Who let the cogs out ?

Pun courtesy of a Bolter and Chainsword topic.

Yeah, less than a year since the last post !

There is one problem with having fiddled with 3D printing and 3D design : it’s hard to refrain from customizing everything in your hobby. This is especially true when you see some good ideas in the design of miniatures but always think “brilliant, except this”. So in this post I’ll show the “this” in the case of my Adeptus Mechanicus army for 40K. And yes, the separation between Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus, while understandable in terms of marketing or even in game, is a bit too large for me. So as usual, since I’m such a fast painter and not a hobby butterfly, I’ll try to field a custom vision of the army. The detachment system of 40K allows this, the only issue is the point costs that add up quite rapidly.

Thanks to old novels and lack of description in the time, I always figured the Skitarii as tech guard, a more exotic variant of the imperial guard with improved equipment or rare items/vehicles. In my vision, the Skitarii as GW released them represent rather the elite troops of the lot, and the Cult the “HQ” parts, with priests, robots and custom servitors the Magos takes personally to the field. As such, I’d like to build my army with :

An Imperial Guard detachment, cheap and with some troops to represent the “regular” warriors of the forge worlds. It’s only my personnal view, but I envisionn them as more independant (human ?) that the cold description Skitarii had in their codex. More like troops not yet granted general augmentations to ascend to the Skitarii ranks.
A Skitarii detachment, representing the elite troops, full of exotic tech and augmentation, more fanatized and with the beginning of a pseudo-gestalt mind, as described in the novels including AdMech these last years. Nothing special here, maybe some conversion for fun but the models are quite nice by themselves.
A Cult Mechanicus detachment, representing the aristocracy of the group, with the Magos, his creations (Kataphrons), his prized technologies (robots) and allies (electro-priests).

At the moment, it’s mainly the Cult Mechanicus faction that was both exhilarating and disappointing, model-wise. The Dominus is good but a bit too particular. The design studio of Games has tried to infuse the spirit of Blanche drawings in recent releases, but even if Tech priests don’t really care of human form and only look for improving themselves, I’ll have to convert one with a more anthropomorphic silhouette for the sake of having my own HQ.
The Kataphrons were also a disappointment, but only because of the two variants being too similar to me. The differences are the weapons, and some additional plates on the torso and the tracks.
The Kastelan are nice, but as a lot of people the goofy head, while nice for a Buck Rogers universe, don’t fit with our grim dark millenium. Also, the gun arms are a bit too simple to me, even if the whole streamlined effect of the model is OK with me. The datasmith is gorgeous though.
The models I’m more disappointed with are the electro priests, I don’t buy the techno-WFB-flagellants design, the tesla-steampunk gauntlets and collar of the corpuscarii. Just personal taste here.

So, first work on this army (and this post) is the revamp of these details to make the army fit my vision. Here are my musing with the Cult Mechanicus part.

Kataphrons Destroyers : I really like the armoured look of the Kataphrons Breachers, with sturdy tracks and armour plates all over the mini and bulky weapons. Therefore I wanted to make the destroyers more distinguishable. Since the latter are more weapon platforms than assault beasts. I went for legged servitors then, this hull allowing bracing, adjustment for firing big guns. I did tie the look of the legs with the Onager to blend my conversion with the rest of the army. Not much work from there, the parts are ordered and shall arrive soon for a test fit and check the encumbrance and proportions of the thing. If fits, I’ll amend the design to allow some poseability of the legs. And maybe change the “shield” plate on the lower leg, I kinda rushed this part.

Kastelan : As I wrote before, the two points that bugged me were the head and the gun arms, the head because of the visor and the gun arms that just looked like “a bier barrel with a gun at the point”. And another oversized sickle clip, that doesn’t fit for me (same as the plastic grey knight with their huge clip instead of the boxy one of the metallic models). So here are my test models for these two parts :

Nothing fancy here, just simple mods and lines.

