Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The League of Extraordinary Wargamers

Last month I introduced The League of Extraordinary Wargamers in a sneak peek preview.  A lot of work has been done in the interim and The League has officially launched!  The League currently supports the Warhammer 40k and Fantasy game systems, with plans to expand to others in the future.  Currently Fantasy league night is Thursdays at 6pm at 31st Century Games & Hobbies and 40k's is still to be determined.

The League's front page is a news blog that keeps members updated with current events.

The mission of The League is to promote a great gaming environment, provide hobby support, and give hobby gamers an outlet to gather without the pressure of painting requirements or expectations to play.  In short, members are free to come and go as they please, and wargame on the terms that suit them.

New and prospective members can take a narrative tour guided by The League's very own butler, Ferderick.  On the tour Frederick explains the rewards of membership, how to navigate the site, and how to join.

Member's profiles are displayed in the Hall of Accolades.  The gallery includes a picture of each member and a plaque for their achievements and medals.

There are two types of medals to be earned in The League, Commander medals awarded for hobbying and Strategist medals awarded for playing.  Commander medals are granted to a hobbyist for completely modeling and painting armies of certain points value.  From the lowest Commander rank, Scout Commander, fielding a minimum playable army (one HQ and two troops, or one general and three regiments) to the mightiest rank of Legion Commander who fields a 3,000pt army there are levels of command to represent any general.

Strategist medals are awarded for accumulating one, ten, twenty, and fifty wins, bestowing the respective ranks of: novice, adept, consummate, and master strategist.  Special achievements are also awarded to those who: table their opponent, win seven team games, and win a League of Extraordinary Wargamers tournament.  These special honors are called the Jolly RogerDiplomat's Star, and Iron Cross.

Another feature of the Hall of Accolades is each member's option to have a personal gallery.  Here is an example of Tyler Paschall's gallery, where his ranks are displayed as well as pictures of his Dark Eldar and Blood Angel space marines.  Members may also include a gamer/hobbyist biography and any information they'd like to share about their armies (war stories, how they work on the table top, experiences painting them, etc.).

The League also has its own forum called the War Room.  This is the communication center for members and the heart of goings on in The League.

Member's can find games, report results, ask rules questions, get hobby tips, and show off their latest creations.

Stop by The League's homepage, visit the forums, and become a member today!  To become a member, email with your name and a request to join.

In addition to hobby and gaming support, The League is also the official host to all 40k tournaments at 31st Century.  Here are last month's winners, Brandon Sherley 1st, Brad (BMS) 2nd, and Korbin best young player. 

Next month's tournament will be held on May 5th at noon.  If you're in the area, come by and throw down in a three round brawl for a purse of store credit and the coveted winner's trophy!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pre-heresy conversion Pt. 2

All right! After a long week it's time for the second installment of the conversion! Leaving off from where we were last, we need to clean all of the warp filth from the legs, arms, shoulders and weapons.

Now is also the right time to gather basing material. For these conversion troops I'm using an urban theme. Here is a look at the stuff below-

These are all pieces of plaster molds of urban building rubble and random crap, but all good for the look I'll be shooting for. Also the fact that most of this stuff is made of terrain plaster, it's easy to break up. Now keep in mind that my experience in this sort of basing is limited to Flames of war 15 mm stuff, but it's all the same in theory, so we'll see how I do.

Now comes the real "work" if you will. I have spent a good bit of time researching this project by looking up artists renditions of the different legions usually found on the book covers of the Heresy series, other hobbyists work random depictions and so on. What you generally find is that no one is truly "accurate" when it comes to the Mk patterns of the pre-heresy armor. You will see all kinds of goofy stuff in pictures, for instance a beaky appears on the back side of the cover of Prospero Burns. Mk VI in pre-heresy... I don't think so, but ultimately this works in the hobbyists favor in that we have artistic license as long as we try to keep the "flavor" of the Pre-heresy. My shoulder pads will be the biggest offender here, but, The ones I'm using will allow for an easier heraldry application. And quite frankly, if you find people are criticizing your  interpretation, tell them to go drink a bolter round.

