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.

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 :



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.

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 :).

BFG – Modular Cargos

So the pace increases in July :).

Today, a bit of a check up on a long term project of mine. As the BFG rulebook said, the transports add some variety to any fleet. GW only produced two imperial transports. Forge World did some variants and new transports for the Kor’Or’Vesh Tau and the Eldar, and quite nice heavy transports for the Imperium. As it is a bit restraining, because nothing looks more than a fuel transport that the same fuel transport. In the Battlefleet Gothic Magazine 4, Nate Montes did submit some profiles to recycle old Space Fleet models to count as new transports classes, and a cute little scenario with a pair of tables to deal with the civilian reaction in a space battle (from the coward that flees to the madman who charges the ennemy with it’s puny transport … In all cases, your convoy formation is forgotten). Since then, Warp Rift did submit some new profiles for a bit less than a dozen transports and some nice examples and tutorials.

To sum it up, I always had a lot of fun to imagine various cargo ships, all different. A bit similar to scale model railway, when you assemble a convoy of very different freight railcars. All of this must come from the old and blessed days of Transport Tycoon.

The Alpha of it all ...

The Alpha of it all …

So here I am since some weeks, building small pieces of modular transport ships, dividing them between prow, cargo section, stern and special modules :

The prows

The firsts cargo sections :

And the Sterns :

And 2 modules, one of engines and one of battlements, to be inserted and create armed or fast variants (before I gather my wits and do several versions of each cargos) :

And three fast examples :

Sabot Containers Composition

Sabot Containers Composition

Beaky/Sabot/Crescent Composition

Beaky/Sabot/Crescent Composition

A clearly excessive composition :)

A clearly excessive composition 🙂

Basically some blocks have been thought together, but everything is adaptable with everything. Some time the result may be not just as well as thought, but at least the freedom of composition should be here.

I think I’ll test them during this summer :).

Heavy Hauling for the Knights of Titan

Well, well … Already 20 days of bloging without any update … So much for regularity ^^.

Today, a short article about Warhammer 40000. Already … Six months ago ?!, my sweetheart braved the bugs of the GW website and bought some of those shiny little plastic thingies we all love. After a deadful duel with the checkout routine and a fearful last stand against the delivery adress form (yes, the website was particularly vindictive this day), the reinforcements went to the Warp of the french post office. On the day of christmas, my true love gave to me, 1 box of dice (with a scatter dice that only seldomly scatters), and a brand new Stormraven gunship.

“What a nice kit” I told myself. “Hell, he looks ridiculous with the engine far behind the cell” answered my sneering mind. I went to and fro on the internet to look at some conversion people made for inspiration, and I found this on the “blog des Kouzes” :

A picture of the main source of inspiration, directly from the German Games Day 2010. Thanks to the blog des Kouzes for the picture.

A picture of the main source of inspiration, directly from the German Games Day 2010. Thanks to the blog des Kouzes for the picture.

OK, it looks like a mini-thunderhawk, but I find that it takes the general lines of the TH but keeps the specifics of the Stormraven (position of engines and the tilt of the wings). And what had to happen finally happened, I bought a second kit of Stormraven …

To sum it up, the details that ruin the vanilla mini are mainly due to the Disbelief Factor. Basically, this is the point of no return, beyond which something fictional goes from plausible to ludicrous. The small thing that ruins a lot of effort. The excessive excess. In this case, for me it is :
– The size of the hold, way too small. I’m not an afficionado of true scale, but here the border between game-manageable size and little wheelbarrow is crossed.
– The position of the engines, too ankward for me. I know that we are in total fiction and that the flying-bricks of the Space Marines would never be able to fly, but here I only see it do looping after looping when the pilot kicks the engines.
– The position of the Huricane Bolters, which fire in the forward hull or if they don’t have a huge blind spot in the forward arc.
– The big, glass turret. Here it’s just a personnal feeling, It breaks the line of the machine. Well, it’ll be stored for use on a Razorback :).

The nice conversion from the Games Day did appeal to me, because it solved the problem of the hold and engines, and made it look more like a Mini-Hawk and kept some specifics of the Stormraven. Well, the big gun (of dooming death) just screamed “THUNDERHAWK” and I didn’t like the Razorback turrets for the Huricane Bolters, but it’s a start. After the buying of one more hull kit via bitz stores on Ebay, here is comes the first try :

The hesitation about the hull assembly ...

The hesitation about the hull assembly …

Now it’s more beefy, at this stage I still hesitated on where to put the second floor : keep the line of the aft section, or like here and more to the fore ? In the end, I kept the first option. One stabilizer later, it gives this :

Hull assembled. Blessed be thee, Machine !

Hull assembled. Blessed be thee, Machine !

Yes, I'm boasting. I used this Grey Knight Forgeworld Rhino Door I bought on impulse several years ago ...

Yes, I’m boasting. I used this Grey Knight Forgeworld Rhino Door I bought on impulse several years ago …

Concerning the wings and the engines, the version of the Games Day Conversion was to my mood, so it’s a copy/paste here. Some work to cut two sets of wings, pinning, gluing and savage rookie greenstuffing gives this :

The enlenghted wing. What an astounishing skill with green stuff !

The enlenghted wing. What an astounishing skill with green stuff !

And a last minute finding : the Dark Angels Dark Talon has beautiful batteries of underwing Huricane bolters. And here they go.

The armament of the bird. Did the designer had something to compensate ? :)

The armament of the bird. Did the designer had something to compensate ? 🙂

So here I am, with something WISIWYG (bolters & missiles) that I like. I can imagine it breaking, all weapons blazing to clean the drop zone. It has a small look of the Clone Gunships of the Star Wars ugly trilogy (that is the episodes I, II and III).

And here is the shell of the hull.

And here is the shell of the hull.

There is still work on it, and in particular the holes to cover. I now have to find a practical system to magnet or pinn the wings, because this beast doesn’t fit in the display, and will be a nightmare to transport if I just glue them in place.

Cargo Haulers for the braves !

A small update. As usual, I’m on several project at once. Promised, the Gothic Fleet is on the bench, I’ll update in the days to come. As I always found that the imperial cargos are to few, I gave a try to make several variants or patterns.

Imperial variant, no reason for the Heretics to have it as an exclusivity !

Imperial variant, no reason for the Heretics to have it as an exclusivity !

Chaos transports, the poor heretics didn't have some

Chaos transports, the poor heretics didn’t have some

A Fast Clipper, a small and fast cargo

A Fast Clipper, a small and fast cargo

Sabot Heavy Transport - Cohesive with the Rogue Trader small cargo

Sabot Heavy Transport – Cohesive with the Rogue Trader small cargo

Beaky Transports - Fuel and troops variants

Beaky Transports – Fuel and troops variants

And another WIP, a Beaky Light armoured cruiser :

Light Armoured Beaky Cruiser

Light Armoured Beaky Cruiser