Electro priests : The whole boys band flagellants design didn’t work for me. These guys are priests, not just crazed lowly manufactorum workers. Of course they are fanatical and all, but the term “priest” for the Admech always evokes me high or medium echelons. A priest is not an adept. So, I’m thinking of using the genestealer neophytes torsos to replace the bare torso of the vanilla model. It looks rubbery (kinda works with the notion of electricity, isolation and such) and removes the flagellant picture.
Concerning the Fulgurite, the bare arms holding the staff with gloves work for me to make them badass/close combat guys. And keeps with the idea of electoos and more fleshy look of these priests.

Concerning the Corpuscarii, I’ll try another idea on top of just a torso swap. These are described as having the generosity of illuminating the galaxy. With lots of lightning bolts in your face, so that you understand the Motive Force. The notion of forcing a gift on people believing in something different does rings more radical to me, more fanatical than the fulgurite that I feel are more in the “you don’t deserve your electricity so we take it back” rhetoric. I had this idea of the corpuscarii looking for more change of their body to achieve their goals and thought of them ritualistically replace their arms with lightning projectors to wholly embrace their cause/be closer to the Omnimessiah/etc.
I’ll wait to see how this works and if it doesn’t make them look like servitors. Maybe I’ll try to put some of the coils of the regular gauntlets on the arms …

I’m waiting for some parts to look if everything can fit correctly, because fast image montage can be misleading in proportions.

So, that’s all for the moment, I’ll post picts when I have tested all these things.

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Something fishy this way cometh

Well, some changes in the last months. And yes, you shall almost always find dismaying puns or references in the titles …

Firstly, the Brace For Impact event did occur, and it was glorious. The staff didn’t have much hair left, but the concept of a scripted campaign gives a very nice atmosphere and even if some scenarios were more inbalanced than anticipated, the fact that everyone wrote the story of the Piraleus sector gives even a defeat enjoyable. Among the hoard of immersive ideas from the staff :

  • Classical but efficient : some games did influence the next round depending on the result (change of scenario, of size …)
  • One briefing card for every game. Every faction recieved them and the players of that faction did choose its next game based on these fluff intel reports. Of course, sometimes the real scenario of the game is an ambush while you travel to obey your briefing … Of course, you don’t necessary know your enemy at this point :).
  • To avoid the meatgrinder playstyle : every ship lost has a penalty on its Leadership the next round (-1 on ships, battleships dropped to 6). Some scenarios, if won, did give a token to cancel the penalty for ONE ship.
  • A dynamic map, updated every round, to visualize where everyone was fighting. I’m rather proud of the miniships token I did for this event, but the map itself is absolutely gorgeous (Well done Pix !).
  • A complete fluff book about the sector, 33 pages long as an introduction for the week end.

The plot was about a Tyranid invasion in an imperial sector, with Tau evacuation fleet that flees before the beast and ends up in a cat and mouse chase with the local defenders and Eldars that just do their stuff with ancient Webway issues in the sector.

Secondly, as one player finally could’nt come, we were short of one Tau fleet. As everything was scripted for two Tau fleets, and to avoid to change everything 2 weeks before the BFI, I ended playing Tau with my custom models (Korvattra for the win !). I had to rush an explorer model in 15 hours to be able to send it to print in order to recieve it 2 days before the tournament. All in all I made a pretty simple list, based on what I had at hand and what I could print. I only had one hero and merchant, so I planned to use for each one of my models and one of GW. I can confirm that these are a pain to glue. But, and because every plan has to fumble at some point, the nice metal Merchant encounter a feline warp-beast during the night, and the prow was lost with all hands. The rumour is that it reappeared two weeks later, vomited by the Warp in the form of a vacuum cleaner. The Inquisition is investigating. So, at the last moment I briefly painted an emissary to replace it. Here is the list :

  • Kor’O (Ld9) + 1 re-roll
  • Phasing Smith – Explorer battleship – Bor’Kan variant
  • Voice of the Eclipse – Explorer battleship – Vash’Ya variant
  • Silent Whisper– Hero cruiser – Vash’Ya variant
  • Tau’va Toridas – Hero cruiser -Tolku variant
  • Decent Communion – Merchant cruiser – Dal’Yth variant
  • Stargazer – Emissary cruiser – Sa’Cea variant
  • 2 x 3 Orcas
  • 2 Defender
  • 2 x 1 Messenger