Now I begin to gather together the pieces I initially want for each marine. below is an example of what I may end up using for the Night Lords.
As I work along I try to imagine what the Marine is doing in combat to find the right limbs and weapon combos, This step for me changes constantly, so I like to use thumb tack or poster tack to get an idea of what I'm working to, like pictured below.
This just gives me the rough draft opportunity, to see what poses i can play with. Take close look at the marine in the center, with the chain sword, he is going to change! I don't like how he is turning out, and I want something more "Epic" if you will. It was at this point that I decided that he would be my Luna Wolf. Can I get a "Luprical!" up in dis house? Any way the first step to creating an "Iconic" figure was to go after another modification to the helm. Something that would really stand out. A horsehair crest. And here's how I did it:
With Green stuff made a thin brick about 5/8ths of an inch long by 1/8ths tall. Then I stuck it onto the very end of my plain 'ol exacto knife to form the horse shoe shape. Turns out that this is the perfect arc for the size of the helmets. I used a flat sculpting tool to flatten all sides while still adhered to the end of the knife. I let it dry for about 12 hours, popped it off the knife and scored it for texture.

Next I requisitioned a frag grenade from a trooper and cut a piece at the first notch. This will become the crest "hilt".
Now I have glued the "hilt" to the top of the helmet.
And BAM! We have an Iconic helmet! now I'm getting excited! Next I start on bases, You can see below that I slapped together a 4 piece base using elmer's glue for the large pieces. Two pieces are below to give the base some height and at the same time tilting a slab. 
For the rubble I use kitty litter. What I do is take "unused" kitty litter and put it in a sandwich baggie. I then use a spoon to crush it down to "scale". I'll then separate half of the crushed litter to an opposite corner of the bag and crush that down again. then you just shake the two sizes back together giving you a very nice size variation. now I add Elmers glue again to all of the spaces and crack where I want rubble. I then just dip the base down into the baggie and there you have it, instant urban rubble. Let that stand and dry for an hour and then wash over the base with a 50/50 mix of elmer's and water to seal the base. Now to add our legs!

After the base has dried, I super glue the legs on, looking for the best possible pose.
This is a behind shot of the same base. And below you can see that I have legged all my bases.
If you look closely you will see that I do have some plastic scraps on the bases as well. What I do is use a lighter to heat them up and deform them on a table edge to make them look like broken and melted beams. plasicard I-beams work well for this, I just didn't have any at the time, so i improvised. I also replace torsos with thumb tack to further work out poses. Now remember that Luna Wolf from earlier? Below is a reminder...
Here he makes another pre-pose appearance along with a yet to be named on the left and The Night Lords legs on the right.
Here is the mighty Astartes again, but I just don't want those arms, so I'm going to swap arms for a truly awesome pose! In the mean time we need to take a quick look at modifying backpacks.
This is really easy. Cut off nozzles. cut away Extra "taint" , Glue nozzlesback on. pretty cut and dry. The right is before, the left after. Here's another type-
You may want to use a little green stuff, but not too shabby on its own!. So now with some backpacks ready and the Arms I want,  I assemble The Luna Wolf.
Charging into battle This company Captain will be know to me as Garviel Loken.

                                                   NAME THE BOOK COVER!

Thank you all for reading! Any questions, Feel free to ask. Part 3 coming soon! In it we will look at little mods to make each Legion represented look unique before we move to the painting !

The Emperor Protects!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Pre- Heresy Conversion

 First Off I’d like to thank Matt, our blog master for inviting me to contribute. At our hobby store we are lucky to have a wide range of guys to bounce ideas of off and get excellent feedback, and by all means Matt is one of the best to utilize for honest opinions and “how too” when things are descending into the depths of the warp on a project.

 The journey I’m about to take you on, I do so with a bit of trepidation, for we will be dealing with taint, and it must be removed!

I inherited a good deal of old Chaos bitz from a friend of mine the other day and as I scoured through them, realized that I had the makings for around 13-15 guys, so naturally not being a chaos player myself, I decided to embark on bringing honor back to those gallant heroes that remained loyal to the Emperor, praise be his name, by making a soldier to represent each of the original legions before they turned traitor, following the deceptive one, Horus, and his litany of lies.

