Friday, September 18, 2015

Titan killer

The Manta remained a fixture of Tau strategy during the second Taros war. Able to lift and redeploy entire cadres on a whim, the massive ships enabled Tau commanders a far greater ability to handle to immense numerical superiority of the Imperial Guard forces.

This past couple weeks I've been playing around with some Tau to oppose my desert Krieg. This was really my first serious attempt to tackle a more organic-styled machine and I was somewhat perturbed at the notion. At first I tried to go as clean as possible, but that just turned out flat and dull. Somewhat annoyed, I fell back on what I knew - weathering - albeit with a more conservative approach. The end result was somewhat battered, but still gave off the general sense of cleanliness.

The colors were fairly classical Tau desert browns and tans. In this case I employed them using a hex camo stencil to give them nice hard edges, as opposed to the feathering freehand I use for the Imperial guard.

Given the sheer size and awkward nature of the beast I had to go with a standard large 40k base and weigh it down with some washers underneath.

I was initially hesitant to employ the staggered chipping style I've grown accustomed to in larger scales, as I had avoided this with the guard. Ultimately, however, I think it on lighter colored subject matter it is necessary to add further depth.

I was always aware of the manta's size in abstract, but it doesn't really hit you until you sit it next to some of the bigger epic vehicles.

As well as some of the smaller ones. Pictured here with a Tigershark AX-10

On a slightly different note I've also been fiddling around with 30k Iron warriors, think I've finally gotten a metallic scheme I'm happy with. I also jazzed up the bases to make them look more siegey and grimdark.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Review: Soviet Cold War Weaponry - Tanks and Armoured Vehicles

So Pen and Sword have sent me a new book to review focusing on Soviet tanks and other AFVs of the Cold War period, my favorite subject! At 159 pages, Anthony Tucker-Jones' effort is quite hefty and chock full of color and black and white photos of the subject matter, many of which were new to me.

The book is broken up into twelve chapters, each dealing with a different area of Soviet armour design: T54/55, T62/64, T-72/80, PT-76, BTR series, BMP series, airborne combat vehicles, BRDM series, SPGs, ATGM, attack helos and a general assessment of Soviet equipment in combat. Overall, I found these chapters fairly logical in their structure and the grouping decisions. I really would have preferred more time given to individual tanks, as putting the 62 and the 64 in a single chapter is a bit heretical in my humble view.

Each chapter provides a general overview of the vehicle family it is addressing, including a light smattering of technical details, internal vehicle layout and key features and flaws. There is a brief discussion of combat history and areas of deployment. Chapters are around 10-15 pages each and heavily padded with images, so the discussion never gets overly-complicated and largely remains at the entry level to the topic throughout.

My major critique of the book is its relative simplicity. The general approach of the book is to say a little about a lot, rather than vice versa. As such, you can be left with a feeling that a lot more could be said and that it hasn't brought much new to the table, apart from the compilation of data itself. Here, its important to note the caveat that I am likely not the target audience for it, however, as its clearly designed as an 'introductory' text to the byzantine subject of Soviet armor design. If you pick it up expecting a Zaloga, you will be disappointed. If, however, you are new to the topic (say, you are getting ready for Team Yankee) and want a nice, concise overview of the kind of new toys you will be fielding in the next few months, then this is the book for you.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

30K: Iron Siege

Few other forces encapsulate the grim shittyness of the future to me better than the Iron Warriors. The cynicism, the colors, the rust, the mud, all these elements come together to form what I feel really is the spirit of the 40k universe.

This round I've done up a bunch of epic 30k vehicles in the IW scheme. The objective was to portray a heavily weathered force that had been in the field for years. Lots of rust, grime and general unpleasantness.

There is no tank that screams "Iron Warriors" more than the Typhon. A big siege gun on a Land Raider-style chassis meant these were pretty much a given from the outset.