I was rather surprised at the efficiency of the fleet. On the paper, I didn’t anticipate the very agressive playstyle so much ordnance can give. The Messenger is a pearl, allowing several locked broadsides at the beginning of the game. I don’t know if I accidentaly stumbled upon a very competitive list or if I was just lucky, but things went rather smoothly. I’ll make a post with some detail on the 4 games themselves, because there was some nice moments 🙂 (Finishing an Emperor battleship with a double front ramming by Heroes : check ! Survive it : check !). Our narrative arc was that we (the Tau) were fleeing a neighbouring sector where we were peacefully dealing with a local xeno race. The tyranids did come, and we fled, bringing along a colony ship of these xenos (for their greater good of course) and just had to cross the over-militarized imperial Piraleus sector. Guns on the front, teeth on the rear …

All in all it was a very nice weekend, very smoothly operated and full of nice players and games. In the end the Piraleus sector did survive, despite having lost 2 sub-sectors to the Great Devourer. The Tau did stumbled on the last step of their exodus (only be lack of time :().

Secondly, I finally managed to make some decent pictures of my Tau models :

First : The Explorer. I wanted it more bulkier, since it’s a cargo/exploration vessel in the beginning, before being retrofitted for combat duties. It’s still WIP, being absurdtely undetailled on the bottom side, but it’s a 15 hours work to print it for the BFI tournament. I’ll keep it that way, just detailling some dorsal parts and allowing a proper keel. The prows and the engine section shouldn’t change.

Explorer - Missile variant

Explorer – Missile variant


Explorer - Carrier variant

Explorer – Carrier variant


Explorer aft. I wanted to change the layout of it.

Explorer aft. I wanted to change the layout of it.

Next : The Hero. The major change in the design was to alter the engines section. I understand why the engines on the original model look so puny (the Tau having difficulties matching other races miniaturization in space), but I wanted something else. As a huge fan of the design of the Star Wars Corellian Corvette (what an iconic ship), I mainly transposed it. The bulkier design fits for me for a race having troubling with space propulsion.

We can be heroes !

We can be heroes !


Hero - details of the CEC aft

Hero – details of the CEC aft

The Merchant. Not much to say here, some detailling work, mainly concerning the engine section.

Yes, this is the tau vision of a "retrofitted transport". It looks more impressive that it is.

Yes, this is the tau vision of a “retrofitted transport”. It looks more impressive that it is.

All the modules (launch decks, armaments, cargo or hook) are detachable and standardized. I have to take the plunge and test the magnetizing of the modules (I made a pre-hole on them and the hull to allow it. I only have to find a suitable magnet size able to hold them correctly). With this any configuration can be done, and I think, if it’s implemented properly, that it’ll allow to play with the variants class with a common hull.

Now, the escorts :

Orca : Just some proportions revisions, the “wings” on the prow of all the Tau escorts were always a bit larger to my taste so first revision here. It’s design to fit on the hooks module and the aft dorsal section of the explorer (just detach if from the base and plug it on). I shall add some picture of this.

Orca, reloaded

Orca, reloaded


Orca aft. A bit smotther than the original

Orca aft. A bit smotther than the original

Defender : This one was depicted as large, and the original miniature was indeed larger. Same reasonning as with the Hero here : bulkier engines, looking like the explorer revamp.

Defender prow

Defender prow


Defender - engines

Defender – engines

Messenger : A major change here, because it’s more a mobile comm station than a real ship. So it’s blistering with antennas and domes for intel equipment. And I personnally had a challenge the first time I had to see which was the Defender and which the Messenger with the original miniatures.

Messenger - hedgehog ptn

Messenger – hedgehog ptn


Messenger - engines

Messenger – engines

Finally, a picture of the ordnances token, painting courtesy of Kurgan (so it’s nicely painted). I chose to retain the Tigersharks as bombers … well just because I like their look :).

United colours of Tau'va, as Kurgan says

United colours of Tau’va, as Kurgan says

Bakka Revival

Back again on the Imperium. With the coming of BFI (french BFG tournament), I’m keeping on building a fleet with the 2010 Bakka list. As of now, I have several conversion on the standard cruiser to reflect the orthodoxy of Bakka (keeping a Mars Pattern) with enough small changes that make the fleet recognizable.