Here is an example of the materials I have to work with. Most are chaos bitz and will have to be cleansed of their taint.
I started with what I like to call the “Fett” helmet. If you have read “The Horus Heresy” books you will find a great rendition of this on the cover of “False Gods” with the red horsehair crest. I think it’s a great Mk III helm, and captures the feel of the pre-heresy armor.

First I cut away the “ears” with a sharp exacto knife. Then I begin to gently slice away the leftovers down to the meat of the helmet.

At this point I changed the trimming technique by scraping with the blade along the helmet in the same fashion you use to clean mold lines off of figures, in order to smooth the crown of the helmet.

The only real issue I ran into was making sure not to chip too far into the earpieces, so watch out for that!

Now just rinse and repeat for any other helmets you have, taking care for the differences you may have in styles of helmets.

                                  Next I moved on to removing the taint from the torso pieces. 

With the Exacto knife again, I begin by “slicing” the mark of Khorne off of the Belt buckle and slicing the chain down to the plate.

. I emphasize a slicing motion when doing this because it is easier to control and as long as you keep the angle shallow you will avoid the need for green stuff to fix deep cuts. 

Once you have sliced away the taint of chaos you can use the Scraping technique to smooth out the surface and then move on to a file of you like, though if you are experienced at scraping you may not need to file. When filing, use gentle pressure and let the tool do the work, you don’t want to end up with a flat chest piece! You can avoid this problem by doing a little at a time, and checking your work.

Here I have an example of an imperial Jet pack harness chest piece which is, in my opinion good to use, in that it has the “flavor” of the Mk III/ Mk IV pattern, but we need to remove the Aquila. For those who don’t know, in the pre-heresy the only legion allowed to wear the Aquila was The Emperor’s Children. So with that being the Imperial Truth, we must remove the wings that are visible under the harness, lest we offend the Emperor, praise be his name. We again utilize shallow “slicing” and then scraping to finish it off.

                                                   Here you can see the difference.

Now I go through the different styles of Chaos chest pieces and rid them of their taint using the same “slicing” and then “scraping” techniques. And repeat the process with the back pieces. At this point you can now go back and check your work to make sure that you have things in a fairly “clean” state, and you may even sleep better tonight knowing that you have rid the universe of more chaos infused filth and pestilence in the Name of the Emperor, praise be his name!

Part 2 will be here in a matter of days; we’ll take a stab at cleansing legs and arms, and begin the process of picking the right pieces for the best poses!  

- John

Sunday, April 8, 2012

April's Mad Hobbyist & a New Contributor to the Monster Lab

This month we're not only celebrating a great member of the hobby community, but a new contributor to the Monster Lab as well.. in fact they're the same person, John Vas.  You all might remember John from the previous spotlight I did on his fledgling Grey Knights force in December.  He's been working diligently since then and his Grey Knights force has grown to include two more dreadnoughts, a dread knight, and a squad of marines to accompany the purifiers he had completed.

John's use of Asurmen Blue wash to lightly shade his Dread Knight was achieved by adding water to the model where he wanted to glaze then dribbling in dabs of the wash, and then stippling off the excess.

John's sticking to his Flames of War roots and is basing his 'knights with the same scrubland theme he used for his German troops.

Besides super clean and crisp painting, John's freehand details are really what separates him from the pack, just look at the freehanded "I" on his banner!

Each Grey Knight has his own personal sigul and heraldry on his right shoulder pad.

John pushed his boundaries on this Dreadnought and attempted a marbling pattern on the Dreadnought's right side.

Each nemesis force weapon has been painted and shaded using an air brush.

Not all of his Grey Knights are complete, but the models that are done are absolutely stunning.

After reading some original fiction, John decided to paint his "regular" Grey Knights' armor the same slate grey they were depicted wearing.  Besides the difference in helm color, this is a great differentiating factor between his squads of purifiers and his vanilla knights.

Congrats to John on being this month's Mad Hobbyist!  Look forward to articles posted by the man himself beginning next week.  

Welcome to the team John!

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