The Spartan exists in a similar vein with the Typhon - a super heavy transport designed to take a hell of a beating and disgorge a bunch of very unpleasant individuals right into the enemy's face.

For fun I also decided to put together one of the old Ordinatus. The idea of a giant plasma artillery piece again chimed very well with the general aesthetic of the force.

And of course we wouldn't be complete without some Fellblades and a Glaive.

After painting these all up I'm not sure whether I want to continue with this force, or restart with a more colorful 30k army. Will have to ponder over the next few days.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Mobile land fortress

On Taros the Leviathan served as the brain of the Krieg Armored regiment. A schizophrenic mix of command centre,  assault vehicle, transport and shrine to the Emperor's illustriousness, Leviathans  sat at the heart of the armored thrust, an immense bastion surveying the battlefield and directing its forces against the foe. The most common pattern of these vehicles on Taros sported the traditional siege cannon, but replaced the superfluous battle cannon turret with a Vulcan megabolter, to better fend off any aircraft that might attempt to knock out the regiment's command and control.

Third time I've painted this guy and finally happy with the scheme! Really nice centre piece for the whole force. Replaced the top turret with a spare Macharius one I had which I think fits the aesthetic quite suitably. Also, a ram, for ramming :)

 photo Lev2.jpg 
 photo Lev4.jpg photo Lev3.jpg photo Lev1.jpg

Friday, September 4, 2015

Terrorist tanks

Time to get us some terries.

So I picked up some of battlefront's T-55s on a sale and decided to paint them up as generic Syrian rebels/jihadists/ISIS types with equipment plundered from Iraqi and/or SAAF stockpiles.

Despite their roughness I think these are my favorite iteration of the T-55. They just reek of personality and the 'heroic' scaling really appeals. I'm not sure why, but I generally seem to prefer battlefront over other manufacturers when its available. Crew are a mix of Peter Pig, Battlefront and Khurasan.

Painting them up really reminded me of the importance of heavy weathering at 15mm. I haven't been particularly happy with my 'cleaner' US vehicles of late and decided to strip them and batter the hell out of them weathering wise.







Definitely looking forward to the upcoming Cold War releases by BF.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

No, Shapeways, this is not how you public relations

As many of you are aware, one of the things I do on this blog is to run the occasional review of products I have encountered in my painting adventures. Given the area of modern wargaming remains a niche one, it is my hope that this serves to plug a few gaps and better inform my fellow consumers of what is available to them.
90% of the time the items I look at are my own purchases, although occasionally I will be contacted or contact a particular business and receive a few complementary models for review. In these cases I always try to disclose this fact, so as to address any potential conflict of interest.

A few days ago I was contacted by the company Shapeways with the following message:

I have had a little experience with Shapeways in the past. In 2013 I spent a considerable sum purchasing a BMP-3 design from them just to get a sense of the 3d printing area of wargaming. The result was a resounding 'meh.' The material used, being the most expensive, still had serious cleanup issues and the design itself was definitely spartan. The price was also astronomical and I walked away from the whole affair with a sense that Shapeways had a long way to go before it was going to become a serious contender in the modern wargaming market.

Given it had been a couple years, I decided "why not?" and sent Pat confirmation email and pointing to a variety of items I might be interested in taking a closer look at for review.

The response was....odd.

It took me a minute to fully comprehend this. It seemed Pat wanted me to give an overview of his product without actually being able to inspect it up close. It seems he wanted me to generate positive exposure for his products without the unpleasant business of  providing said products for actual critical inspection. In short, he wanted to use the blog as a platform for native advertising.

Rather than firing off a much deserving "are you kidding me?" I responded with a curt reply indicating that an intrinsic part an authentic review process requires the reviewer to actually be able to interact with the product. At that point Pat went silent and I heard nothing else.

What a peculiar and entitled ethos. A word of advice to Pat and Shapeways: you are entering a crowded marketplace full of talented producers with a mediocre and overpriced product, I wouldn't expect special treatment.