The 2010 list adds some very interesting variants. I had worked previously on the Havoc frigate for Cypra-Mundi, with the diamond prow, but with only a prow swap if can be made quite good looking (yes, I sometimes praise myself).

Bakka Havoc prototype

Bakka Havoc prototype

And finally, since the 2010 list allows the presence of Endeavour & Endurance light cruisers, I couldn’t let pass the occasion of making yet another variant to fit in :

Bakka Endeavour Prototype

Bakka Endeavour Prototype

Since the draft of this article was pending long enough, I recieved the test prints :

Bakka_Havoc_1Bakka_Havoc_2

Bakka_EndeavourBakka_Endeavour_rear

I’m planning to field some in June for the tournament.

Now time to find my ordnance for Bakka … They’ll have to be bulky, because Bakka is old school and I see them heavier than the standard Mars pattern.

BFI 2016

Well, for french BFG players it should not be a surprise as now, but I’d like to drop a few lines on the coming BFI tournament of this year. BFI was an initiative of some parisian players to finally try to hold a regular event arround BFG. It holds in june in Paris at a shop named the Waaagh Tavern (awesome people there in the staff, don’t hesitate to drop by if you are in Paris and innocently want to link with the hobby). Last year was the first edition, and a rather classic tournament in the mechanics, but with a lot of good spirit from the players and the staff. Nicely painted tables were available, which is always best. It’s also a full painted tournament, because grim dark gothic space miniatures always look better when painted. Unfortunately, the event last year was a bit altered for me, as my son was quite ill both before and during the tournament, so I had to frequently do round trips during the event, which wasn’t the best. And as I was a bit overwhelmed, I even didn’t manage to paint my fleet :(.

This year, I was able to be more invested in the preparation of the event, and the main change is that it’s more a large scale narrative campaign (4 turns – 20 players) than a competition. It’s already hard to play on a regular basis BFG, at least the BFI aims to make people play together instead of against each other. Basically, the background story revolves arround the Tyranid invasion of a sector, but we try to find some hooks to change a bit from a too classical story. This year again, I’ll play a Bakka fleet. The 2010 list is OK (a few things aren’t to my liking, but enough of it so I can build a list). And of course I didn’t resist to make some custom models to fit with my vision of Bakka (and the conversion I have already done). More on this in a few days.

I can’t tell you much right now, as we prepare some suprises, but I wanted to show that BFG is still alive (and yes “this was a triumph”) in France. I’ll give you some feedback and pictures of my fleet in the two months to come, and of the event in june :).

Tau-Kugawa

Again, let’s relaunch the blog :).

This time a centralization of a project which began with the last Tau codex at 40000. When the Kor’vattra was released for Battlefleet Gothic, I reacted like almost everyone : “Woh, it’s ugly”. With time, I began to appreciate the retro design of the ships, as it fits the low tech in space for the Tau. But (there is always a but) the miniatures were crude and the fact that they were made of metal didn’t help for the details and assembly gaps. So, in parallel of my return to the Tau in 28 mm, I began working on HD models for the Kor’vattra. No major changes in the designs, I just tried to densify the details.

First work on the Merchant (also to be able to have heavy transports for the Kor’vattra hence the need for a Cargo Module to be designed). The prototype from Shapeways has arrived and has been primed (badly as I’m unable to make a smooth undercoat).

Tau_Merchant_Proto

For the cargo module, I tried to be coherent with a small freighter I made some time ago (which looks so dull and undetailled now). Some changes too on the gun module, allowing placement of turrets to show the fire arcs (front + side). The launch decks are made, I’ll show them with the Hero.

Containers for the cargo version

Containers for the cargo version

Railguns and Ion canons. On such small pieces, Shapeways FUD and FXD are great, and most of all, they don’t need supports, allowing more freedom with the designs. Too bad the material is a pain to work with. The concepts:

Railgun Ion_Cannon

Work done on the Orca and the Defender (some details left to be done at this stage). Design picture at this time.

