hoped to have this post out both earlier and with at least a combat squad of marines done...but Real Life (TM) happened. That said, I am rather pleased with these three and true to the memory of the handful I painted some years ago, they were fairly quick, easy and painless to paint, a good thing considering I still have this to do: 


GW's Leadbelcher, Macragge Blue, Agrax Earthshade along with Vallejo's Glorious Gold and Flat Earth for the base and...umm yeah. That's it. Easy peasy.

I opted to go with different colored tactical arrows to tell the squads apart. I made some in red, yellow and black years ago for some long, forgotten project that never went anywhere...apparently, as I never used any of them. Without a white backing, the red is kinda dark rendering the yellow tactical arrows a lost cause. Additionally I also have the standard GW white ones too. 

Of course only one out of these three is actually sporting said red decal so its not the best plan, but the reinforcement stud pauldrons aren't too common as I recall so it should work...I think. I also made assault, devastator and veteran squad markings in black as well. 

I ordered these chapter icons from's ebay page. Check em out, they've got good stuff. 

Astral Claws aside, I have been working on some 15mm terrain for that project which this one sorta derailed, but you know me...I can't stay on any given project for too long before-SQUIRREL!!

So there ya have it, not much to say other than here I go...and go, and go, and g...

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

So, what to do with a non-Primaris space marine army?

The above is just a small portion of the Lions of Harlech Chapter. I do believe that there is somewhere in the realm of 4-5 fully painted companies of them.

It is a valid question as out of the blue, Kushial surprised me (stunned would be more accurate) with the gift of a large space marine army this past weekend! Approximately 2k worth in points via the old marine codex as I've yet to get the current one. 

The unpainted lions...

He hasn't played 40k in close to 2 years, and has no want to paint anymore of his beloved Lions of Harlech space marines, so he was selling off the unpainted portions of his army (dreadnoughts excluded as he has a love of dreads that borders on some kind of psychosis...). However, like myself when I sold off the handful of Rainbow Warriors and the other remnants of my non-primaris marine forces, he found that they were selling for a pittance. 

The whole lot of 'em!

So, if he was to give them away, he'd give them to someone he knew that would enjoy them, rather than a total stranger. So...where to go from here, as GW (apparently) no longer has any love for the 'regular' marines. 

Perusing the archives of this blog I thought that maybe I'd revisit one of the many, many chapters that I've fielded in the past and in doing so the Tyrant's Legion caught my eye. Based on Forgeworld's (now defunct) 6th ed list, the Tyrant's Legion was Lugft Huron's attempt to build the Astral Claws up into a space marine legion of old prior to the badab war. 

At that war's conclusion, the Astral Claw/Tyrant's Legion survivors fled into the maelstrom and became the Red Corsairs, which was another army given to me  out of the blue from the Gentleman's Ones (oh how I miss that blog, and then later given away to yet another blogger who did them proud.

An image of an Astral Claw from the of FW Badab war book. Ironically, it bears a strong resemblance in color to the otherwise totally unrelated Lions of Harlech!

Anyways, originally, the Astral Claws were a loyalist chapter, and rather than have an army in open rebellion again (built of a mix of loyalist and chaos bitz as i had previously), I'm thinking of doing an earlier version, just on the cusp of heresy. The lion's share (pun intended) of the minis in my new army are 30k Mk IV marines. Conveniently, the Astral Claws had raided stockpiles of obsolete, but still serviceable kit as they sought to bolster their forces in secret. 

So how to build this with longevity in mind you ask? Simple: I use the chaos space marine codex. However like the fallen, I'll just ignore all of the chaos gods' affiliated stuff, daemons, etc., and build 'em much as a generic loyalist army, but one diverging from the codex astartes, i.e.: over sized tac squads, with 2 heavy, or special weapons, etc. 

It'll carry some of the flavor of the old FW list, whilst being entirely legal, and devoid of primaris marines and any fear of obsolescence for the foreseeable future.  Some units won't be cross-compatible of course (hey Neverness, I gotta bunch of scout snipers for ya!), and I'll need to order some bitz to convert the Landraider redeemer back into a 'regular' one. But i think it'll work and hey-best of all, that color scheme is easy to paint!