Orca Concept. Some detailling to be done on the prow

Orca Concept. Some detailling to be done on the prow

Defender concept

And to go with, some fighters and bombers.

Barracudas

Barracudas

Tigersharks

Tigersharks

And this time I won’t let the blog down one year aND A HALF ! Gosh …

Dogfight time !

So much for a regular update on the blog … This whole year saw the eking out a living (is this english ?) of several projects, but mainly a lot of change in my personnal life (work, home, familly …).

First line of work, some little ordnance minis to replace the regular ordnance tokens. I tried to have several designs, because a bit of variety is always welcomed. First of all, a set of fighters/bombers inspired by WW2 airplane (which make them suitable to figure marauders or thunderbolts).

Le grand cirque - revival

Le grand cirque – revival

With this kind of volume it’s a lot cheaper to print them directly en masse than casting them in resin, so I have a horde of them ^^.

Second tier with a bomber derived from Wing Commander and the french Mirage IV fighter :

Thunder_child

More classical but I think it suits the bulky and ragged look we all love.

Third try with an inspiration from Battlespace that I found lovely :

Banshee Fighters

Banshee Fighters

Nicknamed “Dragonfly” by several people in place of the “Banshee” original name, but well … I’m quite proud of my work (yes, more self-praise) for a 8 mm piece. Just the basecoat ATM, thay’ll reinforce my Voss fleet.

Bakka Bakka

On this lame japanish pun, I’m quite proud to announce that I finally finished my model for my Firedaggers, for the Bakka battlefleet. This fleet comes from an alternative imperial fleet, in the venerable BFG Magazine #2, and represents the home fleet of Segmentum Tempestus. The list was updated in 2012 by the BFG Compendium team. I’m not a big fan on some modifications they made, but some are interesting. There is some people that question the choice of Bakka for this expansion, but personnally I like its fluff and the orientation is interesting. The compendium version make the list more playable, but some new ships like the Havoc aren’t to my taste. On the contrary, the Mercury really fits the concepts of this fleet, very gun-oriented.

So, first work on this : The Firedagger. Bakka is a fleet belonging the Big Gun Lobby in the admiralty. Thus, they use very few attack crafts. This dates back to the 36th millenium, when the Gaerox Prerogative tried to focus the new doctrine of Bakka on carriers. Lamely, some ships (like the Despoiler) all defected to Chaos, or were too ammunition consuming (like the Viper destroyer). The Firedagger is a frigate hull equiped with Fleet Defense Turrets, capable of defending nearby ships from ordnance attacks. These turrets are also available to some of the Mechanicus cruisers.

To sum it up, I’m working to make myself a small Bakka fleet, for the moment based on the old BFG Magazine list. After a long time of testing and thinking (mainly concerning the wings), I achieved this :

Firedagger - Side View

Firedagger – Side View

The Flak turrets are separate, allowing some posing and re-using on Mechanicus ships.

The second work for Bakka is my Daemon Slayer. This ship comes from the BFG Mag #2 too. It’s a unique ship (basically a Tyrant), armed with a prow psychic canon. This is an abomination which disrupts the hive mind control for tyranids, banishes demon ships and cripples a regular ship for a while … As it’s a unique ship, I tried to make it stnd out, while staying in the general design of an imperial cruiser, since Bakka is a rather rigid fleet on the conception of ships.

These are the firsts layer of paint, to settle the official paint scheme of Bakka.

The small conversions on this are :
– A long antenna from the Space Marine Battlebarge to represent the Psychic Canon
– A test for the figurehead : an etched brass eagle from Forge World
– A bridge from a Mechanicus Cruiser in place of the antennas, to represent the esoteric face of the psychic canon (containing a psyker choir or similar), and reinforcing the relic side of the Daemon Slayer.
– A custom made engine (made for my Cypra Mundi fleet, before I found a better piece for it. More in a post to come).
– The wings were lengthened with the fins of the Repulsive bridge.
– The fins on the engines come from the Falchion
– Weapons batteries from the Space Marine Battlebarge, as they look more gothic than the standard batteries)

Well, this is only the beginning :).